Ryan Sheckler has been many things in his whirlwind life: X Games sensation, action-sports brand, reality TV star. With a new phase of his career ahead, he’d prefer to be known by the one thing he’s been all along -- a skateboarder.
When Ryan Sheckler was 18, five years after he became the youngest gold-medal winner in X Games history, and one year after his MTV reality show “Life of Ryan” beamed his teen-idol looks to the rest of America, he got a mantra tattooed on both his forearms.
It reads: “Skate Life Till Death” -- a tattoo, he says, that sums up his life philosophy, and that “really represents me.” In the limelight-drenched stage that his life has become since he turned pro at 13, with its distractions and detractors, the words are there -- a reminder for when things get a little off-track. Not that he’s ever needed reminding.
“I don’t think I have changed, ever, in my whole life,” says Sheckler. “If things went down in the past, whatever. Now it’s all good. I just kept skating and believing in what I believe in.”
On July 29, Sheckler will go for his fifth X Games medal, and his second gold in a row in the street-skating event. He owes much to the competition that kick-started his career when he won gold as a 13-year-old. But in the past 12 months, Sheckler, now 21, has been diligently -- and quietly -- focusing on something else: a video part that will bring the exceptional talent the action sports community has known about for years to the wider world.
Produced by the respected skateboarding company Plan B, “Know Future” will showcase the technique and street-skating style he’s been known for. Its planned release date, 11/11/11, carries with it a suggestion of gravitas, and it will be accompanied by a premiere in New York City.
“As a top pro, this is sort of a missing piece of Ryan’s puzzle,” says Tom Jones, Plan B’s vice president. “You can win every contest in the world, but the video part is really the truest gauge of a pro skateboarder. Without it, the community finds it hard to quantify, in the truest sense, what makes this pro a pro.”
Plan B -- one of the industry’s oldest and most respected names -- signed Sheckler in 2007, seeing enormous potential in his immaculate street-skating technique and athletic style. “Ryan Sheckler has done one of the biggest kickflips we’ve ever seen,” says Jones. “It’s called the Costco gap. He absolutely ripped it.”