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12 Latinos that Made History with Skateboards

Latino skateboarders have been killing it the last few years: Leo Romero, Vincent Alvarez, Stevie Perez, Furby, the list goes on. But it’s nothing new – Latino skaters have been influencing the skate scene since its resurgence in the ’70s. Here are just a few of the many Latinos who put it down.

The Eccentric Genius: Mark Gonzales

In the ‘80s, Mark Gonzales was the “Mexican kid with crazy, rad style.” Now he’s one of the most influential street skaters of all time — one of the first skaters to ride handrails, “The Gonz” is known for his childlike curiosity and ingenuity. While other skaters nail down tricks for videos, Gonzales, a poet and artist, appears to be painting the streets with his board.

Now pushing 50, Gonzales still skates with the energy of a twentysomething:

Mark Gonzales hippie jump
Credit: adidas Skateboarding / YouTube

The Magnetic Enigma: Paulo Diaz

Paulo Diaz was the pied piper of L.A. skating in in the ‘90s. An immigrant from Guatemala, Diaz was so popular with skaters in his ‘hood that he was dubbed L.A.P.D (Los Angeles Paulo Diaz). Diaz skated for Stacy Peralta’s Bones Brigade before joining the influential Chocolate team. He was on the verge of skate stardom when he abruptly gave up skateboarding to pursue art and to travel the world. Diaz, who later admitted to having drug problems, recently returned to skating in Supreme’s Cherry video.

The Guys Who Put “Street” in Street Skating: Fabian Alomar & Joey Suriel

Fabian Alomar

#KROOKED #TheGonz #fabianalomar #supreme @supremenewyork @javihandz #Acting #sk8lifers #Meisner @dannyminnick ?

A photo posted by FABIAN ALOMAR (@actorfabianalomar) on

In the ‘90s, the Menace team was like the N.W.A. of skateboarding. Fabian Alomar, who grew up in a family of gang members, tripped people out with his skills on a board. He made a name for himself on Menace’s 20 Shot Sequence skate video in 1995. Alomar, however, got caught up in the street life and spent eight years in prison for robbery. After being released from prison, Alomar started working as an actor.

Joey Suriel

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#JoeySuriel 📷 by #RickKosick

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Joey Suriel, instantly recognizable with his long curly hair, was another street-smart member of Menace in the mid-90s. Along with Alomar, Suriel showed that you could grow up in the ‘hood and still become a pro skater. He continues to leave his mark in skateboarding as a brand manager for Diamond Supply Co.

The Immigrant who Made Skating His Home: Chico Brenes

In 1985, Chico Brenes immigrated to the United States from Nicaragua. He was just nine years old. Soon after, he began skating on the streets of Daly City in Northern California. He turned pro at 16, joining World Industries before moving on to the respected Chocolate team. In 2009, Brenes opened a skate shop in Nicaragua’s capital city of Managua to provide affordable skate equipment to kids from his native country.

READ: Sports Reporter Beto Duran is L.A.’s Man of the People

The Pioneer Turned Entrepreneur: Stacy Peralta

The Rockstar on a Skateboard: Tony Alva

Tony Alva brought swagger to the Z-Boys. Alva, one of the top skaters of the ‘70s, believed he was the best and wasn’t afraid to say it. He looked like a rockstar and lived like one, too. Alva was one of the first to perform frontside airs in a pool, considered the precursor to modern vert skating. He was only 19 years old when he turned his back on major skating companies to form his own, Alva Skates. Today, it’s the norm. Back then, Alva was the first.

The Skater Who Rode to His Own Tune: Tommy Guerrero

In the ‘80s, everyone wanted to be in the the Bones Brigade. A crew skaters who rode for Stacy Peralta’s Powell-Peralta brand, the Bones Brigade was led by a young star named Tony Hawk. One members of the crew, Tommy Guerrero, mixed things up with his distinctive street style. Guerrero became a hero for city kids who couldn’t afford to ride pools or install vert ramps in their backyard. Guerrero is now an accomplished musician – he’s released five albums and several EPs.

The Manic Hispanic: Ray “Bones” Rodriguez

Let’s see… when your signature deck has one of the most iconic graphics in skateboarding history, and you’re the guy who the Bones Brigade was named after, you’re a big deal. Rodriguez, who grew up in Los Angeles to a Mexican father and a Malaysian mother, was also a punk rocker at heart. He was a member of Manic Hispanic, a cult Orange County punk band that played Latino-ized covers of popular punk tracks.

The Venice Beach O.G.: Jesse Martinez

Martinez grew up around gangs and violence in Venice, California. All he wanted to do was skate. When he was 6 years old, Martinez’s older cousin gave him a skateboard he found in a stolen car. Fast forward years later and Martinez was riding for Powell Peralta. Over the years, Martinez’s love for skateboarding in his hometown has never wavered: for the last five years, he cleans and maintains the Venice Beach skatepark in skating shape.

READ: This is Why Alex Torres Wears a Funny-Looking Hat

The Guy Who Skated Just Like You: Ben Sanchez

Ben Sanchez shot by @tobinyelland who has an amazing interview up over @chromeball check it out now. #BenSanchez #chocolateskateboards

A photo posted by Supra Distribution Ontario (@supradistont) on

In the mid-90s, Ben Sanchez kept it old school. As a member of the Chocolate team, Sanchez was surrounded by superstars – Eric Koston, Guy Mariano – who were pushing the limits of street skating. In comparison, Sanchez looked like a regular guy who was lucky to be on the team. Despite his flaws, Sanchez became an underdog of sorts – the kid who skated just like you and your homies. In the late ‘90s, Sanchez quit skating and became a mechanic.

The Prodigy Turned Superstar: Paul Rodriguez

Paul Rodriguez was once a precocious skater with a famous name. Now, “P-Rod” is arguably the most recognized skateboarder today. He’s been featured in multiple commercials, including one with Kobe Bryant, and is the first pro skater to receive a shoe deal from Nike. The son of Mexican-American comedian Paul Rodriguez, P-Rod has captured eight X Games medals, including four for gold. Rodriguez competed for Girl and Plan B and recently launched his own skateboarding deck company called Primitive Skateboarding.

Which other Latino skateboarders influenced you? Tell us in the comments below. 

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Your Survival Guide to VidCon

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Your Survival Guide to VidCon

VidCon
VidCon / Facebook

First, Congrats! You Got a Ticket!

VidCon Survival Guide
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Lucky you! You got a ticket before they sold-out. Now you don’t have to sit at home watching on your iWhatever crying.

Register as Early as Possible


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The lines are gonna be looooooong.  Get it together early: go online and print out your QR code to make registration go as quickly as possible.

Skip the Cafecito, Go Red Bull

No sleep at VidCon
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You’re not at VidCon to sleep are you? Nope, sleep is for the people who couldn’t get a ticket, so get thee some Red Bull and vámonos!

READ: Camila Cabello of Fifth Harmony Skipped Her Quinceañera to Become a Pop Star

Your Badge Is EVERYTHING

Once you get your badge, treat it with the respect it deserves because if you lose it you may not be able to get a replacement and then everyone will be like, “so sad, too bad,” but not really mean it.

Have a Plan of Attack

Made my schedule for #VidCon. Who else is going? Let’s hang! ?? A photo posted by angelasauceda (@angelasauceda) on

No excuses on this one. The VidCon agenda is online. Plan out your schedule ahead of time so you don’t run around like a chicken with your head cut of going, “OMG! Where am I going? What am I doing?”

Follow Anyone You Care about on Twitter

Room changes? They happen and sometimes the only way to stay updated is via Twitter.

Bring Juice for Electronics

Of course you will want your cell phone and camera, but do NOT forget to carry your chargers and back up batteries with you because what if you run into someone IMPORTANT and can’t take a selfie? That would be tragic.

READ: Latino Superheroes Flex their Muscles at Chicano-Con

Dinero, as in Cash, is a Must

Do you want to buy merchandise in the expo hall or overpriced food? Then you best have some cash on you because at VidCon cash is king and plastic not so much.

Be Prepared for Tears and Squeals

Some fans just can’t hold back the tears when they get to see their favorite YouTubers in the flesh. Bring tissue if you think this might be you.

You Will Need Snacks and Water


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No, for reals you don’t want to get HANGRY and dehydrated while waiting in lines or listening to panels. Pack some protein rich snacks and water in your bag because you will need them.

Prom Attire is Necessary

Throwback to #vidconprom. One of my favorite parts of VidCon. Everybody just let loose! I love the youtube community. A video posted by Camilla Iluna (@camillailuna) on

For the most part you can wear whatever you want and anything goes, but keep in mind that there will a VidCon Prom the last night where “formal attire is encouraged but not required — though some form of attire is definitely required.”

The Day after VidCon is Disney Day

Are you at Disney Day? Come to the castle for the group picture

A video posted by @vidcon on

Credit: vidcon/Instagram

Put on your VidCon T-shirt and head on over to Disneyland the day after the conference. This year between 1:00 and 1:30 pm inside California Adventure in the Paradise Park area at Disney Day VidConners will meet for a group photo.

What do you think is the most exciting part of VidCon? mitú wants to know. Share in the comments below.