To skateboarders Chris Loarie is the villain. To everyone else, sick of the scratches and skid marks caused by boarders swooping over benches and handrails, Loarie is a hero, thanks to Skatestoppers, a simple invention that earned the Southern California entrepreneur more than $1 million the last two years. "I'm not against skateboarding," says the 34-year-old father of two. "I'm just helping people protect their property." Skatestoppers, thick metal or plastic brackets that are fixed to smooth surfaces, create speed bumps that foil skateboarders. "Chris Loarie is the bad guy, no doubt," says Eric Sentianin, managing editor of Transworld Skateboarding.

Loarie came up with the idea in 1998 after his brother Mike mentioned the mayhem skateboarders had caused outside a nearby church. Boarders have since sent him thousands of hate messages and even death threats. While Loarie finds the venom unnerving, skating guru Tony Hawk calls it misguided. "If he didn't [create] these, someone else would [have]," says Hawk. Then he adds, "But [they] aren't going to stop skaters."