Paddy Lynn. I’m sure that name’s made its way about the country a good few times. Tell your loyal pawns a bit about yourself…
I’m not sure about that, maybe by a few Dublin, Cork or Derry heads. Well I’m 27, don’t feel it though. I live in East Belfast at the moment. I’m doing BJJ and Jeet Kune Do and have been for a few months now; I absolutely love it.
BJJ is all about grappling for those who don’t know, and Jeet Kune Do is Bruce Lee’s martial art, the way of the intercepting fist. You learn all ranges of martial arts and pick and choose what techniques that you like, what suits you the best; it’s good craic.
I’ve been skateboarding in Belfast for about 12 years. I’ve been in and out of it for months because of injuries. I’ve had two knee surgeries on the same knee but because of exercises and training, my knees are a lot stronger these days. I pick and choose my battles now, (laughs).
You’re originally from West Belfast, an area known for not being awfully fond of skateboarding over the years. How was it growing up there, and where did your initial love for the wooden plank come from?
‘West is best’ (laughs). Well it was quite tough in my younger years growing up there. The area was full of head-cases, of course there are good people too which helped. When I was nearly 16 it was a non-uniform day in school and a guy in my drama class had brought in a skateboard. It was a proper set up; I think it could have been a Project board, a local skateshop at the time that I wasn’t aware of. At lunchtime he was skating a five stair beside the schoolyard and kickflipping it; I was amazed. I started thinking, “I want to do that”. So a couple of days later I managed to leech up some money to buy a £20 Argos board. I loved it! Even named the wee skeleton guy on the back of it…sad I know (laughs). Then I began looking around for anybody that knew how to ‘jump’ on a skateboard. I finally met a guy called Adrian McWhinney who knew how to ollie, kickflip and heelflip, so it all grew from there.
Oh, back to growing up in West. Skateboarding wasn’t accepted as much back when I started, compared to now. I had short hair and was wearing Kappa shoes and still got called a ‘hippy bastard’ for skateboarding (laughs). Whenever we would go skate town we’d be at the Waterfront, which was the go-to spot at the time, just after the St Anne’s days came to an end. We would get chased by big groups of chavs/smicks/scumbags, usually at least ten of them at a time with metal poles and baseball bats. Most of us would get away but some weren’t so lucky. This would happen nearly every week so we had to skate different spots in town. Even adults would be like, “what age are you? And why are you playing on a skateboard?” I didn’t give a shit…I love it, and it’s better than sitting around all day doing fuck all.
You moved out a couple years ago into the city, how was that for you?
The first house was on the Ormeau Road; I hated it. The second gaff though on Botanic was the real skateboarders house. Every day after skating there would be people calling over drinking, smoking up, watching skate videos and others getting blocked and making music…well, so called ‘music’ (laughs). Friday to Sunday was always crazy, people were constantly calling round after nights out, and you should know, you were always there getting crunk (laughs). They were fun times but you have to grow up though, eh? Well, almost…
Pitch black booming frontside flip – Photo Dodds
People are given a lot of hilarious and sometimes very questionably weird nicknames when you’re a skater in Belfast. How did yours – ‘Fat Pat’ – first originate?
Well I wouldn’t really call it my nickname (laughs), but yeah, Hippy (Ryan O’Neile) our filmer and resident funny man called me ‘Fat Pat’ after my knee surgery when all I did was play Xbox 360 and eat loads of junk food. Then when I came out trying to skate again I was a bit chubby and Hippy saw me, giggled and said, “well Fat Pat”, he laughed the c*nt off himself, I was raging, (laughs).
Hippy has a nickname for everyone, same with DLynn (Denis Lynn). He’s made loads of scorcher nicknames for people over the years; the ‘nickname allocator’ he likes to refer to himself as.
‘Thin PLynn’ is more fitting though nowadays anyway.
So, we are all gathered here today to hear about of this newfound dedication to the martial arts. How did this all come about?
When I was younger I remember watching Bruce Lee ‘Enter the Dragon’ and fell in love with it. Even when I was a wee kid, my brother and I would always wrestle and fight each other with our wee mates Joe Griff and Matt the Rat. So I always wanted to learn a martial art, but in Belfast – or me having no Internet and fuck all money – I didn’t know who to ask or where to even look.
My Da took me boxing a few times but it was always too busy and it was dangerous walking to the club because of scumbags. Plus, one time at the club two guys were sparring and the guy that lost called all his mates to kick the shit out of the other guy that beat him after class. We were gone before it happened, fuck going back there. But yeah, I moved to East Belfast and moved into a gaff with my mate Apples. I started exercising and lifting weights to get my knee better then started going jogging. Then I decided to look on Facebook one day for martial arts classes in Belfast and spotted one that was literally five minutes from my house, so I went to the JKD class and loved it, and from there my tutor Jonny brought me to a BJJ class with him.
What different types of martial arts are you currently involved in?
At the moment, Jeet Kune Do – we are learning boxing, kickboxing, kali, shooto, wing chun and knife defence. I’m involved in the BJJ club SBG (Straight Blast Gym). I also forgot to mention the Chinese flag dancing.
Tell us a bit more about Chinese flag dancing, for those who aren’t so familiar.
I started a few months ago; we met a guy called Sui through my Jeet Kune Do instructor and he asked us if we wanted to do a performance with him. He said it was Chinese flag dancing, which is another martial art that helps you know how to use a weapon like the Bo Staff. It’s a part of the Chinese culture and it interested me.
You’re a massive fan of Bruce Lee; you even have the t-shirt to prove it. Keebo (Ciaran McClure) even used him in your intro to the ‘Paddy Lynn Can Switch Tre’ part he edited a couple of years back. Where did your admiration come from for this extraordinary human being?
As I mentioned before, I watched ‘Enter the Dragon’ and loved it, so I had to watch more of his movies. His skills with nun chucks, his kicks, punches and how fast he moved was unlike anything I’d ever seen before. His charisma shined on screen. I was amazed to see that a human being was capable of moving so quickly; he inspired me like he inspired a lot of people I think.
You’re a relatively calm individual, but even before your martial arts you were known to be quite the talented fighter. I’ve heard some crazy stories from you over the years about situations I would surely crumble in; are there any particular stand out incidents that you’d like to recount?
There are quite a few decent stories and loads that stand out so I’ll only tell one. It was in Dublin when we went down for the Prop Hunters exhibition and we couldn’t get into the after party in Twisted Pepper because you needed to have a passport, so we ended up going to a bar called Doyle’s. It was great craic – me and Dipdab where going nuts dancing around and pushing each other about, then later on Dipdab put his two fingers to his mouth and stuck his tongue out through them at some girl, but what he didn’t know was her boyfriend was behind her. The guy starts getting ready to fight Dipdab, and then fists just started flying. I saw that the guys’ mate tried to jump into the fight so I made my move and intercepted him. I think I must have been smacking the guy for a while then we all stopped fighting and Dipdab and the guy agreed to call it quits and said sorry. There weren’t even any bouncers upstairs (laughs) the place was mad, there’s a lot more to the story but I’ll leave that for Dipdab to tell.
Gap flip backtail – wrong side skatestopper pricks! Photo Dodds
Dipdab version of the same story from San Francisco via Skype:
It was Prop Hunters third exhibition and we ended up getting very wasted all day drinking lots and lots of six packs. We were skating in the warehouse down by the docks in Dublin where the exhibition was being held, and ended up buying all the beer out of the Spar just up the road. We all got kicked out of the warehouse once it was over so we just started skating around the streets. Paddy and I were skating around, I got so injured ‘cause I was so drunk, I kept falling of my board bending back my fingers. Then we end up going to some shitty bar and some girl said something, then next thing you know two guys were up in my face, so I ended up punching the guy in the face in the middle of the dance floor. They all pile up on me, then Paddy was like…well…I don’t know what was going on, but I just relax, put my hand on the guys face and squeeze it.
I got up, got kicked out by the bouncers, so I end up outside waiting for everyone ‘cause I thought they would leave after I got kicked out. I’m waiting, no one even comes out, only the guys who I was fighting with, and they’re going crazy calling me a “faggot” etc. Meanwhile the bouncers are laughing and shit, and I’m like, “aw you think it’s funny that I might get my head kicked in, you fat fucking stupid ugly prick”. So after that I just get real pissed off with these dudes, so I throw down my skateboard and my bag then square up to one of them saying, “right okay, let’s do this”.
I just decided to kick him in the nuts as hard as I can that he folds over and just doesn’t know what to do. Then I look around and I’m like, “uh oh, I really got to go now”, so I grab all my stuff and just start skating into all this traffic as fast I can so they couldn’t catch me, but all of a sudden this cop comes at me out of nowhere and grabs me off my board. They end up searching my bag and finding my grinder that I’d just stuck about two grams of weed in earlier on. When he opens it up to see what it is, all the weed just comes exploding out of it and before he even says anything I’m back in the traffic again skating like a mad man. But yeah, that’s it.
You’ve been under the knife quite a few times over the years for countless knee surgeries. I suppose all of this has affected your skating in some way?
Yeah, it affected my skating big time. I couldn’t skate properly for almost a year so I couldn’t improve or get better; it was shit a time. Then it got worse again and I got a second surgery but this time I learned from my mistakes and rested it, then exercised, and now my knee is a lot better.
You’ve been on a constant killing spree for years without anyone hardly ever really knowing. Does not being sponsored ever become an issue with you, or are you happy just doing your own thing?
I’m happy with just doing my own thing, but if I ever got offers I definitely wouldn’t say no to be honest; who’s going to so no to free boards? I get spare boards off the lads so I’m usually sweet most of the time. Big shout out to them, they know who they are.
You’ve been involved in the Irish skate scene for more time than you can probably remember – what’s the craziest thing you’ve ever seen go down trick wise?
Hmm…now that’s a tough one because I’ve seen a lot of really sick tricks go down. I can’t really pin point one trick but I can mention the first time I witnessed mad hammers. It was Keith Walsh and Gav Coughlan when we were down in Dublin years ago, I think they were only 15 at the time and there was this twelve stair with about a meter run up and a curb you had to pop up first. Gav kickflipped the set and 5050’d the rail and Keith front boarded it. It was crazy; I just remember thinking, “these guys are amazing”.
Ever since Northern Ireland got its first concrete park a few years back there has been an abundance of local rippers starting to emerge, and they only seem to be getting better – is there anyone in particular people should be looking out for?
Yeah there’s a decent amount of lads to look out for. Kurtis Boyd AKA Cheesestring, Gerard Keane AKA Chicken Nugget, Josh Pearson, James Ferris and a few others. The older guys too, Conor Benson, Marc Beggan, Mark Jamison, DLynn and my brother Conor Lynn. I’m sure there are loads more, so sorry for those I forgot.