The Biggest Names in Skateboarding History
You couldn’t have a list of influential skaters without having Rodney Mullen in the top ranking. Mullen is often credited with the invention of street skateboarding as a sport. His invention of numerous tricks, including the kickflip, heelflip, impossible and 360-flip, has led skaters to nickname him the “Godfather of Street Skateboarding.” Now in his early 50s, the iconic skater has become a household name in skating.
Hawk hit the skate scene in the 1980s but later became most known for landing the first documented 900 at the 1999 X Games. Nicknamed “The Birdman”, Hawk went on to create his own skateboard brand, video game series and nonprofit organization to build skateparks in underprivileged areas. This year, Hawk turned 50 and celebrated by performing 50 vert tricks for the camera.
Alva was most notably one of the original members of the Zephyr skate team in the 1970s — better known as the Z-boys. Influenced by the low, aggressive style of surfing, Alva’s skate style helped create the skate culture that we know today. In 1974, he also teamed up with Vans to create the original skate shoe and later founded the first skateboard brand to be owned by a skateboarder.
Better known as “The Gonz”, Gonzales was awarded the 2006 Legend Award by Transworld Skateboarding and is attributed with premiering multiple iconic tricks over the decades. In 1986, the skater performed an ollie on the Embarcadero in San Francisco from a raised wall to another platform, clearing what would later be called the “Gonz Gap”. He was also the first skater to start grinding handrails, and the first skater to ollie the Wallenberg Set in San Francisco.
Also known as "Christ" or "Holmes", Hosoi's skate career started early. At seven years old, he was skating with some of the most legendary skaters of the day, including Tony Alva and Stacy Peralta. When his father became the manager of Marina Del Rey Skatepark, Hosoi dropped out of school and began skating full-time. By the time he was 12, he had already been sponsored by Powell Peralta and he later became known as the ultimate rival to Tony Hawk.
Credit: Photo by Soroush Karimi on Unsplash & Archeo3 and PopTech via Wikimedia Commons