Tarzana, California, U.S., Rodriguez's nickname was given to him by his classmates when he was around eleven years of age.
P-Rod, at twelve years of age, Rodriguez received his first skateboard as a Christmas gift from mom Laura Martinez and actor/comedian father Paul Rodriguez; Rodriguez had seen a group of skateboarders at his new school and was immediately fascinated by "how they kept their board to their feet and how they could flip it." Rodriguez said in June 2014: "I got money, got myself a board, and it was game over."
In an interview with skateboard photographer Giovanni Reda, Rodriguez recounted a vivid memory of his early life as the son of a celebrity:
I'll tell you a good story about Mr. T [actor and celebrity, born Laurence Tureaud]. I believe it was 1988, every year there was a Christmas Day parade in Pasadena [California, US]; I was probably about three-and-a-half, four years-old—I loved Mr. T. He had the cartoon out at the time and all that. We're, were there at the banquet before the parade started 'cause my dad brought me to take me in the car to wave at the crowd, or whatever. And, ah, I had to go to the bathroom, my dad was getting interviewed, and, like, I tried to tell him; Mr. T was just standing there, chilling, 'cause they were just talking, and Mr. T goes, "I'll take you". And he throws me up on his shoulders, and I'm sitting up on top of all his gold chains. I remember it perfectly and he put me on top of his shoulders and walked me to the bathroom; like, just waited outside for me, and it was sick. Mr. T chauffeured me to [the bathroom].
Rodriguez stated in a July 2013 interview that he slept with new skateboard products as a child due to his passion for skateboarding, and admitted that he slept with his first Street League Skateboarding (SLS) trophy.
Rodriguez was initially recruited to the team of a local skateboard shop named "One Eighteen", managed by an Andy Netkin, who was 19 years old at the time, while Rodriguez had just become 14 years old. As he was too shy at the time, Rodriguez asked a friend to submit his "Sponsor me" video tape to Netkin, who was immediately impressed and asked the friend to bring Rodriguez into the store. Netkin then offered Rodriguez a place on the store team the following day at their first meeting—Netkin explained in 2014 that, at the time, he had a strong sense of Rodriguez's future as a "superstar." DNA Skateboards was Rodriguez's first company sponsor and he appeared in the 1999 video Microanalysis. Former professional skateboarder Anthony Pappalardo stated in a June 24, 2014 online radio show—hosted by professional skateboarder Alex Olsen—that he encouraged Joe Castrucci, cofounder of the Habitat skateboard brand, to recruit Rodriguez before he was officially sponsored, but Castrucci declined.
At the age of sixteen, Rodriguez then rode for City Stars, a company founded by professional skateboarder Kareem Campbell in Los Angeles, U.S. Despite being an amateur at the time, Rodriguez earned the last part in the video Street Cinema, which is an honor typically bestowed to an esteemed professional of the team. Rodriguez explained in 2014 that he was initially opposed to Campbell's use of the Jackson 5 song "I Want You Back" for the first half of his part, as it had been used for Guy Mariano's part in the Blind Skateboards video Video Days, but conceded that at the time he "was oblivious to the statement he [Campbell] was trying to make by choosing that song."
Alongside Mikey Taylor, Justin Case, Devine Calloway and Kevin "Spanky" Long, Rodriguez was an amateur team member, while the professional team included Lee Smith, Joey Suriel, Ryan Denman and Eric Pupecki. Rodriguez developed his interest in jewelry during this period, as Campbell was a collector and purchased Rodriguez a diamond bracelet. The period also influenced Rodriguez's musical taste, as he commenced listening to artists like Jay-Z and Nas due to the time spent with Campbell.
City Stars had planned to release a signature skateboard deck design, featuring Rodriguez's name on the grill of a Mercedes Benz (Rodriguez's first car), but Rodriguez departure from the company resulted in the product's cancellation. Rodriguez explained in February 2013: "I specifically remember that I knew I wanted to quit and I felt like I could at least show enough respect and tell them before they spent all that money to print up my boards. I didn’t want to leave them with a inventory of boards they couldn’t sell so I made sure to quit well before they went into production." In 2014 Rodriguez described his time at the brand as "the most magical," with a team that possessed "enthusiasm and passion" that was "contagious."
Rodriguez was featured in Transworld Skateboarding's 2002 video, In Bloom. This video showcased a segment of sponsored, talented skaters who were at the start of their respective careers. Following the video's release, Rodriguez commenced riding for Girl Skateboards and achieved professional status in September 2002. Rodriguez explained in a 2013 interview that he was asked to join the Girl team by Eric Koston, who remains his all-time favorite skateboarder as of July 2013, and the moment was the most significant event in his skateboarding career, as it was "the moment that my [Rodriguez's] dream happened."
Rodriguez was sponsored by Girl from the age of seventeen to nineteen, and appears in the Girl Skateboards film Yeah Right. During this period, he shared a house with professional skateboarder and rap artist Jereme Rogers.
In February 2013, Rodriguez identified his debut professional signature skateboard with Girl as his favorite deck graphic of all-time. The deck, released in 2002, featured the original Girl logo, Rodriguez's name (written in English), and the Spanish word "Muchachita", meaning "girl", instead of the usual "Girl" brand name. Rodriguez stated that "That was my first pro board and to have it on a company like Girl was awesome." In April 2013 Rodriguez explained that he "loved" his time with the Girl company and, prior to receiving contact from Danny Way—who asked him to join the relaunched Plan B company—he considered Girl a lifelong sponsor.
Following Girl, Rodriguez joined the relaunched Plan B skateboard deck brand that was under the ownership and guidance of original riders Danny Way and Colin McKay, who continue to own the brand as of March 2014.
Rodriguez released a solo Plan B video part, entitled Me, Myself, and I, in 2010. The inaugural Plan B full-length video has been a topic of discussion among the global skateboarding community for a prolonged duration of time, as promotional footage has been released and the company has been in existence for a significant period of time, with a renowned team established during this time period. A late November episode of the internet-based, weekly program, Skateline, broadcast on the RIDE Channel, showed footage of company co-owner and team rider, Danny Way, stating that the video would be made according to a schedule determined by the company regardless of external pressure.
Seven out of Rodriguez's top ten skateboard graphics of all time are Plan B Rodriguez signature designs, according to an interview that was published in February 2013. A collaboration between Plan B and Nike SB is Rodriguez's second favorite graphic, while a Bruce Lee "Fury" deck ("Needless to say, Bruce Lee is my number one influence other than Jesus Christ ... it also shows the three scrapes he had on his face from Enter The Dragon. I love this one.") and a Muhammad Ali deck were also included in the list.
As a guest on the radio show "Big Boi is in the Neighborhood", broadcast on Los Angeles' Power 106FM, Rodriguez confirmed his departure from Plan B in an interview that was published on the Internet on July 30, 2013. Prior to the confirmation, widespread speculation emerged in regard to Rodriguez's departure. During his winning performance at Stop 5 of the 2013 Street League Skateboarding contest in Portland, Oregon, U.S., Rodriguez rode a skateboard deck with the Plan B logo painted over and the company's logo was removed from his personal website as of July 16, 2013. Rodriguez explained in the interview that he is seeking to "own a little bit more of myself."
In June 2014, following the launch of his own skateboard deck company, Primitive Skateboarding, and his eighth signature shoe with Nike, Rodriguez explained his perspective of the future:
It got to a point where I wanted to get my name on a board and did that, wanted my name on a shoe and did that, wanted other endorsements, awards, and to win certain competitions, and did those, too ... Now it’s back to just wanting to get better. I want to keep improving my abilities.
The design for his Nike signature shoe was first leaked onto the Internet at the beginning of the year, leading to an intensive degree of discussion among consumers, described by the Ripped Laces website as "hate/skepticism." The corresponding advertisement featured Nike SB team member, Theotis Beasley, and was produced by the Wieden + Kennedy agency.
In a promotional day-in-the-life photo diary for the Hypebeast website, published on December 16, 2014, Rodriguez revealed that his personal skateboarding park is scheduled for a remodeling process. He also stated that his daily caffeine fix brings "happiness," and that the only time his mind is clear is while he is skateboarding.
At the beginning of 2015, Rodriguez was announced as the newest team member of the Glassy Sunhaters sunglasses brand, co-owned by fellow professional skateboarder, Mike Mo Capaldi. His signature sunglasses model is scheduled for release on February 10, 2015.
Following Rodriguez's departure from Plan B, he produced a batch of 500 gold-colored skateboard decks for a one-off sale. After the entire batch sold in "two minutes", Rodriguez considered repeating the process on a bi-monthly basis, but he realized that he was in need of an infrastructure to handle the process if it was to occur regularly. Netkin then presented the idea of "Primitive Skateboards" to Rodriguez and the suggestion led to a business meeting—involving all of Rodriguez's other partners in the Primitive brand—in which an agreement to establish the new brand as part of the Primitive business was finalized.
Rodriguez launched his own skateboard brand, Primitive Skateboarding, on April 10, 2014, with the initial team consisting of himself, Nick Tucker and Carlos Ribeiro. Rodriguez explained to the media: "To create my own board brand and have a chance to be a part of skateboarding beyond just being a pro skater is a dream come true." Rodriguez explained in June 2014 that the Primitive Skateboard brand was not conceived as part of a "master plan", but was an idea that emerged in 2012, when he realized that, if he didn't start his own skateboard deck company at the time, the opportunity would never return: "It would’ve been foolish of me to let that opportunity go by and stay in a regular sponsorship." Rodriguez remained with his sponsor at the time, Plan B, for a year before he finalized the decision, as he had experienced success with the brand and was close to all of the people involved.
Tucker was assigned professional status in November 2014, making him the only other Primitive Skateboarding professional other than Rodriguez at the time. Bastien Salabanzi, formerly of Flip Skateboards and Antiz, was recruited as the third Primitive Skateboarding professional on January 5, 2015. Rodriguez introduced Salabanzi on his personal website:
I first met Bastien back at Tampa Pro 2001. I was so amazed at his abilities and how consistent he was. I immediately became inspired to become a better skater and have looked up to him ever since. He is a true legend in skateboarding. I’m honored to have gotten to know him and so excited to have him as a part of the Primitive Skateboarding family!
As of January 12, 2015, Rodriguez is sponsored by Primitive Skateboarding, Nike Skateboarding, Mountain Dew, Target, Nixon Watches, Incase Designs, Primitive Skateshop, Glassy Sunhaters, Markisa, Venture, Andale Bearings, Diamond Supply Co., Grizzly Griptape and FUSE Science. As of June 2014, Rodriguez is managed by Circe Wallace.
As of December 2012, Rodriguez continues to be a senior team rider for the Nike skateboarding division, having released his eighth skate shoe model in May 2014, and was responsible for welcoming team rider, Luan Oliviera, in September 2012. Rodriguez released his first signature Nike shoe in 2005 following his departure from skate shoe brand, eS. Rodriguez explained in a 2012 interview for the "Footnotes" segment on the Berrics website:
The transition from eS to Nike was—after I got through making the phone call—I had to call Koston; I had to call, you know, Tony at eS; had to call a few people 'cause we were close; we were good family over there. So, after I got through that hard part, and I could just, and I was free of that burden, then when I got on Nike, it was just, like, the world was opened up—it was insane.
Rodriguez was one of the early riders to be approached by Nike following its second attempt to succeed in the skateboarding market and sub-culture. Rodriguez has explained:
Um, my thoughts on Nike when they first approached me were cool. I mean, like, I did get some criticisms, selling out, this and that ... and I never really been too worried 'bout that criticism. So my thoughts were just like, I look at it like this, like: My first pair of shoes were the baby Jordans [basketball player, Michael Jordan], you know what I mean, so, like, I had Nikes all my life growing up, and even at the time that I was on eS, any time that I was not skating, I wearing some white-on-white Air Force Ones, or Cortezs—I had a whole flock of Nike anyway ... the way I looked at it, was like, I've been a Nike supporter since birth. So me, I was just stoked, I was just hyped to get on Nike.
Rodriguez released his seventh signature model shoe, entitled the "Paul Rodriguez 7," with Nike in mid-2013. Designed with Shawn Carboy, who Rodriguez first started working with during the design of his fifth signature model, Rodriguez prioritized the functionality of the shoe and impact protection is the primary feature.
The "P-ROD 8", Rodriguez's eighth signature shoe was released in May 2014. On May 25, 2014, Rodriguez, alongside fellow Nike team member and skateboarding veteran, Lance Mountain, promoted the model in a video interview, whereby the history of the Nike shoe in skateboarding culture forms the foundation of the segment—Mountain explained that prior to the official launch of the Nike brand onto the skateboarding market, skateboarders said, "This [Nike] is our shoe". Rodriguez described himself as a "Jordan baby", growing up during the peak of Michael Jordan's career, and explained that his eighth Nike shoe model is an "homage to all those things I grew up loving—even before I met skateboarding. And now it's intertwined." The P-ROD 8 features three of Nike's shoe technology developments: "Lunarlon", "Flywire" and "Hyperscreen". (Rodriguez explained in the video with Mountain that the Flywire grips around the foot in the event of a significant fall during the act of skateboarding.)
Following the release of the P-ROD 8, Rodriguez was informed by a Nike executive that he is one of only four Nike athletes to have produced eight signature shoe models—the other three are: Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James. As of June 2014, Rodriguez has been sponsored by Nike for 10 years. In regard to his decade-long relationship with the corporation, Rodriguez explained: "it feels like I’ve also grown with them. I’ve become intertwined with Nike. Our stories are together — at least with Nike SB. The process of making a shoe, at this point, is like a welloiled machine."
On August 13, 2010, the Target corporation announced in a press release that Rodriguez had joined its sponsorship ranks—in addition to Shaun White, whose career has predominantly been defined by snowboarding, Rodriguez is the second professional skateboarder to negotiate a sponsorship deal with Target. A Target representative stated in the press release, "Paul is an amazing competitor and is the perfect personality to add to our program. With so many accomplishments and a promising future ahead of him, Paul is a natural fit for Target and we’re proud to have our brand represented on his skateboard." Rodriguez was also quoted in the press release: "I grew up right across the street from a Target and have many memories of skating over to the store as a kid. I’ve always loved their brand and am excited about the relationship and potential of what we can do together."
In 2012 Rodriguez participated in a competition with AT&T that allowed the winner to participate in the filming of a promotional video featuring Rodriguez. The final video also featured professional skateboarder, Manny Santiago, and was directed by Nigel Alexander, a long-term friend of Rodriguez. However, as of April 2014, the telecommunication company is not listed as a sponsor on Rodriguez's website.
Rodriguez owns a private skateboard park in the Canoga Park area of California, U.S. that features design elements from his sponsors, Mountain Dew, Nike SB, and Target. Rodriguez designed the park with skateboard park builder Mike Roebke, who used a computer program to blend his own ideas with drawings from Rodriguez. Rodriguez has stated, "I enjoy skating there and I'm blessed to have that type of place at my fingertips."
In collaboration with the Network A media company, Rodriguez is featured in an internet-based series about himself entitled LIFE. The series, produced and directed by professional skateboarder Steve Berra, was released weekly basis on the company's YouTube channel. As of June 23, 2013, six published episodes can be viewed on the Network A channel.
The first episode "Family First" follows Rodriguez as he revisits his grandmother's home following her cancer diagnosis (Rodriguez foregoes competing at the notable Tampa Pro contest to undertake the visit). Rodriguez explained in 2013 that Berra was the only other person to accompany him during his visit to his grandmother's home, as Rodriguez trusted Berra to be present. In the second episode, entitled "mASTA of disASTA", Rodriguez prepares to compete against Tom Asta in the Battle of the Berrics competition.
In the third episode, "Street League Matters", Rodriguez is filmed in Kansas City, U.S., as he prepares for the qualifying round of one of the stops of the Street League competition. The episode shows Rodriguez as he finishes in fourth place. The fourth episode of LIFE follows Rodriguez, together with close friends Heath Brinkley (photographer and filmer), Justine Schulte, and Carlos Zarazua, as he visits New Orleans, U.S. for the opening of hip hop artist Lil' Wayne's skate park in the wake of Hurricane Katrina—the skate park is called the "Truckstop" and is located in the Lower Ninth Ward area.
In "The Other Half", the fifth episode of LIFE, the camera follows Rodriguez as he competes in the Dew Tour contest and discusses the role of contests in relation to the more fundamental aspects of a professional street skateboarder's life—video footage and street skateboarding. At the close of the second half of the episode, Rodriguez explains his return to home life following the contest, providing an insight into his typical routine:
Finally, tomorrow I go home and, finally, I get to, get back on my routine, and, you know, skate as much as I've been wanting to skate. Back to my life and get back to-basically, the only thing that rolls my routine is just skating as much as I feel I need to be skating, um, and spending time with Heaven, really—that's it. Keep it simple! Just work on my craft.
Transworld SKATEboarding selected Rodriguez for the thirtieth position of its "30 Most Influential Skaters of All Time" list, released in December 2011. In response to the selection, Rodriguez revealed that Koston and Andrew Reynolds are two professional skateboarders who he considers as influential in a career sense, due to their "longevity", "the impacts they’ve had", and the degree of respect they have garnered. In an April 2013 interview, Rodriguez added Tom Penny to his "most influential" list and stated, "Him [Penny], Koston and Reynolds. That's my combo right there.".
In regard to Rodriguez, professional skateboarder Nyjah Huston explained in December 2013:
He is such a good dude, on and off the [skate]board. He's such a professional person. He's an amazing street skater, and just as good of a contest skater. So, he's a pretty ideal professional skateboarder, that's for sure.
As of June 2014, Rodriguez is the owner of, or an investor in, the skateboard brands, Primitive (retail outlet, apparel and skateboard deck company), Markisa (wallets and accessories) and Andale (skateboard bearings), the latter in partnership with fellow professional skateboarder, Joey Brezinski. In relation to Andale, Brezinski explained:
Originally I was working on the idea and I went through all the legal stuff. I quit my bearing sponsor at the time and I started talking to Paul about it because he had recently quit Silver at that point. I didn't know if he had plans with FKD or not, but I presented Andale to him as something we could do together. He was down and I proceeded to move forward. It took about two years to get to this point, doing a lot of work and a lot of planning.
The Primitive company consists of a retail store that is located in Los Angeles, U.S. (specializes in footwear), an apparel line and a skateboard deck brand. Rodriguez established the business in around 2005/2006 with three partners, including two friends whom he has known since childhood. In April 2014, Rodriguez was identified as the president of the company, while Netkin is the CEO and founder, and Jubal Jones is the creative director—Netkin and Jones were the original store employees and handled US$300 in sales on the opening day. Netkin describes the Primitive store, which officially opened on July 27, 2008, as a "cross-genre" retail outlet that also sells products, which skateboarders can relate to, outside of the skateboarding subculture.
Following the eventual success of the retail outlet, the company commenced its apparel brand, which was a part of the founders' original plan. The popularity of the apparel brand grew rapidly and in April 2014, Jones stated that he solely focuses on the brand, while new employees are constantly hired. In 2014 Primitive Apparel is available in 11 countries and the company consists of 25 people.
A holiday season party for the Primitive business was held in December 2012 at the new incarnation of the Berrics skatepark/training facility and a promotional video entitled Pain Is Beauty was published on the internet in mid-March 2013. The Primitive brand was then expanded into a skateboard deck company called "Primitive Skateboarding" in April 2014.
Together with action sports filmmaker Josh Landon and professional US skateboarder Mikey Taylor, Rodriguez cofounded the Saint Archer Brewing Co., a microbrewery that is co-owned by people who are also the brand's "Ambassadors." The team of Ambassadors includes professional skateboarders Eric Koston, Brian "Slash" Hansen, and Bryan Herman; professional and non-professional surfers Josh Kerr, Taylor Knox, Dusty Payne, Laura Enever, and Jeff Johnson; former professional snowboarder Todd Richards; photographer Atiba Jefferson; and surfboard shaper Chris Christenson. Together with Saint Archer's other Ambassadors, Rodriguez has participated in "Tasting Room" nights that are held at the brewery and allow consumers an opportunity to interact with the brand, as the Ambassadors pour and serve beers.
In a June 2014 interview, Rodriguez asserted that he is a "young, beginning entrepreneur who’s learning the ropes of the game," before revealing the philosophy that has benefited him over the course of his career: "find people that are just as passionate at what they do as you are about what you do."
As of November 2013, Rodriguez resides in Northridge, California. As of August 2010, his partner was Rainbow Alexander and the pair are the parents of daughter Heaven Love. In July 2013, photographs of Rodriguez dating a woman named Rachel Metz were published on the Internet. In an April 2013 interview, Rodriguez described himself as a "certified workaholic", and stated that skateboarding and fatherhood are his primary concerns in life. In regard to his Mexican American heritage, Rodriguez has explained:
It's my roots. It's where I come from; it's my genetics, my DNA, my body, my build. All from my heritage. My ancestors all before me contributed to the blessings I’m living now. It's where you come from. You can never be ignorant to where you come from because they're responsible for what you are now.
Rodriguez has stated in an interview with the NetworkA media channel that holds aspirations for a serious acting career following his time with professional skateboarding—he revealed that he admires the work of Jonny Depp, Christian Bale, and Edward Norton. In addition to Bruce Lee, Alexander the Great, and Jesus Christ, Rodriguez is also influenced by deceased hip hop artist, Tupac Shakur, and revealed in February 2013 that a skateboard deck graphic featuring Shakur would be a worthwhile design: "I’d like to get that photo of Tupac standing on the wall with his shirt off and he’s got the Thug Life tattoo and the glock in his waist band and a blunt in his hand. That would be sick."
Rodriguez received the 2002 "Rookie of the Year" award from the Transworld SKATEboarding publication.
Bronze: 2003 Los AngelesGold: 2004 Los Angeles
Gold: 2005 Los Angeles
Silver: 2008 Los Angeles
Gold: 2009 Los Angeles
Gold: 2012 Los Angeles
Silver: 2013 Barcelona (Street League Skateboarding (SLS) partnership event)
Silver: 2013 Munich (SLS partnership event)
Fourth place: 2005
Second place: 2008
Second place: 2011
Third place: 2013
Fifth place: 2002
Third place: 2007
Second place: 2009
First place: 2010
Won: 2012 Street League Skateboarding – Stop 3, Glendale, Arizona, U.S.
Silver: 2013 Barcelona Street League Skateboarding
Won: 2013 Street League Skateboarding – Stop 5, Portland, Oregon, U.S.
Won: 2010 Battle at the Berrics 3 (second place, PJ Ladd; third place, Shane O'Neill)
Second place: 2009 (first place: Chris Cole)
Second place: 2013 (first place: pj ladd)