2014 Natas Kaupas

2014 Inductees

Born in 1969 and raised in south Santa Monica, Natas, in league with Mark Gonzales, repurposed Rodney Mullen’s breakthroughs on a freestyle board and outright invented modern street skating.

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Born in 1969 and raised in south Santa Monica, Natas, in league with Mark Gonzales, repurposed Rodney Mullen’s breakthroughs on a freestyle board and outright invented modern street skating. Ollies, kickflips, wall-rides, handrails, and, of course, fire hydrants— all became realities through the critical years of ’84 through ’89 thanks to Natas. Originally sponsored by Skip Engblom and Santa Monica Airlines, Kaupas famously had never owned a skateboard magazine before he landed on the cover of Thrasher in September of ’84 doing the first wallride ever seen by the masses. After Natas rocketed to stardom overnight, he brokered a licensing deal with Santa Cruz (at 16) and his various panther graphics became some of the best-selling boards of all time (eventually selling 56,400 ‘Panther 3’ boards in ’89 alone). Natas shocked the crowd at an Oceanside, California, “Streetstyle” contest in ’86 by attempting to ollie onto a small handrail near the course. Opening yet another frontier, Natas and Gonz would boardslide the first legitimate rail in Westwood, California, on the same day, a few months later and Kaupas’ parts in Wheels Of Fire (’87) and Streets On Fire (’88) would televise his innovations (and trendsetting clothes/hairstyles) to the masses. Also credited with the first frontside flips on quarterpipes, the first legitimate nollies onto obstacles, which later inspired switch stance, and the first professional skate shoe ever from etnies in ’88, Natas continued pouring his creativity into his own company, 101, at the dawn of the ‘90s, and his list of design and art direction accolades since would make the most acclaimed of commercial artists blush.

 

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