Pat Smith, Sweeper - Photo: Paco
Pat Smith is an east coast legend, all-terrain ripper, bandana wearer, and owner of CODA Skateboards. He is often compared (by me) to Phil Shao (RIP). Having been in the game for over 2 decades, he’s demonstrated an undying passion for this little thing we call skateboarding.
Ok so before we get into anything about you, it recently came up that your friend, and Orchard Skateshop owner, Bro Gumpright, used to rock the visor beanie. How do you feel about that?
Broderick has done so much for the scene that he can basically wear whatever he wants. We back him so if he wanted to start razor skooting, then I guess we would have to start making scooters.
Alright, so which scumbag city are you from? Judging by your spot selection, I know you’re from one. Philly...Baltimore?
Grew up outside of Baltimore for a lot of my youth. I have family in NYC so I would be there for the summers, Baltimore and DC all the time. I Always had the passion to search out or make new things. When the buds got to driving age, it was on. We would go everywhere. But we spent a lot of time exploring the small towns we all grew up in.
Big shout out to Lansdowne Skatepark.
Out of the VHS era, what are the videos that had the biggest impact on you and your skating?
I really like Real’s Non-fiction and the first two Stereo vids, Future Primitive and Animal Chin were classics and Blind Video Days was the game changer.
Don’t mean to jump over your time with Real or anything before that, but the part in Label Kills where you skate to Alternative Ulster. What was it like filming for that video? I mean that video’s no joke, classic parts from Grosso, and Wade Speyer himself...had to have been intimidating.
I was already older and had met those guys on my travels. I hated Cali. Not so much anymore, but back then, I hated going there. I was super motivated after blowing out my knee, so much so that I was a prick to people. Dont be a prick to people. I was punk so that shit never made me more uncomfortable than I already am. I am really honored to be a part of that vid. I was one of the only people that got to pick my own song! Wes Lott said I didn't have any hammers, now I give him boards once in a while.
Pat Smith - Label Kills
There were a lot of pros in the late 90s/early 2000s that sort of wrote off transition skating. Even when people were doing it, most weren’t really doing it well. What drew you to it?
Just the desire to skate everything that was there. I started at the end of the vert ramp era so our dads would take us to the local ramps. We had some minis and stuff because we had yards. Ramps in the driveway. It just stuck. We would try to skate everything because it was all riding your skateboard and super fun.
I actually remember seeing you at Hardware City Skatepark in New Britain, Connecticut. Not sure if you remember that park, but that’s where I’M from… anyway... I think you were skating for 151 at this time. It was nice. Not really a question, just wanted to get that out there.
Oh that was a trip with my Bodega buds and some other friends. I remember getting to Boston and a bunch of us were just over it, got 30 beers and hopped on a bus back to NYC. We got wasted and went through happy drunk, to “love you brother” drunk, to everyone passed out. Pretty fun trip overall.
Oh also - true story, you inspired me to get my first and only mohawk, which my mom was super bummed on. Do you feel like you owe my mom an apology?
Nah, your mom owes you an apology for not supporting you to learn your own mistakes. I have a bad hawk going now. It actually just looks like a shitty mullet.
Mom, if you're reading this, I'm waiting.
Your part in the Pit Crew video was kind of the standout one for me, to be honest. The footage in the Autumn bowl (RIP), damn, and it was set to Fortunate Son. Did you pick the song, because it couldn’t have been more perfect.
I have always picked my songs. I liked that part and that video. Shout out to Mark Nickels and the Pit Crew family. They have had my back for years. To be included in a project like that is an honor.
Speaking of Pit Crew, is Bobby going to get SOTY 2014?
He is my favorite right now. Him or Cory Kennedy. Nike will buy it again this year for sure.
A couple of us at SMLtalk HQ were talking, and we were wondering what the secret is. Why is it that you are able to pull off the bandana, and guys like Pat “Sinner” Pasquale end up looking like fools?
I just do what I want mostly, I am used to looking like a fool. I don't know, it was holding my hippy hair out of my face.
So with CODA it seems that you have had a knack for finding dudes that are absolutely killing it, but are relatively under the radar. Jay Burton, Max Palmer, Dylan James. Even the man, Bro Gumpright, himself. What’s the strategy there? You got scouts?
The thing about those guys is that they are amazing people. Maybe we tricked them with all the money we make? I think its the support of letting them do as much or as little as they want that keep them into CODA.
Opinion on skating today?
Yeah, I think will try to get some grinds in.
What’s in store for the future with CODA?
Just keep growing, get better at sales and slow down my life so I can focus on it more. It's out of control.
Prize fighter Wheels
Ryan and Chopper at Vans.
Edwin for facilitating a space for a winter training facility.
Interview by: David Lewis
Check Pat at www.codaskateboards.com