By Dave Barton
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Legendary vert skateboarder Christian Hosoi started skating when he was just 5 years old, hanging out with some of the biggest names in the industry. Hosoi turned pro at 14 and, at one point, enjoyed an exalted rock-star status, with the talent, hair and wardrobe to match.
Hosoi, now 42, remains one of the most respected names in the skateboarding world and is a resident of Huntington Beach, where he has lived for 17 years.
Though he spent the previous years as a Los Angeles Dogtown native, he has many fond memories of Orange County—skating at Big O Skate Park in the late ’70s and in backyard pools with Barrett “Chicken” Deck (now his business partner).
But for Hosoi, the one thing that most represents Orange County is The Wife—specifically, his wife, Jennifer Lee, whom he met in 1998.
“I was completely addicted to drugs from 1995 through 2000—just head-cut-off, running around in the streets, completely oblivious and shut out from the skateboard world and friends and family and everything. And I met her, and we really kinda fell in love,” Hosoi explains.
“We met at her apartment in Buena Park, actually. She saw my picture in her friend’s photo album and said, ‘I want to meet that guy.’ So I came over, and I never left. And we’ve been together ever since,” he says, letting loose what can only be described as giggling. “Pretty amazing.”
The couple married soon after. In 2000, Hosoi was arrested for attempting to traffic almost 1.5 pounds of crystal meth from Los Angeles to Honolulu and was sentenced to prison for 10 years, of which he served four. He credits Lee and finding God with getting his life back together.
“She waited for me, which was a miracle. You know what I mean? She stood by my side, rallied the skateboard industry and [went to] all my friends to raise money for attorney fees,” he recalls. “It was an experience you just don’t volunteer for.”
Now, he has chosen to raise his family in Huntington Beach. “Pretty major deal being that I’m from LA and grew up in Hollywood,” Hosoi remarks. “I was born and raised in Venice Beach skateboarding, and to come out to OC and to fall in love with [Lee] and the town and everybody in it . . . ”
Hosoi says he’s especially enamored with the county now that he’s a pastor at Sanctuary Church in Huntington Beach. He also recently placed first at the X Games Skateboard Park Legends contest; is continuing to film his reality show, The Uprising; and is getting ready for the November opening of what’s promised to be one of the best indoor skate parks in the world—the Christian Hosoi Skate Park in Anaheim Hills.
“The stars all lined up,” he says. “I’m very content, and I’m focused on wanting to impact this world and make a difference and just be a light to everybody.”