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Neil Blender’s influence on skateboarding is so far and wide–in every realm and direction–that a short summary of his contributions is nearly impossible to undertake. If Jay Adams set the mold for the perennial bad boy, Blender was the creative yin to Adams’ aggressive yang. Born in 1963, Blender grew up in Anaheim, California, and started skateboarding in ’78 after witnessing Duane Peters skate in person. Only three years later, Neil’s first pro model deck was released by G&S–complete with his very own hand-drawn graphics, which was a first for the industry–inspiring countless others to follow suit over the decades since.
Over the course of the ’80s, Blender was single-handedly responsible for tilting skateboarding away from a turning into a mainstream sport and instead pushed it toward an artistic, spontaneous and non-competitive subculture. Blender would invent, name and or conceptualize numerous tricks, including the Donner party, front truck pivot, fast plant, gay twist, good buddy, hand out, jolly mamba, lien air, new deal, no comply (which John Lucero invented, but Neil named and popularized), nose stall, and last but least, the fabled wooly mammoth. Even after his years in the spotlight, Blender remained massively influential if only for helping launch Alien Workshop in 1990 and helping create their video, Memory Screen, the following year. More than anything, however, Neil just makes skateboarding look like the most fun thing on the planet.