Ryan Sheckler opens up: The name Ryan Sheckler means many different things to a wide cross-section of fans around the globe. To hardcore skaters young and old, Sheckler represents the first generation of award-winning all-terrain skater to literally grow up before their eyes. Throughout skate history, there have always been young and talented rippers, but none have mastered street and transition in the way Sheckler has from the start of his career dating all the way back to when he won an X Games gold medal at the tender age of To numerous children with Autism and adaptive sports participants, Ryan Sheckler's Sheckler Foundation is one of the few inclusive organizations in skateboarding to not only acknowledge but nurture their desire to shred with numerous grants and clinics.
Rather than burn out and fade away, Ryan quit his highly-rated show at its peak to shift his focus back to skating. Although the TV cameras were long gone, the demons of popularity lingered and eventually, Sheckler's partying caught up with him. In , after failing to qualify at X Games Oslo , Sheckler checked himself into a rehab facility in Malibu, California.
Now, with more than a year and a half sober and newfound commitment to health, religion and skating, Ryan Sheckler is skating and living better than he ever has before. Recently, we caught up with Ryan to continue our conversation regarding his sobriety, 'Life of Ryan,' the Sheckler Foundation and more from his episode of "Skaters In Cars. When discussing your sobriety, you mentioned the major changes you made in your life. What other changes have you had to make?
I had to change my entire routine. I got stuck in this bad vibe. Everything for me started revolving around drinking. It became a serious problem for my mental health. I ended up wanting to take care of everybody around me. Everybody around me was way more important than myself. I never took the time to care about myself because what I thought made me happy was taking care of other people, trying to be a problem solver. When you take on that many people's responsibilities and you can't deal with your own self, it's a recipe for disaster.
That's exactly where I was. Then you add Jack Daniels to the equation, and it's just all bad news. The demands of a hit MTV show couldn't have helped either. Yeah, I was just so over that because I love skateboarding so much, and it is so pure to me. I started feeling like skateboarding was against me. It was like the most pure, enjoyable thing to me just got taken away.
So it was easy for me to stop it. I wanted to skate and I wanted to film. I wanted to be a skateboarder again. I wanted skateboarders to look at me as a skateboarder. Was MTV tripping that you would just walk away from it? Yeah, for sure, because it was a really successful show. It was really fun at the start. The first season was fun because I wanted it.
It's as simple as that: I wanted a show. All of my friends got to be a part of it, we did a clothing line from it and got to start the Sheckler Foundation. I don't take it for granted at all. It did what it was supposed to do. It was fun for a while. At what point did you feel that you had enough distance from the show and that you were again accepted as one of the gnarliest skaters out there? When I stopped worrying about it, honestly.
I was so mad at Jamie because he had said something negative. I just went into defense mode - that was all I knew. Years later I got a hold of him and told him I was sorry. Honestly though, not one single person can destroy skateboarding. That's kind of the impression I was under with these guys. It was like, "Oh his show is destroying skateboarding! I'm one guy, man.
Skateboarding is a freedom for me. I was at a point in my career and in my life that people thought it was interesting, and they wanted to make a show. A post shared by Ryan Sheckler shecks on Nov 5, at I've never skated better. I've never felt more one with my board. It's such an extension of my body right now. I'm out in the streets constantly filming for my Etnies part.
I owe a lot of that to training four days a week for the past year and a half religiously. My skating has changed immensely because I trust my body, and I know how strong my body is.
I've been boxing for over a year now. That alone has opened up my hips to a range that I've never had opened.
I'm 27 years old and I'm getting more flexible, stronger and smarter. It gives me chills because I love it so much. I get into my park and I'll start skating, then I'll look at the clock and three hours passed. My body is ready for anything. Not just skateboarding, just life in general. Whatever gets thrown at me, I'm ready for. It's a powerful feeling. You've accomplished a lot in a short amount of time. You've been involved in skating since you were a little kid, the TV show, the Sheckler Foundation.
What do you think your legacy will be 40 years down the road? It's crazy because I want to fall into that mentor role. I want to guide these kids. If they want help, I want to help. For me, skating was about being able to get invited to those parties. That ate me alive because I wanted to get invited and then I was invited to everything. All of a sudden, I wasn't skating as much. Skating wasn't really the focus. All of a sudden, I was worried about all of this BS.
What're you going to do? You're going to go to the club and take a drunk girl home. It's the same damn thing. And it takes so much energy.
For me, drugs and alcohol just stole memories. People tell me about good times I had. I was there, but I have zero recollection of it. Do you know how many of those you and I have? And I love hanging out with you. To have that happen with people I love hanging out with that I don't remember.
What is the point? I really just believe in that now. In my legacy, I want to be known as a dude that always had fun skateboarding and that was always there to lend a hand to someone that wanted to learn, or someone that needed help especially with my foundation. We do a lot of work with Autistic children. For the past four or five years, we've been working with Adaptive Action Sports guys who are in wheelchairs and charge harder than most skateboarders that I know.
To watch a kid who is paralyzed from his waist down roll into a ramp that he's never done when kids are complaining about their board being chipped and they don't want to drop in without being held. It's okay, there's a process to skateboarding, and I understand that process but when you see a kid in a wheelchair do it and slam and figure his way back up to his wheels alone, it gives me chills.
It's the most powerful thing I've ever seen. Help people," says Sheckler. It takes away the right for anyone to complain. We also do a lot of gang prevention for kids and at risk youth, clinics in the park.