It’s easy to see why life is “awesome” for 18-year-old pro skateboarder Ryan Sheckler. He just won the X Games — again — this year, although he sheepishly admits it took him “five long years” to repeat his impressive gold medal feat of 2003, when he was barely 13. That first win cemented his place in skateboard history, which the San Clemente, Calif., native quickly parlayed into the hugely successful MTV reality show “Life of Ryan,” which just wrapped its third season.
“I feel it’s our best season ever, and we put a lot of effort into it,” says Sheckler, who admits to being “totally surprised” by the show’s success. “The fans love it and it’s pretty darn accurate. For the most part, it’s all our real stories and actions, we’re all best friends, so it’s just a lot of fun.”
But Sheckler is serious when it comes to the business opportunities that his fame has created. He started his own skateboard clothing line, Sheckler Merchandise, “to tie in with the show, but now it’s escalated and we’re currently talking to Etnies, my shoe sponsor, to get our own shoe line going,” he reports. He also set up the Sheckler Foundation with his two younger brothers, both skateboarders, “to raise money and help injured athletes get back on their feet. I feel very strongly about that, although it’s a little weird suddenly having to go to all these meetings. Now, everything is business, but that’s OK.”
He also feels comfortable with his newfound heartthrob status as the hot young face of his sport. “It’s cool, man. It’s part of my job and duty as a skateboarder, and it’s led me to be this sort of icon for these little kids who want to skate, too, so I feel very blessed. I want to be the new Tony Hawk.”
Recent breakthrough: “Winning the X Games a few weeks ago. That was a life-changing moment — it was huge!”
Role model: “My family. I’d be nothing without them. And obviously Jesus Christ for putting me on Earth. Skateboarding is my calling and what God sent me here to do.”
Next: “We’re shooting the Plan B skateboard video right now. It’s going to take a year and a half to make, maybe two, because it has to be amazing.”