Through the years with Ryan Sheckler
Through the years: Ryan Sheckler
Plan B Skateboards pro Ryan Sheckler is one of the most recognizable names in skateboarding history. Since turning pro and making his first X Games appearance in 2003 (when he became the youngest athlete to ever win a gold medal at age 13) Ryan has landed on the podium 7 times, had a hit MTV show ('Life Of Ryan'), created the esteemed Sheckler Foundation, won numerous action sports awards, created his own contest series for Red Bull, traveled the world filming for his web series ('Sheckler Sessions') and dropped numerous legendary video parts. At age 27, he's and skating better than ever and shows no signs of slowing down. Take a walk down memory lane with Ryan Sheckler's long and storied career.
Born on a skateboard
Can you imagine this brace-faced 13-year-old being a competitive threat to anyone? That's exactly what happened in 2003, when Ryan Sheckler (then age 13 yrs. 7 mos.) made his X Games debut and faced off against legends such as Eric Koston, Mike Vallely and Chad Muska in Los Angeles. Sheckler dominated them all, and in the process, became the youngest gold medalist in X Games history by winning Skateboard Park. People often joke that Ryan was born on a skateboard but they're not too far off the mark. Having first stepped on a board at 18 months and able to ollie at age 4, Sheckler had a dozen years of skating under his belt by the time he won X Games IX. He looked as natural and fluid on his board as any veteran in the contest.
Four short years after his first X Games and barely old enough to drive, Ryan Sheckler was a global phenomenon thanks to his top-ranked MTV show, 'Life Of Ryan.' For a skateboarding culture known for its low-key relaxed vibe, Ryan's TV show was as much a curse as it was a blessing. At the height of Ryan's MTV success, every movement caused a media swarm. Wherever Ryan went, television cameras and paparazzi followed. The constant demands of Hollywood sparked nearly a decade long mental downward spiral that would eventually lead him to enter a rehab facility in 2016.
Drama off and on the board
Reality television loves drama and 'Life of Ryan' had it in spades off and on the board. In 2008, with camera crew in tow to film an episode, Ryan narrowly defeated his then Plan B teammate Paul Rodriguez for X Games XIV gold in LA in front of a hometown crowd. Sheckler set the bar high with a 94 in his first run but then cooled off ever so slightly to give P-Rod a chance at the win. Paul came damn close with a 92.75 in his final run, but in the end was still a hair shy of beating Sheckler. The crowd and the cameras loved every minute of the back and forth slug fest.
Guts and determination
Guts is one thing about Ryan that Hollywood superstardom never watered down. From his infamous attempts to backside flip the massive El Toro stair set to his legendary kickflip over the Costco gap (see the footage of both in Ryan's "Skaters In Cars" video) to this huge kickflip off the roof to seal his gold medal at X Games XIV, Ryan Sheckler has always been willing to go bigger than anyone else.
This 2008 cover of The Skateboard Mag (now known as Berrics Magazine) is a testament to just how daring Ryan Sheckler was willing to go for skateboarding progression. A simple ollie off this 16-foot tall gap into a Costco parking lot would have buckled most skaters' knees. The fact that Ryan kickflipped it gave the entire skateboard world pause. Watch Ryan's episode of "Skaters In Cars" to get the first person feel of rolling up to this gap.
Be the change
For Ryan Sheckler, one of the most rewarding benefits of the newfound success and stardom he earned as a result of his reality TV show was the ability to give back to kids via The Sheckler Foundation. In the nearly ten years since creating The Sheckler Foundation, Ryan has empowered countless at-risk youths, children on the Autism spectrum, injured action sports athletes and kids in need to "Be The Change," and in turn, have their lives changed forever. Here, Ryan poses with Foundation board members mom Gretchen Sheckler-Hachee, and aunt Angelique Zaki at the opening of the S'klallam Tribe Port Gamble Skate park in Kingston, Washington, the first recipient of the Sheckler Foundation initiative.
Although Sheckler won X Games gold while filming his MTV reality show, 'Life Of Ryan,' he claimed the show was too much of a distraction from his skateboard to continue. He proved his renewed focus to the board by winning X Games XVI Gold in 2010, almost immediately after bailing on the show. The following 7 years since have produced some of the gnarliest skating of Ryan's career, including his time capsule 2014 Plan B "True" video part.
Love is real
"My love for skateboarding is real and I'm passionate about it now more than ever," says Sheckler, seen here executing a kickflip over a bench in Sydney, Australia.
The one-point difference
In his 14 years of competing in X Games, Ryan Sheckler has won 7 medals: 3 gold, 2 silver, 2 bronze. His bronze medal in Austin at X Games 2015 is his most recent podium placing. Ryan scored an 82 -- exactly one point higher than Flip Skateboards pro Alec Majerus. One point would prove to be the magic number to help Sheckler get back to the top of his game and skating at the high level he is today.
Catalyst for change
In March of 2016, Ryan Sheckler failed to make finals at X Games Oslo by one point -- the catalyst that changed Ryan's entire life forever. In his episode of "Skaters In Cars," Sheckler admits to being an alcoholic and trying to, "win contests on old tricks or tricks I hadn't practiced." His partying lifestyle that began during the filming of 'Life Of Ryan' had gotten out of control and caught up with him. He returned from Oslo and drove directly from the airport to a rehab facility in Malibu and checked himself in. He's been clean and sober ever since.
A renewed perspective
Due to a lack of coping skills and various addictions in the past, Ryan Sheckler would get angry and ballistic when he lost a contest in the past. This past summer, Sheckler entered his first X Games since going sober and again missed the finals by one point. Unlike Oslo, where coming up short sent him to a dark place at the bottom of a bottle, his newfound clarity and sobriety allowed him to laugh and embrace the coincidence of the single point specter.
For the first time ever, Ryan Sheckler opens up to tenured X Games journalist, Chris Nieratko, about rehab, his faith, sobriety, El Toro, the Costco gap and walking away from a hit TV show while they drive around Southern California in the newest episode of "Skaters In Cars Looking At Spots." Watch it now on XGames.com.