Ryan Sheckler has been earning the “SKATE LIFE” tattoo on his forearm since before he turned two years old when he first set foot on a skateboard, building up the most impressive resume in skateboarding.
In 2003, at the age of 13, he was the youngest competitor ever to win X Games gold. He repeated the feat in 2008 and again in 2010. All grown up now, he’s won the Action Sport Tour’s (AST) championship three times and has won more contests than he can keep track of, from the California Amateur Skateboarding League (CASL) championship titles he claimed as a kid to the ISF Skateboarding World Championships in 2010. He’s just as comfortable skating in made-for-TV competitions as he is throwing down in the streets, and he’s nabbed sick street footage around the world to prove it.
And, after grabbing all that contest cash, spawning a hit show on MTV, and landing roles in a handful of Hollywood films, he’s working to show the world that the skate life is about more than just skateboarding. In 2008 he partnered with Red Bull, Oakley, Etnies, Nixon, and other sponsors to create the Sheckler Foundation, helping other kids lead similarly charmed lives by funding enrichment programs for children in underprivileged communities, medical research towards curing spinal cord injuries and childhood diseases, and programs to help injured action sports athletes.
He’s helped send heaps of money to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Athlete Recovery Fund, Wings for Life Spinal Cord Research Foundation, Rob Dyrdek Skate Plaza Foundation, Talk About Curing Autism, Road 2 Recovery, and Stoked Mentoring, and says he’s just getting started.
With all his achievements in and outside of skateboarding, when—or how—will Sheckler know that he’s achieved his ultimate goal of being one of the greatest skaters ever? “I want to make a huge contribution to skateboarding,” he says after thinking for a moment. “The only way I will know that I have achieved legendary status is when my peers say I have. There is no other way.”