Paul Regan interview

Interview by Chris Johnson
Portrait by Richard Chung
Photos by Rob Salmon and Alex Burrell
Footage by Neddy

Motivation! That’s the first word that comes to my mind when thinking of Regan. Why? Well, I’m still a bit new in town you see and one of the first bits of advice I was given when first setting foot on the British Isles was to go and visit Yorkshire, but never to go and visit either Doncaster or Hull. The well-meaning insider then proceeded to paint what at the time sounded more like a Russian prison then your picture perfect British countryside town. So, motivation is the word because Mr Regan is hardly put down by his fate of coming from the dark side of Yorkshire. Instead, you’ll easily see him catching the first seat out of town, going places, putting in his clean, tech, pop fuelled skate style to good use. -Mathieu Tourneur, Revival Distribution

So Paul, let’s start things off in the usual manner. For those out there who are unaware, give us your vital stats.

Easy mate, I’m Paul Regan, I’m 21 and I’ve been skating for about 8 years. I’m originally from Bradford but my skating was born in Hornsea/Hull. I skate for DVS Shoes, Girl Skateboards, Royal Trucks and Revival

Coming from such a cold, wet and windy place as Hull, how did you initially discover skateboarding in the North East?

Well to be fair Hull isn’t as wet as some places, it’s fairly dry most of the time but when it rains, man does it pour! It doesn’t rain nowhere near as much as Manchester for example, as Hull is at the end of the Pennine trail, whereas Manchester is right in the middle! I first discovered skating through a friend at school; he then introduced me to the Tony Hawk game, so my mate Luke and the Birdman got me hooked!

Right: Huge Backside Ollie: Photo Rob Salmon

Wow, The Birdman!! I too have Tony Hawk to thank for one of my earliest links to the outside skate world, but for me it was his first class ‘skate acting’ in Animal Chin. How did you make the transition for bedroom and local skate park lurker to getting your name out there?

Ha, sick man, yeah you’re showing your age there dude. I can shamefully say I’m of the Tony Hawk skateboard game era, stoked! Dunno really, it just happened?

Like as a skateboarder you enjoy learning new tricks and going new places and once I broke out of my town and into Hull city centre, I met other people… it just went from there. Later, I met Scott (Palmer) at 4 DOWN (defunct Hull skate shop) then as the years went by, started going places with mates and eventually places with Scott. A while later, I passed my driving test which opened up my world, giving me the freedom to skate all over.

Who were your main influences when you were finding your feet? Did you look at the guys in the US or more familiar homegrown heroes like Scott Palmer?

Well obviously before I met Palmer, I looked up to US pro’s such as Mark Appleyard, Marc Johnson, Daewon, Koston etc then I heard Scott’s name through people and at that age, I think I was about 14, I started looking up to Scott and everything he was involved with at the time. That’s how I got so stoked on UK and European skateboarding. Congratulations to Scott and Rachael on their 2nd born baby by the way!

Right: Threading the needle Kickflip: Photo Alex Burrell

How did things with DVS start off? Did you hit the comp trail hard or put out a heavy amount of YouTube edits?

I was hooked up via word of mouth, really. I got asked for some footage by Mathieu (Euro DVS Manager) and my shop sponsor sent it in about 3 years ago. A while later I got a text from Sam Culshaw (UK DVS Rep) saying they were going to hook me up, it was only a flow deal at the time and I got sent a pair of shoes a month.

From there, I worked on getting footage out there and traveling around to a bunch of events before my Haunts, as a result I got a place on the UK team which I’m super stoked about!

What are you doing with yourself when you’re not out skating? Are you in college or gettin’ stuck into some graft?

Well I’ve finished College now, so looking into a uni course at London Southbank doing Digital Media Arts, start that next September if I get in. I got laid off from my job, but I’ve been doing bits here and there working on HGV’s to get by, I’ve applied to Rubicon Skate School to be a teacher for skateboarding in schools. Hopefully I’ve got the job, just waiting for the CRB check….fingers crossed!

Tell us about the skate school. Have you any experience of mentoring before? And how do you feel about being a Big Brother type figure for younger kids?

Well It’s run by Rubicon and Geoff Else is one of the main people involved as he set it up, I just applied for it online after hearing people teaching skateboarding, so I thought what better job could I get really, so I just went for it! I’ve helped kids out in skateparks and stuff, always had a chat with them if they asked questions about things, tricks or what have you. I think it’s standard really to help anyone out if they ask… hmm- I guess being a big brother type figure would be quite cool, it’s a good feeling when someone looks up to you, it makes you feel like you’ve actually done something good to help someone. It’s always good to give.

Right: Crook pop over to Manny: Photo Rob Salmon

How do you think you will adapt to the hustle and bustle of London life?

To be honest I feel ready for it. My life has changed so much since I was 18 and nothing feels as it was to me here up in Hull no more, it’s like a ghost town to me now!

Everybody has left and gone in different directions and being here now just doesn’t feel right any more ’cause it used to be so lively every time I was out or when I went skating with my friends in the town centre on a Saturday.

Nowadays you’re lucky if you see a skater or 2 in town on a Saturday, it’s just like the era that I loved so much has died….

But yeah, enough about the past, here’s to the future. Every time I’ve been to London I’ve had the best times, it’s so online and alive, it’s definitely what I feel I would like around me now and London has so much to offer, too.

Well mate that is life and that is skateboarding, the part timers fade away and the strong survive. I remember being gutted when all my mates faded away at 21, now skating with people ten years younger is the norm. But surely thats what’s so great about our scene, that age isn’t an issue and difference is embraced?

Oh yeah definitely, age doesn’t seem to make a difference in skating, which is a good thing. It’s just a strange thing when good things change that you’re happy with and you end up getting swept away down a path you weren’t expecting to go down… but still definitely on the past, it’s such a weird feeling. I guess that’s why it doesn’t feel right to me no more up here and I need to make a good change for myself? Definitely a strange experience, that’s all I know, just gotta go with the flow of things, I guess.

Right: Switch Backside Ollie: Photo Rob Salmon

It sounds like you’ve made your mind up and that the few years you’ve had out from education has given you a good grounding on which to go to Uni on, instead of just following the masses at 18. So, do you have a bunch of mates in the London scene already to hook up with when you head down?

Oh yeah for sure, it seems right anyway, when I was down there in August this year I was thinking about it, and it just clicked really.

Yeah I know I wasn’t ready at 18 to go away to Uni, as I had my life in order… everything was good and then it fell apart (laughs). It all came at once, though, the skate scene dying, girlfriend leaving me, just fucked me up. It was after that when I really grew up and went into work and the real world, it sorted me out though!

Yeah, yeah, for sure, got a fair few good mates down in London, which is a bonus as well, because it’s not like I’m going somewhere I don’t know or don’t know anyone. So it’s good on that front, plus London is where it’s all happening most of the time!

So where do you see yourself going on from Uni and London? Do you think you’ll call London home in the long term or use it as a stepping stone like many others?

Not really sure yet. It’ll be like a three to four year course if I end up doing a Masters at the end, so we’ll see I guess. I really enjoy being in London though, so if I’m at home there then I’ll most likely stay but at the same time, really want to go travelling after Uni too. Maybe in time I’ll be doing that with skating anyway, who knows… can’t really say at this point in time and I just take it as it comes these days.

Right: Feeble Grind: Photo Rob Salmon

Well, maybe after 4 years juggling Uni, skating and more than likely a part time job in London, you’ll need a bit of time out travelling to sort your head out before the ‘real job’ starts. Any ideas of where you want to go? Somewhere you can skate, or escape all you know?

Yeah true, but hopefully the real job will be fun so it won’t be too bad! I’ve always wanted to travel around Europe, then some places in America like California, S.F, L.A and I would love to visit New York too. Maybe even Australia one day, they all look amazing to skate and just to visit.

Well mate, it sounds like you’ve got a firm grasp on reality and know where you want to be!! Finally, give a shout out to all those that have helped and continue to help you along your way.

I would like to give a big thanks/shout out to Mathieu Tourneur for hooking me up good with DVS, putting me on a GIRL flow deal, and giving me Royal trucks, cheers mate, appreciate it so much.

Cheers to Gustav for sorting out GIRL/Royal packages, you’re doing a good job mate, thanks for sorting me out good each month with boards and being interested in my skateboarding, Russel Laird when he was the Girl TM at the time cheers. Thanks to all my mates: you know who you are, cheers to Salmon/Burrell for taking the photos keep up the good work, all the rest of the dudes down at Revival, Matt Anderson cheers for giving me those GIRL clothes that time! Thanks to Crossfire for the interview, and of course Neddy for filming and editing the chiller park edit. Inabit, keep smiling!

Big thanks to Richard Chung, Rob Salmon and Alex Burrell for the RAD photos and Neddy for the bangin’ footage!