On Saturday morning, a group of Dew Tour and Lauridsen Skatepark volunteers were invited to a private event at Subsect Skateshop in Des Moines as a thank you for their efforts all week, featuring a meet-and-greet with skateboard legends Brandon Novak and Christian Hosoi, Punk Rock & Paintbrushes founder Emily Nielsen, and artists Paul Kobriger and Blair Alley.
Novak opened the event by sharing his deeply personal narrative of surviving the ravages of heroin addiction and, beginning in May 2015, turning the story of his life into one of redemption.
The former pro skater and Viva La Bam co-star celebrated 7 years of sobriety in May 2022, partly inspired by reading Christian Hosoi’s book, Hosoi: My Life as a Skateboarder Junkie Inmate Pastor while he was in an inpatient recovery treatment center for the 13th time in his life. He now works as a recovery advocate, and recently opened his fourth Novak’s House recovery residence in Wilmington, Delaware to help others win out over addiction.
Novak said Hosoi was an early supporter of Novak’s House, using funds from a Punk Rock & Paintbrushes art auction as a way to give Novak’s project a boost.
“I just celebrated seven years of continuous sobriety and that all came from me believing in someone else and for someone else recognizing the behavioral change taking place in my life and reaching out to me to say, ‘Hey, I believe in you, I want to support your cause because I see what you’re doing on this earth to make it a better place. How can we work together to create a better tomorrow?’” Novak said. “Now I’m blessed with the ability to to be reunited with the people that believed in me before my addiction robbed me of my life. Now skateboarding is back in my life, and I’ve never loved it more.”
Following Novak’s introduction, Hosoi also spoke about his own fight against addiction, the five years he spent in prison because of it that effectively ended his career as a competitive pro skater, and his own redemption arc.
“Don’t think for one minute that you’re not important, or that you can’t make a difference that can change somebody,” Hosoi said, wiping a tear from his eye after hearing in great detail about the pivotal role he and his story had played in Novak’s recovery. “Quite frankly, I didn’t even know all that. But what I do know is that I want to make a difference and I want to be a part of the journey of people’s lives.”
In addition to sharing tales of recovery, Hosoi addressed a group of young skaters, mostly girls, in the shop for the event. He has been a leader in sponsoring young women on his Hosoi Skateboards team, including skaters like Dora Varella, Karen Muto, Sota Tsuji, and Kihana Ogawa, and has been among the first companies to promote team riders to the pro ranks with signature pro model decks for Kody Tamanaha and, most recently, Jordan Santana.
“I’ve been a huge supporter of women skateboarders since Cara-Beth Burnside, you know, and we had women’s skateboarders at Marina del Rey skate park that my dad managed back in 1979 to 1981. I grew up with women skaters around me, people like Cindy Whitehead. All these girls that were just, you know, they were at it, but it was such a small group,” Hosoi said. “So when it came to these girls starting to skate and starting to really put it out, I was like, ‘I’m sponsoring these girls,’ These are girls that have given their life to skateboarding, and I think they deserve having signature models.”
Hosoi said he marvels at how quickly the culture of women’s skateboarding has grown, and how rapidly the level of skating has risen in recent years.
“You’ve got girls that are super young – literally Sky Brown just won the Dew Tour and she just turned 14! This is an insane moment in time for the women in skateboarding, so it’s important for me to be a part of that support and to be a cheerleader for them, and to be able to facilitate the culture for the future girls as well. I want to make it so that they can have a career, they can be professional, they can live off of skateboarding, and so that they can build their culture.”
For more on Punk Rock & Paintbushes, and to purchase art and art books by musicians and pro skateboarders, visit PunkRockArt.com. To support the Novak’s House Scholarship Fund, with 100 percent of proceeds providing resources to men in recovery in the Novak’s House network of sober living homes (or to inquire about seeking addiction recovery services), visit the Novak’s House website.