At age 29, Ryan Sheckler’s been a skateboarder for more than two decades and a bona fide star since he won gold at the Gravity Games in 2003.
He’s considered one of the most influential skateboarders of all time. He had his own reality show on MTV and has been a playable character on Tony Hawk’s video games. At 13, he was the youngest skater ever to turn pro, known for his grace and consistency on the board and his teen-idol looks.
This weekend Sheckler is in town for the X Games at U.S. Bank Stadium, where he is both competing and sharing his passion through his charity, the Sheckler Foundation.
The foundation donated $10,000 to the Minneapolis nonprofit Wiggle Your Toes, which helps people recover from limb loss, and Sheckler participated in a clinic on the same skateboard park that will be used for the weekend competition.
Adaptive skateboarding also was added to the X Games play list for the first time this year, with a competition scheduled Saturday.
At a clinic this week Sheckler was a hands-on teacher, helping novice skateboarders get a feel for how the board moves. The more intrepid of the lot got to roll with him.
“I can actually drop in with them on my skateboard,” said Sheckler, who got his first board before he was 2.
Sheckler’s 10-year-old foundation donated $10,000 to Wiggle Your Toes as part of his “Be the Change” effort that has operated mostly in his native California.
“I decided we needed to branch out,” he said.
This year, they’re giving away a similar sum in nine other cities on his “Skate for a Cause Tour.” On his Facebook page are photos of Sheckler skating with fans at other stops, including Harlem in New York City and Trenton, N.J.
With Wiggle Your Toes, Sheckler saw an opportunity to help amputees stay active in the world and continue the pace of their lives. A news release about the effort reads: “Limb loss doesn’t mean dream loss.”
Wiggle Your Toes, which started in Minnesota in 2007, helps amputees with prosthetics and rehabilitation and encourages them to “keep looking and moving forward,” according to its website.
For Sheckler, working with Wiggle Your Toes is about sharing the freedom he feels on the board. He said he hopes others can enjoy the sense of peace and freedom that he finds with skateboarding.
Sharing his passion, he said, “makes my heart feel good.”