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After honing his skills with constant access to Marina del Rey Skatepark, which his father, Ivan, managed from the late 1970s to the early ’80s, Christian Hosoi got his first photo in Skateboarder magazine at age 11, and by age 14 turned pro for Sims. He then rose with the surging tide of the ’80s vertical skateboarding boom to become the godfather / superstar of going big and looking good while doing it. On the heels of Tony Alva, “Holmes” blurred the line between rock star and pro skater and also became the third pro after Brad Bowman and TA to launch his own brand and namesake, Hosoi Skates, following brief stints with Powell-Peralta, Dogtown, Sims, and Alva Skates. In 1985, Christian’s release of the patented Hammerhead shape under Hosoi Skates took the world by storm and quickly inspired every other major company to come up with outlandish shapes of their own.
With his flamboyant charisma, giant airs, and a touch of spandex, Hosoi became the style-based antithesis to Tony Hawk’s more trick-difficulty-based contest runs. Hosoi would also pioneer a number of his own tricks, most notably the rocket air and Christ air, and won countless vert and street contests worldwide through the dawn of the ’90s. After falling into relative obscurity following the rise of street skating and his own battle with drug addiction, Christian returned from a five-year prison stint in 2004 to work his way back up to peak performance and earn his rightful spot as one of skateboarding’s all-time greats. Christian’s story of redemption was documented in the 2006 film, Rising Son: The Legend of Skateboarder Christian Hosoi, narrated by Dennis Hopper, and his autobiography, Hosoi: My Life as a Skateboarder Junkie Inmate Pastor was released in 2012.