Paul Zimmerman began skateboarding in 1976, inspired by the fluid moves of neighbor Ricky Baca first seen carving up the banked driveways and sidewalks of Wedgewood Drive in east El Paso on a yellow plastic-kicktail’d, open-bearing’d California Freeformer model.
The 70’s skateboarding explosion was in full swing. At age 11, Z-man scored big with a 2-year gift subscription to Skateboarder Magazine – the bible to everything cool.
Paul Zimmerman at 13 years old riding at Desert Surfing skateboard park built at the corner of Montana and Wedgewood in east El Paso.
Looking for a more verticle challenge, locals built wooden extension ramps onto the snake run walls – the ramps topped off with coping blocks harvested from the Fire Bowl, an abandoned farm pool once located at the current site of Del Valle High School.
Zimmerman made Desert Surf skate team shortly before its owners bailed and bulldozed the place.
Influenced by Alva, empty pools and SoCal style, Z-man built the scrappy Wedgewood ramp (6ft QP, 1ft vert) with zero dinero (and re-purposed coping from the Fire Bowl) and honed his skills at Desert Surfing Skateboard Park located just 3 blocks down the street.
An avid snowboarder, Z-man was re-born in the late 90’s and began skating weekly with local legend Jaime Favela at the Tidy Bowl ditch and various empty pool spots.
Before El Paso’s first public skateparks, trespassing to skate empty swimming pools was the holy grail.
Z-man frontside grinding at his favorite right hand kidney on Thanksgiving Day in 2001 after Sun Bowl parade-hosting duties.
Unfortunately, the good times at the Harrison Pool didn’t last as new owners filled the unused swimmin’ hole with rocks and rubble in January 2002.
Proud of their outlaw roots but done with the hassles of trespassing to skate, the best friends completed the Huevo DIY backyard pool project in 2004 for $7k and a lot of bust ass.
As host of the action/adventure sports segment Wild Wednesday, Z-man documented the origins, construction and impact of Carolina Skatepark with a 30 minute feature aired on KTSM-TV.
With a 20-plus year career in unconventional TV sports/news reporting and public relations, Zimmerman is uniquely qualified to provide knowledgeable, field-tested, skater-approved leadership for the El Paso Skatepark Association.
Z-man using the hands-on approach to help shape a rolled hip on the final days of construction at the Edgemont ditch in Santa Teresa, NM in 2009.
A concrete enthusiast, he has helped design and build numerous DIY projects to bolster the skate scene in the El Paso area.