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With smiles for miles and a loose, flowing skating style, Ray Barbee is simply one of the most beloved pro skateboarders to have emerged from the late-1980s and early-’90s. Born in San Francisco, California in 1971, Ray started skateboarding at age 12 in 1983 when his friend Danny got a Variflex Vectra for his birthday. “Seeing how much fun he was having made me want to get a skateboard. His dad, who gave him the Variflex, used to skate in the ’70s and gave me his old Sims Woodkick. That was my first board,” Ray commented on his very own origin story.
Influenced by his friend Randy, Ray became well-known for helping to birth the step-hop / no comply* family of tricks that went on to inspire whole new generations of flat ground technicians in the decades that followed. Although Ray has always enjoyed skating all terrain, he turned pro mainly as a street skater for Powell-Peralta in 1989, then rode for Lance Mountain‘s brand, the Firm, for much of the ’90s. Next up came a spot on Element, followed by Mark Gonzales’ brand, Krooked, who Ray still rides for today.
Ray contributed very memorable and much-loved videos parts for Powell-Peralta’s Public Domain (which helped street skating eclipse vertical) and Ban This videos, the Firm’s La Buena Vita and Can’t Stop the Firm, as well as Vans’ Propeller. Ray still rides his skateboard frequently and pushes himself as much as possible. In fact, he is still pro today at age 50, earning a living solely from his sponsors: Krooked, Independent, Spitfire, Bones Bearings, Vans, Fender and Leica. Aside from skating, Ray enjoys being a husband to his wife, Stefanie, and father to two sons, Nolan and Maxwell. He also enjoys creating music and shooting black and white film photography to print in the darkroom.
*Originally invented by Neil Blender.