In 1985 Christian Hosoi made the cover of Thrasher magazine, holding his first ever Hammerhead board that he hand cut himself. One of the top vert skaters at the time, the creator of the Christ Air and Rocket Air seemed to be an unstoppable force. Fast-forward 15 years and things had changed for the stylistic prodigy—a few bad decisions landed Hosoi in prison, but he used the time to reset the course of his life. Hosoi emerged as a born-again Christian, became a pastor, and now in addition to skating, makes time to help others sidestep the mistakes he made.
A person more familiar than most with the legendary skater’s story is a childhood friend and actor Max Perlich. The two sat down at Hosoi’s Huntington Beach storage unit to reminisce about old times and talk about things to come.
How long have we known each other?
Since we were like four or five years old, going to pre- school. It was not your traditional school; it was a private L.A. art scene off of La Cienega and Washington Boulevard: Play Mountain Place. But we reconnected back in the whole club scene in ’84 I believe—yeah, right around there I was riding for Alva.
So skating for so many decades now, what was fashion like back then when you first started out, as opposed to this Fairfax streetwear scene now?
We were wearing Gotchas and Quicksilver and this after OP, this is more like Catchit and those surfer brand that were offering Bermuda shorts for the first time. I had the Vuarnet shades with the matching polo shirt and the matching color Quick- silver with the Cole Haan shoes or the Vans with my Levi’s, and then I would peg my Levi’s or I’d go to the thrift store. Creepers came in and monkey boots and all that stuff had a huge influence on skateboarding. And skateboarding almost made that style cool in California because prior to that, it wasn’t a style.
I remember listening to Bob Marley, Sade, hip-hop, and funk. But the skate industry’s idea at that time was punk, white bread, homogenized angst.
I grew up seeing Bob Marley twice. My dad played blues guitar and bluegrass slide guitar. So I grew up in a blues culture—soul and R&B. And then I was listening to Gregory Isaacs, The B-52s, The Go-Go’s, and The Cars.