These are skaters who pushed the limits, impressed everyone or added positively to skateboarding in some significant way in the 2000s. One way or another, they make the list of the top skaters of the aughts.
Tony Hawk retired from competing in 1999. So why is he the top skater of the 2000s? In 1999, the first Tony Hawk Pro Skater video game came out. By 2010, the Tony Hawk video game franchise (12 games) moved mountains in promoting skateboarding and dominated the skateboarding video game scene. Also in 1999, Hawk became the first skater to pull off a 900, the holy grail of vert skateboarding.
In 2001 Globe skateboard shoes came out with the Globe: Opinion skateboarding video. Rodney Mullen was already well-known by that time (he was in the Bones Brigade), but this video really showcased what Mullen was capable of. His technical street wizardry showed that he was a magnitude above everyone else, and he maintained that status. He’s come out with several more skateboarding videos, each challenging what people think street skateboarding is.
Danny Way dominated the stunts and spectacle side of skateboarding during the 2000s.That’s not to say he’s not a good skater in competitions — he’s done his best to take home as many gold medals as he can, too. In 2000, Way had his first knee surgery. He would have six more through the decade, including having his ACL replaced three times. But before you feel sorry for him, here’s a list of his bigger achievements: During the 2000s he claimed the world’s record for Highest Freefall, Longest Jump and Highest Air. In 2005, he took the distance record while jumping over the Great Wall of China, becoming the first person to do it without a motor. Way’s Mega Ramp has also become a staple in the X Games.
Ryan Sheckler provokes strong reactions in skaters. Some love him, and some absolutely hate him. He’s like the Leonardo DiCaprio of skateboarding. In 2004 Sheckler became the youngest pro skater to take gold in the X Games. Then he swept competition after competition, winning first place more often than not. He’s good, and his skill has won him a fortune. He’s also done well with his money, keeping a fairly clean reputation and acting as poster boy for skateboarding.
For a lot of people, the first time they saw Rob Dyrdek skate was in 2003 when The DC Videocame out. This was a revolutionary skateboarding video because you could tell that money had been spent making it. Up to that point, most skateboarding videos looked like a step above home movies. It was in The DC Video that people first saw the fun gimmick of Dyrdek and Big, his bodyguard. People liked it, and Dyrdek used that to catapult his career into show business. He is now on of the most popular skaters on the planet.
Bob Burnquist started off the decade winning TransWorld’s Best Vert awards for three years in a row. Then he spent the rest of the decade winning medal after medal in skateboard vert contests like the X Games. Burnquist is easily one of the world’s best vert skaters, and he has proven that in the contest arena over and over again, and he’s still competing. He co-founded the Action Sports Environmental Coalition, which spreads a lot of information about ecological awareness through the Action Sports scene.
Daewon Song is a genius technical street skater — most people know him from his series of videos that he came out with Rodney Mullen vs. Daewon Song, Rounds 1, 2 and 3. These videos showcased both skaters and showed the world that there are some incredibly talented and fresh skaters out there who you won’t see at the X Games. For pushing the limits of what technical street skateboarding can do and for reminding the world that contests aren’t the heart of skateboarding, Song is one of the top skaters of the decade.
Paul Rodriguez Jr.
Paul Rodriguez has charisma. He’s an excellent skater and has won plenty of skateboarding contests and demoed his skills in plenty of videos, but what really pushes him over the top is how dang likable the guy is. In 2004 Rodriguez became the first pro skater sponsored by Nike — people might have hated Nike, but they still loved P-Rod. During the 2000s, P-Rod did his best to bust into Hollywood. In 2007 he was in the movie “Vicious Circle,” and it won Best Film at the New York International Latino Film Festival in 2008. In 2009 he starred in “Street Dreams,” the skateboarding feature film by Rob Dyrdek. All of this has been accomplished while still skateboarding in contests and generating film for skateboard videos.
Elissa Steamer dominated the world of women’s street skateboarding during the 2000s. In 1999, Steamer won the women’s street contest at the Slam City Jam — this was the first female-only contest at a World Cup Skateboarding event. This victory set the pace for the next 10 years. Steamer was the first woman to have a pro model skateboard, the first to have a pro model skateboarding shoe(etnies) and the first and only female skater in any of the Tony Hawk video games. In 2004 and 2005 alone, Steamer took first place at 10 major skateboarding contests worldwide.
Jamie Thomas is on this list because he’s not only a dominating presence in pro skateboarding, but during the 2000s he also slid into a dominating role in the skateboarding industry. Thomas was well known for his Leap of Faith in 1997 (a 20-foot drop), but it was during the aughts that he really took over. He bought Black Box Distribution (parent company of Zero, Mystery, Fallen and $lave), and with all of these business dealings, Thomas skated in about one skateboard video release a year.