As mentioned before on this very blog, Gaz Taylor was one of the local Coventry skaters who had a massive influence on me growing up – an all terrain shredder who would skate just about anything you put in front of him, and a genuinely nice chap as well. I’ve had plenty of sessions with Gaz, and way back when even filmed a full part with him, that I have since lost access to due to poor quality DVD-R’s. Having enjoyed reading what he wrote about the history of Coventry’s skate scene in his Skaters Who Shaped Us post, I was super stoked to see him return to the blog and write some stuff about his favourite pro skaters! – Ade
5. Matt Hensley
In the late 80’s when street skating started to boom, H Street was one of the leading companies. Matt Hensley’s parts in the old H Street videos were mind blowing for that time. He was one of the first to have a big bag of tricks with height, speed and style. Probably the first person I saw doing long lines of legit, difficult street tricks with ease. His mini ramp skills were outstanding too. A legit pro with great style. Anyone who hasn’t seen H Street’s Hokus Pokus should go and watch it on YouTube now. I was stoked to meet him at Radlands in the 90’s. A friendly helpful chap he was too: He helped me break into my Mum’s car after I had locked the keys inside.
4. John Cardiel
I always loved to watch this man skate. His hectic, balls out style is like no other skater. He was Thrasher Magazine’s Skater of the Year in 1992, and very well deserved it was. I always admired the fact that he would rip on any terrain, from curbs to vert ramps. There’s nothing like a good all rounder. I was shocked to hear about his accident that limited his skate career but after watching his part on Epicly Later’d, I realized that nothing is going to stop him.
3. Wade Speyer
No one skates as fast as this dude. Another all terrain ripper with a fast, explosive style. I remember seeing him skate street in some of the first 411 videos. His 100 miles per hour Frontside Bluntslides are embedded in my mind forever. Along with his fast, powerful lines around concrete parks, such as Burnside and Marseille. Back in the day when I worked at Ride, myself and Jim The Skin would watch his part in the Fox Air Raid video religiously.
2. Tom Penny
I first saw Tom skate at the old Leamington Boys Club ramps in around 1990. He used to get the train over from Oxford with his mates. He was only about 12 years old at the time. A tiny little kid, with an amazing talent for skateboarding. I remember him doing tricks that only a handful of top pro’s were doing in the videos at the time, like Impossible to Fakie, and One Foot Tailgrabs to Fakie.
Everything he did was with such effortless style, he made everything look so easy. A few years later I witnessed him dominate the Radlands contests. He never really seemed to be bothered about the results. Once he showed up, he took his run, then went home without sticking around to find out where he’d placed in the comp, only to find out later that he had won. It was so good to hear about him blowing everyone’s mind when he moved over to America with the Flip team. Not many people could pull that off. His video parts have always been outstanding ever since. Tom has been a massive influence to so many skaters world wide. What a dude!
1. David Gonzalez
Gonzalez has to be the skater that I like to watch the most these days. I love his fast fearless style and the way he commits himself to every trick, never seems to bail, slams and makes only. He makes everything look so rad, even just rolling down a hill. David was Thrasher magazine’s skater of the year in 2012. All his video parts and Instagram clips are so gnarly and his skate park lines are creative. He skates everything, huge rails, vert, street, mini ramps, parks, pools. You name it David rips it.