(I’ve had two or three skateboarding-themed topics on the back burner for a couple of weeks now, so I decided to declare this week “Skateboarding Week”. All of my posts this week will involve skateboarding. -Flack)
Skateboarding hit its initial peak back in the 1950, originally created (as the legend goes) by surfers looking for “something to do” when there were no waves. The skateboards of that era were crude pieces of wood with metal or clay wheels attached to them — okay for “street surfing,” but not for performing the advanced maneuvers we associate with modern skateboarding.
In the late 1970s skateboarding once again gained popularity, largely due to advances in wheel and board materials. Lighter plywood decks combined with polyurethane wheels allowed skaters to “propel” the sport forwards. By the early-to-mid 1980s, the sport of skateboarding had experienced a rebirth in popularity.
One of the early breakout stars of this time was Christian Hosoi. In vert competitions, Hosoi was known for flying higher and inventing more tricks than any of his competitors. One of the most difficult tricks to pull off during that era was the “McTwist,” a 540-spin named after its creator, Mike McGill. Few people were able to pull of a McTwist in actual competitions, but if anyone could do it, it was Christian Hosoi.
This YouTube video is a digital copy of my own VHS recording of that competition that aired on ESPN back in 1986. I used to watch that tape over and over, trying to figure out exactly how to perform all those high flying aerial maneuvers. Although several other skaters competed in the competition, Hosoi stole the show by pulling off a McTwist during his final run.
As often happens with young (and instant) millionaires, Hosoi’s life unraveled quickly. After years of dabbling with illegal substances, Hosoi was arrested on drug-related charges and served a prison term from 2000-2004. Fortunately Hosoi’s story has a happy ending. After serving his sentence, Christian Hosoi became a born-again Christian and has turned his life around. You can learn more about Hosoi’s rise and fall in the documentary Rising Son: The Legend of Skateboarder Christian Hosoi, available both via Amazon and Netflix.
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