The long ride: Q&A with father and son longboarders Mike and Greg Paproski
Like many twelve-year-olds, Greg Paproski likes to board. But unlike most of those twelve-year-olds, he's focused on longboarding -- and spending the summer competing in races. With the help of his new sponsor, Dregs Skateboards, he's "hit" (longboard lingo for competed) three races in the North American Downhill Series: the Vernon DH (Downhill 8) in Vernon, British Columbia; the Grand Prix of New York in Windham, New York and the Maryhill Festival of Speed in Goldendale, Washington. He currently ranks number one in his region and third in the world of the Junior Division ages eight through thirteen of the International Gravity Sports Association.
Photos by Natalie Gonzalez Greg Paproski with dad Mike and trusty dog Buddy.
As Greg and his father, Mike, prepare for Colorado's big international race, the Buffalo Bill Downhill Bloodspill, we met up with them at one of Greg's favorite shops, BOARDLife, to talk about longboarding.
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-- Denver Urban Assault Ride
-- Top ten people who resembled their scooters at Mile High Mayhem 15
-- What type of Wash Park fitness weirdo are you?
Greg boards outside BOARDLife.
Westword: When did you start boarding?
Greg Paproski: I started on a trick deck, like a normal skateboard. That was around when I was five, and when I was ten I started longboarding.
When did you get into the racing scene?
Mike Paproski: This kind of started when he was having issues in school. I told him if he could bring his grades up we could focus more on skating. And he did. He came back with honor role, so I started buying him whatever he needs for skating.
What are competitions like?
Mike: They have two different ways that they do longboard at these competitions. They've got downhill races and then they've got sliding competitions. It's more of a trick thing.
What was your first board?
Greg: My first board was an Arbor Blunt. It was just a really big board with a kicktail on the back. It wasn't really anything too big; I was just riding downhill, cruising around pretty much.
What boards do you use now?
Mike: We just got a new sponsor. He's working on learning a couple new boards with the new company and we're gonna see if that's one of his new favorites.
Who's your new sponsor?
Mike: Dregs. The guy who owns that, we met him at one of the last races in Washington. After about five minutes of talking to Greg, the guy [Biker Sherlock] came up to me and said, "What do we need to do to work together?"
Biker Sherlock is the winning-est "louge-er" in the world. He's one of the granddaddys of longboarding. He's actually coming down here in September for the international race in Colorado: the Buffalo Bill Downhill Bloodspill. That's his company, so it was pretty cool...
How does that feel, Greg?
Greg: I was just so hyped that whole weekend. One of the best hills, having the funnest time of my life, and I got to meet one of the best longboarders out there who pretty much started it. I was so happy.