Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


In-Depth Feature:
Signs You Were An Early ’90s Skater

Via Jenkem Magazine

As skateboarding entered the ‘90s things were pretty exciting. The rawness of H-Street’s Hokus Pokus and World Industries’ Rubbish Heap marked a shift from the super slow-mo, skitted out, big production Powell Peralta videos–a needed and necessary change. It wasn’t that Powell’s videos were bad or lacked innovation, they were just too Hollywood. Skateboarding was small, street skating was emerging as “the” discipline, and while none of the kids in your cul-de-sac were as fluid as Hensley or could smith grind a rail (who cares if it was a 3-stair) like Jeremy Klein, no one wanted to “run through a graveyard” anymore.

Boards started to have bigger noses, wheels were getting smaller, and shapes more functional. Anchored by Mark Gonzales, Natas, TG, Matt Hensley, and Vallely, a new crop of innovators were being showcased. Templeton, Howell (both Ocean and Andy), Chatman, Sheffey, Carroll. Progression arrived monthly in your mailbox, the pages of Transworld, Poweredge, and Thrasher documenting landmark moments and the unthinkable.

Then, well… all of a sudden shit got weird. Natas got a serious injury, Gonz quit skateboarding to pursue art, Hensley went full skinhead pool playing EMT, while the rest of us dressed in colorful denim often capped off with jester hat beanies. Yeesh. As we all know the skating wasn’t that impressive either, but it had to happen. Everyone–pro, am, and unsponsored–was hovering inches above the ground, catching up with the progression, before things could go back to normal in the mid-‘90s. This period might have lasted for a shorter time period than most high school jail sentences, for those of us that didn’t drop out, but it felt like an eternity.

If you survived the weirdness, part of you is an early-‘90s skater, whether you want to acknowledge it or not.



Mentioning the “big pants, small wheels” thing at this point is pretty cliche, but we cant’ make one of these lists without addressing it. I know it seems really obvious that having 38MM wheels wasn’t going to be helpful to anyone, especially when cruising around a brick plaza or anywhere on earth where the pavement is cracked, but that was what people wanted. There wasn’t a massive backlash, people weren’t outside of the Spitfire factory picketing to bring big wheels back or anything. We foolishly wanted “bearing condoms” as some referred to them, to facilitate the awful tricks we were learning. Give it up to Real Skateboards for at least selling a six pack of tiny wheels at the same price as their competitors were selling four. That was polite. Now go watch Henry Sanchez in “Pack of Lies” and try to tell me small wheels held him back. For real, if you never rolled around Embarcadero or a similar brick spot on a pair of semi-flat spotted small wheels with a dumb name like “Bean Cups” let me explain what it was like: shitty. You were rattling and vibrating so much that it felt like you’d lose a filling and your bolts would loosen up after 15 minutes. But wait, if you managed to noseslide to pivot grind, back to a noseslide, back to something else, before falling off the ledge to a dead stop, it was so worth it…. maybe.


Let’s start with the video that defines everything good about the early-‘90s. Video Days had a lot of the same intentions that the big budget Powell videos did, with slo-mo tricks and skits, but filmed on a clunky VHS camera and with the production budget a fraction of the worst B-movie ever made.

The result was inspiring, motivational, and often confusing. Were these guys serious with the afros and side burns? Why was Guy wearing a Powell “Supreme” T-Shirt? Did Jason Lee cut his pants too short on purpose… and why did he cut them in the first place? Did anyone notice that his part started with him skating vert? Could you imagine if Marc Johnson started his Pretty Sweet section skating a ramp? Exactly, it wouldn’t happen. Gonz wearing an Israel shirt, “No war for heavy metal,” jazz soundtrack, people “dying” in the end. Are they really getting drunk? Is any of this legal? And for most kids of us suburb dwellers, what the fuck was Benihana and why would I wanna go there?

An encouraging start to the ‘90s, but quite deceptive as we wouldn’t see full parts from many of these icons for years to come.


With tricks being invented at warp speed, there would be a lot of confusion about what the hell they were actually called. Naming a fakie nose grind a “chink chink” sounds semi-racist, but it’s an homage to the sound of a truck quickly hitting the metal coping of a ramp. Once it was moved to the streets, the name just became a fakie nose grind, but mentally it’s still a chink chink to some. Ollie north, slide-and-roll, helipop, flower flip, things weren’t “uniform” about naming, so shit was all over the place.

This is how my dad thinks. There wasn’t a Burger King in the city he grew up in, and when the BK Lounge moved in, they took over the space of a spot called Burger Chef. To this day he still calls BK, Burger Chef, but I know what he’s talking about.


When switch was introduced, it wasn’t cut and dry either. Mags would call out “opposite foot” or “switch foot” tricks. Sounds weird right? Oh it gets worse. Because you had a whole generation of groms learning how to skate swtich at once, most people looked pretty terrible learning. There were a few people with enough common sense to try to push with their back foot when skating switch, but what if an onlooker didn’t know and just thought you kind of sucked at skating? The solution… switch mongo. Jesus, some people would mongo the fuck out of every push just to announce, “Hey! When I manual for two inches on this 4 inch pad, it’s switch mannnnn.” Now picture said dude wearing a huge purple shirt and giant teal pants with legs the width of industrial pipes and performing a sketchy switch manual. Yikes.

For the rest of this awesome feature head over to Jenkem Magazine Now!



  1. Chuck Russell

    February 17, 2014 at 6:03 pm

    Cool. They forgot cargo pants and rear footed flip tricks though. And nose/boardslides with shuv-its out. lol

  2. Steven Chapman

    October 7, 2013 at 11:09 am

    btw. What about “one foot” ollies? 🙂

  3. Steven Chapman

    October 7, 2013 at 10:27 am

    Soooo good!

  4. Danisthebastard

    October 7, 2013 at 7:19 am

    Now go slappy a curb!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like


via Lazer Horse There’s nothing funny about death really. But there is a lot of certainty to it. There’s not a person who’s ever...

Black Metal

During the first year of CVLT Nation, I was turned on to this unreal band from Wales called GHAST. Their release Terrible Cemetery was...

Black Metal

More Chaos! More Fury! More Rancid Riffs! only begins to tell you how CVLT Nation’s Blackened Everything Vol. IX is going to get you...


By Sascha via Behold The Blessed Wax Trial – Moments Of Collapse LP, 1986 This is not a write up about the Straight Edge...

Copyright © 2020 ZoxPress Theme. Theme by MVP Themes, powered by WordPress.