Patrick Switzer & Tamara Prader: Love and Skateboarding

Have you had dinner? This conversation is sweet enough to be your dessert. Diabetics be warned. Contains cute onesies and more sushi than bacon.7246677238_c4b74791ac_zHey guys, how are you?
Tamara: All good. Happy belly! Snow outside.
Patrick: Well fed. Stomach happy!

What was for dinner?
Tamara: Dinner was sushi, we went straight to a brunch, coming from aperos… x-mas was similar.
Pat: Oh man, dinner dates with friends over the last few days. We’ve been feasting. Sushi-o-rama last night and brunch today with homemade bagels and tempting toppings. We’re enjoying my new wine hookup with “Vidigal” from Portugal.

How do you like your sushi?
T: We ALWAYS like our sushi… simply. Will have to learn about more variations. Oh and we need a bigger kitchen!

P: Practice makes perfect. Technique is down, just need to create our own specialties. “Bronco Kitty” will be the first title.

Enjoying your last weekend in Europe?
T: Quite. Organizing, packing, laundry, last second stuff that was procrastinated.

P: Putting activity aside, considering we’ll be on the road for the next three weeks. Euro winter has been nice again.
Happy days

What do you enjoy about spending winter here?
T: It is the more quiet time, chill time for me to work, to spend time with family and Pat. We get to do other activities than skateboarding, I get to involve Pat more in my life in Zürich, having him here for a while is a special treat.

P: Time with this girl living like normal-ish people is super bueno. There are many things to enjoy and dislike about North America and Europe. Nice to experience the mix and enjoy time in both areas. Life in Zurich is becoming more like home rather than visiting. We were out in the mountains hiking to peaks more this year. The snowboard tours are great cross-training.

Where will you be spending the next 3 weeks?
T: We’ll be off to the Philippines on Wednesday (tomorrow)!

P: Visayan Longboard Trilogy (VLT) held in Siquijor, Oslob and Dumanjug, Philippines.

How many times have you been in the Philippines?
T: I am a first-timer. Haven’t made it there before.

P: Been the last two years now for VLT. The community is second to none. Love it there!

What are you looking forward to?
T: I heard so much about the Filipino community, got to spend time with Dandoy during Greener Pastures and I am really excited about a new adventure. New place, new people, the Super Mango Clinic we’ll be hosting. So many things will be new for me. That’s always a good thing to happen.

P: Island hopping, hammock camping, mango smashing, squid head popping and motorcycle wheelies!

What’s the purpose of the clinic?
T: To grow a strong group of Pan- Asian ambassadors for our sport. To bring people together. There will be guys from Japan, Malaysia, from Manila and we have a little international crew as well. Pat, give us the rundown please:

P: Add to the list people from China, Singapore, Indonesia and some O.G. riders from Australia. The idea is to not just teach riding skills, but also “ambassador training”. We want to develop leaders across Asia who can help their own communities grow through knowledge from ‘pro’ ambassadors in the sport. This includes Red Cross first aid training, team building & communication exercises, and how to run their own event. Instructors for the event will be Adam Colton, Graham Buksa, Rob & Maga McWhinnie & Adam Yates as well as the local Filipino’s Pedro Escarda, Gerard Cancio, & Dandoy Tongco.

“We want to develop leaders across Asia who can help their own communities grow through knowledge from ‘pro’ ambassadors in the sport.”

The VLT this year will be the biggest yet, what is so good about it?
T: It’ll be new for me but I enjoy that there are three events in a row. A good reason to plan ahead for a trip that is worthwhile because of having more than one thing going on.

P: VLT is an “event tour” lasting 10 days over three different locations making it an exciting adventure. Everyone is very relaxed, the place is paradise, and lots of good energy from the people.

Are there any ladies shredding there?
T: Absolutely! I can’t quite see how many there will be. But I know there are ladies and I bet they shred! I sure hope there will be enough to pull them aside and do a special ladies clinic during the Super Mango days if there is interest to have something like that. I strongly believe that the ladies are absolutely capable to grow a strong community within our sport as well but there is need for a well set up, let’s call it, ”educational system”. How to represent next to only work on the riding.

P: The gender ratio in longboarding is healthy in Philippines. Dandoy’s girlfriend Mica Alerta is kicking butt and doing lots to help the community! This includes bringing smiles back to kids faces who were affected by typhoon Yolanda through longboarding.

T: Can I “like” comments?! We need more healthy gender ratios.

Did the VLT influence getting Dandoy on the last GP?
T: I would assume so as that was where Pat met him. It is important for the sport to have local events in order to get people like Dandoy out. It was quite exceptional that we could have Dandoy in Greener Pastures.

P: Without having been to Phili in 2012 I wouldn’t have known Dandoy other than a few YouTube videos. He’s a humble hero to people of the Philippines. He was an absolute must to have in GP. It wasn’t easy to get him the travel Visa, yet the stars aligned mere days before shooting began.
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You guys won’t be visiting Japan this time?
T: There is simply not enough time for me to make that happen. Sad but true. Great though that Ayumi and Fifer will be coming to the VLT Trilogy as well. So technically, Japan is coming to us! I’ll have to go back to Japan. I think I fell in love.

P: As Tamara says, I’m happy that we’ll get to double date with our favourite Japanese couple Ayumi and Fifer. Would be nice to visit Japan again, though not on this trip. We had mucho fun last year. Our photos tell a great story.

Triple date if you count the McWhinnies!
T: Let’s say the couple’s ratio in the Philies will be at a healthy level.

P: Quadruple skate couples if you also count Dandoy & Mica!


When did you guys first meet?
T: In Zürich, in 2010.

P: What she said.

Who said ‘’hi’’ first?
T: We were introduced to each other. So we did get a somewhat formal handshake introduction.

P: We met at the top of a hill ready to skate. So the introduction was most likely in the form of a high-five. Chest bumps came on the regular later on.

Did you skate together that weekend?
T: Yes. I sucked at longboarding, obviously not much changed since. I was told “those guys” (Pat, Ramon Königshausen, John Barnet and Maggie Dron) were the who is who in the longboarding scene. I wasn’t very impressed as Pat came away with road rash that night, a broken pinky and a dislocated thumb. That day I decided I should sign up for races.

P: And on that day I learned the stigma with calling “last run”.

How long had you been skating when you met?
T: Three months probably. My favourite trick at the time was foot breaking.

P: Obviously not long enough… *blew it*

When did sparks start to fly?
T: Sometimes, sparks aren’t needed. Bushfires start when you give them some time. But I admit, I was quite impressed by that handsome young man.

P: She showed me her ballet moves (développé). Fell in love at first sight.

How long did you spend together before Pat had to go?
T: That afternoon.

P: We met again after the Euro-tour two months later.

Wow. How did you end up together after so little exposure?
T: Our luck had to be pushed a bit at some point. But once that bushfire was on, I was down to check out Patrick’s stamp collection. We blame it on the French.

P: And “eeeehh oneeeii aaaa biiiiiiig tent”.

Did you spend much time together that year?
T: That I would say strongly depends on the definition of a long distance relationship. If that’s what it was at the time. Difficult start. Who knows where a journey goes to if one is a world traveler and the other is … well, … Swiss.

P: Skype can be a great help, yet traveling is a big distraction. We spent a month together the following March in BC & Cali. Then it was on.

Mountain lurk

Is it hard syncing the Swiss and P.Swiss time and life?
T: We are getting better as we go. In the end, every couple has good times and times when they are less at ease with their situation. We talk lots, open communication and expectations are being expressed and discussed. Sounds like a therapy session… Pat, please help out down here.

P: I’m good at ‘helping out down there’. Trials and tribulations are what makes a good relationship better. It hasn’t been easy, and I don’t think any worthwhile relationship ever is. I’ve learned and grown a lot from her Swissness, and she’s more chill and relaxed from my P~Swissness.

I’ve learned and grown a lot from her Swissness, and she’s more chill and relaxed from my P~Swissness.

Haha Pat. Did you both compete in the 2010 euro tour?
T: I couldn’t have competed that year yet. I had only just learned about the races even existing. But I followed the Euro Tour and when I saw the Kozakov video of that year, I had definitely fallen in love. With the sport and the guy. And I knew, I wanted to be in such a video one day. I guess it worked.

P: 2011 Tamara jumped into the world race scene in a big way. She ended up third in the world her first race year.

Unai Bellamy photo

Unai Bellamy photo

How do you push each other to be better?
T: That’s a bit an unfair question for me as I had and still have a lot of room for improvement. For me, it is a constant competition to keep up and fight to become better while unfortunately, I can not really push Pat while skating together. But I am good at other things and feel like I am well able to push him there. We make each other better people as a whole. It still bugs me that I can’t be solid competition for him. But I get my piece of the cake on the snowboard. I am looking forward to the day where I feel as “off the couch” comfortable on my skateboard as I do on my snowboard.

P: Possibly unfair to the other ladies, Tamara may have received preferential treatment to aid her racing. Tamara helps my switch riding. Thinking off the start, I’d stay with her easily, it quickly became a struggle to ride with her while keeping my switch riding consistent. Having the chance to slow down and work on other riding skills keeps skating with Tamara exciting for both of us. I still fall more than her. Influence from Swiss punctuality, architect organization, multilingualism, the arts & a European upbringing has all been good to help me become a better person.

Did falling in love change skating?
T: Maybe fortunate, maybe unfortunate for me that there really wasn’t much skateboarding before falling in love. I would say skating changed my falling in love. Definitely my private situation.

P: It did change skate trips. It pushed us to get into #RVLife, which has been awesome!

Still riding the same RV?
T: GloriaRV is a babe!

P: She’s a fat italian mama. But we love her.

How did it feel to be reunited in North America?
T: Good stuff. He tried to impress me and without really knowing he rented a newer version of one of my favorite cars. Guess that worked out.

P: It was a perfect distraction from engineering classes. I told her we were getting a Prius… A Challenger for the Malibu canyons was much more impressive.

Not a prius

Not a prius

What other adventures did you have in 2011?
T: We went to the Ekstremsportveko in Norway, we somehow could convince the Orangatang team and team manager to have me (only lady… + noob) in the Orangatang team van for the Euro Tour and the first Greener Pastures happened. First time that I felt like I wanted to be involved because I saw so much potential that wasn’t used. We are now still working on that of course, but I feel like an important part of the project.

P: What she said ^. Good times in 2011, and as Tamara suggests it’s been fun taking what potential exists in the industry such as Greener Pastures and running with it.

You chose Voss over Maryhill?
T: Pat wasn’t interested in going to Maryhill that year and to be honest with you, Maryhill is nice but really not that interesting of a race. At the time I didn’t really care so much anyway and his call was to check out Norway.

P: I was over Maryhill that year, since in 2010 it seemed that he who could push and shove the most would win. Aggressive racing is far from gentleman’s racing. It was a chance to venture into new territory, check out a huge extreme sports event, and be more prepared for the filming of Greener Pastures Switzerland.

Will you be back at Voss this year?
P: As content as anyone could be with three wins at Maryhill, I’d be disappointed and I’m sure others would be too if I were to skip out on it. My ego talking here… I want the chance to regain the title. And if it’s not possible, I want to be beat by the new champ. Nothing owed or expected from the event. That being said, the riding in Norway is crazy awesome. There are a few roads I’ll eventually need to go back to.

T: Maryhill owes me one. My first year there I had a cast on my arm and I should be able to place myself better than what I did, last year. Norway is beauty! We’ll be back but maybe for some fishing or hiking rather.

What setup will you be on?
T: Loaded Truncated Tesseract, Ronin Trucks, Orangatang wheels.

P: Same setup as last year. I don’t think a single thing will change.YouTube Preview Image

What did you think could be improved on from GP?
T: That’s too much content for this interview! But if you take a look at the Greener Pastures Offshore, you will see that we were doing some homework. I look at organizational stuff much different than Patrick. Simply because of my background as an architect. Schedules matter, budget and communication are equally important as a well rounded selection of riders.

P: GP Swiss was an experiment to say the least. The structure of ‘pile in a van’, camp and film every shot as a group is destined for chaos. Most importantly, I learned the leadership role I had put myself in, and become in touch with the “hierarchy of needs” required for a successful film project. A complete restructure was needed for GP Offshore. We were much more prepared beforehand, knew exactly what we were there to do and how to do it. We were able to work better with the riders and get their best riding from them, instead of forcing a group riding situation which is usual of most big projects or team videos. Hard to film, and hard to push your limits. Just watch it and the differences are apparent.

Are you on any of the same teams?
T: Yes. We both ride for Orangatang & Triple8. It was really nice for me to be introduced to those brands and to start building my own relationship with them.
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How has your relationship with Otang & T8 evolved over the years?
T: I am a big fan of Loaded and Orangatang’s ambassador set up. The whole being sponsored story is a difficult piece of land. For pro’s like Patrick, there is always enough monetary support where for ladies and part-timers, it is more difficult to actually get financial support. And, being Swiss (having higher life costs) doesn’t help. There is very little support for sports in Switzerland. We have a good educational system, but unfortunately for sports there is no space in that system. I enjoy the fact that I can do work like write ups, graphic design work and photos in order to get support. It is illusionary that skateboarding is a “cheap” sport once you want to compete on an international level. I even made the move to Loaded Boards for this year. I am sad to leave  my local brand Fibretec! My involvement with Otang and Loaded has become a reliable relationship of equal appreciation, it made sense for me to ask them if I could jump on the Loaded train. Very stoked that this worked out.

“I even made the move to Loaded Boards for this year. I am sad to leave  my local brand Fibretec! ”

Reinke will miss you. Will you be racing on the Tesseract?
T: Fibretec is a stones through away so we’ll stay in touch. And I am happy with my new ride! I will still have to find out what’s the best fit for me. I will pick between the Truncated and the Cantellated Tesseract!

Can ladies get equal sponsorship in longboarding ?
T: We are hopefully on the way there. But so far definitely no. Long way to go.

How would you like to see women in our sport treated?
T: It would be a good start to divide the prize money according to people racing. It’s a simple rule of three, 64 men racing versus how ever many ladies. It is easy to only blame it on the industry that there is not enough support. The ladies sometimes don’t present themselves very smartly. If all the female competitors realized what is required in order to be perceived as a worthwhile athlete to be supported, it would already help. I will do my best to continue speaking up on both sides, industry and females. And hope for future female shredders that they get the financial support in order to live crazy travel lives and go on adventures around the world, sharing the stoke of longboarding.

P: I’d like to see ladies step up to the plate and realize what is required of them to be in a professional position for the sport. It’s a bit “cart before the horse” in sports for ladies to expect the same as men if they are not able to compete at the same level as men, and their own class is not large enough to support a pro level. This should not be a determining factor as ladies have a wide gamut of possibilities to entertain in our industry which require leadership for the growth of women’s participation.

T: I disagree on some points. Snowboarding is finally at the point where ladies have a defined position and can live off what they do. If there was more support, it would be more interesting for females to start. But in the end it all comes down to growing the sport as a whole! Spread the word. Work on the image of longboarding.

What was your role in GP Offshore?
T: Next to the obvious job description on the home page, I have my own perception of what this position is, but maybe Patrick can describe it in a better way. We talk lots about the project and I am his constant devil and angel, shadow and voice in his ear.

P: “Behind every great man there stands a great woman.”

T: Gender equality is a topic since there is female and male.

Will there ever be more female participation on screen?
T: We’ll see where the GP journey will take us. There are ideas that need to be aligned and put on paper.

P: Female participation in GP will be welcomed.

Do you guys have opportunities to go on fun dates?
T: We make those opportunities. We are foodies. Take each other out for nice dinners, movie nights or mountain adventures.

P: Getting lost together on the way from one place to another has become a fun pass time. We had a nice road trip up the coast from SoCal to Vancouver last summer.
being cute

T: I hope we’ll find a tree to hang our hammocks from in the Philippines.

P: We’ll definitely have some days to get lost in Philippines…
Paradise much

What year have you got to spend the most time together?
T: Quality matters, not quantity. We try not to count. It is too easy to be frustrated about that. I would like to do and travel more than I can handle, financially and time-wise. It is an continuous discussion.

P: Our lives have over time become more connected. It doesn’t feel like Tamara follows me around the world to events, rather she’s going because she enjoys it. I think she found her place. We discuss often where our time is best spent and what we enjoy most. Being critical to the life we pursue is important to forge your own path, have time for your loved ones, yourself and not follow the herd. “Mooooo!”

Aside from GP, have you worked on anything else together?
T: I feel like we are constantly working on things together. Sometimes with visible output for the public, sometimes with only personal output. It is important though to keep an eye on your own personal interests and pursue your own interests.

P: We learned at an early stage in our long distance relationship the advantages of having ‘a project’ on the side to work on.

The graphic for my Triple 8 helmet was a cool opportunity for Tamara’s art to get out to the world. Graphics for the Euro-tang tour in 2011 opened the door to Tamara’s current work / skate relationship with Loaded & Orangatang.

And of course after lots of time riding together at events and for fun and getting to know each other’s styles we had the chance to film with Max Meissner during a break in the Euro Tour last season to film the promo video for the Orangatang Kegel.

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Also fun to stir things up a bit sometimes with the unexpected. (from Tamara’s blog. Unfortunately the website layout doesn’t allow me to link to a specific story)
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What’s the best thing about being with a skater?
T: Actually, there are other things in a relationship that matter more than a job. But even with all the immaturity and road rash all over, it is pretty freaking good to have someone cheering for you when you take a good line, or just come on a city skate with you.

“…even with all the immaturity and road rash… it is pretty freaking good to have someone cheering for you when you take a good line, or just come on a city skate with you. 

P: Less specifically about being a skater, but I enjoy Tamara for being an athletic person in general. She puts me to shame in snowboarding, rock climbing, and the mountain touring world she now has me fixated on. Specifically to do with being a skater, it’s pretty freaking awesome to shred a mountain pass at high speeds with your ‘sugar buns’.
sync swag

Pat: On the other side of the coin, Tamara has a hard time with my sense of adventure, ease with the unknown, and a skater like immaturity that comes with resistance to ‘growing up’.

Do you have any advice for anyone who wants to date one?
T: Don’t do it.

P: Road rash is NOT sexy.

What are your plans for the future?

T: I thought it was a villa in the Malibu hills, a couple of pugs, at least 5 children, a sexy gardener, a pool and a bunch of beauty oldtimer cars… but hey, I guess we’ll have to talk about that again too.

P: Only time will tell.

This has been my favourite 57 minutes ever! Looking forward to hanging out sometime!
T: It was great to hang out with you for very African 57 minutes! We’ll be done just now. Thank you for having us.

P: It was a smashing good time. Thanks Gbemi!