Chad Muska (born May 20, 1977) is an American professional skateboarder and entrepreneur. In November 2012, Skin Phillips (Editor-in-chief of Transworld SKATEboarding magazine) described Muska as “one of the most marketable pros skateboarding has ever seen”.
1994–1996: Maple, Toy Machine, Welcome to Hell
Maple was Muska’s first-ever skateboard deck company and he appeared in the 1994 video Rites of Passage. At the time, Muska was homeless and living on the beach, with no conception of what the future held for him.
After parting ways with Maple, Muska joined the Toy Machine, which was prestigious among skateboarders at the time. Muska became a leading member of the Toy Machine team, facilitating Elissa Steamer’s sponsorship, and was a team member alongside Ed Templeton, Mike Maldonado, Jamie Thomas, and Brian Anderson. According to skateboarding journalist, Adam Salo, in 2009: “In ’95-’96, Toy Machine was one of the most respected and emulated teams in skateboarding.”
Muska filmed for the Welcome to Hell video, a 1996 project primarily driven by Thomas, and he was expected to receive the highly regarded last part of the video. However, his part was only shown at the premiere and was omitted from the public video release due to an altercation with both Templeton and Thomas—a skull was placed over his face in the video case artwork.
1997–2005: Shorty’s, Fulfill the Dream, Circa
Following the issues at Toy Machine, Muska joined the then-fledgling Shorty’s brand. Muska was chosen to develop the Shorty’s skateboard deck division and the company thrived as a result. He is popularly known for his part in the 1998 skateboarding video Fulfill The Dream, and he appeared in a total of four videos for the company.
Muska was sponsored by the éS skate shoe company (manufactured and distributed by the Sole Technology, Inc. company) in the late 1990s. When the “éS Muska” signature model was released in 1998, it was a popular product in the footwear market, as Muska was an especially popular figure in skateboarding culture during the late 1990s (the shoe was designed with a hidden “stash pocket” in the tongue of the shoe for particularly valuable items). Muska explained in 2013 that he was heavily involved with every aspect of the shoe’s design, which was the way he continued for his subsequent skate shoe designs, regardless of the brand.
Following his time with éS, Muska joined the C1RCA footwear team in 1999 as the first pro skater for C1RCA and released numerous signature shoe models with the brand. Models such as the “CM901″ and “CM902″ were promoted in magazine advertisements, and Muska also continued with the “hidden stash pocket” design feature that he utilized at éS. Thomas was also with the brand at this time, but the previous issues at Toy Machine had been resolved by this time. Muska parted ways with Circa in 2005.
2006–2012: Element, Supra, Skytop (I, II, III)
Muska then left Shorty’s in early 2006, and selected Element Skateboards as his next skateboard deck sponsor in December. Following his move to Element, Muska stated “I am very excited about joining the Element family! I look forward to this new chapter in my skateboarding career… And you can bet on it that we are going to make some big things happen.” The company officially welcomed Muska with an advertisement in 2007 that featured a photograph of Muska performing a frontside flip on a street-based transitional structure—the byline for the promotion read “Welcome To The Family”.
After he left C1RCA, Muska subsequently founded the Supra footwear company in 2006 with Angel Cabada from One Distribution (owner of the KR3W apparel brand). The Supra footwear brand has been endorsed by Muska since the company’s inception, and Muska’s first Supra signature model—the “Skytop”—was one of the first team rider models that was released. The first Muska Supra advertisement appeared in 2006, while the inaugural official Skytop promotion appeared in 2007. Muska has designed the signature shoe models, the Skytop, “Skytop II” (2009), and “Skytop III”; a low-cut version was also released. All of the Skytop designs were created in collaboration with footwear designer Josh Brubaker and were initially perceived as outlandish by Muska’s peers in the industry.
2013–present: “Transitions” art show, Skytop IV, Supra Mexico store
In addition to introducing a new version of the Berrics indoor skateboard facility in early 2013, Muska appeared on numerous occasions as a referee for the sixth installment of the Battle at the Berricscontest series, run by The Berrics website.
Muska partnered with the New Image Arts gallery to open his first-ever solo art exhibition, titled “Transitions,” in June 2013. Muska explained:
… I set up this space. It was sort of a concept space for me and just a trial thing to bring a lot of people together from skaters to photographers, to artists and designers, directors, architects – I mean all these different people in one space and I wanted to encourage creativity. There was a big 20ft wall with supplies and it was a non-stop changing graffiti wall. So anybody that came I encouraged them to paint, interact with each other, have a good time and then my work was being created there and displayed there as well and people came and saw that and asked me to do the show, and that’s how it happened.
The press release for the show explained the title’s origins: “The title of Chad’s first show … is a word that not only stems from the curved surfaces skateboarders ride on in pools, parks, and ramps, but it’s also a reference to the skateboard lifestyle which is defined by movement from place to place, and from one state of mind to the next.”
Supra expanded into Mexico in 2014, and Muska opened the brand’s store in Mexico City in November/December. He designed a custom sculpture to reflect city’s history—titled “El Sol, La Luna, Y Más Allá,” the sculpture was installed as a permanent fixture in the store.