Skateboarding was invented around 1950s, when surfers in California were looking for adrenaline when there were no waves. Since then, there were many influential skateboarders that have revolutionized this sport with new tricks and styles of riding. In this article, we have assembled a list of the Top 10 Best Skateboarders of all time.
In this list, we’re looking at the most influential professional skateboarders to ever pick up a board. These are the guys that have changed the way we approach skateboarding and have had a serious amount of personal success.
10. Andrew Reynolds
Known as “The Boss” in skateboarding circles, the moniker is fitting, as he gained a reputation for trying things that others just couldn’t pull off. Andrew Reynolds appears to nail these feats with minimal effort.
When he hit the scene in the early 1990s, Reynolds was snapped up by skateboarding legend Tony Hawk’s “Birdhouse” team alongside other skateboarding greats. An influential skater and Thrasher’s Skater of the Year in 1998, Reynolds pedigree is matched by few.
Today, Andrew Reynolds is the boss of Baker Skateboards, which has Riley Hawk, son of Tony, as part of the brand’s team.
9. Eric Koston
A fearless skater. Regardless of whether he’s on the street or in a competition, Koston won’t think twice about mixing things up, whether it be with a Fandangle or the K-grind. With wins at numerous X Games and other competitions, fortune has favored his brave approach.
Koston founded the Foustar clothing company in 1996, and has even had his own custom Nike shoe, showing a pretty far-reaching influence for a grade 10 drop out. As a skater who has invented so many of his own tricks, his lack of formal education clearly hasn’t hurt him at all.
8. Steve Caballero
It’s easy to see why Thrasher Magazine honored Steve Caballero with the title “Skater of the Century”. Fully dominating the skateboarding world throughout 1980s, Caballero is known for inventing the Caballerial, also known as the Fakie 360 Ollie – a trick that has even been used in snowboarding.
Skilled in both Street and Vert skating, he has been a long-term member of “The Bones Brigade”, which features other skate legends such as Rodney Mullen, Tony Hawk, and Danny Way. Caballero suffers from Scoliosis from birth, but that didn’t stop him from setting big air and Boardslide records throughout his career.
7. Mark Gonzales
You’re breaking the law with skateboarding, but I like to do it, I can’t stop.Mark Gonzales
A true innovator of Street skating and a skateboarding legend. The sport today would not be the same without Mark Gonzales. Along with Natas Kaupas, he was one of the first skaters ever to ride handrails – a major contribution to the development of Street skating, which is for many the most popular form of skateboarding.
Gonzales’s place in history was secured when he cleared a major gap with his Ollie at the famous skate spot Embarcadero (a.k.a. Hubba Hideout) in 1986. The obstacle was hence dubbed “the Gon’s Gap”. His pioneering influence was confirmed when Transworld Skateboarding endowed him with The Legend Award in 2006.
6. Tony Alva
Coming from the surf culture of the 1960s, Alva’s skating style differed drastically to that of most skaters of the time, many of whom were using more traditional tricks and styles. One of the first members of the legendary Zephyr Competition Team (a.k.a. Z-Boys), he was an early innovator of Vert skating. Never a fan of convention, Alva is credited with making empty swimming part of the skating norm.
Tony Alva broke new ground in 1977, when he formed Alva Skates at just 19 years old and became the first skateboarder to found his own company.
5. Bucky Lasek
This guy is too incredible for one sport. If he’s not ripping it up on his board, he’s likely moonlighting as a Rallycross driver. It’s not like Lasek is a mediocre skater either, his 10 X Games golds are proof to his ability in Vert skating.
Despite numerous injuries, Lasek is committed to Vert skating, and he is relentless in his pursuit of perfection and progression. It’s likely this dedication that made Lasek the first action sports athlete to show up on the cover of ESPN Magazine, confirming his well-earned spot in our top of the best skateboarders ever.
4. Danny Way
Some of the things Danny Way has achieved are unbelievable. With his track record of major injuries, it seems like he has superhuman healing abilities. First he bomb drops from a helicopter with a dislocated shoulder, then he jumps the Great Wall of China with a broken foot, and then he wins an X Games Big Air Gold, while still suffering from his Great Wall injury.
Would it be a surprise if this two-time Thrasher Skater of the Year bomb drops from space at some point? Probably not.
3. Rodney Mullen
Mullen’s influence on modern Street and Vert skateboarding is undeniable. Seemingly brought into this world to serve skateboarding, “The Mutt” started competing at age 11 and was immediately a force to be reckoned with. Three years later he turned Pro at age 14.
Mullen is credited with inventing the tricks which are now staples of modern skateboarding, including the Flatground Ollie, the Impossible, and the Kickflip. These contributions alone earn him an automatic spot on our skate legends list and rightly give him the title of Godfather of Street Skating.
2. Bob Burnquist
For Tony Hawk to say that you’re his favorite skater, you’ve got to be called Bob Burnquist. Best known for both Vert and Big Air Skating, Burnquist is so far the only Brazilian to become Thrasher’s Skater of the Year.
Known as a creative and innovative skater, he made history as the first skater ever to land a Fakie 900. The Brazilian won the Slam City Jam Men’s Vert 1995, coming into the event relatively unknown. Burnquist would eventually win 12 X Games golds, the most impressive of which came in 2001 when he nailed previously unseen Vert tricks and snatched the victory from Bucky Lasek.
1. Tony Hawk
My priority has always been to be progressive, and if I’m remembered as being progressive or someone that broke limits then that’s how I’d rather approach it.Tony Hawk
The greatest pioneer ever in Vert skateboarding. Tony Hawk had his influence stretch far beyond the world of skateboarding, he is a cultural icon that has played a leading role in the rejuvenation of the whole sport in the early 1990s.
Generations of future skaters will remember “The Birdman” as the first skater to land a 900, and for his role to bringing skateboarding to the mainstream. While other skateboarders might feature in his wildly popular Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, he is the star.
Do you agree with our list? Which famous skaters do you think deserve more recognition? Let us know in the comments below!