Apr 19, 2009


Paul Malina has served as a pioneer for the world of action sports for over 15 years, from riding with the best in the world to media relations genius. His expertise as a media relations specialist has been implemented intp some of the most prominent organizations in action sports, including EPSN, IMS Sports, Split Clothing, and Red Bull. Moreover, he has aided in catapulting the images and exposure of such renowned athletes as Ryan Schekler, Shaun White and Robbie Madison.

He's a fixture at many key Group Y events and we're thankfull he took the time out to answer a few questions for us. I am proud to say that the world of action sports would not be where it is today without the marketing feats of people like Paul. We look forward to seeing more of him as well as Group Y's other prominent members in the action sports community.

How long have you been in the action sports industry and what’s your background?

About 15 years. I got my first skateboard when I was about 6 years old but my first "job" in the action sports industry was as a host for the Australian Xtreme Games. I landed further hosting gigs with ESPN, Fox and MTV and had a great time but gigs weren't that steady especially back then. As the industry grew, I noticed a lot of athletes I knew were in desperate need of help to manage their careers. Core companies were growing into fully functioning large business and athletes needed someone there to look after their interests. In 1999 I helped start one of the first dedicated action sports athlete management agencies, IMS Sports and when the head office was moved from Australia to San Clemente I made the move with them.

After 2 years with IMS in the US, I was offered a marketing position at Split, the opportunity to branch out and help athletes while growing a brand was really appealing to me and gave me a chance to really round out my skill set.

After 2 and half years at Split, Red Bull came calling, they had spent a while looking for someone to fill the action sports communication manager position, diversifying myself across multiple sports and in multiple areas of marketing really helped to secure and take on the role. At first I was little apprehensive about working for such a large company, but after getting to know how committed they were to action sports, their athletes and how they were constantly challenging themselves to push the envelope of creativity, I was thrilled to be there.

As for the TV hosting, I was right not much work, I'm down to one gig a year, the US Open Of Surfing.

What changes have you experienced in the last couple of years in the surf industry?

There's been a few changes. Companies are consolidating, things are a little more business like and professional and the days of excess and no accountability are gone. No longer is the status quoe good enough, with the tough times we now find ourselves in, you really need to make good decisions, be creative and really prove you belong and are relevant.

There are also so many other ways to reach your target audience these days and that needs to be understood and embraced. A few cookie cutter endemic print ads just isn't enough anymore, the way content is created, delivered and consumed by the audience has really evolved.

How do you feel about bigger corporate companies like Nike and Gatorade entering our industry?

I certainly understand peoples apprehension to companies like Nike and Gatorade, they are publicly listed, have boards and are answerable to stock holders, all things that are far from the roots of action sports. However companies like Billabong and Quiksilver are public now as well. I think it comes down to personnel. If companies with a non-endemic background are willing get involved in our industry, then like Billabong and Quiksilver they need to be committed to hiring personnel with the right level of knowledge and passion who can help guide them through their entry into the market so that their impact on action sports is positive and nurturing.

Where did you go to college and what did you study?

I went to University in Australia and studied marketing, unfortunately I didn't get to finish. I found myself in a position where I was already doing what i wanted to be doing while I was still at University and I had to make a choice. I told myself as soon as I end up back home and broke I'll go back and finish, to my surprise that hasn't happened yet...

What are you listening to most on your ipod/car/at your desk right now?

When it comes to music, I'm not too fussy as long as it's not country or classical. I'm cool with just about anything so I have my Ipod set on random shuffle and I let fate decide. But I'm always stoked when fate throws a little AC/DC or Guns and Roses my way.

What is the best advice you’ve ever heard?

"Hey kid, maybe you should wear this" Said to me while I was about 10 years old and hanging my board over the coping at the local vert ramp about to drop-in for the first time. He handed me his helmet and off I went. Damn good advice too, because I hit my head so hard I cracked the helmet.

If you could plan a Group Y event, and there were absolutely no limitations–not money, location, activities, speakers, etc.–what would you do?

This may seem strange but I'd take everyone to the poorest place I could find on the planet, have them help out with whatever needs to be done and hear from the locals about their struggles and problems. I just think that sometimes people in our industry get a little wrapped up in the bubble and forget how lucky we are. They get way too stressed and can't always see the big picture. I think a trip like that might help some people gain a little perspective as see just just how blessed we really are to be doing what we love and live how we do. For those of you who think I'm nuts, just think of the bonding experience it would be and a great opportunity to network without being interrupted by your cell phone. Oh and I'd make sure we had a 2 day layover on the way where ever the waves are breaking or fresh powder has just dumped!

If you could pack a bag and get on a plane right now, where would you go?

Africa. It's the only part of the world I haven't been to yet and can't wait to check it out.

What was the biggest life lesson you learned the hard way?

Show respect! Don't mess with the locals on the North Shore!!
Finish this sentence, if I could do it all over again I would____

not change a thing. I've got a great life, great friends, great job and no regrets
What was one of the best things that ever happened to you?

Probably having the chance to come over to the US and be given the opportunity to work in the engine room of action sports. The possibilities over here with a market as accepting as this is such a great place to be.


Powered By: TrackBackr