Friday, September 24, 2010

Nine By Design 2

Welcome back for the weekly list portion of my little ole blog.  Today's list will be sports based, but not in the traditional sense.  Some may call it extreme, but others like myself, would call it a mode of transportation.  That is when I wasn't falling down.  I don't think you'll be seeing a trick called ollie-to curb-to faceplant.  I however, was a master of that particular move.  It's a sport I can watch for hours.  The creativity, progression and innovation, make it a beautiful sport in my eyes.

Favorite Skateboarders

Rodney Mullen:  He's the best place to start for this list.  Inventor of the flatland ollie, but more importantly, he invented the kickflip.  A trick that is key to most of the street tricks you'll see in the videos.  I will not list all of the tricks he's responsible for, as we'd be here for quite sometime.  I'd say it's about a hundred, give or take ten...probably give.  Is a co-owner of the skateboard company, Almost.  Rodney is widely considered one of, if not the most, influential skateboarder in history...the other contender would be...

Tony Hawk:  What Rodney Mullen did for freestyle and street skateboarding, Tony Hawk did for vertical or ramp skating.  He invented a bunch of tricks, but he also helped bring back the popularity of skateboarding, by ruling the X Games for 7 years.  The X Games vert skating was initially set up as a duel between Hawk and another member of our list, who will come a little later.  The success of the X Games and his domination allowed for him to start a video game series and gave him a stage to attempt a trick he'd been working on for 10 years, the 900.

Christian Hosoi:  He is the other skater that was supposed to be involved in the duel with Tony Hawk at the X Games.  In his prime, he was the complete opposite of Hawk.  He chose style, flash and powerful big airs over Hawk's technical riding and trick innovation.  He had the tricks, but was obsessed with going higher than anyone had ever gone on a board and looking good while doing it.  The X Games wanted to bring back the rivalry of Hawk/Hosoi from the 80's, but Christian never showed up.  He had gotten into drugs in a major way, which would later lead to a conviction and federal prison time.  The story could end there, but Mr. Hosoi served his time, learned from his mistakes and is back in the skateboarding scene.

Natas Kaupas:  Yes, his name is Satan spelled backwards, he's not evil, just Lithuanian.  When vert skating had a decline in popularity, mainly due to the fact that building a ramp was expensive, street skating took over.  Street is exactly how it sounds, skating on the streets, sidewalks and every other thing you see.  Natas was at the forefront of this movement.  After some injuries, mainly a broken ankle, he got into art and would become Quicksilver's graphic director.

Danny Way:  You may have heard of him, he jumped over the Great Wall of China in 2005...with a messed up ankle.  Injury, could be his middle name, but I suppose that is the price you pay for progression.  Whether it's dropping in from a helicopter (no one had tried this, let alone landed it before) or from the guitar at the Hard Rock in Vegas (82 feet, folks), he thinks outside the box.  He is one of the main proponents of Big Air Skating, winning the event at the 2004 X Games, but also having other memories of the event.  He's not indestructible, but he doesn't let anything stop him.

Richie Jackson:  Is a Kiwi, meaning he's from New Zealand, for those that don't know.  A fairly new discovery for me.  Watching a Transworld Skate video one night, I saw his footage and it blew me away.  Reminded me me immediately of Natas Kaupas and Rodney Mullen, he does his version of the "Natas Spin" in the video as an homage.  Richie is still only 24 yrs old and we should be seeing a lot more from him in the coming years.  I hope, at least, he's very creative with his tricks.

Daewon Song:  Is Rodney Mullen's partner in crime at Almost.  Daewon's style is special because, he mixes traditional old school tricks with new variations.  Daewon is still actively skating and pushing the envelope of street tricks.  He was named Skater of the Year by Thrasher magazine in 2006, one the sports oldest running magazines. 

Bob Burnquist:  The only other skater I know that is about the progression of skateboarding, as much as, Danny Way.  Burnquist can and will skate anything, anytime, anywhere and with any stance, which means he can skate regular or goofy foot, equally as well.  This Brazilian transplant has a ramp in his backyard, like most pros, but it's just slightly different from the others you see. 

Jason Lee:  Yes...that Jason Lee, I am completely serious, this Jason Lee.  He was a professional skateboarder before he got into acting.  The first time I became aware of Lee was in the Sonic Youth video for the song 100%.  The more video I watch of him, it becomes obvious, to me at least, what a natural actor he is.  Jason has not left his skating roots behind, as he is co-owner of Stereo Skateboards with Chris Pastras.

This wraps up our Nine By Design list for the week.  Hopefully, you enjoy reading as much as I did putting it together.  A different type of sports list, opening minds to sports outside the perceived "norm."  If your son or daughter doesn't want to play organized sports, buy them a skateboard.  It's a sport you can do, as you've seen, anywhere.


  1. Interesting list. I don't necessarily agree with all your picks, but that's just spark for a future conversation. I find it difficult to compare skaters to one another because they all tend to be so different in a sport that thrives on originality and creativity. Just for posterity, here are a few that I hope were "just a bit outside" your 9.

    Cara-Beth Burnside: the preeminent female skater, competed at a time when the sport was dominated by males.

    Mike McGill: inventor of the McTwist, which has become as commonplace in Vert skating as the kickflip is on the street.

    Steve Caballero: one of the founding fathers of skateboarding's rise in popularity in the early 80's, and sponsored at only 15 years old.

    Just thought I'd throw in my 2 cents. Now it's a dirty dozen!

  2. These are just favorites, not necessarily the best. Just skaters I've always liked. Cab and McGill made the short list.