Meet the high earning skateboarders who have proven time and again that skateboarding isn’t just fun, it can be a serious career in action sports, entertainment, video games, movies and more. Aside from the fame comes the fortune for these men who have dedicated their time, energy, talent and effort to the awesome world of skateboarding.
Tony Hawk started skateboarding at the age of nine as an outlet of his hyper energy. He had claimed 12 consecutive championships at the National Skateboard Association. His career sank though when skateboarding lost its popularity, and the entire industry had to regroup.
In the 1999 X-Games, he grabbed the world’s attention when he landed the first recorded 900 trick on the vert ramp. It was a lucky year for him because the skateboarding video game series named after him (Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater) also made its debut.
Ten years after, the Birdman became the first skateboarder to skate on the White house grounds with permission from officials during President Barack Obama’s Fathers’ Day celebration. On the same year, he was inducted into the Skateboarding Hall of Fame. Currently, he has retired from competitions but continues to conduct tours and demos to spread the love of Skateboarding.
Today, he manages an enterprise consisting of apparel and video games.
He also has his Hawk clothing line.
He started skateboarding at the age of 11 and received sponsorship a year after from G&S Skateboarding Team, the same company sponsoring his friend, Neil Blender, who gave him his first skateboard.
A few years later, Rob and Neil started their own company, Alien Workshop.
Aside from setting world record tricks on the board, perhaps the greatest achievement attributed to him is establishing the Skateboarding League Series and creating a foundation which builds skate parks in under privileged places all over the world.
He’s also had a successful show on TV, was partners in a fashion sunglass company and continues to push the limits of his career.
The founder of Zero Skateboards and Fallen Footwear started skateboarding at the age of 11.
The Chief had done several skateboarding videos for his sponsors but his video for Zero “Thrill of it All” became the most known.
It featured his attempt to do "The Leap of Faith” , an "ollie melon" over a handrail of a 27-step 18-foot, 8-inch drop.
Unlike most who attempted the same feat and had either broken a leg or ankle, Jamie Thomas was able to land without injury but his board snapped due to the impact.
Although the “fakie frontside big spin heelflip” is named the “Howard Heel” or “Rick Flip” , he refuse to claim inventing it. He is better known for his advancement of the “switch-stance” skating as featured in Plan B’s video “Virtual Reality”.
Considered the Godfather of Skateboarding, Rodney Mullen is credited for creating the flat ground Ollie, kickflip, heelflip, impossible and more than 30 other tricks on the skateboard.
He started skateboarding at the age of 10 and a year after, he won already 5th place in the Boys’ Freestyle category for the US Open Championships at Kona Skatepark in Florida.
Despite having only their garage to practice in, he was able to perfect his flat ground techniques. So at the age of 12 he already got sponsorship from Walkers Skateboard. He turned pro 2 years later when he joined Bones Brigade.
Prior to being a pro, he was able to defeat the world champion, Steve Roco, in the Oasis Pro competition. Until 1990, he had won 34 out of 35 freestyle competitions.
Unbelievably, the Mutt who seems to be an introvert and a loner had become a renowned public speaker advocating the passion for skateboarding.
An online search for Stefan Janoski is sure to give results also of his Nike SB Zoom Shoes. His fame grew together with the popularity of the Nike SB Zoom Shoes.
His switch-stance prowess and casual style have made him popular. Equally passionate for music and the arts, he is ever thankful to skateboarding as it allowed him freedom to pursue his other interests and hobbies. He is also an avid artist, a musician and a writer.
This child prodigy started skating at 2 years of age (some say 18 months) when he came upon his father’s skateboard.
Two of his sponsors, Oakley and Etnies were already in contact with him since he was 7 years old.
Sheks turned pro with Almost, a skateboarding company founded by legendary Rodney Mullen and Daewon Song, and he became a foundational member of the team at the age of 14.
He represented the United States in the Summer X Games several times and is a 3x gold medalist, 2x silver medalist and one time bronze medalist. But those are just a few of the accomplishments he is hanging on the wall as year after year he has collected various awards and recognition. His appearance in various videos - Almost’s video “Almost: Round Three”, Plan B's “Superfuture”, his MTV reality series “Life of Ryan” and Red Bull’s online series “Sheckler’s sessions” have showcased the inexplicable talent of a legend in the making.
Before he turned 20 years old, he founded the Sheckler Foundation intended to assist children and the injured and recovering athletes.
Several professional skateboarders including no less than Christian Hosoi, became the foundation’s inaugural skateboarders in 2013, all of whom are going to help support and promote the Sheckler Foundation’s projects.
Life’s not usually a fairy tale but this exemplary skater has somehow a Cinderella story to his name. Originally from Phoenix, Arizona where he got his first skateboard and learned to ride, he moved to California with very little money
He ended up sleeping on the beach with only a cassette player and a sketchbook.
Maple was his first skateboard deck sponsor but he soon transitioned to Toy Machine, then Shorty’s and finally moved to Element Skateboards.
Chad Muska wasn’t just passionate about skateboarding but also the arts which manifested in the signature shoes bearing his name.
His first endorsements were for éS and C1RCA footwear and soon after, he started his own brand, Supra, with Kr3W’s owner - Angel Cabada.
These days, if he isn’t skateboarding, he’ll be working on some piece of art, designing a skate shoe or some “graffiti” works.
Being an original member of the Dogtown Z-Boys or Zephyr skateboarding team, he is credited for bringing skateboarding to empty pools.
Broken down backyard pools had a second life as a skate park.
He is known for his front side airs. Two years after turning pro with the Z-Boys, Tony Alva was involved with Vans, and together with Stacy Peralta they helped design the first skate shoe ever to be designed by skateboarders, the legendary Evans Era style.
At the age of 19, he was the first skateboarder to start and operate his own skateboard company, Alva Skateboards. This champion of the 1977 Men’s Overall World Professional Skateboard Championship continues to be a major player in the world of skateboarding.
On the side, he enjoys music, being in a band and playing bass
The co-owner of both Fourstar Clothing and the skatepark/website "The Berrics" was actually born in Thailand but grew up under the sunny skies of California.
He is the only pro-skater who has appeared in both Tony Hawk’s video game series and also in the competition EA Skate Series.
He’s made 3 appearances in movies and more than 50 appearances in videos. He’s had various shoe sponsors through the years, starting with Es, then Lakai and finally, Nike SB where he had 2 signature shoes with his name.
Standing at only 4 ft and a half inch (1.23m), height didn’t stand on the way to Weeman’s fame and fortune.
Although majority of his wealth comes from being a celebrity, it has been skateboarding that paved a way to his popularity in TV and film.
He’s been doing skate stunts for Jackass on MTV and is the host of Fox Sports Net's skateboarding show 54321. Despite being born in Pisa , Italy, he has spent most of his life in LA, California where he also became a subscription manager for the then magazine, Big Brother .
Currently, he keeps himself busy doing his passions – filming and skateboarding to make people laugh for a long time. Started a bit older in the sport, but made it big. Never too late to start.
The twice awardee of the “Skater of the Year” award by Thrasher magazine and the co-founder of Plan B skateboards actually began skating at 6 years old. At 10 years of age, he was already receiving sponsorship from Hosoi and Vision but he was asked to turn pro with H-Street Skateboards at the age of 12. He initially refused it.
At age 15, he was already receiving paychecks from skate board sales of over $20,000 a year.
Danny appeared in 33 videos from 1988-2009. Three are legendary; “Shackle Me Not” , “Hocus Pocus” and “The Questionable” .
He is known for doing death-defying stunts.
He’s had a total of 13 operations with the neck injury of 1994 being his worst.
In 1994 his business partner from Plan B, and childhood mentor, Mike Ternasky died in a car accident.
With Danny’s Megaramps, he is the Iron Man of skateboarding, doing what seems to be impossible and dare devil crazy.
His skate jump over the Great Wall of China will go down in history as his greatest ever.
Lance was 11 years old when he got his first skateboard, a hand-me-down with clay wheels. Magazine photos of Tony Alva, Stacy Peralta and Jay Adams were his inspiration. He sought out backyard pools and built half pipe ramps in his backyard. He turned pro with Variflex, his first skateboard deck company.
A year leater, Lance would join Team Bones Brigade and became close friends with Stacy Peralta, the team manager and co-founder of Powell-Peralta Skateboards.
It was his victory in the Upland Turkey Shoot where he beat fellow team members Tony Hawk, Steve Caballero and Mike McGill that raised his profile to the highest level.
After 9 years with the Bones Brigade, he left to form his own company, the Firm. The Firm operated for about 15 years until finally it was closed in 2006.
Lance would later join Flip Skateboards. Lance is also involved with the arts and inventions. His fingerboard being his most famous.
Formerly a little league baseball player, Mike turned his focus to skateboarding and music at the age of 14.
While practicing at a car park during a pro vert contest (by the Virginia Beach Skate park, Mount Trashmore), Vallely was noticed by other proskaters (Neil Blender, Lance Mountain and Stacy Peralta).
Lance Mountain, noticing Mike Vallely’s old worn out skateboard, handed him a new one.
Stacy Peralta one upped him by offering him a sponsorship as an amateur.
Mike Vallely appeared in various videos for Powell-Peralta Skateboarding. In 1987, he turned pro.
Mike would later leave Powel-Peralta Skateboarding in 1989, having one signature board to his name.
He’s had stints with World Industries (Steve Rocco, Jesse Martinez, and Rodney Mullen); New Deal Skateboards (the short lived TV Skateboards which he co-founded with Ed Templton), Transit Skateboard, Black Label Skateboards, his own Vallely Skateboards line (which lasted only a years), Element Skateboards and By the Sword. He would eventually come back home to Powell-Peralta.
Aside from skateboarding, Mike Vallely is also a musician, actor, television personality, stuntman, professional wrestler and FHL hockey player. For a short period he was the lead singer for a the hardcore punk band Black Flag.
Presently a director and film producer, Stacy started his career in skateboarding.
He turned Pro in 1972 at 15 years of age with the Z-Boys. The Z-Boys were then sponsored by the "Jeff Ho Surfboards and Zephyr Productions" thus the name Zephyr Team.
At 19, he was already among the high ranking pro skaters of that time.
In 1978, he partnered with George Powell to establish the Powell-Peralta Skate Gear Company. This would pave the way for Bones Brigade, the seedbed for many skateboarders who turned legendary.
Six of those listed in this article were among the notable members of the Bones Brigade Team.
After 14 years, Stacy left Powell-Peralta to concentrate on directing and producing film.
His notable works in the film industry include Dogtown, Z-Boys, Riding Giants, Crips and Bloods: Made in America, Bones Brigade: An Autobiography.
Edward Templeton founded the Skate company, Toy Machine. He is also known as a painter, graphic designer, and photographer.
He also started 2 companies with MIke Vallely, “TV” and “Television”, which they later closed.
His first skate sponsor was “New Deal”.
His career almost came to an end when he had a serious injury during an Emerica demo.
Combining his love of art and skateboarding, he’s turned the skate deck into a canvas. Featuring local artists on Toy Machine skate decks.
11 years after Tony Hawk was able to land the first 900 (a 2½-revolution aerial spin), Bob Burnquist landed the first fakie 900, becoming the fifth person to do so.
He holds the record for the most number of medals in the Summer X Games. 29 in total, 14 gold.
Roberto Dean Silva Burnquist was born in Brazil, and began skateboarding at age 10. He turned pro while living in Brazil. He calls his backyard, “Dreamland”, a skateboarder’s dream haven with the world’s only corkscrew, a full pipe, a vert ramp and the tallest Mega Ramp with the height of 59.1m.
Paul Rodriguez, the son of the famous comedian Paul Rodgriguez. He’s made a name for himself in the world of action sports.
He began skateboarding at age 12. Skateboarding was the “in thing” at school.
At age 14, he got sponsored by a local skate shop “One Eighteen”.
DNA skateboard was his first board sponsor and became also part of the team skaters for City Stars, Girl, and Plan B until he finally established his own board company, Primitive.
Paul Rodriguez has the most number of signature shoes from Nike SB, a total of 8. He’s also won 8 medals from the X-Games.
It doesn’t hurt when your father is the world famous Paul Rodriguez, the comedian and television personality.
The youngest skater on our list began shredding at 4 years of age.
He grew up to bee a 9 year old Rastafari kid sporting dreadlocks, and shredding on the streets and at skate parks.
He was ten years old when his family bought a skate park in their hometown of Davis, Californi. He would skate daily and win first place in the Tampa Am.
He would later compete in the X Games, sponsored by Element and was making enough money to support his entire family.
His father would soon move the family to Puerto Rico and his skate boarding career was in jeopardy.
With the help of Rob Dyrdek, he made a major comeback in the 2010 SLS games where he won the grand prize of $150,000.
He would soon dominate the competition, winning in SLS 2012, 2014, 2015, and 2016. He would go on to become the biggest prize winner in skateboarding.
He currently has 12 golds, 3 silvers and 1 bronze medal in the Summer X Games Street Skateboarding since 2009 to 2016.
Nyjah and his mother stay busy with their foundation, “Let it Flow” to help build wells and provide potable water in needy countries.
He currently rides for Nike SB and is a co-owner of Asphalt Yacht Club.
The 9-time World Cup Skateboarding champion started skateboarding at the age of 12.
He has the most number of medals in the X Games in Vert Skateboarding.
He has 8 gold, 7 silver and 7 bronze medals to his name for vert and park contests in the Summer X Games as of 2016.
Aside from being the founder of Positiv skateboards, Andy is also am ambassador for a drug-free lifestyle and appeared in various TV shows to help educate the public.
He gave a speech in the White House in 1999 and rode down the marble hallway after speaking against drugs.
Let these skateboarders motivate everyone young and old. Any sport, including skateboarding, any activity like art, music and business can elevate your creativity and help you be successful. You just have to put your energy and mind to it.
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