Portrait: Rich Odam

I had my reservations before I took this TM job. Being a grown up so to speak, I was worried about all the egos, attitudes, and delusions of grandeur some of these riders might have. Are they going to think they’re the sh-t? Are they going to think that they’re some sort of superstar?” I almost vomited at the thought of dealing with primadonnas.

The one man who has made my life a million times simpler is Paul Machnau. Cliché as it sounds, and I don’t give a sh-t, is this: He is a true professional in every sense on the word. He handles his sh-t, he doesn’t need his hand held, and he’s a wealth of information to a green TM like myself. He’s genuine, he keeps his word, and he does what he says—a rare thing in this industry. I’m pleased to be his TM, but more importantly, I’m truly grateful to call him my friend. Thanks for everything, Paul. As we say in the Bay Area, “You’re hella tight.”—Dave Ashley

Interview By Blair Alley

How is summer up in Vancouver?
Good, I just got back from a little Darkstar filming mish in Toronto that I set up. It was me, Ryan Decenzo, Paul Trepanier, and this kid John Hanlon that’s from here in Vancouver—he’s on the come-up.

Is he a Darkstar flow kid?
Yeah, we just started flowing him stuff. He grew up with Scooter [Scott Decenzo] and Ryan and Magnus [Hanson] and all those kids. He’s just coming into his own right now—super killin’ it. Aside from that, I usually try and spend as much time as I can up here in the summer because I travel so much and then it rains all winter. I’ve been doing a lot of golfing with [Alex] Chalmers and relaxing. I’ve been working on some interviews and skating my spots—the spots I like to skate, the raw ones.

I feel like Van is a city always in transition, at least in a skateboarding sense, and right now the scene looks really healthy. What’s it like from an insider’s view?
Vancouver’s always had a West Coast feel, like it’s the Cali but in Canada. I think right now it’s super strong because there’re so many different styles coming out of Vancouver. In the last couple years, it’s always been considered the big T-shirt, big pants, kind of hip-hop crew that came out of Canada, but over the last year, it’s been changing—kids have been coming out of here like crazy. We never had that kind of thing before in Vancouver. It seemed like the older, stronger crews survived and made it to the Cali side of things.


Frontside 180 to switch crooked grind. Photos: Alberto Polo.

Are you guys working on a full-length video with Darkstar right now?
Yeah, we got the okay and are going to put a video out within a year and a half. We’ve started doing tons of trips just trying to make it happen. We’ve got the team to do it now, too, with Trepanier just on a tear right now.

Does that spark you to step your game up and keep up with the young guys?
Oh yeah, seeing how amazing these kids are at that age is just ridiculous. That’s just how it is, every generation is that much better. It keeps me on my toes for sure. I find myself trying to learn new tricks.

What’s Globe working on? Since your United By Fate episode is done, are you still getting in there and filming for the new ones?
For sure. I’ve been motivating the other guys on the team and getting everyone hyped on the video and keep the UBF going, because it’s such a great idea. I’ve been working hard to get in the montage sections.

Have you been to any of Lutzka’s outlandish parties?
No, I didn’t get a chance to go and check out the video party [laughs]. I heard it was pretty sick. I’m looking forward to the coming episodes, especially when Ryan [Decenzo] gets in there.


Frontside tailslide. Photo: Deville

Tell me about riding for DaKine, because I know you have a little Hawaii trip coming up and two years ago we were on that Grease Traps And Tail Taps tour. Are those trips a nice breath of fresh air?
Oh hell yeah. Scott [Koerner, DaKine team manager] is super cool and he always makes it so fun. We do have demos, but they’re not “break yourself” demos, we get to just show up and hang with the kids and interact. Every tour I’ve ever gone on with DaKine has been a good time and just enjoying ourselves. Hawaii is going to be sick because that’s where DaKine is from and last time they took us out there they treated us like kings, put us in sick houses right on the beach and let us surf and do what ever we wanted. You gettin’ in on this one, Blair?

You know, I haven’t gotten the invite yet, but I’ll go at the drop of a hat, I’ll tell you that. As soon as I get the phone call, I’m there!Without getting too political, is there a feeling in Canada about our upcoming election down here?
Not too much, I try not to think about that stuff too much, I do read the news every day and keep up on it. In Canada, we’re so close to the States and what happens in the States affects Canada, but it’s hard to keep up on that sort of stuff. I’ll learn a little bit and then just get frustrated. You’ll learn stuff, and you start to get into one of the guys, and then you’ll learn something else and then I’m just, “Ah man, I’m over it.” I’d say most people up here are just concerned on healthy living and enjoying life rather than the bullsh-t politics of it all.

Varial kickflip. Photo: Trinh
Varial kickflip. Photos: Trinh

Aside from golf with Chalmers, what do you do when you’re not skating?
Relaxing, healing. Probably just hanging with my girlfriend and enjoying life.

As a big rail skater, what did you think of the Fallen vid?
F—k, I haven’t seen it yet. I missed the premiere and I’ve been so busy I haven’t had a chance to catch it, but I’ve heard many good things. I hear [James] Hardy is gnarly. One thing I can tell you is I did see the sequence of the fakie ollie to switch backside 50-50. The blindside one. That impressed the hell out of me. I’m a fakie skater myself and I know what that entails.

Cool, thanks for the interview, Paul! I’m going to hit up Koerner right now and see if he’s got a photographer lined up for Hawaii.
Get in there, man! That’d be sick. Come and shoot an article for Transworld.

Guaranteed!