We had the good fortune of connecting with Ari Evan Gold and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Ari, is there a quote or affirmation that’s meaningful to you?
“Work is love made visible. And if you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of those that work with joy” -Kahlil Gibran. The path to joy begins with self and ends with others. The work of your life is but an echo of you. Why spend any time pursuing the joy of another, when that work does not bring you any joy? When you are able to work with joy, you are free. When you can see all work as joy, you become limitless. The process is the journey and the journey is joy. May this inspire you to follow the fun.

Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Business+ joy/work x service =success. B + J divided by W x S = SU. That’s the formula for happiness for me. Passion without service becomes tedious. Variety is the spice of life and keeping the passion requires knowing when to expand, retract or be still. The path I have taken is not a conventional path. I kinda went backwards by starting a charity before starting a business. I had this idea that I could get funded to do charity work with skateboarding. Specifically to provide free skateboards to under priviledged children. I began this journey in 2002 when I received an email from my father saying that he was dying. It was during this time I started Doogood with a personal complete I donated to The Skatepark of Tampa. Doogood then grew to over 33 programs in 10 states and 6 countries. I have since scaled back that initiative as other charities have risen from the soil to provide these beautiful flowers to their communities. Doogood now offers skateboarders rewards to create cards for domestic violence victims during the Holiday Season and during Mother’s Day. We also have a literary initiative were we have kids write essays on, “How skateboarding has been a positive influence in their life.” Our newest initiative was started during this lockdown for Covid. It’s called Plant Food NOW. The first part of it is to encourage people to plant food on all unused land. The second part is to create a seed exchange for the community to give and receive seeds for free. We have set up 6 Free Seed Libraries throughout San Diego to help encourage planting food everywhere. Paradox Grip is the first social enterprise in skateboarding and I created it specifically to underwrite Doogood’s mission. Betsy Denmore, THANK YOU- was my mentor and sponsor for The Social Enterprise Academy I attended in 2006. It is now a part of USC Masters program. Paradox Grip is/was conceived, created and distributed right here in San Diego. We made grip for such large brands as Arbor, Sector 9, Rockstar and more. We currently make the longest lasting grip on the planet and have an open challenge for the past two years. We have many San Diego born skaters on our team including Wes Kremer, Tyler Surrey, Peter Smolik, Toby Ryan, Brandon Reynolds and more. We have even made grip for many shops in San Diego like SoulGrind, Grandeur, Slappys and Route 44. With our new website and our paradoxical INSTAGRAM @paradoxgrip we continue to push the boundaries of “normal” . We have the most recyclable box on the market that I specifically developed after seeing all the trash I was personally responsible for. I then went to Agenda Tradeshow and showed it to all my competitors hoping they would copy it and we could all produce less trash. Sadly, only 1 brand chose to switch. THANK YOU SHAKE JUNT! Please visit www.paradoxgrip.com to learn more about how our grip lasts so long. Was it easy? hahahahah- no- well maybe 2 of the 13 years were kinda easy. We went through 5 factories over the course of 2 years to find the factory we now partner with. I had a specific vision to create a better product and many factories simply had no desire to innovate. It was simply, this what we have, do you want it? Uhmm, no I do not want what everyone else is producing. Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is insanity. So I kept going until we ultimately found a factory willing to do what I asked, Willing to bring in materials from other countries. Willing to use materials they may be unfamiliar with. Many challenges. So many. This business is not for the meek. There are many snakes, copycats and two faces looking to make you trip, stumble and with great hope, collapse– and die. There is only so much space on the shelf in every store, in every persons mind and in every persons soul. We hope to occupy a space in their souls. Paradox grip is #muchmorethangrip  Lessons: Keep going. Just keep skating towards your goal. Like in skating, you will fall. The real question is, will you get back up?

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
FOOD :: TACOS: Oscars/City Tacos PIZZA: Bronx Pizza FANCY: Animae SUSHI: Sushi Ota VEGAN: Sipz PHO: Saigon on 5th PARKS: Kate Sessions, Balboa Park, Dog Beach (Del Mar and OB), Boardwalk, Mushroom Caves, Sunset Cliffs, Torrey Pines State Park, San Diego Botanical Gardens. BARS: Thrusters, Open Bar, West End, Prohibition, El Pres, Lamplighter, The Saloon. CLUBS: Spin, Warehouse Raves, secret dj shows. SURFING: Not telling. SKATEBOARDING Pump track skatepark, Linda vista skatepark, Boardwalk, Dewey Elementary, Prince Park, Downtown, Concourse, City Heights Skatepark, Ob Skatepark. COFFEE: Birdrock, Better Buzz, Loftys, WEED: WeedforLESS delivery. Ok friend, here are your choices, what’s your plan? Or is no plan, the plan.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There are so many to thank for this shoutout. First and foremost GOD- prime creator and JESUS- my saviour- friend and ally. The Arch Angels, specifically Michael and Rafael- thank you for entrusting me to complete this work. Thank you for being there for me, showing me the difficult truths and for letting me find my way back to you in my own time and with my own will. I would like to thank my mother Victoria for showing me the path of following your bliss. She was an English teacher who followed her passion into retail clothing store ownership and so much more. I would like to give thanks to my Father, Sandy. He showed me first how to dress well and to be sure to match. He also instructed me on how to talk and treat people with dignity, respect and honor. Rest in peace POP. I would like to thank Greg Forsyth of Cyclepaths in Tahoe City for showing me retail as I rented out his winter-sheltered bike shop to house my first business, Trinity Board Supply(2001-2003). I would like to thank the Grass Valley Community Center for being Doogood’s fiscal sponsor for over 18 years. I would like to thank Heidi Lemmon for being a beacon of light in the skateboard charity world- she is a saint. I would like to thank Edgar from Keep The Youth Pushing for his light and truth and for reinvigorating my drive to serve. I would like to thank every skateboard brand that donated to Doogood- the list is too long but the biggest donators were Deluxe, NHS and Birdhouse. I would like to thank Betsy Denmore for the scholarship to The Social Enterprise Academy and for her mentorship during the program. I would like to thank Peter Smolik and Jake Brown for being part owners of this journey with Paradox Grip. I would like to thank all our riders throughout the 13 years. THANK YOU ALL. I would like to thank Steve- our shipping manager for Paradox Grip and now Canndaid- for his amazing service for over 13 years. I would like to thank Frank- our warehouse manager for Paradox Grip for his outstanding ability to keep everything in order for the past 10 years. I would like to thank Jon Clawson for his web development and countless design projects. I would also like to give thanks to some mentors, some special people who have been real with me and stabbed me in the front, while viciously defending me- behind my back. Thank you Joey Tershay. Thank you Greg Carroll. Thank you for helping me see through the haze of skateboard politrix. THANK YOU- to you- still reading this right now. YOU ARE AWESOME! I LOVE YOU!.

Instagram: @paradoxgrip @canndaid @aegold @plantfoodnow
Facebook: @paradoxgrip @canndaid @fivepalmbalm
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/paradoxgrip

Image Credits
(personal shot skating) pool shot by french pool legend Stephan Andre

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