Half a Century of Hosoi

Christian Hosoi is a cornerstone of skateboarding. His career spans almost 40 years and he's showing no signs of slowing down. He's been on the cover of the mag a half-dozen times. His first front was in Aug of '84 and his most recent was the Independent trucks 30th anniversary issue in October of '08. In the '80s, when contests mattered the most, Christian and Tony Hawk would battle it out for first place while everybody else was gunning for third or beyond. Tony had the technical wizardry and Christian had the high airs and the effortless style—and that style carried through to every aspect of his life. In his youth he was no stranger to the party lifestyle, and when he was around, people were most definitely having fun. When the invite came through for Christian's 50th birthday party at the Combi Bowl, you know we were damn sure going. And not surprisingly, everybody still has fun when Hosoi's around. —Joe Hammeke

01 750pxVans Combi Bowl, filled to capacity

02 750pxEric Dressen was there early and slashing through nose-grab grinds in the round

03 750pxRecent Hawaiian transplant Shota Kubo was testing the waters with a shallow-end Smith through the corner

04 750pxOutside, Steve Van Doren was approaching his 35,000th burger grilled this year. That’s a lot of beef!

05 750pxNot in the mood for a burg? No worries. Wahoo's was serving up tacos. Shota takes advantage of some free fish

06 750pxBack inside, Christain points to the stage where The Drunk Injuns are about to play

07 750pxThe Drunk Injuns were on the very first Thrasher Skate Rock tape released in '83. Know your history, kids

08 750pxRestless Spirit on vocals and Whölley Smökkes on guitar

09 750pxRestless Spirit spewing lyrics

10 750pxJohnny Yuma thumps the bass

11 750pxWhölley Smökkes blazing guitar riffs

12 750pxBack in the bowl, Pat Ngoho floats an Indy air

13 750pxSteve Caballero feebles through the corner

14 750pxCab, Hosoi and McGill

15 750pxLook who just arrived: Tony Hawk and Cathy

16 750pxTony is no stranger to the Combi, huge stalefish

17 750pxChristian was all over the place: introducing the bands, socializing and occasionally having to vouch for people who forgot to RSVP but still showed up to party, but all of that didn’t stop him from skating throughout the night as well. Lien air in the square

18 750pxA helping hand from Bucky Lasek to get out of the bowl

19 750px


20 750pxIvan “Pops” Hosoi was drawing large pieces of skate art throughout the night

21 750pxChristian and Pops

22 750pxCheck out the shoes Pops is rockin'

23 750pxVans made a special run of leather Rising Sun shoes for Christian’s 50th birthday

24 750pxJeff Ho, Robert Vargas, Christian and his dad show off those custom kicks

25 750pxSide stage there were a couple merch tables. The first one had a teenager named Diego selling some artwork.

26 750pxI asked him if the art was his and he said, "No, it’s my dad’s." Upon closer inspection some of the photos looked familiar…

27 750pxIt’s Mofo! Thrasher’s first photo editor. Here he’s showing off the first Thrasher tattoo that he got at Ed Hardy’s tattoo parlor back in '81

28 750pxMofo and Diego with the Hosoi board they got signed by everyone that was at the party

29 750pxNext table was Salba and Jules

30 750pxTiger Ts, paintings and Pipeline memorabilia

31 750pxThen it was time for Salba’s band Powerflex 5 to take the stage

32 750pxTracy Robar and Salba of Powerflex 5

33 750pxTracy Robar doing his best Pete Townsend impression

34 750pxPedal jammin'

35 750pxBobby Abarca of Powerflex 5 belts out some lyrics

36 750pxSalba singing and shredding the guitar

37 750pxOf course the Vertical Vampire wasn’t going to miss a Hosoi party

38 750pxNavarrette even found a t-shirt from Hosoi’s 21st birthday party back in '88 and got it signed

39 750pxOmar Hassan, high speed feeble through the corner

40 750pxBennett Harada always charges with style

41 750pxThen it started to get crazy. Christian loves to get the guys sitting on the coping for him to air over but this was one of the bigger groups of guys to clear and the first attempt didn’t quite go as planned. Check out T-Mag using his board as a shield

42 750pxBut after a few tries it was a go! Malba and Caballero get the award for most-trustworthy, seeing as they were on the far end of it all

43 750pxVan Doren had a fat wad of cash for Christian if he made it and sure enough they both delivered

44 750pxBack out of the bowl to a stoked Malba

45 750pxHoward Hood, Brad Bowman, Lester Kasai (behind Christian), Hosoi, Eddie Elguera, Cab, T-Mag and Malba, stoked they didn't get landed on!

46 750pxEighteen years ago, 10,000 of these stickers were made to raise awareness of Christian’s incarceration. Here’s Christian today with a piece of coping to remind him of how far he’s come

47 750pxThank you all for coming to my birthday party. Now I present to you, T.S.O.L!

48 750pxTrue Sounds of Liberty

49 750px"Superficial Love"

50 750pxAs the night was coming to a close, Christian called his friend Block up on stage—it was also his birthday. Block is a Venice OG, he shot lots of skate photos of Christian over the years and directed the movie Rising Son about Christian’s life. He also own’s Venice Originals skate shop with Jesse Martinez

51 750pxBut then a bigger cake appeared on stage courtesy of Van Doren.

52 750pxPops, Steve Van Doren (everyone who was there) Christian and Jennifer Hosoi. Happy 50th birthday, Christian. Here’s to 50 more!

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