Mark Partain started skateboarding in the pools and bowls of Ventura, CA, around 1970. He’s ridden for many companies over the years, including SIMS, Barfoot, Blockhead Skateboards, Airwalk, Tracker Trucks, Bones Wheels and Powell Peralta. Mark can rip any terrain, and not just on a skateboard; he’s an incredibly talented mountain biker, snowboarder, and surfer. If you’ve ever watched any of his videos, you know how contagious his love for life and positive attitude are. Mark is no stranger to injuries; he has a long list of them, but he doesn’t let that stand in his way of continuing to live his passions in life and in sports. He feels strongly about giving back to the generations who follow him by sharing what he’s learned over the years and helping young skateboarders improve their skills. We are honored to be able to catch up with the Legendary Mark Partain.
Old Guys Rip Too (OGRT): Mark, we know that 2017 was a tough year for you and we greatly appreciate you taking the time to do this.
OGRT: How did you get started in skateboarding?
Mark Partain: Ya know, I don’t really remember why but at 5/6 years old my neighborhood friends and I started to make skateboards out of old roller skates. This is 1968 mind you; my buddy’s dad was a drag racer and built all his own dragsters, and his sons were my best friends. We made several types of skateboards. We had one that was a full sheet of plywood that we nailed an old carpet to, and we would drag that thing up the hills and pile on it and shred down about 4 or 5 kids deep. We bombed all the hills …1968-1971 was like that…[I] moved to Alaska at end of ’71.
OGRT: I stopped skateboarding around 1990, and didn’t start back up until 2014. I didn’t realize how much I missed skateboarding and the feeling of freedom it brought to me. What does skating mean to you now, compared to when you skated in your youth?
Mark Partain: When I was young it was like my personal car to have a skateboard, plus I wanted to be a surfer. Now it is a release, a freedom that only the mind knows. I skate when I don’t want to think, and I skate to think about stuff. What does it mean now? Life. Without it, life would not be the same..
OGRT: Besides SIMS, who were some of your other first sponsors that we may not know of?
Mark Partain: Dave’s Cave, Sunspot Wheels, Endless Wave Skatepark, Barfoot, Powell, Brand-X…
OGRT: It seems like you could have been a pro at any number of sports, at what point did you decide you wanted to become a professional skateboarder?
Mark Partain: At like 10 years old, and then when I met Jay Adams. I knew what I had to do; Jay was 14 and I was 12.
OGRT: What was your favorite pro model graphic, and what was the meaning behind the graphic?
Mark Partain: I have had several. Native American: my blood line [is] “Choctaw”; my grandmother on my Dads side was a full blooded Choctaw. My dad was born and raised in Spiro, Oklahoma. For some reason I feel very connected to the Native side of my family.
OGRT: What was your favorite place to skate in your youth?
Mark Partain: My neighborhood and the Endless Wave Skatepark…
OGRT: Which spot was your favorite today?
Mark Partain: Anywhere here in Oregon…
OGRT: How often do you get out to skate these days?
Mark Partain: Three times a week or more, but only for an hour or so each session.
OGRT: We know you are a great mentor and like to help out the younger generation of skaters or kids just trying to dial in a trick, who were some of your favorites?
Mark Partain: Shaun White , Ryan Sheckler , there are so many that I had when they where little kids. I can’t remember them all, but those two names I listed. I had Ryan in my skate camp for three months when he was 10 years old…I taught him kickflips. And Shaun was on fire at 13 years old on vert, but I told him and his parents to go the snowboard direction cause I knew that snowboarding was soon going to pass skating, and give back to what had started it, and I saw that Shaun was going to help that happen.
OGRT: You’re so active in numerous sports and skateboarding and mountain biking can take its tolls on us as we get older. Do you have any routines or exercises that help you stay strong for these sports?
Mark Partain: Well the secret is to not stop, and you wont tighten up if you don’t stop. When I am injured and have to stop it takes about 2 months of pain to get back to what I do on average.
OGRT: You still tackle some big lines and jumps; as you get older do you ever think twice about going so big?
Mark Partain: Yes and big “NO” …most the stuff I do is relevant. In other words, if i don’t think it will work I don’t do it. Plus most of the big stuff I do, you cannot second guess once you go…you are committed. Any second guessing and yer dead, especially in Utah riding big lines.
OGRT: We know you’ve had your fair share of injuries. What was the biggest slam you’ve ever had? Worst injury?
Mark Partain: Has not happened yet; when it does you all will know and celebrate my Life, ’cause it was full…
OGRT: What’s next for Mark Partain?
Mark Partain: Harley Davidson, more bikes and more skate/snowboarding… Life Rolls On !!
OGRT: Again we greatly appreciate the time Mark. Time to let em’ know…
Old Guys Rip Too!