Pat Duffy Interview

Pat Duffy

“My mom has a photo of me skating this little blue board in diapers,” recalls Pat Duffy. Though he has been around skateboards since he could walk, it was in 1992 at a mere fifteen years old, when Plan B’s Questionable Video came out and Pat’s part transformed him from unknown suburban teenager to skate rock star, forever changing the concept of skating handrails.

What was your favorite year in skateboarding?

Probably ’90, right after H-Street’s Hokus Pokus. When that video came out, it was either quit skating or just cut loose. It was crazy when that thing came out; it had a big influence on me.

Whose part in that video were you most impressed with?

Matt Hensley’s.

Who’s been an inspiration for you skateboarding wise?

Everybody–Hensley, Gonz, Guy Mariano, Mike Carroll, and all the peers I went through this whole thing with.

What about Guy’s skating inspired you?

His skating? No, it’s not even his skating … it’s his ability. He doesn’t even have to skate, he rips it anyway. He can just chill out and go, “I think I’ll do this,” and put everyone to shame.

What’s the stupidest trend you’ve seen skateboarding go through?

Little wheels.

Did you ever get involved in that?

Yeah, yeah–49s, 48s.

Was that the smallest you’ve ridden?

I went down to like 44s. I think the smallest I ever saw were Kareem’s 38.5s. I remember going, “Holy shit! That’s a little out of control!” It’s so funny because it was so nonfunctional.

Where do you think that came from?

Just trying to get tech, little flips. For a while, no one was doing anything except tech little flips–flat ground. Flat-ground lines at the Embarcadero went worldwide.

How big were your wheels when we were filming for the first Plan B video Questionable Video?

I think they were about 48.

A couple times they looked pretty small when we watched it just now.

Yeah, but some of the footage–like the lipslide in the montage–was on an H-Street Mike Carroll board. So the wheels I was riding in that were 58s. But then, they got progressively smaller.

What has been your biggest contribution to skateboarding?

I don’t know–talking to kids.

Do they have good stuff to say?

Yeah, they always do. My first tour was crazy.

What year was that?

Ninety-two.

Was it weird to just be a star?

It was strange. Shop owners would say “We have a rainmaker.”

If you showed up to a demo and it was raining, would they want you to skate anyway?

Well, they’d be like, “You can do it, come on!” I was the token rain guy. But we did a couple demos in the rain, and it was fun.

Describe how you see skateboarding currently.

It’s crazy because it’s still progressing, and it’s still growing.

What do you think that’s due to?

People in the mainstream are starting to accept it. Maybe because of television, I don’t know.

Do you think that’s a good thing?

It can be good and bad.

How could it be bad?

From people trying to cash in. The average huge corporation making Toys R Us boards by the billions.

It’s happening.

I know, it’s lame. It’s taking away from the people who have their hearts in it.

But, at the same time, they’re exposing kids to skating who might not see it otherwise.

That’s true.

It’s a double-sided coin.

It is. Kids may go to Toys R Us to get their first board, but they’ll figure it out after a while.

Do you have any predictions for skateboarding’s future?

I’d like to see it keep progressing. I want to see it keep getting more accepted. I want more parks. I want to see a sport made out of it, not just a bunch of hoodlums … like we are.