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Mark Gonzales established the skateboard brand Blind (often spelled bLind) in 1988, and World Industries, owned by Steve Rocco, is responsible for its distribution. Gonzales has since departed, and Dwindle Distribution now runs the show. Company output includes decks, wheels, soft goods, and accessories. For a long time, a stylized grim reaper served as the company's logo.
From 1989 to 1993, Formation, Video Days Skateboard Video, and Gonzales leaves.
To mock Gonzales's former sponsor, Vision Skateboards, the name "Blind" was created. After Gonzales established the company in 1989, Jason Lee joined the team as a professional rider after making the switch from World Industries. Later, Blind added Jordan Richter as its vert rider and Powell Peralta's Rudy Johnson and Guy Mariano as team riders. In honour of Danny Way's brief time riding for the company, a signature board with a pink car was created and made available to the public.
With full-length parts from Gonzales, Mariano, Richter, Lee, and Johnson, Video Days was Blind's debut video, released in 1991. Spike Jonze shot and directed the video, which is widely regarded as a landmark in the history of skate culture. Plan B director Mike Ternasky reviewed footage from the first full-length video's production and decided that Tim Gavin and Henry Sanchez, both members of the Blind team, were the only riders who had produced footage of a high enough quality; Tim and Henry's Pack of Lies was released the following year, in 1992.
In 1993, the squad expanded with the addition of Gavin, Sanchez, and Brian Lotti as professional riders and Jeron Wilson as an amateur skater. The skateboarder Lotti, formerly of the Planet Earth team (owned by pro skateboarder Chris Miller), was enlisted by Lee to film a few tricks for the beginning of Tim and Henry's Pack of Lies. But in an interview with the "Lotti lamented on his "chrome ball incident" blog that he had to leave Planet Earth, a company he called a "small and tight family," because of the "incident": "I loved skating with everyone, but I wasn't always psyched on the whole World Industries thing. There were times when I thought I had blown it with Miller and wished I had stayed on Earth instead. That's where I got my hands dirty. I was in a good place."
Ronnie Creager, formerly of Foundation Skateboards, was later signed by the firm. Johnson, Mariano, Gavin, and Wilson left Blind in late 1993 to form Girl Skateboards. By this time, Gonzales had also left Blind, and Lee had formed Stereo Skateboards with Chris "Dune" Pastras. In a later interview for the "Weekend Buzz" segment of the YouTube-based RIDE channel in January 2013, Wilson revealed that a transfer tape of footage, originally filmed for a Blind video that was never produced, is in existence but has not been released by videographer Socrates Leal, including footage of Wilson and Mariano, among other team riders from the era.
21st anniversary, new recruits, "what if," and the years 1994-2010
Sales of both skateboards and Blind jeans propelled the company to international prominence in the early '90s. Brand manager Bill Weiss brought on board players like Kris Markovich, James Craig, Jake Duncombe, Jake Brown, Corey Shepard, Grant Patterson, Danny Cerezini, and Jani Laitala in the '90s and '00s. If you can't find a citation, Rob Loirifice, a skateboarder who specialises in vert (skateboarding on a vertical "u"-shaped ramp), joined the team in 2008, the same year that Cerezini was promoted to the professional ranks.
What If?, the second full-length video by Blind, premiered in the beginning of 2005 and featured contributions from Creager, Markovich, Craig, Sheppard, Brown, Duncombe, Aaron Artis, Evan Schiefelbine, Patterson, and Carlos Ruiz.
With contributions from Morgan Smith, Craig, Cerezini, Patterson, Brown, Lorifice, Creager, Filipe Ortiz, Duncombe, and Laitiala, the company's third video premiered in 2009.
As part of the celebrations for its 21st anniversary in 2010, the company went back to its original logo. It also started reissuing a bunch of boards from the early '90s that were based on the original shapes of people like Mariano Way Johnson and Gavin and Sanchez.
From 2010 onward: Damn..., Creager leaves, and New Experts Are Hired
In the latter half of the first decade of the 21st century, Blind acquired the services of a number of former Plan B riders, including Sean Sheffey, Filipe Ortiz, Sewa Kroetkov, TJ Rogers, and Yuri Fachini. This Is Not A Test, the company's amateur video, premiered in 2011 and featured amateur team riders at the time (Krotetkov, Kieran Reilley, Rogers, Smith, Ortiz, and Kevin Romar). The video included Cerezini as a "guest pro."
Brown's departure from the Blind team was announced in an official statement released in April 2012, which included a comment from Weiss: "I hope the best for Jake Brown, one of the most exciting, optimistic, and genuine skateboarders I've ever had the pleasure of knowing and calling a friend. It will be exciting to see what Jake has planned next. Brown had been with the group for eight years. As of October 2012, Cerezini was no longer working with Blind.
Kevin Romar (who joined the company in 2009) and Morgan Smith (who joined in 2011) were both promoted to professional levels in 2012. The graphic on Ortiz's first Blind signature model skateboard deck features a handcuffed mummy figure with the facial section of the bandages peeled away, signifying his introduction into the professional ranks of the company and his debut on the Tampa Pro contest in Tampa, Florida, US, on March 22, 2013.
In March of 2013, Cody McEntire, a skateboarder from Texas and a former member of the Think Skateboards team, joined the Blind crew. McEntire detailed the steps he took to join the Blind team in a "Roll Call" interview with TransWorld Skateboarding.
Because of our collaboration on the video for "Digital Smoke And Mirrors," [Blind brand manager] Bill Weiss and I have been acquainted for some time. The fact that he was always down to go skating was a huge deal for me. I decided to give him a call one day and let him know how pumped I was about Blind and if there was anything we could do with it. In the end, we were able to talk things out after waiting a few weeks. The speed with which it all transpired was incredible. Thankfully, everything fell into place, and here I am, exactly where I wanted to be.
Duncombe announced his departure from the company on Instagram in April 2013 so he could skate for Life Extension (LE) Skateboards. "Just wanted to let everyone know LE is my new family!!!" "Just wanted to thank everyone at blind for helping me out all those years and putting up with my shit." 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. After further reflection, in December of 2013, Duncombe elaborated: "On a couple of occasions, I considered leaving, but I stayed out of loyalty. Of course, at the end of the day, fresh faces are welcomed and seasoned veterans are purged."
After more than two years of daily filming, Weiss and English filmmaker Mike Manzoori finally released their full-length video Damn... on May 27, 2014. The video was shot all over the world, including in Barcelona, Spain, Toronto, Canada, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and Sacramento, California (USA), and stars Kevin Romar, Ronnie Creager, Yuri Facchini, Cody McEntire, Morgan Smith, TJ Rogers, Sewa Kroetkev, and Filipe Ortiz. On July 9, 2013, the Blind brand unveiled a new product line alongside a promotional video posted to its official YouTube channel. A new line of Blind skateboard decks, made from North American maple and resin glue, was advertised under the slogan "A damn good deal!" and sold for $29.95.
Creager, a member of the Blind team for over 20 years, announced his departure in March 2014. Released in an official press statement on March 13th, Blind said: "Ronnie has given us so much over the years, and we will never forget him or the good times we've shared with him. All the best to Ronnie, and we hope to see more of his incredible skating in the future! Creager did not have a new skateboard deck sponsor as of September 28, 2014.
As a result of the late July 2014 upload of Rogers' "Recruit" video part to the Berrics website, the skateboarding community quickly elevated him to the "pro" ranks. Rogers signed a limited edition skateboard deck that Blind released, which was created in collaboration with the Berrics. In their first day of release, the decks were completely gone. On September 15, 2014, Blind dropped a two-part video featuring only Facchini and Rogers. Involvement from Manzoori was sought out once more for this venture, titled X2 Vision, and premieres were held in 18 cities around the world.
At a team competition held at the Lafayette skate park in Los Angeles, California, U.S.A., on September 22, 2014, Kroetkov was promoted to the professional level. New footage of Sewa shot on the streets was featured in a "Subject" segment posted to the Berrics website the following day.
Existing Team (at the time of this article)
Mikey Papa, Sora Shirai, TJ Rogers, Nassim Lachhab, Jake Ilardi
The Ex-Members of the Team
Watch the classic Mark 'Gonz' Gonzales section from the legendary Skateboard Video from Blind Skateboards - VIDEO DAYS!