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None other than the legendary CR Stecyk III accurately described Cris Dawson as “one of the premier ’60s stylists.” Born in Santa Monica, California in 1948, Cris started skating in 1959 on a 2” x 4” with roller skate wheels nailed on. From 1963 through ’66, he progressed to a solid oak board with higher quality Chicago trucks and Chicago ball bearing clay wheels. Although Cris never officially turned pro, in 1966 he got flowed product from Hobie for doing demos throughout Southern California as a member of the Hobie National Exhibition Team. Not long after, he could be seen spinning up to 35 continuous frontside 360s on clay wheels, which was an unofficial world record. And let’s not forget the time he won first place and the overall champion award in the 17 and over division at the Mar Vista Park contest in Los Angeles in 1965. In addition, he earned first place in every event at the Palisades Malibu Jaycees contest at Palisades High School in 1966.
Cris is perhaps best known for wearing a cop uniform as the Skating Policeman in the article “Stranger Than Fiction” by CR Stecyk lll in the April 1977 issue of Skateboarder. Not surprisingly, in 1975 Cris became a card-carrying member of the infamous Zephyr competition team. He even invented his own trick, the Dawson walk, which he refers to as, “a high-energy speed walk that seemed like a blur. Just ask Skipper how fast it was.” Over the decades, Cris has blazed with the likes of Ray Flores, Tom Waller, Wendy Bearer, Colleen Boyd Turner, Suzie Roland Levin, Paul Hoffman, Stacy Peralta, Glen E. Friedman and Nathan Pratt.
As a graphic designer since 1972, Cris’s award winning work and visuals have been published by many of the most legendary skateboard brands such as G&S, Makaha, Powell-Peralta, Santa Monica Airlines and Zephyr, among many others. He was awarded Best Advertising Campaign by Skateboarder magazine for his efforts as a member of the creative team at Powell-Peralta. Cris enjoys spending time with his wife of 40 years, Eileen, daughter Aimee, son-in-law Aaron, and new grandson Connor. He also enjoys deep sea / fresh water fishing and creating art.
“Looking back, I have come to realize that skateboarding for me was stronger and more powerful than any drug. It was the catalyst that has fulfilled my sprit in many ways.”—Cris Dawson