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Born in San Diego, California, Dennis Martinez started skating and surfing at age 10 on a red Roller Derby with metal wheels. Around 1974, Dennis was slalom racing at La Costa and practicing freestyle, eventually getting sponsored by Bahne. In 1976, he got into pool riding at the Soul Bowl in San Diego, and became the first to do an (old school) kickflip on a wedge ramp. In June 1978, Dennis made the cover of Skateboarder with a close-up of a classic frontside grind captured by Jim Goodrich. Around this time, Dennis started making good money as a pro for G&S, cashing checks for as much as $40,000 per month. Addicted to cocaine and weed, Dennis started missing flights to contests and demos.
Not surprisingly, sponsors started dropping him, and around 1980, Dennis got involved with hard drugs like heroin and meth. He quit skating and ended up homeless, living under a bridge and eating out of dumpsters. When Dennis hit bottom, he was even robbing people at gunpoint. Finally, on September 5, 1996, Dennis gave his life to Jesus Christ, and completely quit drugs and the criminal lifestyle. In the year 2000, Dennis became a pastor, doing ministry at prisons all around the world. He started an organization called Training Center to help addicts stay off drugs, and his life story was the subject of a movie called D.O.P.E. Dennis has also been involved with a reality show called Off the Street about helping recently released prison inmates successfully reintegrate with society.