Today’s street skateboarding is a far cry from the pool-influenced riding of the 70s from which it was spawned, and, “The Gonz,” had everything to do with that. Mark Gonzales, the pioneering and consequently obliterating ripper of all oncoming terrain, subject to the variables in which he chose to place before his path, naturally, didn’t set out to shatter the previous notions of what was understood to be. His influential importance to the fervently following youth of the time steadily grew with each and every kick of the push-foot until video parts, magazines features, and rare sighting fables, had firmly taken root into the emerging culture at large. Perhaps due to his seeming otherworldly dementia, Mark has always had a way of changing the game, whether through his inventive skateboarding or his creative art and writing (which originated in the skate press). He borrowed from the masters and made their ideas dynamic on the streets and banks of the world. He continually pushed the limits of maneuvers, and his mastery of them allowed him to imagine the unthinkable as he began exploring the previously untouched world of handrail skating. His unique perspective had him pioneering
switch skating before it even had a name, his ability to work transitions inspired people to skate everything. Video clips of Mark released decades ago continue to blow minds. Millions of kids worldwide got the stoke from his crafty actions. The Gonz is the archetypal skateboarder and an artist of international renown whose influence on modern skateboarding could never be overstated.
Photograph J. Grant Brittain 1985