||This article needs additional citations for verification. (July 2009)|
|Type||Privately held company|
|Key people||Mark Gonzales, Steve Rocco, Jason Lee, Guy Mariano, Bill Weiss, Ronnie Creager, James Craig|
Blind (stylized as bLind) is a skateboard company founded by Mark Gonzales in 1989 under Steve Rocco's World Industries distribution company. Gonzales has since left the company and today the company continues under the ownership of Dwindle Distribution. The company produces decks, wheels, soft goods and accessories. The company's logo for many years was a stylized grim reaper.
Upon the brand's launch, Jason Lee moved from World Industries to Blind as its second professional rider (as founder, Gonzales was the team's first). Blind then signed Rudy Johnson and Guy Mariano, both from Powell Peralta, and Jordan Richter as its vert rider. Danny Way rode for the company for a very brief period of time, and a signature skateboard deck, featuring a pink-colored car, was designed and released for Way.
Blind released its first video in 1991, entitled Video Days, which featured full-length parts from Gonzales, Mariano, Richter, Lee, and Johnson. The video was filmed and directed by Spike Jones and is considered one of the most influential skateboarding videos of its era. While filming a second full-length video, Plan B director, Mike Ternasky reviewed progress footage and came to the conclusion that Tim Gavin and Henry Sanchez, also members of the Blind team, were the only two riders who had produced footage of a high enough quality—the release of Tim and Henry's Pack of Lies followed in 1992.
By 1993, the team had grown, with the formal inclusion of new professional riders, Gavin, Sanchez, Brian Lotti, and amateur skater, Jeron Wilson. Lotti, who formerly skated for Planet Earth (founded and owned by professional skateboarder Chris Miller), was recruited by Lee and filmed several tricks for the opening section of Tim and Henry's Pack of Lies. However, in a 2010 interview with the "chrome ball incident" blog, Lotti expressed regret in regard to his departure from Planet Earth, a company that he described as a "small and tight family": "I loved skating with everyone, but I wasn’t always psyched on the whole World Industries thing. I definitely felt at times like I blew it with Miller and wished I would have just stayed on Earth… I was really involved there. I had a good thing going."
The company later signed Ronnie Creager from Foundation Skateboards. In late 1993, Johnson, Mariano, Gavin, and Wilson left Blind to join the newly formed Girl Skateboards, and Gonzales had also left by this time, along with Lee—the latter proceeded to form Stereo Skateboards with Chris "Dune" Pastras, another sponsored skateboarder. Wilson later revealed in a January 2013 interview for the "Weekend Buzz" segment of the internet-based RIDE channel that a transfer tape of skateboard footage, originally filmed for a Blind video that was never produced, is in existence but has not been released by Socrates Leal (skateboard videographer)—footage of Wilson and Mariano, among other skateboarders from the early 1990s, forms the tape's contents.
During the early 1990s, Blind was one of the largest skateboard brands in the world, due to board sales and sales of Blind's jean products. During the 1990s and early/mid-2000s, additional team members, such as Kris Markovich, Jake Duncombe, Jake Brown, Corey Shepard, Grant Patterson, Danny Cerezini, and Jani Laitala were recruited by brand manager Bill Weiss. Vert (skateboarding on a vertical "u"-shaped ramp) skateboarder Rob Loirifice was recruited to the team in 2008 and Cerezini was assigned professional status in the same year.
In 2010, the company celebrated its 21-year anniversary and returned to using the original logo. The company also began to reissue a series of boards from the early 1990s that were based on original shapes—reissued boards included Mariano, Way, Johnson, Gavin, and Sanchez designs.
Former Plan B rider, Sean Sheffey, Filipe Ortiz, Sewa Kroetkev, TJ Rogers, and Yuri Fachini were recruited to the Blind team in the latter half of the first decade of the 21st century. In an official statement released in April 2012, Brown's departure from the Blind team was announced and a comment from Weiss was included: "Jake Brown is one of the most dynamic, positive and genuine skateboarders I have ever met and been lucky enough to call my friend and I wish him nothing but the best on his next adventure. I cant wait to see what Jake’s got up his sleeve next.” (Brown had been a team member for eight years). Cerezini then parted ways with Blind in October 2012.
In 2012, team members, Kevin Romar (who moved to the company in 2009) and Morgan Smith were both assigned professional status. On March 22, 2013, at the Tampa Pro contest in Tampa, Florida, US, Ortiz was presented with his inaugural Blind signature model skateboard deck to signify his introduction into the professional ranks of the company—the graphic on the skateboard deck features a handcuffed mummy figure with the facial section of the bandages peeled away.
In April 2013, Duncombe left the company to ride for Life Extension (LE) Skateboards and announced the news on his Instagram profile: "Just want to thank everyone at blind for helping me out for all those years and putting up with my shit and to let everyone know LE is my new family!!!" A photograph of Duncombe with a bottle of beer that is above a forum post that reads "LE, where formerly great pros go to die" served as the official press release for LE.
Team (as of April 2013)
- Ronnie Creager
- James Craig
- Morgan Smith
- Cody McEntire
- Filipe Ortiz
- Kevin Romar
- Sean Sheffey
- Sewa Kroetkov
- TJ Rogers
- Yuri Facchini
Former team members
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- skateboardermagazine (2). "RAIDERS OF THE ARCHIVES: DAVE SWIFT Pt. 3 of 3" (Video upload). YouTube. Google, Inc. Retrieved 10 February 2013.
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- chops (6). "chrome ball interview #11: brian lotti". the chrome ball incident. Google, Inc. Retrieved 23 March 2013.
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- This Week on ESPN Action (ESPN, 28 September 2009)
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- "Lavar McBride". 48 Blocks. 48 Blocks. Unknown. Retrieved 23 March 2013.
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- Video Days at IMDB
- What If? at IMDB
- "skateboarding dvd video review: Blind's What If - Special Edition". Skate The Planet. Skate The Planet. 2003–2013. Retrieved 23 March 2013.
- Jølba Review: The Blind Video by Jørgen Johannessen (Tacky, 2009)
- The Blind Video at IMDB
- This Is Not A Test at IMDB