Natas. Inspired by Max's recent blog.
Gonz. The Ashtray in Eugene Or.
Meeting your heroes can be a good or bad experience. I've been lucky enough to meet a lot of the pro skaters I looked up to when I was a kid. Some broke my heart to see them be total kooks, while others blew me away at how cool and down to earth they were. I still freak out when I see Lance Mountain's # on my phone- I'll always just be a fan when it comes to some people. After reading Max's recount of skate camp and meeting Natas, I remembered the first time I really met Mark Gonzales. One day at Pulaski Park in DC we saw the Gonz skate down the street by himself. We all freaked out and followed him, about a block behind him, and just watched. None of us had the balls to say anything, let alone go up and skate near him. This was '86? And that was it- until '91 when I was working in the darkroom at Thrasher. I walked out of the darkroom one day to find Mofo talking to Gonz. I just stood there and stared. Mofo turned towards me and told Mark that I worked there and rode for Dogtown. I think I just waved- I didn't know what to say. About an hour later Mark came back to the darkroom and handed me this piece of yellow paper. "Hey, if you ever go pro, this would be a cool graphic." That's all he said, turned and left. Speechless. To this day I still don't know Gonz all that well, but him handing me that yellow paper has to be one of the raddest things that's ever happen to me in skateboarding.