“They called him Christ and his legions of disciples would follow him anywhere.”

So begins the incredible story of Christian Hosoi, one of the world’s top athletes during the 1980s, a skateboarding icon ranked amongst the likes of Tony Hawk, Jay Adams, and Tony Alva. A professional by age 13, he was known for his rock-star flair and celebrated as the best vertical and aerial skateboarder in the world.

“Christian was my biggest competition and when he was on fire, he was unbeatable,” recalled Hawk, who wrote the book’s foreword.

Hosoi was at the top of his game until a crippling drug addiction brought him crashing down.

In “HOSOI: My Life as a Skateboarder Junkie Inmate Pastor” (HarperOne), the skateboarding legend lays it all bare — growing up amidst the burgeoning “sidewalk surfing” culture at the Marina Del Rey Skatepark, a meteoric rise to fame as a teenager, becoming the highest-paid skateboarder of his time, enjoying the drug-fueled celebrity lifestyle, and the arrest that led to a new reality, behind bars.

In 2000, Hosoi had already endured years out of the spotlight, struggling with a growing drug addiction, when he was arrested and convicted for interstate drug trafficking. Mulling a devastating 10-year sentence, he made a life-changing phone call to his now-wife Jennifer. She guided him toward Christianity — the faith that sustained him in prison — and she welcomed him into his new life when he was released nearly five years later.

Since then, he has risen to prominence in the skateboarding world once again, winning the 2009 and 2010 X-Games Legends Competition. Hosoi is now the associate pastor at The Sanctuary, which describes itself as “the raddest church” in Huntington Beach, and lives in Southern California with his wife and four sons.

“HOSOI” chronicles the rise, fall, and return of a legend. From his early days of skateboarding celebrity to his time as an inmate to his resurgence on the skating scene, his story is not only a tell-all about fame, fortune, and failure — it’s also a testimony to the power of faith and the gift of change.

Hosoi will speak Tuesday, July 10, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Crawford Family Forum, 474 S. Raymond Ave., Pasadena. He will be joined by punk-rocker and entertainment lawyer Joe Escalante, host of “Barely Legal Radio,” and Chris Ahrens, surfing and skateboarding writer and co-author of Hosoi’s memoir. The event is currently at capacity. For more information, contact Forum Coordinator Jenny Smith at jsmith@scpr.org.

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