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Rising Son | The Legend of Skateboarder Christian Hosoi | review | book | Lollipop
Rising Son: The Legend of Skateboarder Christian Hosoi
by Tim Den
Like many kids of the mid to late '80s, I went through a "skater" phase which included the worship of such heroes as Tony Hawk, Lance Mountain, Steve Caballero, and, of course, Christian Hosoi. As the frontrunners of the second generation of the skateboarding movement out of Southern California, these guys turned the sport into a household name. Inventive tricks, stylish execution, colorful personalities, not to mention overall "coolness" for making shitloads of money doing what they love. Anyone who has ever owned a Powell Peralta/Santa Cruz/Vision board can attest to the power that these guys wielded over their followers. In particular, Hosoi seemed to be the one who was destined to become larger than life: The first ever superstar of skating, due to his charisma, flamboyant lifestyle, and inexhaustible talent. He was adored by everyone, blessed with model good looks, and lived fast and decadently, the be-all end-all of what everyone in skating wanted to be. Even when his generation of vert skaters started to be eclipsed by street skaters, he was the only one who adapted well. There seemed to be no stopping him. Except, of course, for drugs.
Like many "fall from grace" stories, Hosoi was weighted down from the heavens by an addiction to speed and crystal meth that eventually landed him in jail for a few years. As he battled his demons and awaited trial, the world outside embraced X Games and skateboard culture, propelling the likes of Tony Hawk into multimillionaire status with TV shows, video games, clothing, music, etc. How did the star who was expected to "make it" end up at the bottom of the well? Rising Son tells the story articulately and hypnotically, chronicling all the highs and lows of Hosoi's life to reveal just what went wrong, but more importantly, what made him the most unique athlete in his field. I, for one, didn't know that he started his own skate team while everyone else skated for corporations. I also didn't know that he invented the "hammerhead" board design, triggering the rest of the scene to jump on the "customize your board" bandwagon soon afterward. And the list goes on and on. He epitomized old school skating's form and grace even as pros such as Tony Hawk started to rely on tricks, his wild fashion sense not only influenced other skaters, but musicians as well. And he was a loyal friend to everyone in the community, even as he himself started to descend into drug abuse. His story is one of dreams-come-true, heartbreak, adrenaline, and, of course, legend. Narrated by Dennis Hopper, Rising Son paints a complete picture that's almost too movie-like to be real.
Now out of prison and free of drugs, Hosoi has gotten back to pro skating whenever he's not doing pastor work at local churches. So not only is this tale exciting and engrossing, it's got a happy ending, too. You can't ask for anything better.