Skateboarding is as much an independent sport as much as it is a communal activity. Often realized as a form of grunge subculture, skateboarding has amassed a following of practitioners from all walks of life — regardless of age, gender, religion, or ethnicity. Every skateboarding enthusiast gathers at their local skatepark to practice their “sick shreds and pipelines” while cheering and encouraging one another on. In fact, skateboarding as a sport has garnered significant international recognition to be qualified as an official sport in the next Olympic Games! With that being said, it’s high time that the world gets more acquainted with some of the skateboarding pros in the game. Thus without further ado, here’s our top ten best skateboarder legends of our time.
1. Tony Hawk
Where do we even begin with this man? Tony Hawk has become somewhat of a ubiquitous household name that has pervaded and persisted throughout the collective subconscious. He is revered as one of the most influential and successful skateboarders who had infiltrated into mainstream media and culture. Boasting an impressive collaboration track record with video game and shoe companies, Tony Hawk’s branding has certainly experienced decent success.
As a teen, Tony was a skateboarding prodigy. He was a twelve-time National Skateboard Association titleholder on top of various other awards. More famously, he pioneered and popularised vertical skateboarding like the 900 flip. Without his endeavors to attract more attention to skateboarding, he definitely helped progress the sport leaps and bounds in awareness and popularity.
2. Rodney Mullen
It’s almost impossible to think of skateboarding without thinking of Rodney Mullen. Having been introduced by his friends since the age of ten, he’s been honing his craft ever since — and hard work indeed pays off. He’s arguably been cited as the skateboarding pioneer for transforming skateboarding to become a more pro sport.
Some of the ollies and flip tricks he’s been accredited for include the backside flip, the 360 flip, one-footed ollie, just to name a few. These tricks quickly became the staple in skateboarding 101 where many beginner skateboarders train and drill them as fundamentals. Indeed, Rodney is one-of-a-kind; a detailed artist and a patient teacher, he is definitely one of the most talented and well-respected skaters of our generation.
3. Paul Rodriguez
Paul Rodriguez has a different origin story than most skateboarders. He was introduced to the sport after his parents gifted him a skateboard and skate shoes for Christmas. As a pro-skateboarder, he’s clinched eight medals at the X-Games competitions and continually competes at the top tier level. Currently, he owns his own private skatepark for personal practice. Lastly, even though he’s now a father, nothing has stopped his passion for skateboarding. Instead, the birth of his daughter only fueled him further, motivating him to prioritize these two great loves in his life.
4. Bob Burnquist
Bob Burnquist is a force to be reckoned with. This native Brazilian has one of the most impressive skateboarding careers ever — having appeared in all 52 X-Games competitions and having won a medal in half of them (26 medals). He’s probably most well-known for his fifty-fifty landing attempt at the Grand Canyon where he became the first person to ever land a fakie 900. Praised for his precision and meticulous approach, he is a highly-technical skateboarder with the ability to switch positions effortlessly without skimping on his form. Indeed, all these technicalities combine to make his tricks even tougher to execute and land successfully.
5. Danny Way
Danny Way is one of the most epic and extreme skateboarders out there. Despite being a father now, his past career entails hardcore achievements such as jumping off helicopters and high walls, frequent participation in X-Games and actually being awarded World’s Best Skateboarder twice. Needless to say, Danny deserves his current fame and recognition as one of the best skateboarders within this generation.
6. Bucky Lasek
A diverse adrenaline junkie, Bucky Lasek’s experience is nothing short of impressive. He’s participated in 10 X-Games and also appeared on the cover of ESPN magazine. He’s truly a man of grit, having endured many injuries throughout his career of skateboarding and rallycross racing.
7. Eric Koston
Eric’s story is awe-inspiring. Even though he doesn’t advocate for dropping out of school, he had talent, innovation, and determination to make a name for himself. He trained hard to pursue his dreams to become one of the best skateboarders in the industry. As a testament to his achievements, he’s emerged victorious in several competitions, successfully landed insane tricks, and also entrepreneured his own brand. It’d be a disgrace not to include him on our list of acclaimed skateboarders around the world. Not many high school dropouts have an epic life story as his.
8. Andrew Reynolds
Currently, the owner and co-founder of his own personal skateboarding brand, Andrew Reynolds has had a decorated career in skateboarding before deciding to extend his love for it to a more entrepreneurial realm. His skateboarding brand Baker has become a cult favorite for skateboard choices. Andrew is the definition of a creative athlete, having combined his two passions for skateboarding and street style apparel to continue inspiring the skateboarding community.
9. Bam Margera
Wham Bam, thank you, ma’am! Intense would be an understatement to describe Bam Margera. His reputation lives up to his nickname “Bam” because he’s the guy who’ll charge into walls and skateboard decks without hesitation. His insanity to skateboarding has earned him the ability to manipulate simple tricks to look more complex than they are, however, he’s equally as daring to perform his own risky stunts. In fact, he was the very first street skater to ever land the loop successfully in Phoenix, Arizona. Unfortunately, he has since retired from the pro-skateboarding scene in 2016 and we wish him a happy retirement!
10. Chris Cole
Last but not least, Chris Cole is not one to overlook. Famous for his sick tricks and even sicker logo, he is definitely an A-list skateboarder as far as we’re concerned. With an impressive record of skateboarding winnings under his belt, perhaps Chris is most notable for his insane gap clears. He’s definitely achieved great heights in the world of skateboarding.
After all that is said and done, this list is an extremely limited list of some of the most recognized skateboarders within the past few decades. Of course, you might not agree with our list entirely and there are tons more amazing pro-skateboarders out there. The list is purely subjective and we have nothing but love and respect for all the professionals out there who’ve championed the reputation of skateboarding. We’re all united by our same passion for sick shreds.
More importantly, could you make number 11 on our list? Check out some of the useful guides to improve your skateboarding.