Thursday, November 30, 2006

/// NATAS IS IN!!!

We've just confirmed another killer artist for the show, Sweet!!!

Natas Kaupas (born in 1969) is a semi-retired professional skateboarder of Lithuanian descent. He grew up in South Santa Monica, California in the area known as Dogtown. He is often referred to as one of the first true professional street skateboarders.

His career began in 1984 when he was discovered by Skip Engblom, who ran the skate company Santa Monica Airlines. SMA became his sponsor and soon thereafter, he appeared on the cover of Thrasher magazine doing a wall ride. In addition to creating the ollie wall ride, Natas got a lot of attention for taking the flatground, street ollie to new heights; he was the first to ollie a standing trash can on flat ground. [1] In 1985 Natas turned professional and he became one of the more popular figures in skateboarding. Natas was the first skateboarder to incorporate handrails into street skating. He attempted the first boardslide ever in a pro-am contest in Oceanside, California. He was unsuccessful; but the very attempt changed skateboarding forever. The federal building handrail was the first legitimate rail in skateboarding. In filming for Streets on Fire, Natas created a trick no one has been able to duplicate. He spun 540 degrees on a fire hydrant and pivoted out. It is now known as the "Natas Spin".

Such was Natas's popularity and impact on street skating that in 1990, he became the first skateboarder to have a professional model shoe with Etnies. In 1991 Natas left SMA to start 101 skateboards. At the time it was a popular company but after a few years Natas moved on and the company died.

In 2004, Natas started a new own board company, Designarium under the manufacturing and distribution of NHS. Natas' art background led him to focus Designarium on artists rather than pro skaters. He has commissioned artists to interpret his original Santa Monica Airlines Panther graphic (originally drawn by Kevin Ancell) into their own vision. Each board is produced in limited edition runs.

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