Street skateboarding is a grassroots phenomenon that is uniquely American in application, and has grown into a world-wide obsession with it’s fans. There is a cowboy mentality that is engrained in skateboarding that is very appealing to those who are familiar with the joys of riding the deck. Skateboarding has long outgrown it’s underground roots and has become part of the mainstream. It’s part of the ‘X-Games’ group of sports with millions of fans and participants world-wide. This list highlights some of the legendary pioneers, and high priests of the skateboarding universe.
#10. Bruce Logan
Bruce Logan started his skateboarding odyssey back in the 1950s. His first skateboard was built using a two-by-four attached to round roller skate wheels. He went on to become one of the very first skaters to be considered ‘Pro’, meaning he was paid through sponsorship. Logan is given credit for bringing skateboarding overseas as an international sporting event. His travels around the world throughout the 1970’s were legendary. Logan won dozens of World Championships and titles. He later went on to start the skateboard company ‘Earth Ski’ with his brother Brad. He is a Hall of Fame skateboarder. (2009)
#9. Patti McGee
Patti McGee was the world’s first female professional skateboarder. In 1965 she became the first Woman’s National Skateboard Champion. In 1964 Patti set the world record as the fastest female to ride a skateboard posting a speed of 47mph while competing at the Dick Clark World Teen Fair. Patti McGee became the first female to be inducted into the National Skateboarding Hall of Fame in 2010.
#8. Stacy Peralta
Stacy Peralta is an elder statesman of the old school professional skateboarders from the Zephyr Competition Team, known in popular culture as the ‘Z-Boys’ from Venice Beach, California. Peralta became the highest-ranked professional skateboarder in the world at the age of nineteen. He then partnered with skate manufacturer George Powell and formed the Powell-Peralta skate company. Later, he formed the Bones Brigade, a skate team that consisted of the best skateboarders of the era. Peralta and his ‘Z-Boys’ peers revolutionized the sport of skateboarding. He went on to become a prolific film and television producer, and his work has become a huge part of the culture.
#7. Steve Caballero
Steve Caballero began skating as a professional during the 1980 season. His premiere was at the Gold Cup series at the Oasis Skatepark. He is credited with the invention of the ‘Caballerial’ (Full Cab), as well as the boarding trick called the ‘Fakie 360 Ollie’. Caballero’s legend is rooted in his predilection performing difficult tricks and stylish air move variations. He also holds the record for ‘highest air’ achieved on a half pipe. Caballero was named “Skater of the Century” by Thrasher Magazine in 1999.
#6. Mark Gonzales
Mark Gonzales is known as “The Gonz” in skating circles the world over. His legacy is founded as being one of the pioneers of modern street skateboarding. His fame was solidified in 1984 when he was the cover model for Thrasher magazine in the November issue of that year. He was riding an Alva board, who was his board sponsor. He is known for performing a trick called the ‘Beanplant’. In 2011 Gonzales was named the “Most Influential Skateboarder of all Time” in the December 2011 issue of Transworld Skateboarding magazine. His sponsorships have included Adidas, Krooked, Spitfire, Independent, Supreme, as well as Fourstar.
#5. Rodney Mullen
Rodney Mullen is known in the skateboarding world as a magician of sorts. He is credited with inventing all kinds of crazy skateboarding tricks, including but not limited to moves like the ‘Flatground Ollie’, ‘Heelflip’, ‘Impossible’, ‘Kickflip’, and the ‘360-Flip’. In 1993 Mullen came out with a slick new trick called the ‘Darkslide’, and he has coined upwards of three dozen tricks in his illustrious career.
#4. Stevie Williams
Stevie Williams is an iconic professional African American skateboarder. He is the founder of the American skateboard company ‘Dirty Ghetto Kids’ or DGK. In 2011 he was named one of the ’30 Most Influential Skaters of All-Time’ by Transworld Skateboarding. Stevie became a part of the Chocolate Skateboards team in 1999, in the same year he joined the DC Shoes team which he later released a signature model sneaker for in the year 2000. Stevie Williams has used his prodigious skateboarding talent to create a prosperous brand name for himself, and is one of the true legends of the skateboarding game.
#3. Tony Alva
Tony Alva is one of the all-time greats of skateboarding, period. He was one of the original members of the famed ‘Z-Boys’ otherwise known as the Zephyr skateboarding team. He was named one of the ’30 Most Influential Skaters’ of all-time by Transworld Skateboarding magazine in 2013. Alva’s skating style was revolutionary for the era as he used a groundbreaking free form surfing type style that has been admired and replicated in the decades ever since. He started his own skateboard company at the age of nineteen in 1977 called Alva Skates, making it the first company owned and operated by an active skateboarder. Alva Skates is also known as being the first company to use Canadian maple plywood in the construction of their skateboard decks. His legend is just as solid.
#2. Jay Adams
On August 15, 2014 the world of professional skating lost one of their own, they lost a true legend, Jay Adams. He came to prominence as a bad boy member of the original ‘Z-Boys’ skateboarding team. Often referred to as ‘The Original Seed’ of street boarding. He is widely considered one of the archetype street skateboarding talents of all time. Adam’s life was featured in the 2001 award-winning documentary ‘Dogtown and Z-Boys’. His energetic and hard charging surfing type style made Jay an all-time legend.
#1. Tony Hawk
It would be next to impossible to have any conversation regarding modern skateboarding without Tony Hawk‘s name being mentioned. Tony is considered by most observers to be the most successful, popular, and certainly influential vertical skateboarders of all-time. He is famous for being the very first skater to perform a ‘900’, a trick with the completion of two-and-a-half mid-air revolution on a board. A move that was previously considered more mystical than doable. Hawk has made countless appearances in films, television, video games, and events. He is a huge part of popular culture, and one of, if not the most influential skateboarders of all-time.