Natas Kaupas – Award

The fire hydrant. That’s pretty much all I really need to say. Or maybe that and ollieing the cow at Ohio Skateout. Or maybe those two and the world’s first rail 50-50 down the extremely soft metal Westwood Federal Building ten-stair in ’88. I mean, he railslid it the same day Mark Gonzales did in ’86-the first legitimate handrail trick known to man. Johnee Kopp slammed, then Natas went back for the clean boardslide to fakie in Streets On Fire (’89). Frontside wallrides at Kenter? Only about five feet high. He kickflipped the 3rd Street gap in Santa Monica in ’89-Vision and the rest of us still thought launch ramps were the ticket. Maybe I’d mention all those and then just touch on the Jeep roll bar. Maybe I’d even mention the fact that he won the first pro contest he entered on a handmade board in Willamette, Oregon in the rain. Am I going too fast for you, young reader? Because I thought you might also like to know that Natas was the first dude ever to ollie up a picnic table in ’88. He then unveiled the first frontside flip ever on a quarterpipe during a demo on the infamous ’89 Cadillac tour. Legend? Are you kidding me? “God” would be a more appropriate description. With all due credit to the other big innovators (Mullen, Hawk, J. Thomas), very few approached their innovations as casually and spontaneously as Natas. Gonz, Dressen, Hosoi, Gator, Hensley, Duffy, Penny, and now PJ Ladd … there was something about the give-a-f-kness in the way they could invent a trick without even thinking about it beforehand, creating every trick in the book while riding to the store for a sixer. Natas didn’t need to come back from his broken ankle in ’91. He’d already done everything that could be done on a skateboard before you were born. And he’s pretty much done everything you can do off of one since. Captain, there ain’t no doubts … in your abilities.-Mackenzie Eisenhour