Thursday, December 29, 2011


Mark Gonzales; 42, also known as "Gonz" and "The Gonz," is an American professional skateboarder and artist. He is known in the skateboarding world as a pioneer of modern street skateboarding, currently skateboarding's most popular form.

Gonz came on the skateboarding scene at age 15 with a modern approach to street skating and made the cover of Thrasher (magazine) November 1984 issue, riding a board from Alva, his sponsor at the time. He soon changed sponsorship by riding for Vision Skateboards and shortly thereafter turned professional.

Gonzales won the 1985 Oceanside street contest and placed high in others that year. By then, Gonz was shifting street skating away from the vertical skateboarding based style that had been the standard, to a more technical one based on the freestyle skateboarding of Rodney Mullen. The most notable trick Gonz transferred at this time from freestyle to street was the kick flip ollie, and by 1986, Gonzales could even be seen doing double kick flips at demos. In the summer of 1986, Gonzales performed a groundbreaking ollie at the Embarcadero in San Francisco.[2] So historic was this incident for skateboarding, it became forever known as the "Gonz Gap" and helped make the Embarcadero a popular location for skateboarders.[1] Later that year, Gonzales became the first person to skate handrails, thus cementing his contribution to street skating's early to intermediate stages.

Gonz went on to further influence street skateboarding as it modernized with the 1991 video Video Days by Blind Skateboards (a company he formed with Steve Rocco in 1989). And in 1993, Gonzales was the first to ever kick flip his namesake, the Gonz Gap at Embarcadero, as well as the first skater to do the Wallenberg Set 4 block. After leaving Blind Skateboards, Mark went on to start two new companies: ATM Click and 60/40 Skateboards (which 60/40 is now defunct). Mark skated for Real Skateboards before launching Krooked Skateboards, a brand under Deluxe Distribution.

To anyone who knows anything about skateboarding Mark Gonzales needs no introduction. To those who don't know, The Gonz is a legend, a fearless and anarchic exponent of a style of street skateboarding probably best described as insane. I owned a pro model of Mark Gonzales skateboards from Blind skateboards bought at Isetan, Lot 10 back in 1991. It's a classic memorable board that i regret for selling them to my friend.

Without intending to, Mark Gonzales has achieved a legendary status, not only for his skateboarding prowess and prolific art practice, but also for his aloofness and unpredictable antics. Recently, Oyster Mag pin him down long enough for an interview, albeit a rambling and slightly random one. Read them here on Oyster Mag issue 95

1 comment:

Skaterix said...

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