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VENICE stories

paul t DJ, PAUL T, makes retro looking surfboards for the every day surfer. STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY JAYE BUCHBINDER


aul is the nice guy in the lineup. For someone styled out in a beautiful, simple wetsuit gliding atop what looks to be a retro shaped board in a funky color, he greets you with a subdued warmth. Not that the local community in Venice is tough, it can be, but Paul seems to exude a subtle sense of comfort – a welcoming respect that is more uncommon from local surfers out there.

This respect is not an unintentional thing. Growing up in deep Los Angeles, he believes in an attention to the micro-cultures of the different neighborhoods. As he puts it, “I wouldn’t go to Brentwood and be full skater.” Venice Breakwater is no different to him: a place where he is known by all the locals but still treats the space as if he was a guest. You get the sense that he is both of the area and also of his own world. His home is very much the same. Located in the back of a quiet lot, you climb a series of white stairs up to a well lit, simple apartment. This allows for a big green patch of grass in the yard between, something that seems to be very rare in the packed neighborhoods of the West side. It’s here Paul is removed into his own piece of LA. He lives upstairs and keeps boards for his company Attacca, as well as wetsuits for his company Farenheit Celsius. There is something about being a surfer and making your own gear. In a market saturated with overengineered equipment, Paul has a new perspective of high end gear for an every day surfer. As he puts it, ‘not performance boards’. He also does not consider himself a ‘surfer’– a term charged nowadays with having a constant pulse on all of the Los Angeles Surfline cams, knowledge of the WSL rankings, and desire to be the best guy out there. That’s not it at all. It’s about feeling good, being active, doing something. Maybe this is why Paul stands out from the others. It’s not a paddle battle to get the wave of the day for him. The same was with his music career. (Although he also would probably prefer it wasn’t called a career.) Growing up with house music and DJing when not everyone had two iPads and a turntable, he focused on playing music his crowds hadn’t heard, always attune to the energy of the audience. Now, he thinks this is played out. Another commonality with the life he has created is an aversion to group think. It makes sense that when it feels everyone is turning a closer eye on Abbott Kinney and Rose, Paul is turning away. He’s watched the city grow and change, and now has his own corner of the Westside. Uninterrupted by bird scooters or wavestorm surfboards, Paul works on his own creations.


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