Torey Pudwill is an eternal hustler. You’d think the CCS and Plan B superstar would be satisfied endorsing his sponsor’s checks and kicking back between his endless video part releases, tours, photo trips, and contests but the man is continually on the move. For proof of this point look no further than the fact his childhood hobby turned super company is well on its way to total worldwide domination of the grip tape game.
We sat down with Torey to have a long over due and in-depth discussion about his brand Grizzly. Read on to find that Torey Pudwill could quite possibly be the Steve Jobs of the grip tape game.
For people who don’t know, how did Grizzly Grip get started? It started when I was an 11-year-old doing it for fun with my homies. It was just a thing for a small group of friends. I was always very much into my grip tape.
What gave you the idea to do grip tape? I mean, why not start a wheel company? It started with skate wax. My friend’s mom had a mold of a grizzly bear and we figured out how to make wax using that mold. My dad had some connections with people who made stainless steel stamps so we had one made in the shape of the original Grizzly logo and started punching it out in the grip tape. That’s how we started doing grip tape but it all started with the wax. We called the wax, “Grizzly Grease”. We eventually stopped doing it because I started focusing a 100% on my skating, my career and getting sponsored.
So this time around you teamed up with Diamond and re-launched Grizzly as a legit brand? That was all back in the day and it was just a fun, low-key thing. And then I just wanted to re-release it cause it was something that I was always into. Hommies would always ask me for it. I wanted to get it out there for the whole world to try. That’s why we teamed up with Diamond, lucky enough. I’m real psyched to be working with those dudes because I’ve known my two partners since I was like 12-years-old. It’s really great being able to trust your friends and have them as business partners.
How much are you involved with the brand these days, how much work do you have to do on a daily basis? I’ll go to the warehouse once a week or as often as I can and pack boxes, send the team dudes stuff. But mostly I just do me and that’s it. Now that it has grown we’ve got all the guys selling it, talking with our sources, getting new stuff made, getting new graphics and stuff. We are a full-on legitimate company now.
So you’re packing boxes? I pack boxes and try to help out shipping out orders when I can. In the beginning, I would go into the office everyday and try and work with those dudes and try and build the whole company. So what we’ve got now has taken a solid two years. The foundation is finally built and it’s strong.
It must have been hard finding people you trust with handling the business if you’ve got to go on tour or go to a contest. How do you balance your career as a pro with your duties as an owner? It’s really no biggy for me to go out of town on a skate trip or anything because I’m working for the company when I’m skating. I talk to the kids about Grizzly and they get psyched. I’m constantly repping Grizzly.
Obviously your status as a pro has helped propel the brand. What do you imagine things would be like had you not made it as a pro? That’s the question I had in the beginning because I had no idea where it was going to go. I wasn’t really looking at it like my skating career is going to push the grip tape company. My pro career happened and I had and have so much love and passion for Grizzly it just makes sense to bring it back.
Grizzly Grip’s got one of the hardest hitting teams ever, how does that go down, do you handpick the team dudes or do they just happen? Everyone on the team is hand picked. It just so happens that a lot of the hommies are really good. Everyone on the team has respect and love for skateboarding. It’s dope to have a solid group of guys representing Grizzly. It feels more like it’s a hommie circle more than a skate team. At the same time we’re trying to be the best grip tape team out there.
What are the goals for Grizzly Grip? The goal is grow more and get the Grizzly Grip everywhere around the world. Anyone who wants to skate it can. I don’t think anyone should be set back from trying to feel good on their skateboard.
Do you plan to add any special crystals or anything that will give your grip tape magical power? No, I’ll tell you this though, our grip tape is always going to stay the same. We went through all the samples and I personally tested every one of them until I found the best one. Our product is Grizzly. It is what it is. That is what it will always be.
What kind of new stuff can we expect to see from Grizzly? We’ve got a ton of sh*t planned. We’ve got some new signature grip tape coming out starting with Paul Rodriguez. I’m super excited about it. When I was a kid, it was so fun to have all the pro’s signature grip tape. We’d switch them out and get a little custom cut out, save them and put them on our school binders. The P-Rod Grip is going to be for all the goofy-footed skaters! We’re coming out with the Manny Santiago grip because he’s been repping the sh*t out of Grizzly, we want to give him as much love back.
What advise do you have for kids who want to get into the business side of skateboarding? Business is crazy. There is so much to learn about it. You need to be into it full force. Be yourself and use the opportunities that come across your path as a teacher and learn from them.