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November 2023 | Vol. XXII - No. 11


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Ryan Sheckler, the professional skateboarder, has faced a rollercoaster of challenges


Ryan Sheckler, the professional skateboarder, has faced a rollercoaster of challenges throughout his life. Let’s delve into the difficulties he’s encountered:

Teen Stardom and Backlash:

Ryan gained fame through the MTV reality series “Life of Ryan” in 2007. As the youngest competitor ever to win X Games gold at just 13 years old, he was thrust into the spotlight.

However, the skateboarding community accused him of selling out, leading to backlash from peers he respected. The hate affected him emotionally, but he used it as motivation to push harder in his career.

Ryan’s partnerships with brands like Proactiv and Axe BodySpray were a response to the criticism, allowing him to earn money while facing scrutiny.

Reality TV and Personal Struggles:

After three seasons, “Life of Ryan” ended in 2009. Despite the show’s conclusion, Ryan continued his successful skateboarding career. Behind the scenes, he grappled with private struggles. In 2016, he entered rehab to address an alcohol addiction that had become unmanageable. His passion for skateboarding was overshadowed by his desire to drink.

Ryan emphasizes that he doesn’t blame the show for his drinking; it was a personal choice. He faced negativity as a child star, which contributed to his unhealthy coping mechanism.

Relapse and Sobriety:

Ryan maintained sobriety for several years but experienced a relapse in 2020, mistakenly thinking he could drink in moderation. After five months, he decided to give up alcohol again.

Being sober became the best decision of his life. He acknowledges that dealing with emotions without checking out is where true strength lies.

Physical Toll of Skateboarding:

Ryan’s skateboarding career has taken a toll on his body. He has endured 12 broken bones, six major surgeries, concussions, and numerous torn ligaments. Despite the pain, he remains committed to the sport, with pins and screws scattered throughout his body.

Documentary and Reflection:

Ryan’s documentary, “Rolling Away”, chronicles his injuries and struggles over the past five years. It includes a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and a broken vertebra in his lower back. Reflecting on his reality TV past, Ryan acknowledges that he had fun during the “Life of Ryan” era, even though he doesn’t miss those days.

Ryan’s journey has been marked by triumphs, setbacks, and personal growth. His resilience in the face of difficulties continues to define his remarkable life.

Let’s delve into  his recent accomplishments:

Red Bull Part “Lifer” and “Rolling Away”:

Ryan Sheckler recently released a Red Bull part titled “Lifer”. This skateboarding video showcases his incredible skills, creativity, and passion for the sport.

Additionally, he dropped another video called “Rolling Away”, which provides an intimate look at his life, struggles, and triumphs. It’s a raw and honest portrayal of his journey.

Mega Ramp Gap Jump:

In April 2008, Ryan achieved a remarkable feat by successfully clearing a 55-foot gap on Bob Burnquist’s Mega Ramp. This segmented ramp typically consists of varying gaps (50 feet, 60 feet, or 70 feet) and a towering 27-foot quarterpipe ramp.

The Mega Ramp jump demonstrated his fearlessness and technical prowess, solidifying his status as a global skateboarding star12.

X Games and Other Medals:

As a professional skateboarder, Ryan has an impressive medal collection from the Summer X Games. He has won six medals, including two golds. His exceptional performances extend beyond the X Games. Ryan has excelled in events like the AST Dew Tour and the Gravity Games. Notably, he clinched victory in the Globe World Cup and the Skateboarding World Cup3.

Enduring Legacy:

Ryan Sheckler’s impact on skateboarding extends beyond competitions. His style, innovation, and dedication have left an indelible mark on the sport. Despite facing personal struggles, including battles with addiction, Ryan continues to inspire skateboarders worldwide. His recent accomplishments serve as a testament to his resilience, creativity, and unwavering love for skateboarding.

Ryan Sheckler, despite his immense talent and accomplishments, has faced criticism and challenges throughout his career. Let’s delve into what his critics argue:

Selling Out and Backlash:

When “Life of Ryan” premiered on MTV in 2007, it catapulted Ryan Sheckler to stardom. The reality series showcased his life as a teenage skateboarder, balancing personal and professional responsibilities. However, the skateboarding community accused him of selling out. His peers, whom he respected, turned their backs on him, leading to a wave of negativity. Ryan became an “easy target.”

Critics argued that the show compromised his authenticity and portrayed him as more of a celebrity than a true skateboarder.

Partnerships and Motivation:

Instead of backing down, Ryan used the backlash as motivation. He doubled down on his efforts, skating harder and attempting more daring tricks. His partnerships with brands like Proactiv and Axe BodySpray were seen by some as a response to the criticism. Ryan decided to earn money and secure his future despite the hate.

Alcohol Addiction and Struggles:

While the cameras rolled during “Life of Ryan”, Ryan’s personal struggles intensified. In 2016, he entered rehab to address an alcohol addiction that had become unmanageable.

Critics argue that the pressure of fame and the negativity he faced as a child star contributed to his unhealthy coping mechanism. However, Ryan takes responsibility for his drinking, emphasizing that the show itself wasn’t to blame.

Relapse and Sobriety:

After maintaining sobriety for several years, Ryan experienced a relapse in 2020, mistakenly thinking he could drink in moderation. Ultimately, he chose to give up alcohol again. Being sober became the best decision of his life, allowing him to face emotions head-on without checking out.

MTV Series Trauma:

Ryan has also opened up about feeling “borderline traumatized” by the MTV series. He accuses the production team of manipulating his romantic relationships for ratings.

More than a decade later, he reflects on the impact the show had on his life, both positive and negative. His journey has been marked by both triumphs and challenges. While critics have questioned his authenticity and choices, his resilience and love for skateboarding continue to define his remarkable career.

He remains a force to be reckoned with in the skateboarding world, constantly pushing boundaries and leaving an enduring legacy.

Skateboarding has produced a roster of iconic figures who have left an indelible mark on the sport. Here are some other famous skateboarders:

Tony Hawk

Synonymous with skateboarding, Tony Hawk is a living legend. His nickname, “Birdman,” reflects his ability to soar to new heights. Hawk’s contributions include:

His own skateboarding company, Birdhouse. A successful video game series. Over 600 skateparks worldwide. Significant philanthropic initiatives1.

Nyjah Huston

Nyjah is a dominant force in modern skateboarding. As an overall champion for nearly a decade, he consistently pushes the boundaries of tricks and techniques.

Letícia Bufoni

A trailblazer for female skateboarders, Leticia shattered gender barriers in the sport. Her talent and determination inspire a new generation of women skateboarders.

Rodney Mullen

Known as the “Godfather of Street Skating,” Rodney Mullen pioneered countless tricks, including the kickflip and heelflip. His technical prowess revolutionized skateboarding.

Steve Caballero

A skateboarding veteran, Steve Caballero has been influential since the 1980s. His style and commitment continue to inspire skaters worldwide.

Stacy Peralta

Stacy is not only a legendary skateboarder but also a filmmaker and entrepreneur. He co-founded Powell Peralta, a brand that shaped skateboarding culture.

Eric Koston

Eric’s smooth style and versatility have made him a household name. His impact spans street skating, vert ramps, and video parts.

Bam Margera:

Known for his wild antics on MTV’s “Jackass,” Bam Margera is also an accomplished skateboarder. His creativity and fearlessness set him apart. Sky Brown:

At just 13 years old, Sky Brown became the youngest female skateboarder to compete at the Olympics. Her aerial skills and positive energy captivate audiences. Poppy Olsen:

Poppy is an Australian skateboarder who excels in bowl riding. Her fluid lines and powerful tricks showcase her immense talent. Remember, skateboarding’s rich history includes many more influential figures, each leaving their unique imprint on the sport.






Writer's Bio: Since 2012, Laura has spent much of her time around children conducting research in development and growth of children. Her diverse experience around children has enabled her to see firsthand how playing with toys can be one of the richest sources of learning and communication for kids. Read more articles by this author


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