It’s hard to describe the feeling of seeing this guy skate for the first time. I must have been around 13 and it would have probably been at Johan’s house when we got Santa Cruz’s “Streets on Fire” movie. His part of the movie still stands out as one of my top five skateboard parts of all time. He instantly became a hero of mine and still remains so to this day. I owned a couple versions of the board above – even that exact colorway.
“Natas Kaupas (born 1969) is a semi-retired professional skateboarder of Lithuanian descent. 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 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. In 1985 Natas turned professional and he became one of the more popular figures in skateboarding. Natas was among the first to incorporate handrails into street skating.
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.” – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natas_Kaupas