Airborne Again

HANGTIME: Hosoi poolside in Huntington Beach, California     Photo: Chris McPherson

HANGTIME: Hosoi poolside in Huntington Beach, California

Skateboarding

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CHRIST HAS RETURNED. No, not the carpenter—the skater. Christian Hosoi ("Christ" to fans) is resurrecting his career at 37. After a drug-fueled meltdown that ended with four and a half years in prison, the legendary aerobat is taking his first high-profile steps toward reentering the competitive fray—touring with skate exhibitions, organizing contests, and commentating at August's X Games.

During halfpipe skating's mid-eighties heyday, Hosoi was Tony Hawk's archrival on deck and at the bank, but he went on a self-destructive warpath when street skating took over, succumbing to a crystal-meth habit. He was busted for smuggling the stuff in January 2000. A free man since June '04, the Dogtown native has sworn off his outlaw past and dedicated his life to the original Christ; in July, he became a minister in his church. But should we have faith in this evangelist on wheels? Sponsors like Vans and Independent Trucks think so, as does the Quiksilver skate team, which signed Hosoi in March. "Now that Christian's sober, I think he'll be doing the best skating of his life," says team manager Mark Oblow.

But Hosoi isn't crushing the competition yet. Sidelined with a knee injury, he says it won't be long before he descends on the pro circuit in a bid to reclaim his rep. Until then, he says, "I just want to spread the word of God and skate everything in sight."

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