Ryan Sheckler is a skateboarder and lives a more interesting life than you*. Because, as luck would have it, you don’t live in southern California, rake in millions of dollars in endorsements, enjoy the musings of 2.5 million Twitter followers, or get photographed with a pretty blonde each time you leave the house. (Unless, of course, you count the Snapchat selfies you send to your* mom holding Blonde Roast Starbucks coffee.)
*For you and your, of course, feel free to substitute me and my.
That aside, Edge caught up with the 24-year-old Sheckler last Friday afternoon and believe it or not, he’s a pretty down to earth dude—probably a hell of a lot more so than you (or I) would be given the aforementioned bio.
So here, in my estimation, are the eight most important things (in no particular order, so no skipping) that we discussed...
1. He has broken countless GoPro cameras. (It’s cool, they're a sponsor.) With them strapped often to his board more or less constantly, he’ll sometimes forget they’re there, and CRASH!, so much for that $399 gizmo. But boy, when they don’t break? You get some pretty cool footage.
2. Sheckler was in NYC two weeks ago doing a cover shoot for Monster Children magazine and as part of an endorsement with Gillette (more on that in a sec), got to skate Chelsea Piers with a lucky fan who won a contest to hang with Ryan for the day. Also while in town: He and his crew went to Chalk Point restaurant and took in the Supercross competition at MetLife Stadium.
3. In preparation for the Austin X-Games June 5-8, Ryan’s keeping close watch on his workouts. A quick day-in-the-life: 7:30 a.m. wake up, then a protein shake, then off to his facility for training. No two workouts are the same. As he puts it: “My trainer’s really good at keeping the body guessing at what’s going to happen. We do a lot of heart-rate training, a lot of running, and a lot of actually being on the skateboard....We kind of just do everything.”
4. He eats well. Three or four meals a day, just enough to give his body enough protein and keep him energetic. Vegetables, “tons of hydration,” and brown rice are staples. So, too, is just about any kind of chicken, with lots of trips to...
4a. Wahoo’s. It’s down the street from his house. A favorite order? Teriyaki bowl of chicken, obviously. When he cooks at home—which isn’t often these days—ground turkey tacos are where it’s at.
4b. Sheckler gets “super weird” on the morning of competition. “No matter how good I’m feeling the night before, my stomach is just in knots,” he says. “So I really just try and bank on eating a bunch of fruit and try to get a protein shake...but it’s really hard for me to eat a full meal on those mornings.” Additionally, he’ll loosen the muscles up with 10-minute heart-rate workout. “Pushups, sit-ups, jump rope. Repeat those three for 10 minutes straight and you’re ready to go.”
5. About a month ago, Sheckler helped open a new skate park in Port Gamble, Wash. The S’Klallam Indian Tribe won a nation-wide online contest through his foundation. After two years of construction, a skate park Sheckler describes as perfect is now open. As he explains, “It’s the kind of park you can just fool around on, and you don’t really have to stop one way or another. It just goes back and forth really nicely and that’s what I wanted the kids to get to do, just flow around the park.” Included in the design is a quarter-pipe so, as he says, the kids can catch some air.
The pro’s review after skating it? “Perfect. It was so good. There’s nothing like a brand-new park. I was like a kid in the candy store.”
6. The dude knows how to shave. Gillette recently approached him about a sponsorship for their new body razor. What better person for the job? “The reason I shave my legs is because I’m always wrapping my ankles with that kinesio tape,” he says. “Pull that off of your ankle, with hair on it, it’s like pulling a huge Band-aid off. So it just became a thing, like, shave the legs, shave the arms. And of course, with all the tattoos I have, I like when they’re popping out.”
Again, the pro’s review? “I almost always used to cut myself when I was shaving, and my elbows were horrible. But without a doubt, this one works.”
7. Oh, those tattoos. His first came at age 17. It was this one. It took four and a half hours. He has gotten, oh, about 5,758 more since. The most recent is one on his wrist reading, “Speak for the Silent, Stand for the Broken.” It’s a phrase that motivational speaker and Sheckler friend Mike Smith preaches when talking to kids around the country about standing up to bullies and judging people.
7a. Does he regret any of the tattoos? “Not at all. They’re all special. I can remember what I was feeling that day...so many memories just looking at my arms.”
8. There are 2.51 million Twitter accounts following Ryan Sheckler. At press time that ranked 741st in the world—more than, to name a few, Blake Griffin, Jerry Seinfeld, and Macklemore.
“Social media is huge to me,” Sheckler says. “It’s a way my fans can connect to me. I connect with them. I love it.”
But as anyone who has browsed the comments section on a gossip site can tell you, hatred and vile-spewing trolls can and will surface, the intent, so often, being to take down a young, rich, good-looking athlete.
“What can you do about it?” Sheckler says of things he deals with online. “It's live, it’s viral. You know, every once in a while I’ll post a goofy picture and get some pretty interesting comments and it makes me want to delete it. But I never do. You can’t give the haters power.”
He continues: “Every photo I post, there’s some crazy person talking. It doesn’t bug me. It’s kind of funny. When people start hating so hard, that’s when my fans attack them. They just go after him, so it’s almost like I don’t have to do anything. The loyal fans take care of them.”
As for Sheckler's interesting life, here's a bonus item for you, dear reader.