Per Nils Welinder (born April 17, 1962), is a Swedish professional skateboarder. He has the distinction of being the only person to have ever beaten Rodney Mullen in a professional contest.
Welinder was born at Täby, just outside Stockholm. In the 1980s, Welinder and Mullen were competitors in freestyle skateboarding, and Welinder regularly placed 2nd to Mullen's 1st. At a 1983 contest, Mullen (under psychological duress from his father forcing him to soon quit skateboarding, as well as being sick) skated uncharacteristically off and Welinder won.
Mullen retired for a year and was soon allowed to return to the scene, overshadowing Welinder and all the other freestylers, but Welinder consistently was the second most popular freestyler in skateboarding. In addition to his freestyle board model, Welinder also had a street model (which was unusual for a freestyler) and this board - with its well-regarded graphic and long nose - was one of the most popular among skateboarders for a few years. This was followed by an unusual, hybrid model of his in 1990 called the "Nordic Sperm", which also sold relatively well.
Welinder was featured prominently in the Bones Brigade videos "The Bones Brigade Video Show", "Future Primitive", and "Ban This". In January, 1992, he left Powell Peralta to start a new skateboard company, Birdhouse Projects, with fellow team member Tony Hawk as his partner and main attraction. As Tony Hawk began to achieve superstardom when skateboarding's popularity increased in the mid-1990s, Welinder became a very wealthy man.
In 2012, Welinder teamed up with longtime skateboard advocate Peter Whitley to author Mastering Skateboarding, which features high-quality full-color photo sequences of all the biggest tricks while spanning techniques and equipment for riders of every level.
Appearances in 1980s culture
Per Welinder was a stunt double for some of Michael J. Fox's skateboard scenes in the classic 1985 time travel movie Back to the Future. The year after, he played the part of "Per", a Venice freestyler, in the movie Thrashin'.