The 1980s were heavy times for skateboarding and TransWorld was there to document it all. From the birth of street skating to the demise of vert, it was an incredible decade. Everything exploded. Permanent damage was done. And whether you see the 80s as skateboarding's Golden Age or you just look back laugh, you need to know your roots. Yesterday begat today—get it?
Pro Spotlight: June 1986
"I think Ronald Reagan likes me."
Neil Blender is a giant in skateboarding. To try and stack up a pile of accolades about how great he was or is won't do. He invented many tricks, like the Lien-to-tail (hence the spelling, Neil backwards), the Gay Twist, New Deal, Wooly Mammoth, Good Buddy, Fastplant, Jolly Mambo and more. He pushed existing tricks to the point of no return—like the Crooked Cop of his backside airs, any invert in the book and lip tricks galore. His lazy yet precise style put the Blender signature on any move he made. But maybe as much as the tricks and style, his influence came from his honesty—his attitude. In his Pro Spotlight in 1986, the enigmatic Blender laid down the tenets of the skate antihero by just answering honestly to some questions from Stacy Peralta. No ego, no self-promotional boners. His vibe was— do your own thing even if you don't know what you're doing; ignore static, seek truth. Beyond the skating, his interests spilled over into visual arts and music. And it's his art that is most celebrated all these years later. It's fair to say he was among the first real (ahem) skate-artists, elevating a visual aesthetic from within skateboarding that was true only to its source—the skater's eye. And like his art, Neil Blender's skating was up front, gave a peek into unfettered possibility—of riding a transition, hitting a lip or even just slapping a curb. Read this interview from 23 years ago and glimpse one of the most influential interviews TransWorld Skateboarding ever published.—Joel Muzzey