Mark Gonzales: 40 facts about the influential skateboarder

August 3, 2021 | Skateboarding
Mark Gonzales: probably the most influential street skateboard of all time | Photo: Adidas

Mark Gonzales is one of the noblest representatives of street skateboarding. He took the discipline from its birth to the highest technical level.

The skateboarding legend believed that getting hurt was part of the game and industry he nurtured and developed.

"You've got to bleed to get paid," Gonzales once said.

Today, Mark Gonzales is also widely regarded as the most celebrated skater-artist ever with a broad range of creations spread across the world.

He is a dedicated father and husband and a fan of comedy, which he considers to be "mainstream society's high art."

Learn more about one of the most influential skaters of all time.

Mark Gonzales: the founder of Krooked Skateboards | Photo: Krooked

1. Mark Gonzales was born on June 1, 1968, in South Gate, California;

2. He is of Mexican descent;

3. Gonzales was baptized, made his first communion, but never considered himself a religious person;

4. His nickname is "Gonz" or "The Gonz";

5. Gonzales started skating at the age of 13;

6. Since then, Mark has complemented his sporting talent with a very active artistic side, including painting, poetry, design, photography, illustration, drawing, filmmaking, and sculpturing;

7. At the age of 16, the California skater landed the cover of Thrasher Magazine. The picture showed a young Gonzales performing a bean plant;

Thrasher: Mark Gonzales lands the cover of the skateboarding magazine on November 1984

8. Gonzales did the artwork and rode for Alva Skates, founded by Tony Alva, before having his first pro model;

9. In 1985, Gonz turned pro, joined the Vision team, and won his first street contest at Oceanside;

10. His first signature decks for Vision defined the company's style and design for a long time;

11. In 1986, Mark Gonzales made San Francisco's The Embarcadero one of the most popular skate spots in the world after doing an ollie between a wave-shaped wall and platform at the port's waterfront and roadway;

12. After landing the trick at The Embarcadero, the challenging pedestrian obstacle was named "The Gonz Gap";

13. Also, in 1986, Gonzales, alongside Santa Monica skater Natas Kaupas, became the first sidewalk surfer to ride handrails, and he was already consistently board-sliding ledges;

14. In 1987, Gonz introduced switch stance riding to the skateboarding world, changing the way skaters look at a skateboard;

15. Gonz was also the first skater to ollie a four-block, 19-foot-long, four-foot-tall gap - the Wallenberg Set - in San Francisco;

16. He is widely considered the pioneer of modern street skateboarding and one of the most influential skaters of all time;

17. Gonzales was one of the several skaters who used freestyle wheels, which were harder and smaller than the traditional wheels, to achieve higher ollies;

18. In 1989, he co-founded Blind Skateboards with Steve Rocco. The company was named in mockery of his former employer, Vision. Gonzales would leave the skateboard company in 1993;

19. In 1991, the skateboarding world witnessed Mark's street talent with the release of the iconic movie "Video Days" directed by Spike Jonze;

20. After leaving Blind, Mark Gonzales went on to create ATM Click Skateboards and 60/40 Skateboards;

21. Mark Gonzales designed the original Blind Skateboards logo that is still used today;

22. After a while, Gonzales moved to Deluxe Distribution and rode for Real Skateboards;

23. "Non Fiction" (1997), "Kicked Out of Everywhere" (1999), and "Real to Reel" (2001) consolidated Mark's reputation as a world-class street skateboarding guru;

24. In 2002, Gonz teamed up with Deluxe Distribution to create Krooked Skateboards;

25. Mark Gonzales is one of the stars of "Skate," a skateboarding video game launched by Electronic Arts (EA) in 2007;

26. Also, in 2007, Gonz was featured in Coconut Records' "West Coast" music video. The skating part had been shot in 1998 at Städtisches Museum in Abteiberg, Germany;

27. In 2009, the South Gate skater directed the band's "Any Fun" music video, featuring skateboarder Alex Olson, actress Chloë Sevigny and himself;

28. Mark Gonzales has been working with Adidas since 1998. His signature Gazelle skate shoes have been revamped and named "Aloha Super Shoes";

Mark Gonzales: he has been skating for Adidas since 1988 | Photo: Adidas

29. "The Collected Fanzines" is a book released in 2008 that features eight limited-run fanzines originally created by Mark Gonzales and Harmony Korine between 1992 and 1999;

30. The legendary skater published several books, including "Social Problems" (1998), "Broken Dreams" (1998), "Broken Poems" (1998), "High Tech Poetry" (2002), and "Mark Gonzales" (2020);

31. Gonzales designed, painted, and sculpted artworks for the American skateboard company Supreme's stores in London, Paris, San Francisco, New York, Tokyo, Osaka, and Nagoya;

32. Between 1985 and 2020, the street skateboarding icon participated and starred in over 30 videos;

33. In 2009, Mark Gonzales created the "Circle Board," a giant wheel-shaped sculpture/skateboard featuring nine interconnected boards that he rode around Paris and New York;

34. In 2018, Mark Gonzales recreated 1998's German museum performance at Milk Studios in New York;

Milk Studios: Mark Gonzales recreates the iconic 1998 performance at Städtisches Museum in Abteiberg, Germany | Still: Adidas

35. The always unpredictable skater once grabbed a 1960s skateboard with no grip tape or kicktail and featuring slippery clay wheels and performed an ollie air on a steep vert ramp;

36. Mark Gonzales was inducted into the Skateboarding Hall of Fame in 2012;

37. The California skater doesn't own a phone and is not on social media;

38. Gonzales took surfing lessons in his late 40s and is now able to ride waves;

39. The skater-artist has an estimated net worth of $10 million;

40. Mark Gonzales is married to Tia Romano. They have a daughter - Gemma;