Pro skateboarder Christian Hosoi has long been one of the more controversial figures in the sport. Born in 1967, he was known by the nicknames “Christ” and “Holmes” during his childhood and adolescence.
Among pro skateboarders, Hosoi was one of the youngest to start skateboarding, at the age of five. Already by this age, his idols were skateboarding veterans like Tony Alva and Stacy Peralta, who were at the center of 1970's skateboarding culture. Christian’s father, Ivan “Pops” Hosoi, became the manager of the Marine Del Ray skatepark soon after his son began skateboarding seriously. Christian would later quit school to spend all of his time at the skate park, developing his skating skills. His first major competition was the Van’s Offshore Amateur State Finals in California, where he placed in the top 5 of the boys 11-13 division in 1980.
While still classified as an amateur, Christian was sponsored by Powell Peralta, a top name in the sport. Just a year later, he left Powell Peralta, as they would not allow him to turn pro. He then joined Dogtown Skateboards, one of the original names in the sport. Unfortunately, they went out of business shortly after he joined. At the age of 14 in 1981, he finally turned pro, sponsored by Sims Skateboards.
Once he turned pro, Hosoi became a top competitor in the world of vert skateboarding, joining popular pros of that era like Steve Caballero and Mike McGill. His major competition wins began in 1985 and lasted through 1988. He would eventually develop a rivalry with fellow pro skateboarder Tony Hawk. In the 1980s, he and Hawk would become known as the top names in the competitive skateboarding industry.
While Hawk is known for his technical ability when performing difficult tricks, Hosoi is known for a graceful style and unique flair. Hosoi is credited as the inventor of the Christ Air and Rocket Air tricks, and is also known for his huge aerials. At one point he was the world record holder for aerial height on a skateboard.
As a pro skateboarder, Hosoi earned major endorsements from companies like Converse, Swatch. Several ‘Christian Hosoi Pro Model wheels have also been released. In 1984, Hosoi founded Hosoi Skates, selling a very popular skateboard.
By the early 1990s, the world of skateboarding had turned its attention to street skateboarders. As a vert skateboarder, Hosoi found himself winning competitions less and less often. After being involved with a series of failed skateboard companies, he faced bankruptcy, as well as a growing addiction to drugs. He stopped entering competitions, and even declined an invitation to the very first X Games competition, then known as the Extreme Games. Charged with trafficking meth in 2000, he served four years in prison, and was released in 2004.
While in prison, he married his girlfriend, Jennifer Lee, and became a born-again Christian. Today, Hosoi and his wife have two sons, and Christian has earned his high school diploma, since he had dropped out to devote more time to skateboarding at his father’s skatepark. He lives in Huntington Beach, California, long the center of skateboarding culture. Hosoi has resumed his skateboarding career, taking 1st at the 2009 X Games 15 “Skateboard Park Legends” contest, where he was invited to compete as a well-known name from the history of the sport.