Sick Tricks & Iconic Styles! The Best Boarders Ever!

Tony Hawk and Rodney Mullen are widely regarded as two of the best skateboarders of all time. Their pioneering tricks and styles have left a lasting impact on the sport.


Skateboarding, with its rich history and cultural significance, has seen many talented individuals, but few have reached the iconic status of Tony Hawk and Rodney Mullen. These athletes transcended the sport, creating maneuvers and techniques that form the bedrock of modern skateboarding.


Hawk, known for his vert ramp skills and the first documented 900 aerial spin, became a household name, while Mullen’s inventive street skating and freestyle movements revolutionized how skateboarding is performed. Both have inspired generations of skaters and contributed to the evolution of skateboarding from a niche hobby to a globally recognized sport with a strong cultural influence. Recognizing their achievements helps enthusiasts and newcomers alike appreciate the legends who have shaped the world of skateboarding.


Evolution Of Skateboarding

Best skateboarders of all time
Best skateboarders of all time

The evolution of skateboarding is a fascinating tale of innovation, culture, and daring athleticism. This journey, from its modest beginnings to a global phenomenon, has given rise to a new wave of sports icons. Let’s explore the transformative stages that have marked the history of skateboarding.

From Surfers To Skaters

The genesis of skateboarding links directly to the surf culture of California. Surfers sought a similar thrill on land when the ocean was still. They repurposed wooden boxes and roller skate wheels, creating the earliest skateboards. This ingenuity sparked a new subculture, as surfers-turned-skaters started carving on concrete.

    • 1950s and 1960s: Skateboarding emulates surfing on land.
    • Homemade boards: The first skateboards are crafted from makeshift materials.

Improvements: Skateboards evolve with better materials and designs, improving performance.

The Rise Of Professional Skateboarding

As skateboarding popularity soared, the 1970s and 1980s witnessed its transition into a professional sport. Skate parks sprouted up, providing a venue for skaters to hone their skills and push boundaries.

Competitions emerged, spotlighting skillful riders and stoking the competitive flames. Icons like Tony Hawk and Stacy Peralta dominated the ramps, inspiring a legion of fans and aspiring skateboarders.

Decade Development Notable Skaters
1970s Skate parks introduced Alan Gelfand, Tony Alva
1980s Pro competitions take off Tony Hawk, Rodney Mullen
1990s and beyond Skateboarding goes global Elissa Steamer, Bob Burnquist

Clothing and footwear brands became synonymous with skate culture, cementing skateboarding’s place in mainstream society. X-Games and street skating further propelled the visibility and prestige of the sport.

Defining Greatness: A Multifaceted Approach

Skateboarding isn’t just about landing the most complex tricks or winning the most competitions. While those achievements are certainly impressive, true greatness in skateboarding encompasses a broader spectrum. Here are some key factors to consider:

  • Competition Success: Dominating contests like the X Games or Street League Skateboarding showcases not just technical skill but also mental fortitude and consistency under pressure.
  • Innovation: Pioneering new tricks or pushing the boundaries of existing ones leaves a lasting mark on the sport and inspires future generations.
  • Style: The way a skater approaches their board, their flow, and their overall aesthetic contribute to the beauty and individuality that defines skateboarding.
  • Influence: Legends inspire others, whether through their signature style, their dedication to progressing the sport, or their impact on skateboarding culture.

Throughout history, the definition of “greatness” has also evolved. Early vert skaters focused on conquering massive ramps, while street skaters later prioritized technical mastery on everyday obstacles. Today, the sport embraces a diverse range of disciplines and styles, with greatness measured by a combination of these factors.

In the next section, we’ll meet some of the legendary skaters who have excelled in these different areas, forever etching their names in skateboarding history.

Pioneers Of Skateboarding

Best skateboarders of all time
Best skateboarders of all time

The world of skateboarding is rich with talent and innovation. Legends carved the path for what has become a global phenomenon. Among these trailblazers, few have left a mark as indelible as Tony Hawk and Rodney Mullen. Their commitment and creativity have defined an era. Let’s dive into the stories of these skateboarding icons.

Tony Hawk: The Legend

Tony Hawk, fondly known as “The Birdman,” soared into the skateboarding hall of fame with his gravity-defying aerials. Hawk’s career highlights include landing the first documented 900 at the 1999 X Games, a feat considered impossible at the time. His impact spans beyond the ramps with the successful video game series, “Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater”, which introduced skateboarding to countless enthusiasts.

  • First 900 spin: 1999 X Games
  • Video Game: Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater
  • Induction: Skateboarding Hall of Fame

Rodney Mullen: Master Of Innovation

Rodney Mullen’s name is synonymous with innovation in skateboarding. Often called the “Godfather of Street Skating,” Mullen pioneered numerous tricks like the kickflip and the heelflip. His technical skills and creative approach to flatground skating have influenced generations.

Innovation Impact
Kickflip Revolutionized street skating
Heelflip Added complexity to trick sequences

Modern Icons

The world of skateboarding evolves with every ollie, grind, and kickflip. The modern era has given rise to skateboarding icons who redefine what’s possible on a board. They’ve enchanted audiences with breathtaking skills and unprecedented maneuvers. Meet some of these trailblazers who continue to inspire new generations of skateboarders around the globe.

Nyjah Huston: Street Skateboarding Prodigy

Nyjah Huston has taken street skateboarding to staggering heights. Bursting onto the scene as a young talent, Huston’s precision and technical ability have earned him numerous competition titles. His consistency in landing difficult tricks makes him a favorite at events such as the X Games and Street League Skateboarding (SLS).

  • X Games Gold Medalist: Huston’s racked up several Golds over the years.
  • Street League Dominance: Few can match his record in SLS competitions.
  • Video Part Virtuoso: Huston’s video parts showcase his groundbreaking skills.

Lizzie Armanto: Breaking Barriers In Women’s Skateboarding

Lizzie Armanto is a force that’s reshaping women’s skateboarding. Armanto’s fearless approach to vert and bowl disciplines brings a unique flair to the sport. She is renowned for being the first woman to complete the Tony Hawk’s 360 Loop. Her influence extends beyond the deck, pushing for more inclusivity in skateboarding culture.

Accomplishments Impact
360 Loop Completion Inspirational to aspiring skateboarders
X Games Medalist Proven competition success
Skatepark Advocate Promotes skatepark accessibility for all
  • Yuto Horigome: The first-ever Olympic gold medalist in skateboarding (Tokyo 2020), Horigome’s innovative approach to street skating showcases incredible balance, power, and board control. His influence on the sport’s Olympic future is undeniable.

  • Aori Nishimura: A pioneer in women’s street skating, Nishimura consistently pushes the technical difficulty of tricks, inspiring a new generation of female skaters. Her success in major competitions further underscores the rising talent in women’s skateboarding.

These are just a sampling of the many talented skaters who are shaping the current landscape of skateboarding. The sport continues to evolve as skaters from diverse backgrounds and styles redefine what’s possible.

In the next section, we’ll move beyond the competition podium to acknowledge the skaters who contribute to the sport’s rich culture and inspire progression through their individuality.

Legendary Competitions

Legendary Competitions have been the birthplace of skateboarding heroes. Year after year, boarders push the limits, creating unforgettable moments. Skateboarding contests showcase talent, innovation, and pure guts. They set the stage for skaters to etch their names into the eternal halls of fame. Let’s dive into the realms where skateboarding legends are made.

X Games: The Ultimate Stage

The X Games stand tall as skateboarding’s grandest arena. Men and women defy gravity, spin through the air, and land tricks once thought impossible. The X Games’ importance cannot be overstated. They’ve delivered iconic moments since 1995. Here, legends like Tony Hawk and Nyjah Huston have dazzled crowds with sheer brilliance.

  • 1999: Tony Hawk lands the first-ever 900 – a defining moment.
  • Multi-year dominance: Bob Burnquist’s gravity-defying performances.
  • Fierce competitions: Lizzie Armanto and Brighton Zeuner shape women’s skateboarding.

Ollies, flips, and kicks form a symphony of athletic prowess. With every event, skaters push boundaries wider, aiming higher.

Street League Skateboarding: Revolutionizing The Scene

Street League Skateboarding, since 2010, has redefined urban skate challenges. Pioneering skater Rob Dyrdek introduced a spectator-friendly format. It combines the thrill of street skating with the energy of sports competitions. The SLS is where technical skills meet consistency under pressure.

Year Standout Champion Signature Moment
2011 Nyjah Huston High-stakes final, winning by a hair’s breadth.
2015 Kelvin Hoefler Debut victory, astounding technical skills.
2020 Aori Nishimura Trailblazing win that inspired countless.

Pressure mounts in SLS as skaters deliver under the spotlight. Precision and creativity make the winning difference. These skateboarders ride not just for prizes, but for a spot in history.

The Innovators: Pushing the Boundaries (1990s-2000s)

The 1990s and 2000s witnessed a period of explosive growth and innovation in skateboarding. Street skating flourished, with skaters transforming everyday obstacles into their personal playgrounds. Here are some of the game-changers who redefined what’s possible on a skateboard:

  • Danny Way: The undisputed king of mega-ramp skating, Way tackled unimaginable heights and distances with fearless determination. His groundbreaking stunts pushed the limits of what a skateboard could handle and redefined the concept of “big air.”
  • Marc Johnson: Known for his unique style and effortless flow, Johnson’s technical mastery of street skating set a new standard. His influence on modern street style is still evident today, with countless skaters drawing inspiration from his innovative lines and tricks.
  • Elissa Steamer: A pioneer in women’s skateboarding, Steamer dominated competitions throughout the 90s and early 2000s. Her technical prowess and competitive spirit paved the way for future generations of female skaters and helped to shatter gender barriers within the sport.

These innovators not only pushed the technical boundaries of skateboarding but also broadened its cultural reach. Their influence extends beyond competition results, inspiring countless skaters with their creativity and dedication. In the next section, we’ll meet the modern masters who continue to redefine greatness in skateboarding.

Recognizing the Unsung Heroes

While competition success and groundbreaking tricks often grab the spotlight, skateboarding thrives on a vast pool of talented individuals pushing boundaries and inspiring others. These skaters may not rack up the most trophies, but their influence on the sport’s culture and progression is undeniable.

Here’s why recognizing these “unsung heroes” is crucial:

  • Individuality and Style: Skateboarding is a platform for self-expression. Skaters like Mark Gonzales, known for his unconventional yet stylish approach, demonstrate that greatness isn’t just about technical mastery.

  • Progression Through Community: Local legends and dedicated crews at skateparks are instrumental in fostering a supportive environment where skaters push each other to improve. These individuals contribute to the sport’s growth at the grassroots level.

  • Pushing Boundaries Beyond Competition: Skaters like Pj Ladd, a pioneer in longboard dancing, showcase the incredible versatility of skateboarding and explore disciplines that go beyond the confines of competition formats.

The influence of these skaters extends far beyond their personal achievements. They inspire creativity, community, and a love for skateboarding that transcends competition results.

This vast pool of talent ensures that skateboarding’s future is bright. New generations will continue to redefine “greatness” as they innovate, express themselves, and push the boundaries of what’s possible on a skateboard.

Impact And Legacy

The legends of skateboarding have shaped more than just the sports world. Their impact and legacy resonate through generations of fans and aspiring athletes. Through iconic moves and unforgettable styles, these skaters have left an indelible mark in history.

Inspiring The Next Generation

The best skateboarders of all time inspire kids everywhere. Young people watch and learn, dreaming of achieving similar feats. Skate camps, videos, and competitions continue to showcase the prowess of top skaters, motivating the youth to pursue their passion.

  • Tony Hawk’s video game series sparked a wave of interest.
  • Skate clinics often feature pro-skater workshops.
  • Social media platforms allow fans to follow and interact with their skate heroes.

Skateboarding’s Influence On Popular Culture

Skateboarding transcends sports. It influences fashion, music, art, and film. Skate apparel becomes trendy streetwear. Skate videos and soundtracks shape music tastes. Street art often reflects skate culture.

Fashion Music Art Film
Skate brands like Vans and Thrasher Punk rock and hip-hop Graffiti and mural art

“Dogtown and Z-Boys” documentary

The Kings and Queens of Vert (1970s-1980s)

While the focus has shifted to street skating in recent years, there was a golden age when vert skateboarding reigned supreme. These daring individuals tackled massive ramps, defying gravity with incredible aerial maneuvers. Let’s pay homage to some of the vert legends who captivated audiences and redefined what skateboarding could be:

  • Tony Hawk (mentioned previously): Hawk’s dominance extended beyond street skating. His mastery of vert included iconic tricks like the McTwist (two full rotations with a grab) and the 900 (two and a half rotations), solidifying his place as a vert skateboarding legend.

  • Stacy Peralta (mentioned previously): A true competitor, Peralta dominated vert contests throughout the 1970s and 80s. His smooth style and signature airs, like the Invert (full body rotation with the board), inspired countless skaters to take on vert ramps.

  • Christian Hosoi: Known for his aggressive style and incredible height on vert ramps, Hosoi was a major competitor in the 80s. His comeback story after overcoming personal struggles is an inspiration to many.

  • Rodney Mullen (mentioned previously): While primarily known for his street skating innovations, Mullen also made his mark on vert. His incredible balance and board control allowed him to perform technical flatland tricks on vert ramps, blurring the lines between disciplines.

  • Carissa Moore: While women’s vert skateboarding hasn’t received the same level of mainstream attention, Carissa Moore stands out as a dominant force. The five-time World Surf Champion has also excelled in vert competitions, showcasing her incredible athleticism and aerial prowess.

These skaters, along with many others, pushed the boundaries of vert skateboarding to unimaginable heights. Their legacy lives on, inspiring a new generation of skaters who may choose to explore vert alongside street or other disciplines.

The Blending of Styles (1990s-Present)

As skateboarding matured, the lines between disciplines began to blur. Skaters like Danny Way incorporated vert tricks into their street repertoire, while street skaters honed their vert skills for bowl competitions. This fusion of styles ushered in a new era of creativity and versatility.

  • Danny Way (mentioned previously): Not only did Way push the limits of mega-ramp skating, but he also incorporated vert tricks like backside airs and grabs into his street lines, demonstrating incredible board control and adaptation.

  • Bob Burnquist: A true innovator, Burnquist excelled in both vert and street skating. His signature blend of technical tricks and smooth style across disciplines earned him numerous accolades and solidified his place as a skateboarding legend.

  • Leticia Bufoni: A dominant force in women’s street skating, Bufoni isn’t afraid to take her skills to vert ramps. Her powerful style and ability to conquer vert sections within street courses showcase the sport’s growing emphasis on versatility.

The blending of styles has enriched skateboarding, allowing skaters to express themselves across different disciplines and push the boundaries of what’s possible. This trend continues to evolve as new generations discover the joy of skateboarding and explore its limitless potential.

The Future of Skateboarding: A Canvas of Creativity

Skateboarding is a sport in perpetual motion. From the rebellious spirit of the early days to the technical brilliance of today’s competitions, the landscape continues to evolve. Looking forward, here are some exciting trends that promise to shape skateboarding’s future:

  • Diversity and Inclusion: Skateboarding is becoming increasingly inclusive, welcoming skaters from all backgrounds and disciplines. This diversity fosters creativity and innovation as skaters from different styles influence and inspire each other.

  • The Rise of Women’s Skateboarding: Female skaters like Leticia Bufoni and Aori Nishimura are shattering gender barriers and inspiring a new generation of girls to pick up a board. The future of skateboarding is undoubtedly brighter with this influx of talent and perspective.

  • The Olympic Effect: Skateboarding’s debut at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics has introduced the sport to a wider audience. This increased exposure is likely to attract more participants and sponsors, further accelerating the sport’s growth.

  • The Street Art Connection: Skateboarding and street art share a common thread – a rebellious spirit and a love for self-expression. This connection is likely to continue, with skateparks becoming canvases for artistic expression.

  • Technological Advancements: New board designs, protective gear, and training methods will continue to push the boundaries of what’s possible. Imagine a future with lighter, stronger boards that allow skaters to achieve even greater heights and perform mind-blowing tricks.

Skateboarding’s future is brimming with possibilities. It’s a sport that celebrates individuality, creativity, and the relentless pursuit of progression. Whether you’re a seasoned skater or a curious newcomer, there’s a place for you in this vibrant and ever-evolving world. So grab your board, find your local skatepark, and become part of the story!

The People’s Choice!

Throughout this journey, we’ve explored the accomplishments of legendary skaters who have shaped the sport. But who is your favorite skateboarder of all time?

Vote in the poll below to share your pick, or leave a comment explaining why a particular skater inspires you. Let’s celebrate the diverse range of talent and styles that make skateboarding so special!

Poll Options:

  • Tony Hawk
  • Rodney Mullen
  • Stacy Peralta
  • Danny Way
  • Nyjah Huston
  • Yuto Horigome
  • Aori Nishimura
  • (Write-in Option) – Other (Please specify in comments)

Frequently Asked Questions For Best Skateboarders Of All Time

Who Are The Top Skateboarders Ever?

Skateboarding legends Tony Hawk, Rodney Mullen, and Danny Way are often ranked among the top. They’ve pioneered new tricks and dominated competitions, leaving a lasting impact on the sport.

What Makes Tony Hawk A Skateboarding Icon?

Tony Hawk is synonymous with skateboarding due to his epic 900-degree spin at the X Games, numerous video game titles, and helping to mainstream the sport globally.

How Did Rodney Mullen Influence Skateboarding?

Rodney Mullen is the father of street skating. He invented tricks like the kickflip and the impossible, which have become foundational to modern skateboarding.

Are Any Women Ranked Among The Best Skateboarders?

Yes, women like Elissa Steamer and Leticia Bufoni have earned their place among the best with groundbreaking achievements and multiple championship wins in competitive skateboarding.


The legends of skateboarding have left indelible marks on the sport. Celebrating the artistry and skill of these icons inspires a new generation to push boundaries. As we tribute these greats, remember their influence every time wheels meet ramp. Keep riding, keep innovating, and who knows — the next name on the best-of list might just be yours.

Norman J. Wells
Norman J. Wells

Hello, my name is Norman J. Wells I am the founder of Get skater which is my blog.

I specialize in skateboarding and offer skateboarding services to businesses of all sizes around the world, ultimately improving their bottom line by teaching creative solutions to their problems. Shoot me a quick email to see how I can help you!

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