24 Best Skateboarders of All Time Who Changed the World


Not many things compare to watching a magnificent skateboarder. Everyone has their own style, their own things that they prefer to skate.  Some skaters are super technical, some are more about style, some skaters only seem to do huge gaps, while others do mind-boggling circus stunts.

So who is the best skateboarder of all time? With the hundreds of incredible skateboarders that have thrashed since the dawn of skating, how do we determine the best skateboarder?  How do we decide who made the cut?  It’s always a personal preference so just take the ranking with a grain of salt. This list is composed of the best skaters from across the decades, and all the disciplines of skateboarding.

Without further ado, here is the list of the 24 best skateboarders:

24. Leticia Bufoni

Leticia is one of the best skaters active right now; female or male.  Leticia has 11 X-Games medals, holds the Guiness Book of World Records record for “Most Wins Of The World Cup of Skateboarding World Rankings (Street, female)”, and consistently holds top placement in the SLS Female division.

She has a very consistent, and clean technical style, which gives the impression that if Leticia wants to land a trick, she will land the trick.

Bufoni was the first woman signed to the Nike SB team, the first woman on the cover of The Skateboard Mag and she also starred in her own reality TV show in Brazil, becoming a spokesperson for female skaters around the world.

  • 3 X Games gold medals in 2013
  • Turned pro in 2017 for Plan B Skateboards
  • Gold at X Games Street contest in 2018 (Norway) and 2019 (Shanghai)

23. Richie Jackson

Richie is easily one of the more creative skaters these days.  Aside from his recognizable “hippie look” with the Salvadore Dali mustache, you always know when you are watching Richie Jackson skate.  He does no-comply hippie flips over chains, stalls onto moving carts, firecrackers down huge stair sets, wall rides down stair sets, and slides on his feet while his board goes under the obstacle.

While people regard him as having a “circus-style”, there is no doubt that his tricks take a great amount of skill, and board control.  Richie Jackson is always entertaining to watch, and his skating never disappoints.

22.  Rob “Sluggo” Boyce

Sluggo is a huge Canadian Skater and one of the first riders of Real Skateboards.  Huge in the sense that he is very muscular and huge in the sense that he won and placed in many vert contests throughout the ’90s and early 2000s.

He started the biggest skateboard distribution company in Canada, the iconic brand RDS Skate Supply Co., with friend and skate legend Colin McKay. Mostly though, Sluggo is credited for doing the first backflip to fakie on vert.

  • Never wear clothes in his house
  • Did some stunt work for Blade Trinity, Star Trek Beyond, Power Rangers, Man of Steel, and many more.
  • Went pro in 1991 and retired after 12 years.
  • Pretty proficient at breakdancing

21. Stevie Williams

Stevie Williams’ skating looks so effortless.  He pops his tricks high, catches them so nicely, and lands so smoothly.  Stevie has technical prowess, and style for days.  Stevie’s video parts, and clips are timeless, and will always be a pleasure to watch.  Plus, he has built an empire from his skateboarding career; starting DGK, shoe designs and collaborations with clothing and accessory companies. Stevie deserves a spot on every top list.

  • Founder of DGK skateboards
  • Featured character in many skateboarding video games
  • Made the Transworld top 30 list of most influentials skateboarders

20. Paul Rodriguez

P-Rod.  3 SLS wins.  8 X-Games medals. 3 time Battle at the Berrics finalist.  8 shoes on Nike SB.  With P-Rod’s clean, smooth and consistent style, he deserves everything he has worked for.

  • Carries the nickname P-Rod since he was 11
  • Slept with his first street league trophy
  • Has a fantastic part in the skate video In Bloom

19. Elissa Steamer

Elissa is the first female to attain the status of “Pro Skateboarder”, but her skating speaks more than that achievement.  From the streets to parks, to transitions, Elissa is a very skilled and powerful skater.  Elissa is seen in some classic video parts rolling flat out and super fast at big ledges, big stair gaps, and big rails. 

Also, Elissa has pretty much dominated every competition that she has entered. Check out the video, she is just awesome!

  • Won many contests, too many to list actually
  • Appeared as a character in THPS
  • Appeared in many skate videos such as Welcome To Hell,  Baker4, and 2G

18. Chris Joslin

Joslin goes huge and fast.  He epitomizes the generation of street skaters that fly over huge stair sets, massive drops and gaps, crazy long handrails, flipping in and out of ledges, and are technically proficient at flat ground.  Joslin is also very consistent, which is why he does so well in contests and is in contention for a spot on the USA Olympic Skateboarding Team.

17. Sean Malto

Malto is a cool dude.  He makes every trick that he lands look effortless, and super fun.  He has a cool, laid back attitude, and it is reflected in his skating.  Malto has done well in SLS contest, and Battle at the Berrics, and his video parts are fantastic.  While Malto doesn’t do a lot of huge tricks, like massive gaps and stair sets, his skating is consistent and clean, and he has a chill style that completes the package that is Sean Malto.

  • Rookie Of The Year Transworld Skateboarding Magazine (2009)
  • Won the 2011 Street League Skateboarding Championships
  • Did many video parts and is a playable character in Tony Hawk: Shred.

16. Nyjah Huston

Here are some of the stats: The overall champion of SLS for 5 seasons and several 1st place finishes, 12 X-Games medals, 5 medals in World Skateboarding Championship, winner of 5 Tampa Pro, and placement in the Dew Tour several times, to mention a few.  To top that off, Nyjah is the highest-paid skateboarder in the world.  Nyjah has worked his ass off for these accolades.

Nyjah started skating at age 4.  Growing up, his parents owned a skatepark, which is where he spent most of his time.  He had a 5-hour practice session each day, where he went through his trick list every day to land them all consistently before moving on to learning new tricks.  At age 7, Nyjah was sponsored by Element.  His early parts were very impressive, and he was recognized as the little kid with the long dreadlocks, laying down sick lines, and putting out killer video parts.

More recently, Nyjah has been known more like a contest skater, and he keeps racking up victories.  But he still puts out incredible street video parts, which always blow the viewer away, and never disappoints.  Nyjah is a hardworking, dedicated skater who works tirelessly to hone his craft. 

  • Won too many contests already
  • Controversial skater, some dislike him for being ‘too commercial’. 

15. Eric Koston

Koston is a pioneer and is the pro skater that is on every pro skater’s top 10 list.  He was doing unusual tricks on big handrails, ledges, and gaps when most skaters were walking past those obstacles.  Koston has a very recognizable style that is clean, smooth, and also technical.

He has done very well in competitive skateboarding and each video part he puts out is better than the last.  Koston also has a personality that lends its self well to his video parts and interviews.  Watch him yelling at a guy that broke into his car on Girl’s “Yeah Right”; it’s the opener to the classic Koston skate part.

14. Mike Vallely

https://youtu.be/HVvF3oNLeGM

Hardcore is a good word to describe Mike V.  Not only is he the singer for classic hardcore punk band Black Flag, but his skating is unapologetic, raw, and very creative.  When Mike started skating, he had open streets, and parking lots, so he developed his style to suit this terrain.

At some point, Lance mountain noticed Mike skating on a trashed board, and Lance got him a brand new setup. It didn’t take long before Peralta offered to sponsor him and went pro at the age of 16.

Mike V is know for “old school” street tricks such as hand plants, foot plants, street grabs, and fast plants to get over obstacles.  Mike can skate anything from transition to rails, but the iconic image of him is a hand plant invert in a parking lot.  A true classic.

Mike had a rough childhood and his story is fascinating, from a guy with quite a temper to a pretty wholesome guy. You should check out his interview on The Nine Club, it’s only about 5 hours long…

13. Lance mountain

Lance Mountain (born June 13, 1964) is one of the original skaters of the legendary Bones Brigade. Even though he always looked up to the rest of the team members, Lance was one of the more popular riders because his skating was so relatable to many skateboarders. He struggled a lot making ends meet especially when skateboarding died as we’ve seen so many times in the history of skateboarding

Inspired by the early skateboarding magazines (Jay Adams, Tony Alva, Stacy Peralta), Lance sought out empty pools in backyards and he and his friends made their own backyard halfpipe. 

Prior to the Bones Brigade, Lance was part of the Veriflex team (1981) as an amateur but soon move to Powell Peralta in 1983.  Perhaps not the best skateboarder but you can’t deny his influence on skateboarding history. 

12. Chris Cole

Chris “Cobra” Cole is best known for going huge.  He is well know for clearing huge stair sets and gaps, grinding and sliding massive rails, and his switch frontside flip down the Love Gap.  In addition to the huge stuff, Chris is also very consistent and can put together lines and runs.

His 3 Maloof Money Cup wins, X-Games and Gravity Games medals, Battle at the Berrics, Thrasher King of the Road, and eS Game of Skate wins prove that he is one of the most skilled and consistent skaters still active today.  If thats not enough proof Chris Cole deserves a spot on the list, he was Thrasher’s Skater of the Year twice.

Chris Cole is not only a great skater, he’s a pretty chill dude who engages with the fans. One of my favorite skateboarders, oh and he pushed mongo at some point, imagine that.

11.  Guy Mariano

https://youtu.be/T4HyV7FC8M8

Not many skaters have continued to skate and put out impressive video parts over 30 years.  Guy Mariano has.  His part in Bind’s “Video Days” is stuff of legend, and cemented his place among the greats at the ripe old age of 14. 

Flash forward 20 years to 2012, Guy did the impossible with a switch 360 flip nosegrind down a handrail, in Girl’s “Pretty Sweet”.  Guy’s mix of technical skating, and style are very impressive, and all his video parts have held up well throughout the decades.

  • Was part of the legendary Video Days skate video at the age of 14
  • Won the “Best Video Part”, “Best Street”, and “Readers Choice” for his contributions to the Lakai’s Fully Flared video in 2008
  • Won the “Best Video Part” for his part in Pretty Sweet at the 15th TransWorld SKATEboarding Awards in 2013.
  • Co-founded Royal Trucks

10. Daewon Song

Creativity doesn’t begin to describe Daewon’s skating.  When you watch any clip, or video part of his, you know that he views the world, and skateboarding differently than anyone.  He has been known to stack tables, and garbage cans, skate on old tires, and forklifts.  His technical skill is unrivaled in his flip tricks, grinds, spins, and late flips.  Daewon is definitely on of the most interesting skaters to watch.

9. Steve Caballero

Steve Caballero was born on November 8, 1964, and I think he’s one of the most likable skateboarders out there. One of the smallest members of the original Bones Brigade but also one of the gnarliest. Steve is known for the Caballerial and Half-Cab and turned pro in 1980. 

Steve won the Upland Pro-Am in 1983 (pool), first place in the Titus World Cup in 1987 (both street style and vert), and came first in the NSA mini ramp contest (1989). 

Nowadays Steve is really into dirt biking and on his latest appearance on The Nine Club, it shows. Steve is a national treasure and a true legend. 

  • Won street and vert titles at the  1987 WC in Munster, Germany.
  • Set the  world record for the highest air (halfpipe, 11 feet) which of course was beaten by Danny Way
  • World record for the longest board slide (at that time, 1999) 
  • Stunt performer in Police Academy 4, Thrashin and Escape from El Diablo

8.  Ed Templeton

Have you done a 50-50 down a handrail? Ed did it first.  Ed is well known for doing ollie impossibles down stairs.  Ed is an innovator that helped to progress technical street skating with tricks previously only done by freestylers.  Ed also started Toy Machine skateboards, which has consistently had one of the most talented skate teams, and has spawned many of today’s legends.

7. Chris Haslam

Creativity and innovation are two words that best describe Chris Haslam’s skating.  There is nothing that this guy cannot do; handrails, ledges, gaps, circus tricks, mini ramps.  Have you seen “Cheese and Crackers”?  Nuff said.

6. Natas Kaupas

A legend from long ago, but Natas really needs to be on this list. His old Natas boards are now collector’s items that go for hundreds of dollars, and for good reason. Back in the day, people took offense to his name because it’s spelled Satan backward. Not realizing Natas came from Lituania and is a pretty common name, they went full retard. Funny thing is, banning his board made it even more popular.

Kaupas was never really into mainstream skateboarding but was one of the first pioneers of street skateboarding. Known for his wallride which made Thrasher Magazine’s September 1984, Kaupas become a well-respected skateboarder resulting in his own pro board.

Still to this day, nobody seems to be able to reproduce his fire hydrant trick, I get dizzy just watching it. 

5. Stacy Peralta

Stacy Peralta made a huge impact on the skateboarding industry and was only 19 when he became the world’s number one. Those were different days but his knowledge and a keen eye for talent helped him to built the legendary Bones Brigade. Stacy wasn’t looking for the best, he was looking for raw talent.

Stacy worked with industrial designer George Powell and founded Powell-Peralta, which is still one of the most known brands these days. Their professional relationship ended in 1992 but they got back together in 2000. Stacy deserves to be in the top five because without him, skateboarding history would probably have taken a different direction.

4. Tony Alva

Skateboarders and the skate industry will forever be in debt to Dogtown legend Tony Alva.  Not only is he credited for the first frontside air, creating vert skating, and being the creator of modern skateboarding, he also helped in the development of the first Skateboarding specific shoe with Vans.

Alva joined the Zephyr team in 1972 and was one of the first who made pool skating popular and some refer to him as ‘the guy who started it all’.

Alva started the first skater owned and operated skate company, Alva Skates which ground some people’s gear. This company was one of the first to make decks out of Canadian Maple Plywood. To this day he still does what he loves most; skate, surf, and play music.

  • 1975 USSA World Invitational Skateboard Champion.
  • Skater of the Year in Skateboarder Magazine’s readers poll in 1977
  • Guinness World Record for barrel jumping in 1977

3. Rodney Mullen

Rodney Mullen is one of a kind.  He is considered the best freestyle skater in the world, but he is very humble in interviews.  Rodney has basically invented every street trick that skaters do today: kick flip, heel flip, 360 flip, dark slide, casper slide, ollie airwalk, impossible, primo slide, and many others.

Rodney has started several skate companies, such as Tensor trucks and Almost.  Rodney developed a hip problem in the mid 2000’s which he figured was from favoring a stance, so in effort to correct that, he started to erase his stance, so that he would be able to skate equally in his regular, or switch stance.  Oh and Rodney also invented the flat ground ollie.  Where would we be without him? Also, check out his inspirational Ted Talk on Youtube!

2. Tony Hawk

Tony is easily the most recognizable figure in skateboarding history.  His career has spanned over 30 years.  Tony has won over 70 contests, more contests than any other skateboarder in history.  He invented several tricks, such as the Madonna, the Stalefish, and the Sacktap. He performed the first documented 900-spin.

Tony Hawk inspired so many skaters and contributed (and continues to) so much to skateboarding. Without him and the Tony Hawk Pro skater series skateboarding wouldn’t be where it is today. Despite being such a star he remains down to earth.

He was falsely portrayed as some kind of villain in the documentary ‘All This Mayhem‘, but just a bit of research shows that the documentary’s narrative was nonsense. 

He has over 18 video game titles, countless movie and TV appearances, started YouTube’s RIDE channel, and built skateparks all over the world.  There is no doubt that Tony is easily one of the greatest and probably the most influential skaters of all time.

1. Mark Gonzales

https://youtu.be/ozwYf4AdhI8

The Gonz is considered the pioneer of modern street skating.  He, and Natas, were the first people to skate handrails.  The Gonz was one of the first people to do big gaps, and stair sets.  He would do double flips, 360’s, nollies, and flip tricks in and out of manuals and grinds and slides.

While by today’s standards his skating seems pretty basic, The Gonz was the guy that started it all and all street skaters, the world over, owe him a debt of gratitude.  His video parts have gone down in the annuls of history and are definitely a good watch, and have good music to accompany.

That’s it!

Are you kidding me? What about X, Y, and Z? I can probably add another 30 skateboarders and will revamp this post occasionally when I get around to it. Oh, did I mention my list of best skate videos of all time? Check it out on a rainy day or take a look at some of the best skateboarding documentaries ever made.

Ruben Vee

I'm an aged skateboarder, but I still shred responsibly. I started skateboarding 25 years ago and I'm out there whenever I can. Insta @skateboardershq

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