By far, to the current day, the most famous skateboarder is now a household name: Tony Hawk. Hawk has been instrumental in the progression of skateboarding since he was the premier member of the Bones Brigade skateboard team, who, in the 80s fueled the progression of skateboarding to new heights.In later years, he has become the world’s ambassador of skateboarding, and has been instrumental in bringing the activity to mainstream society, mostly through his involvement with the X-games and through his franchise of video games, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, which debuted in 1999 and became one of the most popular video games to ever hit the market. His developed his own line of clothing and shoes, Hawk Clothing and Hawk Shoes, respectively, and owns his own skateboard company, Birdhouse Skateboards.
In later years, he has become the world’s ambassador of skateboarding, and has been instrumental in bringing the activity to mainstream society, mostly through his involvement with the X-games and through his franchise of video games, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, which debuted in 1999 and became one of the most popular video games to ever hit the market. His developed his own line of clothing and shoes, Hawk Clothing and Hawk Shoes, respectively, and owns his own skateboard company, Birdhouse Skateboards.
Another very influential skateboarder from years past was another Tony—Tony Alva—who was instrumental in the progression of skateboarding during the 70s, having been the first to pioneer the beginnings of vertical skateboarding. 1976 was the year of the California drought, which caused an abnormal amount of swimming pools to remain empty, as it was considered to expensive and wasteful to fill them. This, mixed with heyday of the Z-boys, an infamous and very influential skateboarding team that Alva was a part of, heralded the beginning of vertical skateboarding as it is known today. Alva and the Z-boys would spend endless days searching for and riding backyard swimming pools, the precursor to the modern-day halfpipe. It was these skaters that changed the face of skateboarding to come.
Another Z-boy, by the name of Jay Adams, also rode with Alva. Adams had a very organic and spontaneous way of skating. He would never do the same thing twice, and he often “over” a trick before he even did it, meaning he was so spontaneous that he didn’t plan to “do” tricks, they were done before they even began. Jay Adams remains as influential today as he did in the 70s, despite not attaining the commercials success that his peers achieved. However, such was his style. He skated for the moment, not for the glory.
Another of Adam’s and Alva’s peers, Stacey Peralta, was and still is a very influential skateboarder. Peralta was also a member of the Z-boys skate team, and could also be considered one of the most commercially successfully skateboarders of all time. During that time period, the Z-boys were world famous, and Stacey was talented enough to stand alongside Alva and Adams, despite skating quite different from them. His successes took him around the world, and eventually lead him to discover and mentor Tony Hawk. Later he went on to become a professional filmmaker, and he was the brains behind such popular documentary films as Dogtown and Z-boys, which chronicles the history of the infamous Z-boys team, and Riding Giants, which details the history of big-wave surfing.
Since the 90s, skateboarding has continued to produce some very big names. Danny Way was just a young and talented upstart in the 80s, but in the 90s he came into his own, showing the world what a well-rounded skater he was, being able to skate vert, street, and everything in between, seemingly better than anyone else. The videos produced by H-Street in the late 80s and early 90s showcased his talents to the world, and he soon made his way to the Plan B team, which released some very progressive videos, showing the world how good Way had actually become. Way went on to team up with DC shoes, and continues to blow minds. Most notably, he know holds the world record for the highest air on a vert ramp, and also appeared on international TV as he became the first person ever to launch over the Great Wall of China on a skateboard.
Bam Margera is another notable name in the skateboarding hall of fame. A product of the home skate video revolution of the early 90s, Bam began producing his own brand of skate videos mixed with the crazy antics of him and his friends in riotous situations and homemade comedy skits. His style of skating, along with his off-board personality, became hugely popular, and he went on to team up with the now defunct Big Brother magazine, to star in Jackass, an MTV show about off-the-wall candid comedy antics. This propelled him to further success, and aside from continuing his own projects, he now stars in another MTV series of his own, Viva La Bam.
There are many names worth mentioning in skateboarding, and an article of any length should include some words on Jason Lee, who was not only a very influential professional street skater from the early 90s, but who has also went on to become a very respected and famous Hollywood film and TV star. The former professional skateboarder has acted in many big-budget films, and is currently the star of NBC’s comedy sitcom.