Paul Schmitt - 2020 Skateboarding Hall of Fame

Paul Schmitt

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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 sets, 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 grab rails out of wood and then laminated rails out of fiberglass, wood, and Formica so they would not break. In 1978, Alan Gelfand gave him the idea to make the first slide rails, so Paul changed to UWMW plastic. While working for a boat builder, Paul learned more about woodworking and had already started pressing his own decks under his mom’s car tire, them on a press made from 2x6s and a hydraulic car jack in his bedroom. It was around this time that Paul designed deck molds with bends, curves & quality that were way ahead of their time. Paul also built ramps and organized backyard ramp contest in Florida and documented that for Thrasher. In the beginning of 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 later that year. 

By the start of 1986, John Lucero and Jeff Grosso joined Schmitt Stix, and went from selling 100’s decks per month to over 5,000. In 1987, Paul debuted the first skateboard deck with a long kick nose and concave running the whole length of the board. That year, he had stopped working the woodshop at Vision and opened his own development shop, PS Stix, where he worked on fine tuning the upturned nose, as well as fiberglass and foam boards with urethane bumpers and radial wheels with aluminum hubs. He was also the author of the Technically Speaking column in TransWorld Skateboarding magazine. He set the standard for rounding off deck edges, dyed veneer and 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, New Deal, Element and Girl in the 90’s. 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 CreateAskate.org, which, when combined with other subjects like art, engineering, and math, allows fifth to 12th grade kids to make skateboards at school. Paul has continued to stay behind the scenes building boards for other brands at his PS Stix Factory.

The Nine Club – Paul Schmitt Interview