Ryan in 2013.
Once upon a time you couldn’t say his name without it being received with a hearty verbal bitch slap; every skateboarder knew who he was, and almost every one hated him. No matter how good he skated, there was no getting past the crying on TV or the tsunami of diarrhoea that spewed from his mouth. Highlights of his verbal weaponry include personal grooming ambitions such as “A signature Chapstick would be so sweet” standard child accomplishments like "I won the first contest I ever entered, when I was 6". Deep personal shit i.e "I kind of just put my boards together wherever I feel comfortable that day. It could be on the kitchen table, on the ground, on the couch, wherever" or simply:
“I skate a lot with my shirt off, so working out has always been important to me”
But it dawned on me recently that the anger has diluted; with the introduction of more despicable skaters into the spotlight, Ryan has been able to chill in the background and focus on skateboarding.
When Jereme Rogers decided to be a rapper, Shecks giggled like an excited gimp at Mardi Gras - He knew nothing he could ever say would be half as bad as one of J-Ro’s wince worthy verses. When Nyjah said girls shouldn’t skate it was the highlight of Ryan’s career, he went and got a Jesus tattoo to commemorate that shit.
His accomplishments are unquestionable, several sick parts, countless contest wins, man sized shit like the Costo gap kicky, and now finally some respect from his peers.
So life is good for Sheckler, 16million in the bank and half the world’s female population moist for him, but it wasn’t always so sweet for our old mate; death threats, hate blogs, physical and verbal abuse.
You don’t have to Google far to find quotes like:
“This kid is also a complete asshole, faggot, and pussy. He bitches about having a hard, stressful life when he has what he needs to live without working anymore at all. 95% Everyone at my school (San Clemente High School) hates him.”
Wow, that is one angry little bastard. But he’s not alone; the internet is wallpapered with Sheckler hate. So when did it get so bad? This little kid was like Beethoven on a skateboard, so why all the hate?
The equation goes something like this:
Crazy parents + too much money + puberty + your own reality show = a terrible human being.
It was never going to be easy growing up with Mike Vallely as your dad.
Almost anyone that had those contributing factors dictating the development of their personality, is gonna become a fucking douche. If Ghandi was raised in Orange County you would probably want to punch him in his rich, obnoxious face. Poor little Shecks also came into the game at a unique point; for the first time skateboarders were getting paid like other athletes, and the little buggar took to it like a crackhead to a light bulb. Within a couple of years he had more sponsorships and endorsements than a Nascar driver, this did not improve his street cred; every ramp rider with their socks pulled up screamed sell out, while a new generation of skaters set their ambitions on fame and wealth.
Nowadays selling out is so common it barely gets a mention, and Ryan has blended into the sea of well paid, money hungry pros. We can watch him ride on ESPN without having a Life of Ryan flashback and spontaneously smashing the screen. Even with the incredible calibre of skateboarding today, Ryan seems to consistently impress; only in his mid twenties, but pro for over three decades, his skating is now finally starting to get the recognition it deserves.
Ryan you are fucking good at skating and your style (apart from your Etnies and shitty tattoos) is spot on too, do yourself a favour and keep your mouth shut before you fuck it all up again.