Paul Schmitt – 2020

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Paul Schmitt has long been known as skateboarding’s professor. Inspired by his dad, who built sets for a college theater, Paul got into woodworking as a young boy, building tree forts and go-carts. He started skateboarding at age 10 in 1973 in La Crosse, Wisconsin. A couple of years later, Paul moved to Tampa, Florida and started making slider rails out of wood and fiberglass. He called them Schmitt Stix. In the late ’70s, Alan Gelfand gave him the idea to make the first plastic rails. While working for a boat builder, Paul learned more about woodworking and started pressing his own decks under the Schmitt Stix brand–first under his mom’s car tire, them on a press made out of 2x6s and a hydraulic car jack. In 1985, Paul and Chuck Hults moved out to Costa Mesa, California and joined forces with Vision, who gave him the space to set up a huge woodshop. It was around this time that Paul designed deck molds with bends and curves that were way ahead of their time. He was also the author of the Technically Speaking column in TransWorld Skateboarding magazine.

In 1986, John Lucero and Jeff Grosso joined Schmitt Stix, and went from selling 500 decks per month to 5,000. In 1988, Paul debuted the first skateboard deck with a long kick nose and concave running the whole length. By the next year, he had stopped working in the woodshop at Vision and opened his own development shop, PS Stix, where he worked on the upturned nose, as well as fiberglass and foam boards with urethane bumpers and radial wheels with aluminum hubs. He also pioneered rounding off deck edges, making them stiff and responsive. Well-known for building the highest quality decks, PS Stix pressed skateboards for such prominent brands as Acme, Alien Workshop, Blind, Destructo, Element, Girl and World Industries. Paul also innovated Air Frame construction, which contained air cavities to provide pop for the life of a deck. In 2007, Paul launched a non-profit called Create-a-Skate, which, when combined with other subjects like art, engineering and math, allows fifth to 12th grade kids to make skateboards at school.