By Andres Pachon
A. Pachon, a journalist and skateboard addict, is a full-time writer for SHIT® Magazine.
Full Name: Mark Gonzales, AKA ‘Gonz’
Sponsors: Adidas Skateboarding, Supreme, Krooked, Spitfire, Pro-Tec y Bones Bearings
Born in June 1968 he is a professional skateboarding and artist. He’s known as one of the fathers of street skateboarding and was even named the most influential skateboarder of all time by Transworld magazine in 2011, he started skating at the age of 13! Two years later he got his first sponsor which was Alva and from there, successes started lining up for The Gonz. He started developing a fairly new approach to skateboarding and stood away from ramps and vert skateboarding which was the main discipline practiced at the time.
Gonz made the cover of Thrasher magazine by the age of 16 riding one of the boards from his sponsor and performing a trick called ‘bean plant’. He went pro shortly after joining Vision skateboards and alongside “Gator” made it one of the most solid and top-selling brands of the industry in the ’80s
He was sponsored by various companies in the ’80s and early ’90s but always managed to end in not good terms and always attempted to start his own brands and find his independence, there was even a lot of controversy due to the fact that he used one of his signature board designs he had with Vision in his company at the time ATM Click, a move that he made a few times with other signature models and other companies as well.
Influence in Skateboarding
Have you heard of “The Embarcadero” in San Francisco? If you haven't, it just happens to be one of the first and most popular street skateboarding spots in California which this dude helped shape and get across, there is even an obstacle that was named after him! Being the first one to ollie from one wall down to another platform, this particular piece The Embarcadero is now known as the "Gonz Gap" this goes even beyond having a shoe with your name or appearing in a video game (which he also did) can you imagine having a spot named after you?! Some crazy SHIT® right there.
Another big thing this guy did was back in 1986 when he was the first person to skate handrails! That's right kids! So you might see now how big of an influence this guy had in contemporary skateboarding! Without him a lot of this SHIT® would not exist! Well not really(HAHA) some other guy could have also done it but bottom line, he was the FIRST to do so! VIVA THE GONZ!
The Art Of The Gonz
He has revealed that he is not only a skateboarder but also a poet and author, some of his work includes Social Problems, High Tech Poetry, Broken Dreams, and Broken Poems.
He is also an avid creator of independent “Zines' which he has published as a complete collection in his book “The Collected Fanzines” in which he worked along with famous indie cinema director Harmony Korine that also gave him the chance to have a brief cameo in one of the scenes of his most famous film “Gummo” released in 1997.
He has also helped create and paint some of the murals from the brand Supreme and even designed sculptures for their locations in New York, San Francisco, London, Paris, Tokyo (Shibuya), Nagoya, and Osaka.
It is really difficult to make a complete list of all of the skateboarding videos he was a part of, but we will leave you with a brief selection of the best features from all of the ages of the Gonz:
Sure -Grip Beach Style (1985)
Thrasher (magazine): Savannah Slamma (1987)
Real: Kicked Out Of Everywhere (1999)
Thrasher (magazine): Rocket Science (2004)
Transworld: The Cinematographer Project (2012)
Adidas : "Away Days" (2016)
There you have it my dudes and dudettes! Mark Gonzales is and will always be a figure to look up to and from the SHIT® team we give him a big shout out since without him this SHIT® would not be possible!
Read also: Aaron “Jaws” Homoki: King Of The Road