Have another look at the CCS Exclusive interview with Ryan Sheckler.
As the old saying goes; the harder you work, the luckier you get. If there’s one man in skateboarding that epitomizes this adage it’s Ryan Sheckler. Every time CCS gets him on the phone he’s somewhere on the move—globetrotting on the contest circuit, handling photoshoots, skating, filming, surfing, designing, building or training. We’re not sure how he does it all, but we’re pretty sure his busy lifestyle is the key to much of his success. With several new colorways of his latest Marana shoe from etnies dropping, his new private TF being built and the highly anticipated release of the Plan B video waiting in the wings, 2013 is already shaping up to be a big year for Shecks. CCS caught up with the man himself for a quick chat this week. Here’s just a slice of what he’s got going on.
You’ve got a pretty substantial history with etnies. How has your relationship with the company evolved over the years? What is it about the team (skaters and business) over at etnies that's made you stick around? They must be doing something right, right?
etnies just feels like a family to me and it is a family. I’ve been on their team for fifteen years now. I’ve seen a lot of different teams come through and I’ve had a blast. I’ve seriously had a blast getting to know the people there and actually getting to learn a lot of the business side of the brand and be a part of creating shoes and creating products that people actually enjoy. It’s been a really fun process.
Can you describe what it’s like working with their design team on a shoe like The Marana? How much input do you really get to have in its overall look and feel?
They are really are trying to progress footwear. They are trying so many different outlets to make sure they have a pair of shoes that when a kid puts them on he’s not worried about having a crazy heel bruise that night. They’re putting a lot of work into it and a lot of testing. I give them so much feedback on the shoes they want me to test out. I’ll skate in them as hard as I can and tell them what’s up, if they hurt my feet or really anything. There’s a lot of feedback. They’re always looking to help people and make sure people are enjoying their skating and not worried about if their laces are going to break or anything else like that.
What kinds of technologies are in the Marana that make it suitable for your kind of skateboarding in particular? What’s the R&D process look like?
We used the STI Lab and we would test the amount of pressure I was actually putting on my feet and heels. We realized that with my feet, I have a different arch in my foot and I was putting more pressure on the ball of my big toe and the corner of the back of my heel. We always knew I needed a midsole and that helped me out. I had been skating flat shoes and I was hurting my feet and so we figured I needed to skate shoes that had a mid sole. Just small things like that. As far as technology wise they are doing so many different things that I can’t even explain it all.
There’s been a lot of hype around your Plan B teaser. Is that just a taste of what’s to come?
I don’t know. I haven’t even really heard any of the feedback. I’ve just been working and trying to focus on getting my part finished. I feel good about it. I’m psyched to be a part of something like this. It’s going to be pretty cool.
In terms of overall priority and importance of video parts you’ve worked on throughout your career, how would you rank this video with Plan B?
It’s the biggest priority I have. There’s never been a bigger project to me.
It looks like you’ve been working on a new private TF. What’s the story there? Who’s building it? Who designed it? Is it replacing your old spot or is it a new one you’re working on?
Dave Duncan and Eddie Reategui are building it and the three of us designed it. It’s a different building from my last one. It’s right up the street. It’s more of an open square box and it’s bigger. My last building had more of a tall ceiling and we tried to stack the skatepark which kind of left me a little bit claustrophobic in there and it was hard to skate. We got a new building and it’s really just a big open box. I created a skate park that you really don’t have to push in at all. It just flows around the whole park. We have big section with hubbas obviously and some other random stuff. I was trying to incorporate a couple of the Street Leagues with a couple of street spots—not anything in particular, just some real rugged street spots. Then I created this mini-ramp spine bowl and it’s crazy. I can’t wait to have a mini ramp jam on it.
How important are TFs for you overall? Do you use them as a true training facility? If so, how seriously do you “train” or is it more just you going in there and skating around, enjoying yourself and staying in shape?
It’s a place to go skate, it’s a place to go if it’s raining, if it’s cold or when you’re at home and you’re bummed and you just want to go skate. It’s not like I’m like, “I’m going in here to train today, boys”. Obviously we will be training in there and that is the skating. You’re practicing when you’re training, but I’m not taking it that serious.
Sometimes it’s easy for pros to plateau off at a certain point in their careers in terms of learning and pushing themselves. How often are you still pushing your skating? Is learning new tricks and improving on existing ones something you’re conscious of or does it just come as your career progresses?
Absolutely. Every time I step on the board I’m thinking about trying new tricks. Every day I try a new trick that I haven’t tried before. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, but you just keep practicing. I always try to keep it fresh and I’m always trying to learn new tricks. That’s why I’m always trying to play SKATE with people that I don’t normally play with just so I can get new ideas for new tricks.
Do you set goals for yourself when it comes to that kind of thing?
Yeah. I’ll say to myself, “we're going to the park today and you can’t leave until you land ten switch tre flips down the stairs”. I won’t leave until I land ten switch tre flips. I do set goals for myself, but I don’t get too hard on myself if I can’t learn a trick. I just try to stay calm and learn.
Are you on the fitness bandwagon when it comes to training activities outside of skateboarding? How important is that to you? Does physical fitness training make a noticable difference when it comes to things like contests, surviving slams and overall strength and resilience?
For the most part I stay really active. I do a lot of swimming in the pool and I do a ton of surfing. I just try to stay as active as I can. If I’m not surfing, I’m skating and if I’m not skating I’m doing something else, but I’m always moving around and staying active. I used to do a lot of training on a road bike and I noticed it when I was doing contests like the Dew Tour where you have to do three fifteen minute jams back to back to back. My training really helped my cardio. I think training outside of skateboarding can only help you to be stronger and more flexible. I’m not talking about weight training, I’m talking about resistance and body weight training. I do push ups and pull ups every day.
Do you have training buddies or a certified trainer? Do you see specialists like David Sales when it comes to recovery and prevention?
Yeah, I see Dave. Dave is a great guy. I’m glad a lot of skaters realize that he’s a good guy for putting people back together. I feel like he’s saved a lot of skateboarders over the last two years.