10 of the World's Most Influential Skateboarders
If you're into skateboarding, you'll want to familiarise yourself very well with all of these guys
The 10 most famous skateboarders
There have been hundreds of professional skaters but only a few have changed skateboarding and managed to influenced a whole generation. These famous skateboarders have the talent and personalities to inspire people, who have grown up only ever knowing them through their skate photos, videos and interviews.
In skateboarding, it's not just enough to be talented to reach iconic status. At this level, it takes a unique perspective of skateboarding, serious drive and commitment to progress to be included in this list. Here's our top ten list of famous skateboarders who captured the skate world's imaginations and advanced the sport with their unique personal approaches.
[part title="Christian Hosoi"]
The anti-Tony Hawk, Christian Hosoi had an enduring vert ramp rivalry with Hawk which featured contrasting styles in both skateboarding and lifestyle. Hosoi was known for his flair and graceful act on the ramp, less technical than Hawk, but known for pulling huge aerials such as the Christ Air and Rocket Air, which he also invented.
His impact and endorsements peaked in the late ‘80s, however, and the subsequent decades saw bankruptcy, drug addiction, and eventually jail time when busted for crystal meth importation. He survived, and was born-again, but his legacy — a skateboarder of pure charisma and unparalleled style — still permeates the sport.
Christian Hosoi Video:
[part title="Eric Koston"]
Throughout the 1990s Eric Koston's name was instrumental in the evolution and growth of skateboarding. He had a stack of gold-plated video parts, the first of which was a 7-minute section in H Street’s 'Next' that sent shockwaves through the skateboarding world. He won more than a handful of X-Games gold medals and did for street skating what Tony Hawk did for vert. And, like Hawk, his influence has gone far beyond just his skating.
He co-owns Fourstar Clothing and the skatepark "The Philo-Thai Centre", as well as co-founding the skatepark and multimedia platform website The Berrics (www.theberrics.com).
Eric Koston Video:
[part title="Danny Way"]
Most people associate Danny Way as the man who jumped the Great Wall of China on a skateboard. And fair enough, it was mind-blowing. He did it four times with three legitimate and distinct tricks over the 60-foot gap and all with a busted ACL (knee ligament). However, Way is more to skating than just that one stunt.
His part in 'The Questionable Video' changed skateboarding forever, as did the 'The DC Video' and his building and skating of the mega ramp. His career is packed with evidence of astronomical progression, larger than life skateboarding, and unmatched talent. He is simply one of the greatest skateboarders ever and deserves a place in this famous skateboarders list.
Danny Way Video:
[part title="Stacy Peralta"]
Stacy Peralta’s influential arc through skateboarding is the tale of skateboarding itself. First there was his skating, where he was one of the best and most high profile pro skaters of his time. Then came his skateboard company, Powell-Peralta, the most dominant brand skateboarding has seen. From that business came his skate videos, the Bones Brigade series, that switched on a whole generation on to skateboarding.
And more recently, by directing films like 'Dog Town and the Z Boys', with the Z-boys being the professional skateboard crew he used to ride for, Peralta has maintained a vice-like grip on the direction of skateboarding.
[part title="Rob Dyrdek"]
Rob Dyrdek's 'The DC Video' of 2003 ushered in a new era of high budget, high quality skate videos. It was revolutionary: for the actual skating, for the production values, and for acting as the catalyst that catapulted Dyrdek’s career into show business.
His TV shows 'Rob and Big' and 'Fantasy Factory' have launched Dyrdek into millions of TVs around the world, making him one on of the most popular skaters on the planet. Sure, he might not be the best skater on the list, but with his business acumen and showbiz charisma, he is certainly one of the most influential.
Rob Dyrdek Video:
[part title="Bob Burnquist"]
One of the only non-Americans to make this influential list, the Brazilian-born skater has dominated vert skating over the last decade, as well as making a significant impact off it.
He won TransWorld's Best Vert awards for three years in a row and dominated the X Games for years. While his gold medal run in 2001 stands as benchmark for the sport, his longevity and success is unparalleled.
Bob Burnquist Video:
[part title="Mark 'Gator' Rogowski"]
Mark 'Gator' Rogowski was one of a group of elite skaters who enjoyed rock star status in the late 1980s. Alongside Hosei, Hawk and Caballero, Gator’s charismatic, flamboyant personality and hard-partying lifestyle earned him a shedload of cash and was directly responsible for skateboarding's return to popularity with the arrival of vert skating.
However, his drug and alcohol addiction was prevalent, and in 1992 he raped and murdered a young girl, resulting in him being jailed for life. This tragic and evil end to his career, shouldn’t however take away from his talent and influence on the ramp, and his place in where skateboarding is today.
Mark Rogowski Video:
[part title="Rodney Mullen"]
Rodney Mullen is known as the best street skateboarder the world has ever seen. In a career where he only lost one freestyle event (he came second) and where he invented more than 30 of skateboarding’s now standard tricks (kickflip, flatground ollie, heelflip, impossible, and the rest), his influence is almost beyond measure.
The key to his place in skating history is his style. He was always comfortable and relaxed, and even when doing stuff no one had ever seen before he skated with confidence and a smile. His Bones Brigade video sections in the 1980s defined an era, his design work was and is crucial, and to this day there has never been a more talented skateboarder. Well deserved to be included in this famous skateboarders roundup.
Rodney Mullen Video:
[part title="Mark Gonzales"]
'Gonz' is seen as the pioneer of modern street skateboarding. He was the first to skate handrails, one of the first to skate switch, and the first man to ollie a major gap — at the Embarcadero in San Francisco — forever known as the Gonz Gap (which in 1993 he also became the first to kickflip).
His incredible style, his innovation, his artistic temperament and his all-round act mean that the Gonz has perhaps influenced more famous skateboarders than any other. Without the Gonz, there is just no way of knowing where skateboarding would be. We just know it wouldn’t be as good.
Mark Gonzalez Video:
[part title="Tony Hawk"]
One of the best vert skaters of all time and the man that dragged skateboarding into the mainstream. Tony Hawks sits at the top of our most famous skateboarders list because his influence far outstretches his considerable talent. While his vert style and tricks are legendary — he was the first skater to land a 900 back in 1999 — it is his commercial ventures that are responsible for bringing skateboarding to more people than any other.
His 'Tony Hawk Pro Skater' video game series are some of the most successful games of all time, while his tours, Ride Youtube channel and Tony Hawk Foundation, which has built more 400 skateparks in the US alone, mean his influence has never waned.
Tony Hawk Video:
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