Coupé, Paul - UK [1966-2023] RIP

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Jani Soderhall
ISSA President 2011-2024
ISSA President 2011-2024
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Location: Sweden, lives in France

Coupé, Paul - UK [1966-2023] RIP

Post by Jani Soderhall » Tue Nov 07, 2023 9:35 am

Paul Coupé
17th February 1966 – 15th September 2023

Post by Rob Ashby

I felt like I had been hit by a steam train when I received the call from Nadina informing me that Paul had died. Only six days earlier we had spent the day taking a last look at the London Calling exhibition with our partners. We were talking crap as usual, laughing and joking with the other skaters there. We went for a bite to eat and parted company at the gallery where he had parked, (after another quick visit to chat with Benjyboard legend Kadir Guirey) with the customary “See you later, be good” we all went on our way. To hear that he had passed so suddenly was completely incomprehensible, like a bad dream.

Paul had been on the UK scene for a long time and used to race downhill. I first met him at Hog Hill, Sam and I were running a dual hybrid race in our usual spot. At the time we were playing music through our PA system and, being older guys, were belting out The Clash, Killing Joke etc. The next thing this big guy appeared on a six-foot longboard along with another skater (Mike Fish). “Loving the tunes over here, better than the shite they’re playing over there” he said pointing over towards the considerably younger longboarders over on the other hill. “So what’s with the slalom then?” He asked.

We then proceeded to talk about all aspects of slalom for ages. He knew Michael (Stride) from the Eastbourne Speed Days and had spoken to him before when buying stuff from Octane Sport, but they had never chatted at any length. He was quite taken aback when Michael said he was a former Slalom World Champion. It was easy to see that Paul was eager to have a go through the course, so with a borrowed board he and Mike took a few tentative runs through the cones, some sketchier than others!
“This is great” he said grinning from ear to ear walking back up the hill. By the time the next Hog Hill came around he had got himself a slalom set-up and joined us for the racing. The rest is history.

Within a relatively short space of time Paul became one of most recognised and popular riders on the international slalom circuit. Over the years we travelled to races all over Europe, Holland, Germany (where he took the piss out of me mercilessly after I broke my collar bone on the GS at the Stuttgart Worlds in 2012) Spain, Czech Republic etc. He loved meeting racers, talking shop about equipment and race technique, always making new friends as he went. He was quick to pick up tips from the more experienced racers and even quicker to put them into practice. This made him a formidable and competitive opponent to come up against in a head to head race. He would often attempt to wind up his opponents when they got on the start ramps but he would always have a cheeky smile on his face when doing so.

Paul’s love of dogs was well known and he would always take time out to make a fuss of any passing wherever we were skating. Teddy his bulldog would become a regular at numerous skate meets and even had his own board – a Dog Town set-up of course! I once overheard someone at Hog Hill say that if you wanted to beat Paul then you need “someone with a dog halfway down the course, coz he’d stop, get off and make a fuss of it”
Paul was always the first to volunteer help out at races and soon became Michael’s “Number Two” when it came to setting up the timing equipment or sorting out problems and they quickly became firm friends. Paul even went with Michael when he bought his Caterham 7. We would joke about the car having a “Coupé Wing” as over time Paul had become Michael’s best customer and probably paid for a quarter of the car. In a loud comical whisper Michael would say “If it wasn’t for Paul it wouldn’t have an engine” laughing out loud.
Paul would reply “I wouldn’t mind but I can’t even fit in the f**king thing!”

He was renowned for his massive skateboard collection, and had boards from 70s through to the present day, but it wasn’t just boards, if it had a skateboarding connection it was there; and if it had a story behind it even better. Through his love of collecting he became friends with many legends of the skate world and met many more at slalom races and at the La Costa Reunion in the States.
He would often turn up at races and meet-ups with some “show ‘n’ tell”, normally his latest acquisitions to the ever growing collection.
Along with myself and Adrian Wink, Paul and his impressive collection where filmed by Winstan Whitter for the London Calling collectors film, shown on the first video screen at the entrance to the exhibition. Paul was incredibly honoured to have been filmed by Winstan and be included as part of the London Calling event resulting in even more friendships.

The service for Paul was held on 23rd October at Kemnal Park, London. It was standing room only at the crematorium, family, workmates, friends and skaters alike all gathered to say their goodbyes, testament to the high regard with which he was held. Among the large skater presence were ISSA President Jani Soderhall and the new World Masters Champion Michal Subrt. Michal had a banner made in Paul’s memory which he took to the Salem World Championships and got the racers taking part to sign it. Dill Hill also designed a special sticker and these were handed out by Michal, Dill and Darren.

We have lost a real diamond. Paul’s kindness, generosity, cheeky sense of humour and laid back relaxed demeanour will be greatly missed by us all. I will miss our phone calls and would often be called after he had seen something on e-bay “Are you going for it?” or “What do you reckon would be a good price for it” he would ask.

Thanks for all the laughs and good times over the years. Roll on in peace forever mate.

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