K-Rod - The Kevin Rodrigues Interview

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K-Rod – The Kevin Rodrigues Interview

Kevin Rodrigues first showed up on my doorstep in Brooklyn with a crew of Frenchmen visiting the USA back in 2007. He didn't speak any English so I took it upon myself to school him with the correct lingo to get by during his two-week trip. I skipped over all the essential entry level phrases like “Hello" and "How are you?" and went right to all the real shit. Like how to holler at girls, various insults, Wu Tang lyrics, and other random asshole terms my friends and I call each other. His ability to quickly soak up all this information like a sponge made me think: “Hey if I wasn't such an idiot and took this seriously, this kid might actually know English by now”.

Fast forward two years later and I’m in Bordeaux with Kevin and some of his homies at a spot. Kevin wasn’t skating so the photographer ever so rudely asked him to watch one of his flashes in case a board shot out.  “I said RIGHT NOW!” the photographer yelled at Kevin in an angry, condescending tone. This guy was going out of his way to talk to this kid like an asshole and I wasn’t going to have any part in it. Before I could open my mouth in his defence Kevin blared back at the photographer in English: “You better watch your mouth pussy, you should be kissing my ass right now!”. Right away the whole crew busted out in laughter at the photographer as he was just schooled by a kid half his age. That’s when I realised…. Kevin Rodrigues is a grown ass man. Whether he’s handling business on his board or calling a guy your Dad’s age a pussy… It’s in his blood. He’s a straight up G. –Tombo Colabraro

Hi Kevin! How’s it going? I heard you took one hell of a slam a few weeks ago… can you tell us about that?

I’m fine. Well, I went to Stockholm with the Polar guys recently, and there was that spot everyone kept talking about, a natural quarterpipe on the rooftop of a three-story parking lot. So we went to that spot on the last day of the trip and I fell in the void. I think everyone got really scared, myself included! But I finally got through quite safely. I did have to go to the physiotherapist for a while because it compressed my vertebrae though…

Why did you initially want this interview to come out after the Polar video? 

I don’t know, I think it makes more sense to see a guy’s part before his interview. To me photos are more like memories… I was afraid people might expect me to have a lot of footage in the video after seeing my interview when I actually don’t have much more than what you see in these pages… I didn’t want to ‘’ruin the surprise’’.

Were you annoyed that we used the wallie pole jam as the cover of the photo issue rather than in your interview? Will the footage be in the video?

Not at all, it was completely unexpected so obviously I was stoked. No sadly it won’t be in the Polar video. When I went back to the spot to film the trick the pole had been fixed. I was pretty bummed… I even ended up Googling dumb stuff like: ‘’how to bend a pole without crashing into it with a car’’ hoping I’d find a solution…

When is the deadline? When is it supposed to come out?

The deadline was set three weeks ago (for end of April) but Pontus told me earlier today that he hasn’t started editing the video yet. I think it might dawdle a bit, he doesn’t have much spare time and summer has come so I assume he won’t really feel like sitting in front of a computer screen for the next three months.

Are you satisfied with what you have so far? Any kickflips in there?

More or less satisfied; some tricks are cool, others I’m not quite as hyped on. I really insisted to Pontus on not having certain footage in the video and he told me he would respect my choices. I really hope he will. And no, still no kickflips.

When you say: “I really hope he will” I can sense quite a bit of uncertainty. Does Pontus work very closely with the team on videos and anything brand related or is it just 100% his vision?

I don’t know how it worked for the two previous videos, but for this one he does consult us quite a lot, be it for the music or for other stuff. I think it’s a good thing; it’s important.

Do you prefer filming at home or on trips? 

Both are very different. For some reason I’m not very productive on trips, maybe because my spot selection is quite unusual. Here I know tons spots I like, so it’s easier for me to skate and film stuff that fits my vision of skateboarding.

I seem to remember you hating skateparks when you were younger, is it still the case? Has spending time with Oski and David taught you to enjoy that kind of skating?

I have nothing against tranny skating, I’m not one of those underground guys who considers their way of skating to be the only interesting one. I would love to be able to skate tranny and experience the same sensations as them. I just don’t think it will ever happen considering my current abilities…

How did you actually get on Polar? Was leaving 5boro difficult?

It was two years ago, so I was 20. Leaving 5boro was tough because I was quite proud to skate for them and they are all really cool guys. I’ve met them a couple times since, and it hasn’t changed our relationship. I think they understood my choice.

Can you tell everyone a little bit about your Parisian crew: The Bloby’s?

I’ve hung out with these guys since I was a kid. We found that name when we entered a video contest called La Rue est Vers l’Image and had to give our edit a name. It actually comes from a game we used to play and which was called Blobywar. It was a sort of weird sleeping bag fight game where you had to stand up in your sleeping bag and knock your friends to the ground by pushing them. It sounds a pretty gay but it was super fun!

Which of those guys get boards from Polar? Will they have parts or tricks in the video? Tricks in your part maybe?

Roman and Vincent both ride for Polar and will have tricks in the video. I hope their tricks will be in my part because the ones I have in mind are really awesome.

Is there talk of bumping them up from flow to full am?

I didn’t hear about anything like that but it would really make sense I think.

Do you guys mainly skate République (incredible new plaza in Paris)? That place looks like paradise… Is it not a bust?

Cops used to give tickets at the very beginning, but they soon gave up. All the other Bloby’s spend most of their time there nowadays, me not so much.

A spot like that is often a real game changer for a city’s skate scene. Has it been the case in Paris? If so why? 

It did change things a lot; I think it brought many good things, but also bad ones. It seems like at least half of the skaters in Paris are there every day and crews seem to get along quite well. On the other hand can’t imagine the pedestrians that cross the plaza being too happy about our presence.

Do you do anything else apart from skating to make money? If not, since when has it been the case and how/why did you take that decision?

For the last two years I’ve only been skating. Before that I tried to work as an assistant in a recruitment office for a year, but it didn’t go very well. I realised that I still have difficulties being with people I don’t feel like being with. I’ve had this problem since I was young and I assume it’s closely linked to the fact that when you skate, you can choose the people you hang out with and it becomes a habit.

How old is ‘’young’’?

11 years old?

Do you still watch many skate videos? I remember you being pretty geeky back in the day…

I don’t watch as many videos as I used to. I actually end up watching the same stuff over and over again every day, especially A.V.E’s, Nick Boserio’s and Callum Paul’s parts.

Why do you think this is? Do you feel a bit desensitised by the amount of new skate clips that come out every day?

I think I’m not that patient anymore.

Since you got on Polar it seems like you’ve taken the original/unconventional side of your skating up a notch. Was this ever a conscious thing or did it just come naturally? 

I don’t know if my skating is more original than it used to be, but it’s true that skating for Polar is the best source of motivation I’ve ever had. I really like all these guys and I’ve always been a big fan of Pontus’ vision of skating and videos – so I’m doing my best to be in the next one.

Cheers Kevin!

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