At the tender age of 18 months, Ryan Sheckler scooted around his San Clemente, California home on his dad’s old skateboard. What happens next is pure history, as the skateboarding prodigy carried his beloved skateboard everywhere, as Linus from The Peanuts would his blue security blanket.
Sheckler’s fascination with skateboarding peaked in the summer of 1995 after he saw a quarter pipe for the first time. It was then that he realized skateboarding was what he wanted to do for the rest of his life.
Now, at 18 (he’ll turn 19 this December), Sheckler has become a world-renowned skateboarder, having turned pro when he was 13. With the summer contest season approaching and his third season of his MTV reality show, Life of Ryan, starting production, Sheckler has his eyes on the prize and looks forward to a fun-filled summer skating ramps and verts, as he hopes to add some more championship titles to his arsenal.
Besides stumbling upon your Dad’s old skateboard in the garage one day, what really sparked your interest in skateboarding?
I think it had a lot to do with my neighbors; every neighbor on my street skated. They were always so much older than me, and obviously as a little guy looking up to them, I wanted to be like the big guys. Sure enough, I picked up my dad’s old skateboard and just kept skating and kept trying to learn, so that I could be better than them.
The true beginning of skateboarding for me started when I was six, when the kids on my street built a quarter pipe. This was the first time that I had ever seen anything like this, and I was determined to learn how to ride it. A few years later, my mom heard about CASL (California Amateur Skateboarding League), and I joined it. From that point forward, it never ended.
Why do you think it has become so popular?
Kids think it’s cool. It’s fun, challenging and keeps kids out of trouble. That’s why parents like it, too—even though people say skateboarding ruins public property.
So, what was your first skateboard?
My first skateboard was a “Woody Woodpecker” basic skateboard. I now ride on a Plan B skateboard.
Is there some special pet name for your skateboard?
Nah, not at all. I just call it my skateboard. Actually...it’s called my life.
When did you first think you could make skateboarding a career?
I always knew you could from the start. When I was a little kid, I’d watch skate videos and thought it was the coolest thing ever. That instantly showed me that skateboarding was going to be a sport that lasted for a while. I knew that you could make a living off of it. Not to mention, skateboarding is taking over; every kid has a skateboard now…it’s amazing.