ENCINITAS — The life of Paul-Luc Ronchetti is literally filled with ups-and-downs — maybe not the ones you might expect though, as Ronchetti, 19, spends most everyday skating up and down vert ramps.Moving to Carlsbad from England more than three years ago when his father received an opportunity to become the general manager of Legoland, the skateboarder, who grew up watching the X-Games on TV, is now a regular competitor in them.
Growing up in England, Ronchetti said there weren’t very many vert ramps close to where he lived.
“My parents had to drive me like two to three hours away to skate. I only got to skate once or twice a week, maybe.”
It’s a world of difference now for Ronchetti, who’s not more than 10 minutes away from some of the best skateboarding facilities around. What’s more, since turning professional a couple of years ago, he’s got access to all of them.
Ronchetti began skateboarding in England when he was about 8. He said he got into it pretty much because it looked fun. And when he first stood on a skateboard he said he knew it was something he wanted to do.
Following years of competing as an amateur, he decided that it was time to compete against the pros. “I just wanted to go for it,” he said.
And the transition from the amateur to the professional world: “It was definitely a lot different,” he said.
“It was like moving from a big fish in a small pond to a small fish in a big pond.
“It was challenging, but that made it fun,” Ronchetti said.
He’s since taken to the life of a professional skateboarder. Skating with other top-ranked vert skaters as Carlsbad-based Pierre-Luc Gagnon, Elliot Sloan and Danny Mayer has become the norm for him. Even so, he’s just as comfortable skating among the up-and-comers at the Magdalena Ecke YMCA skate park in Encinitas.
He graduated from high school in 2011 and is continuing his studies, gravitating towards a degree in kinesiology or sports medicine.
When he was first becoming a pro, Ronchetti would learn from the older pros and their experiences, picking up tips on how to learn new tricks and how to deal with competition stress.
Ronchetti can recall a turning point while competing in a tournament, when he received a pep-talk from Australian skater Renton Miller. Miller said to him: “You’re skating good; you’ve seen what the other guys can do, you know what you can do. Just go out and do it.”
And then Miller told him he thought he could win the competition. “And that got stuck in my head, and I ended up winning it, so it was definitely some good inspiration,” Ronchetti said.
The skater admits he likes to go big and flow through his routines.
And there’s no fear of heights for Ronchetti, who easily drops into vert ramps up to 120 feet tall and can soar up to 10 feet above the ramp’s coping, something that feels really good, he said.
“Once you get the right timing it’s all about going high and landing high,” he said. “It just feels really amazing. You can see the whole ramp.”
As for his future, Ronchetti hopes to be continuing doing what he’s doing now and becoming more consistent in contests. In this year’s X-Games in Los Angeles, he finished 10th in the vert competition.
As for what he sees happening in the future of skateboarding: “I think right now, there’s a lot of this mega ramp stuff and I’ve never really done that, and I don’t think I ever really will; there’s definitely a lot up-and-coming kids coming up, a lot of good talent coming up, and I just hope that skateboarding stays and I hope that vert skateboarding and all of that just kind of stays there.
“I know it has its ups-and-downs but I think it’s just going to keep there. I’d just like to see more progression really.”
But for now, the Englishman that skates, surfs and plays in a band continues to soak up the California lifestyle.