Steve Caballero: 50 facts about the iconic skateboarder

July 14, 2021 | Skateboarding
Steve Caballero: performing a frontside invert at Lake Cunningham, California's largest skatepark | Photo: Bowlarama

Steve Caballero is one of the most influential and innovative skateboarders of all time.

Armed with an infectious smile and a power skating drive, Caballero used his low center of gravity to make the most out of his riding.

The Californian legend skated through one of the most critical periods of skateboarding history - the 1980s.

Steve prevailed in every contest he participated in and won everything a professional skater would dream of.

But Caballero remained loyal to his values and didn't let fame and vanity change and affect his skating style and skills.

On the contrary, he kept his creative flair alive and expressed it through the invention of tricks, the introduction of trick variations, and the development of newly tried maneuvers.

Caballero was one of the pioneers of the concept of all-around skateboarding. He excelled in the streets, impressed at the skatepark, and inspired several generations in the bowl.

More than money and landing the cover of the magazines, Steve was all in for the "amazing feeling of skating that outweighs all the fame, fortune, status, and having a pro model."

Steve Caballero: the pro skateboarder and his skateboard deck collection | Photo: Caballero Archive

50 Fascinating Facts About Steve Caballero

1. Steve Caballero was born on November 8, 1964, in San Jose, California.

2. He is of Mexican-Japanese descent. His parents are Fred and Maria Aurora.

3. The goofy-footed skater was born with a spine alignment issue - scoliosis - resulting in subsequent health problems.

4. Before trying a skateboard, the young Californian tried roller-skating with steel wheels.

5. Steve Caballero started skateboarding at the age of 12, one year after his parents divorced.

6. The first skatepark he rode in was Concrete Wave in Anaheim, California. He had seen it on his first trips to Disneyland.

7. One of his first boards was Ty Page Free Former skateboard made of wood with sealed bearings and grip tape.

8. On his earliest rides, Steve wore soccer pads and a hockey helmet.

9. He got his first sponsor - Campbell Skateboard Park - in 1979, and he made it to the venue's A team.

10. In his memorabilia collection, Steve has a sheet of paper where he wrote down every contest that he had entered at Campbell.

Ty Page Free Former: Steve Caballero's first skateboard

11. His most popular nicknames are Cab and Cabbie.

12. Caballero turned professional in 1980 when he was 16 years old, but he says he never looked at the sport as a career.

13. His parents were always very supportive and would drive him to skateparks. They even allowed him to build a ramp in his backyard.

14. His first competition as a pro skater was the Golden Cup Series, held at the Oasis Skatepark in San Diego, California.

15. One of his earliest idols was Eddie Elguera, a skater from Bellflower, California, known as "El Gato."

16. Caballero is one of the earliest members of Powell Peralta's The Bones Brigade skateboarding team.

17. When he joined The Bones Brigade, he was given a yellow Ray Bones Rodriguez board with the red skull and sword alongside Bones wheels and rails.

18. Also, in 1980, Caballero became the first skater in the history of the sport to have its own signature pro deck illustrated by Vernon Courtlandt Johnson.

19. Steve invented the caballerial - or fakie backside 360 - skateboarding trick in 1981 during the finals of a contest held in Upland, California.

20. He is also credited with inventing the frontside boardslide, les twist, backside boneless one, and switch inverts.

Steve Caballero: the legendary skateboard performs a trademark frontside boardslide | Photo: Red Bull

21. Caballero often used apparel and skating equipment featuring a dragon because, according to the Chinese Zodiac, he was born in the year of the Dragon.

22. The legendary San Jose skater was consecutively named Skater of the Year from 1981 to 1984.

23. In 1984, Caballero had an acting role in the film "Escape from El Diablo" directed by Gordon Hessler.

24. In 1987, Steve participated in "The Search for the Animal Chin," the first skateboard movie to have a storyline.

25. In that same year, he won the vert and street titles at the World Cup Skateboarding in Münster, Germany.

26. Caballero held the world record for the highest aerial ever performed on a half-pipe - 11 feet - for two decades (1977-1997).

27. In 1989, he became the first-ever skateboarder to see a professional signature skate shoe released in the market - the Vans High Top.

28. Steve Caballero participated in the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games closing ceremony alongside Adil Dyani, Andy Macdonald, Brian Howard, Darren Menditto, Mike Crum, Mike Frazier, Neil Hendrix, Tom Boyle, and Tony Hawk.

29. In 1999, Caballero was named Skater of the Century by Thrasher magazine.

30. He also set the world record for the longest boardslide on a 44 step handrail near Bernal Intermediate School in San Jose.

Steve Caballero: always a skillful skater in the bowl, street or park | Photo: Magdalinski/Creative Commons

31. Steve Caballero is a huge music fan and participated in several bands, including Odd Man Out, Shovelhead, Soda, and The Faction.

32. Despite his punk rock posture, he always called for "more positive, loving and selfless attitudes" within skateboarding and refrained from alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs.

33. The progressive skater also carefully analyzed and studied the venues in which he was about to compete to visualize the moves and get ready for the showdown.

34. He always assumed he was addicted to competition and raising the bar of his performance in any contest he entered.

35. Throughout his career, he placed first in over 30 vert, pool, and street skateboarding competitions.

36. Caballero built his own ramps with large transitions that facilitated knee-slides when bailing.

37. He is particularly known for his colossal backside airs that often reached 10 feet, among many other skills and achievements.

38. The pioneer skater believes style is the result of the way one performs a trick and not how many hard tricks one can do.

39. In 2010, Steve Caballero was inducted into the Skateboarding Hall of Fame in Simi Valley, California.

40. In 2014, the skater dressed up as a Wookiee for a Vans/Star Wars shoe and apparel collection commercial.

41. He says the McTwist is the trick he can't do, but he wished he could.

42. Steve Caballero's net worth is estimated to be around $5 million.

43. He is 5'3'' (1.60 meters) tall and weighs around 152 pounds (69 kilograms).

44. Caballero has three children - Kayla Leslie Caballero, Caleb Bela Caballero, and Clover Lavie Caballero.

45. Steve Caballero was first married to Susan, with whom they had Kayla Leslie, and then married Rachel, with whom they had Caleb Bela and Clover Lavie.

46. The iconic skater has several hobbies. He is into photography, visual arts, motocross, comic books, toys, cooking, and hot rodding.

47. Caballero is one of the stars in several Tony Hawk's Pro Skater series video games.

48. Faith was always an essential dimension in Steve's life. Despite being raised as a catholic, Caballero also showed interest in Zen Buddhism, Taoism, and Pentecostalism.

49. Since 2005, he attends Daybreak, a non-denominational Christian church.

50. Steve Caballero is on Facebook (@stevecaballeroofficial), Instagram (@stevecaballero), and Twitter (@stevecaballero).

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