10 of the Best Skaters from Outside the USA
Think USA dominates the global skate scene? These 10 will make you think again
At first, all pro skaters were American or at least lived in the US, but as skateboarding grew this changed. In the 80's there was a major surge of talented skateboarders from Europe, South America and Australia who were on the same level or in some cases were better then top US skaters.
As a result, American skate mags began to feature more international skaters, who bought new styles and innovative new tricks to the table. This coupled with a rise in international skate competitions and worldwide skate tours helped transform skateboarding from an American phenomenon to a global sport.
Have a look at this list of the top 10 best non US skaters.
[part title="Ben Raemers"]
The first UK skater of his generation to land the cover of Thrasher. Essex lad Ben Raemers has been flying the flag for the UK skate scene for a while, his electric talent and stupendous bag of tricks is matched by a unique personality and true character.
Learning the ropes from hard nuts like Mark Munson and Carl Wilson, Raemers' efforts in jam, comp, bowl, vert ramp, bank, curb and pool have seen him elevated to one of the most talked about and exciting skaters outside the U.S. Recently elevated to the full Enjoi team as an AM, Raemers has a long future ahead.
Ben Raemers Video:
[part title="Madars Apse"]
The world’s most famous Latvian skateboarder, hell maybe even the world’s most famous Latvian, Madars Apse has been surgically attached to his skateboard for a decade.
Since 2001, he has travelled the world with his smooth style, his guitar and a shock of blonde hair, enjoying considerable competitive success — including coming second place in the first ever Vans Downtown Countdown event in 2009.
Now based in the street skating haven of Barcelona, Apse still makes heads turn whenever he skates, and has set about becoming a mentor to a new generation. And, with the release of his new web series It’s A Mad World, he’s just set to get even bigger.
Madars Apse Video:
[part title="Jesus Fernandez"]
First skating the streets of Madrid, then Barcelona, and then greater Europe. Jesus Fernandez used the motivation he gained from watching mid ‘90s videos to put his own signature twist on skateboarding.
A move to LA helped his exposure where his magical ledge skills and the constant filming saw him signed to the Lakai and Chocolate teams.
He has since become a crucial and consistent team member, his stream of vids always being a highlight. Immensely talented, truly innovative and overwhelmingly positive, the kid from the streets of Madrid has made an indelible mark on the world of skateboarding.
Jesus Fernandez Video:
[part title="Lucas Puig"]
It’s hard to separate the Frenchman and his sponsor Cliché, the two being together since the start of Puig’s career more than 11 years ago. As his team manager said, "His skateboarding's unique, and we're just stoked that he's, just, kept by Cliche—he loves what we do. We've been lucky enough to have him and he's fucking on fire!"
His video part in the inaugural full-length Lakai video, 'Fully Flared' — in which he starred with compatriot JB Gillet — further cemented his credibility outside Europe, while signature shoe deals with Adidas, and TV work in commercials mean Puig is a skater whose exposure is finally matching his talent.
Lucas Puig Video:
[part title="Youness Amrani"]
Originating from Belgium, Youness grew up riding at a local skatepark owned by his mother to become one of the most versatile and electric individuals in skateboarding today.
He possesses almost inhuman board control and technical ability, shown when he burst on the scene at just 18, winning Red Bull’s 2010 Manny Mania AM competition.
His all-round skill though, is incredible and he is as happy to throw down on a gap or stair set as hit the ramp. While Belgium isn't known for its skate heritage, right now it has one of the most exciting and promising skaters in the world.
Youness Amrani Video:
[part title="David González"]
At just thirteen years of age, the Colombian Gonzalez came to the attention of Flip skateboards at the Tampa Am contest.
Seeing the talent and potential that would make Gonzalez one of the most recognised names in skate, he has repaid their faith, still representing the company and with a few signature model decks to his name. In September 2012, Thrasher magazine featured Gonzalez in a profile and video, called 'Possessed to Skate', describing his "timeless transition skills" in "one of the best parts we've ever seen."
'Possessed to Skate' was also it’s most popular clip of the year, further cementing González as one of today’s most high-profile skateboarders.
David Gonzalez Video:
[part title="Pedro Barros"]
Until Pedro Barros arrived on the skate scene, padless back-to-back 540s in the middle of flawless runs in cement bowls were simply not done.
They are now. God knows what will come from the Brazilian star in the future, given that his private skate compound on the remote island of Florianopolis features a massive cement bowl, a proper vert ramp and a mini. No skater has ever had mastered transition skating this young.
There's always going to be guys that take skating a little further, but very few can make it leap to places beyond our imagination. Pedro is that guy for this generation.
Pedro Barros Video:
[part title="Luan Oliveira"]
When you are beating legends like Nyjah Huston and Paul Rodriguez, and when you are the only skater to ever win the Tampa Am comp two years in a row, you know the future isn't bright, it's blinding.
Luan Oliveira is the latest from the Brazilian skate production line. His style, fearless demeanour and technical trick combos are now making him a contender for any podium in event he competes in.
Add his jaw dropping part in Flip Skateboard’s video 'Extremely Sorry', and you'll see why many people see Oliveira as the very future of the sport.
Luan Oliveira Video:
[part title="Bastien Salabanzi"]
Salabanzi’s story is one of the great tales in skateboarding. He turned pro back in 2000, riding for Flip, his natural talent seeing him getting huge exposure on both sides of the pond.
However, by 2006, dropped by his sponsors he returned to France, where apart from some web clips he was off the skate radar.
That all changed in 2012 when he flew back on to the scene, winning the 2012 European Street League selection, then coming second in the second Street League Skateboarding stop in Kansas City.
Bastian was back, and is now a major threat at SL, proving that talent and style never fade in one of the great skate comebacks of all time.
Bastien Salabanzi Video:
[part title="Dustin Dollin"]
Aussie Dustin was known as much for his pure natural skate talent as he was for his hard partying lifestyle and raucous character.
Transworld Skateboarding wrote, “For the original demon spawn, infamy may well be an understatement. Having outlasted pretty much every other Pissdrunk at the bar, and without once slowing down on the skate front, Dustin’s rampage has been of biblical proportions since tearing into the scene back in '97." Props.
His Youtube channel pissdrunx4ever hosted his classic 7 Day Weekend series and featured guys like Mark Gonzales, Lee Ralph and Steve Olson. Still alive and still skating, Dollin’s pure talent and larger-than-life character means he made a mark on skateboarding in more ways than one.