040: Paddy Graham/The Camaraderie of Skiing
“For me it was just another jump really. It’s a big jump – but we’ve hit big jumps before”.
What’s the reality of life for a top action sports athlete? Sure, there’s all the good stuff you might imagine – acclaim, adulation, world travel, free stuff, more good snow than the average person will ever experience in a lifetime. But what about the rest of the time? What about the injuries? The constant hustling to make projects happen? What does it take to make a career in this most unforgiving of industries?
It’s a world that celebrated freeskier Paddy Graham knows inside out. Paddy’s come a long way since he first tried skier at his local dry slope in Sheffield in the north of England. Today he is one of the part of the renowned Legs of Steel production team and is generally considered to be one of one of Europe’s best-loved and most creative and progressive skiers.
In April 2018 I caught up with Paddy at the British Ski and Snowboard Championships and sat down to discuss his career at the top of skiing, and find out how he got there. As such this is a fantastic insight into the reality of life as a top action sports pro, all narrated with absolute casualness from one of the coolest cats in the game. As you’ll hear, Paddy is the very model of a modern action sports pro. A sick skier, yep, but also a hustler, a producer, a networker, a creative, an organiser, and above all, an entrepreneur.
As Paddy explains the twists and turns of his incredible career, it is an object lesson in how many hats you need to wear if you want to succeed in his particular game. How ambitious you need to be, yes, but above all how hard you need to work.
Don’t be fooled by Paddy’s hype laid-back demeanour. Beneath his extreme likability and affability, this is one shrewd operator. And that’s the great lesson of this episode. Sure, you can have talent, but unless you’re prepared to be adaptable and work, you won’t succeed.
Big thanks for Paddy for coming on the show. Really enjoyed this one; hope everyone else does too.
If you only have five minutes…
Listen to this section - Paddy on how it feels to fall from five stories up.
- Paddy’s knee.
- The Legs of Steel jump project – 4 seconds of airtime.
- Testing Billy Morgan’s quad jump.
- The science behind the Legs of Steel jump.
- Logistics and bringing sponsorship in.
- How it affected the previous season.
- The jump – first session.
- The jump – second session.
- The importance of fine margins.
- How it feels to slam from 30 metres up.
- Roll call of injuries.
- Summer of rehab – and producing the latest Legs of Steel film.
- The Legs of Steel set up.
- The importance of having a strong work ethic.
- Legs of Steel’s creativity – standing out from the crowd.
- Investing in themselves.
- The difficulty in finding a creative concept people will stick with.
- Same Difference.
- The Vans movie – Landline.
- Keeping it fresh.
- Inspiration from Candide Thovex.
- First time skiing.
- Sheffield Ski Village.
- Paddy’s classic UK snowsports upbringing.
- The ‘Snow Patrol’ TV show.
- How Paddy’s parents backed him.
- ‘Updog’ by Lockdown Projects
- The Groms Ride The Rockies Tour.
- The next step – seasonaire life.
- The ambition to take it to another level.
- Doing the work.
- What’s next for Paddy.
Sochi Olympic trail – two seasons on the GB Park & Pipe tour.
- The importance of focussing on one thing, rather than spreading yourself too thinly.
- Paddy’s alternative life….
- …and his proudest moment.
- Billy Morgan
- Tim Warwood
- Lukas Joas
- Tom Ritsch
- Sascha Hamm
- Tobi Reindl
- Bene Mayr
- Thomas Hlawitschka
- Sven Kueenle
- Andre Nuttini
- Greg Stump
- Jake Price
- Candide Thovex
- Andy Bennett
- James ‘Woodsy’ Woods
- Pat Sharples
- Glen Parsons
- Jim Adlington
- Matt D’arcy
- Noddy Gowans
- Adam Gendle
- Christian Stevenson
- Murray Buchan
- Laura Berry
- James Carr
- Ben Kilner
- Ed Leigh
- Sian Leigh
- Johno Verity
- Wayne Yates
- Eddie ‘Slave Monkey’ Thelwell
- Chris Asquith
- Rowan Coultas