I had been meaning to follow up on this one since it was brought up in the Origins of the Noseblunt column with Mark last year (I got you Quartersnacks). Back when we first did the Origins of the Stalefish, Gonz had sent me a pic (below) of a Polaroid he had found of an early noseslide on a ledge in the Vision days (circa ’88). While the noseslide might seem somewhat obvious and pedestrian in our day and age it is important to remember that boards themselves had no true noses until around ’88/’89.
From what I understand today through discussions with Jeff Grosso and Mark, it was Neil Blender who first started messing around with nosestalls on ramps and curbs. Mark saw Neil doing them, and since Mark was already toying with switchstance, he immediately saw that everything involving the nose (nollies, switch, noseslides, noseblunts, etc…) was about to become the next big craze. After drilling his truck bolts back for a bigger nose and noselsliding ledges in the ’80s, Mark had one of the first noseslide photos on a rail (one where he’s actually sitting on it rather than just dinging it) as a sequence in his June 1990 Poweredge interview. He would go on to seal the deal with his noseslide down the Wilshire 10 in Video Days (91).
Having skated alongside and been mentored by Gonz during that era, and with his own noseslide (tailgrabbed if you please) on a rail in the Video Days‘ intro and his Blind ad, Guy Mariano seemed like the best candidate to bare witness to it all. “Use your nose, that’s your tail going switchstance.” —Millencolin (1993).
“Looking thru stuff found a Poloroid of a urly noise slide. Inspired by Neil blenders noise stalls and noise Jabs on planters n curbs.” —Gonz
Guy on Gonz:
ME: Were noseslides on rails just coming in when you got on Blind? Obviously you had the ad with the one from Video Days early. What was your understanding of the origins of noseslides?
Guy: I've spoken about this before but when I got on Blind, Mark was not only an innovative skateboarder but he was changing the product. At that time he was drilling noses back on his board to be able to noseslide longer, and have more area to do noseblunts, noseslides, even just switch tricks off the nose and nollies. He wanted to utilize the nose the way people hit the tail. It may sound obvious today but it took someone like Mark Gonzales, who doesn't just watch what other people do but has a vision outside of what is known and says, "Why not?" It was obviously also because Mark was skating switch. He was on Vision but he was already doing switch ollies and switch tailslides.
He sent me a photo he had doing a noseslide on a pretty tall ledge on a Vision board.
Guy: I remember him specifically telling us at one point that he wanted to sit on noseslides longer and we were like, "Yeah, we already do that Mark. We do them frontside and backside." And Rudy and I would do like our little poke into the curb and bonk it. We'd get maybe a two-inch slide with that bonk. Mark was like, "No, like this." And he jumped into this curb and slid—like four or five feet!" Rudy and I just looked at each other right then like, "Whoa. That is gonna be it. People are all going to do that." We knew right away. That's what it was like skating with Mark Gonzales.
Guy continued: Sometimes he'd be trying a trick and because you had never seen anybody do it, it just seemed foreign and kind of wacky. Maybe too much of a circus trick. But then you would see him make it and immediately you knew—this dude is on to something. Even some of the stuff from his Real parts, where he lets the board go under the bar and he goes over and all that. I would still think like, "Okay, is this just some weird kooky Mark Gonzales stuff?" But low and behold you wait a few years and… the type of skating Mark Gonzales has done over the years is exactly where skateboarding is today. Everybody does the hippy jump thing now. Everybody does a frontside invert. And it's all because Mark Gonzales stayed this true original. He never let vert die. He never let freestyle die. He always kept it awkward. He always showed us what was possible on a skateboard and what was next. Like nobody else. Yeah he invented noseslides. He kept the no comply alive. He kept eggplants cool. He's everything.
A loop of Mark’s noseslide down the Wilshire Ten—pretty much the first legit noseslide on a longer rail. Footage: Spike Jonze. Video Days (1991). Coffin sold separately.