The Christian Hosoi story

Profile of: Christian Hosoi, the “Michael Jordan of skateboarding”

faith_hoisoiAt a time in the 1980’s when skateboarding was exploding, two young athletes led the pack – Tony Hawk and Christian Hosoi. As the sport of “vert” skating was evolving, Hawk and Hosoi were pushing the limits, soaring higher, farther and faster. Competitions generally boiled down to a two-man face-off where jaw-dropping stunts re-wrote the record books nearly every weekend.

Two decades later, the Tony Hawk brand is on everything from skateboards to shoes, Game Boys to national tours. Christian Hosoi, once called the “Michael Jordan of skateboarding”, has found his way – by God’s grace – back from the abyss of drug addiction and a stretch in federal prison to a new role as pastor, evangelist and, yes, professional skateboarder.

Named for Fletcher Christian, the famed mutineer, Hosoi was anything but a rebel growing up.

He was so perfect we thought there was something wrong with him,” says his father, who introduced him first to surfing, then to skateboarding.

By age 12, he was the top amateur in the nation: at 14, he turned pro. Fans who revered him as god-like nicknamed Christian “Christ,” and the young superstar accommodated them by inventing his signature trick – the “Christ Air” – which mirrored the image of Christ on the cross.

Christian, and his Christ Air, was on the cover of every major action sports magazine before he was old enough to drive. Pulling in $250,000 a year backed a rock-star lifestyle and confirmed Christian’s celebrity status. He plunged into a world where there was no hope, no purpose, only the relentless search for satisfaction.

“I couldn’t find it in success, I couldn’t find it in money, I couldn’t find it in girls and relationships, I couldn’t find it in business,” he says. “Finally, I couldn’t find it in drugs.”

Perhaps as a sign of what lay ahead, he entered into a series of failed business ventures and then, when the focus of skateboarding shifted from vert to street style, the bottom dropped out for a generation of athletes. By then, he had developed an addiction to crystal methamphetamine.

My addiction was to use crystal meth,” he says. “I wasn’t a drug dealer. I didn’t want or need money. Ultimately, I just wanted to party.”

In January 2000, Christian agreed to carry1½ pounds of the drug from California to Hawaii for a cut of the stash. He was arrested at the Honolulu Airport and charged with intent to distribute – a crime that carried a ten-year sentence. He was 32 years old.

There we no more strings to pull,” he says. “It was done. All the lines were cut. The key was thrown away. It’s time to wake up, Christian, and face the music. Now what was I going to do?”

Jennifer, his girlfriend at the time, now his wife, opened the door to a life worth living, even behind bars.

“I just told him that he needed to get a Bible and we needed to have faith in God,” said Jennifer. “Christian’s answer was ‘God? Babe, I need a lawyer.’

Just weeks after he went to prison, Jennifer’s uncle – Pastor Chris Swaim – called Christian and offered him an answer to what seemed like a hopeless dilemma. Jennifer was also on the call as the three prayed together.

He asked me if I had ever met Jesus Christ as my savior,” says Christian. “We were crying, bawling our eyes out, and all I remember was just asking Jesus to come into my heart.”

“From that moment, even though I was in prison it was like I was the freest man in the world. When I came from freedom to prison, it was like I came from prison to freedom.”

Christian and Jennifer married while Christian was behind bars. He was an exemplary inmate, earning his high school diploma and studying his Bible for hours each day. In 2004, a judge reduced his sentence by more than half and released him. In less than two years, Christian had been ordained as an associate pastor and resumed his professional skating. He organizes skate-nights for at-risk kids in the inner city, and shares his testimony on tour with the Livin It action sports tour.

“I’m a professional skateboarder. I’ve accomplished a lot of things and I’ve gotten a lot of fame and glory but nothing compares with being a child of God,” he says.

“That’s the miracle work of God…that he can take a guy like me, a pro skater who became a drug addict, and turn his life around. For me, that’s the evidence that God is so real, that he changed my heart…he changed my mind…he changed my life.”

Have you ever felt like you’re looking for meaning in all the wrong place? Are you circling round and round but still not finding happiness? Perhaps it’s time you asked Jesus to help you take stock of your life before a crisis hits. If you don’t know Jesus, we encourage you to pray the following:

Lord Jesus, I want to know you personally. Thank you dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life and receive You as my Savior and Lord. Thank you for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Take control of my life. Make me be the person you want me to be.

23 Responses to “The Christian Hosoi story”

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Sorry Kim, I am not sure who would carry a paperback copy. There is an e-book version of it on iTunes, but I don’t know if that helps.

  • Kim says:

    How can I find this in paperback form? We cannot send hard copy to jail. My son really needs to read this. Thanks for your help.

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Hi Sharon, have you been able to locate a copy of Christian’s book “Hosoi: The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of Legendary Skateboarder Christian Hosoi”? You can also view his story at

    How is your son doing? Will second stint in prison be a motivation for him to make changes?

    Let me pray for you: Lord Jesus, I pray for Sharon’s son. Speak to him clearly and help him to see how You can make a transformation of his heart. Break the hold that drugs has on his life and guard him from those who would try to draw him deeper into the darkness. I pray that he would be inspired by Christian’s story and follow hard after You. Be with Sharon as she helps point her son to truth and life. Give her words that will make the biggest impact on him, and give her peace knowing that he is in Your hands. Amen.

  • Sharon Brooks says:

    My son’s life has run parallel with yours and as he sits I. Prison for a second time on drug charges he asked me for your book.

  • Susan says:

    I would love to send your book to my son. Unfortunately, I can’t find it in paperback, which is what is required at his jail. I know he would like the book, and maybe he could open his heart to the possibility of accepting God into his life. Is there any other literature that I can order to be sent to him?
    Thank you for your story.

  • Alfred says:

    Hi Darrell, Yes, it’s cool that God is at work in the hearts of people! I too have a story of how God lifted me up, and I think that the farter a person has fallen the higher he will allow God to lift him, for God will only do as much for us as we allow Him to do. Does it surprise us that we will not accept any help until we recognize our need for a Savior?
    I pray that all who read this will look for true freedom that can be found only in Christ Jesus.

  • darrell a says:

    I watched the documentary, and thought it was goin to end tragically, and was surprised it didn’t. Cool.

  • Shelley says:

    Dear Father God.

    Lord I lift anyone going through this situation in there lives that they will turn to You and let Jesus run there life instead of themselves. In Jesus Mighty name amen

  • I haven’t seen the movie, my son was given the book, Hosoi, My Life as a Skaterboader, Junkie, Inmate, Pastor. By my brother who sees an interest in my son Chad. I’m concerned for Chad very much and I hope this is the website to go to for Spiritual Outreach and Prayer.
    We would like to attend your fellowship groups.
    You can email me the info. I appreciate all you been through and I’m glad you’ve survived it all through God as your mentor. I hope to have the same for my son as well.
    Thank you & God Bless You

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Hi Andre, I don’t understand Spanish but I was able to get a translation of your comment, “Am I a teenager here in Brazil, in a Christian church, trying to see how drugs destroy the lives of everyone around us. Seeing testimonies like this makes me very happy to see that there is a God’s purpose for each of us. God bless you immensely Christian Hosoi.” I am glad to hear that Christian Hosoi’s story is an encouragement to you. Make sure you share the link with others so they can also be impacted by his testimony.

  • André Santos says:

    Cuido de adolescente aqui no Brasil, em uma igreja cristã, vemos como as drogas tentam destruir a vida de todos ao nosso redor. Ver testemunhos como este me deixa muito feliz, ver que há um propósito de Deus para cada um de nós. Deus o abençoe imensamente Christian Hosoi.

  • […] which places the “higher power” up front in artist/skateboard communities. Christian is a great example for this, as his “Rising Son” documentary told his rise and fall.  […]

  • jacob says:

    *comment removed* Please refrain from attacking other commenters.

  • deric williams says:

    i used to come to your house and skate the ramp,back in the day,im glad you found god, i as well went through alot ,and ended up working for the cartel and was living in mexico,until igot caught at the u.s. border,and i was facing life in prison,im living proof that good always ,will prevail over evil…you are a true inspiration,my brother and im glad you made it back from darkness..god bless.and take care…your brother in christ…deric

  • Treva says:

    I watched the documentary last night called “Rising Son” and found out about this amazing and gifted skater named Christian Hosoi. I find it ironic that his name is Christian and he went by the name Christ and in the end of his saga he wound up turning to his name sake (Christ) for guidance and renewal in faith. I found it hard to watch this young man turn to meth for inspiration and energy when that drug is the antichrist. In the battle between good and evil…….Good always wins! I hope any meth addict who watched the documentary, or those who read these testimonials, finds the strength to kick that evil habit. Love on….Skate on….Live on…..
    Bless you Christian for sharing your journey with the world!

  • leo says:

    su testimonio impacto mucho en mi vida, como dios usa a personas como su esposa para llegar al camino. dios es lo mas grande que le puede pasar a la gente. escuche de el cuando vino a buenos aires argentina con steve caballero. que sigan bien que dad god los re bendiga.
    leo de san rafael mendoza argentina

  • Jewelz says:

    GOD is no respecter of person, what he did for, in and through Christian he can do for you , just call upon Him- blessings J

  • Joe Gruber says:

    Check out more of Christian Hosoi in a reality TV show called The Uprising. To watch online go to

  • John Martin says:

    Just watched Rison Son & had to check out the web. I have never skated, well I take that back, I tried it. It didn`t work out. We have all had set backs & I just wanted to tell you, your a good man & I would put you up there with Andre. You took what God gave you & used it to reach other people in a positive way & that my freind is a special gift. God Bless You.

  • cmo says:

    Christian’s got a great new reality show, you can watch it online at It’s all about skate ministry check it out!

  • maricor yang says:

    Sometimes in our lives God gave all dreams we want in our lives it seem its sky the limit that we have in our career, but those achievements that we have sometimes we forgot God but God is merciful and forgiving; He never say “NO” to all His children specially to those who wants to submit fully to God, In all trials that christian’s life He learned many things,people around him but in the end only God will save us and gave Him new life to begin in His steps that God will be the driver of His way in Peace; for Gods love is forever and never changed. as it said
    Proverbs 15:33 The fear of the Lord teaches a man wisdom and humility comes before it also ssaid Proverbs 3:3 Let love and faithfulness never leave you bind them around your neck write them of your heart. for this God teach the way you should go….God Bless :)

  • Paul Henrich says:

    Last night I watched “Rising Son”, It was an totally amazing and very moving story. I am not a skater, but have always respected and and loved to watch it. I knew nothing of Christian Hosoi. After watching this story, I hope everyone could see this.
    In 1994 I lost my sister, USA gymnastics team member Christy Henrich. No matter how talented and bullet proof we feel we are, life can really change quick.
    Today I run my own Martial Arts school and love it very much, but Christian’s story made me want to be closer to GOD than I am.
    Mr. Hosoi Thank you for that, and Im glad you are still with us!

  • I saw a recent television program about Christain Hosoi and I was so amazed how this young mans life was completly turned aroung for the good by Gods love.I am looking forward to showing this article to my 10 year old grandson and hopefully the program will aire again. Bless you, Deborah

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