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Mark Gonzales invented street skating, or the most popular form of skateboarding today. That was in the 80's. What's even more amazing than that the Gonz has been around for 15 years is that he can still bust a switch lipslide down a rail and then do a padless frontside invert on a halfpipe. He's a living legend.

In 1985, 99 out of 100 skateboarders were vert guys, and the other guy did freestyle. But when the parks started to dry up and street skating began its hostile takeover of the sport, Gonzales was positioned for domination. What he did was adapt a lot of freestyle tricks that were relatively easy, like the kickflip(invented by Rodney Mullen), to an urban, everyday environment. Gonz was always a step ahead of the masses. It was during this time that he snapped the first ollie over his namesake gap, The Gonz, at San Francisco's Embarcadero. At the time, it was the equivalent of a kickflip nosegrind down a 20-stair rail today.

When Gonz helped start up Blind Skateboards after the Vision thing fizzled out in the early '90s, he and fellow ripper Jason Lee started things off in the right direction by releasing Video Days, directed by Spike Jonze, which to this day continues to be a highly sought-after commodity. When Gonz had had enough of big business and lost it all due to Uncle Sam's tax-collecting policies, he "retired" and moved to New York City where he spent his time pursuing his art career. Soon enough, however, he was back, and the first thing he did upon his return was to snap a kickflip over the Gonz gap. No one had done it yet, so he hadn't missed a beat.

Since then, Gonzales has hooked up a sponsorship with Real and keeps the company on track. He has become an accomplished artist who has done art shows all over the world and is becoming more famous by the minute. In fact, he was paid by a museum in Germany to skate all over it. They called it a "dance exhibit" to keep insurance costs down. He has appeared in a Nissan commercial -- directed by Spike Jonze -- and a feature film called Gummo, where Mark can be seen going through a full WWF match with a kitchen chair for the enjoyment of the white trash onlookers.

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