Born on August 17, 1966, in Gainesville, Florida, Rodney Mullen is a pro skater and innovator who transformed the sport with his technical and freestyle skateboarding style. He grew up in a supportive family environment that fostered his creativity and passion for skateboarding, eventually leading to his success.
He credits his growth in the sport to the encouragement and support of his dad the most.
Mullen’s interest in skating began at the age of 10 and quickly turned into an obsession, leading him to train for hours every day. He looked up to professional skateboarders like Bruce Logan. However, this allowed him to develop his unique style and tricks.
Soon, at the age of 11, Mullen contested his first skateboarding contest and bagged the first position. The push and motivation this win gave him marked the beginning of his prosperous career in skateboarding. He continued competing in different contests and winning.
Mullen is renowned for inventing many foundational tricks in modern skateboarding, including the kickflip, heelflip, and 360 flips. With such ingenuity and technical skills, he has had a lasting impact on the evolution of the sport.
In the mid-1980s, Mullen turned pro and joined the Powell Peralta skate team. He quickly became one of the most prominent and influential skaters of his time, releasing several influential skate videos like “The Search for Animal Chin” and “Ban This.”
After years of success, Mullen hit a low. His fame and career were getting increasingly complex for him to manage. The pressure of performance and perfectionism led to a lot of distress for him. On top of that, Mullen suffered a significant hit when he lost his father.
As a result of the stressors that piled on, Mullen decided to take a break from skateboarding in the early 1990s. He took this decision to be able to work on himself and heal.
After a short break, Mullen returned in the mid-1990s and continued to do what he did best. He worked on new tricks, pushed the boundaries of the sport, and brought about innovations. It was during this era that he introduced the Flatground Ollie 180. This involved using an ollie to lift the skateboard in the air, spinning at a 180-degree angle, and then landing.
After winning several awards and accolades for his work in the sport, Mullen was inducted into the Skateboarding Hall of Fame in 2013. He then took a backseat and continued to support organizations that worked for skaters; one of the most prominent ones is the Tony Hawk Foundation which works to build skate parks in low-income areas.
Along with being a philanthropist, Mullen is also an entrepreneur; Almost Skateboards was also founded by him and sold custom-made designs.
Despite his fame and involvement in the media, it is commendable that Mullen has managed to keep his personal life private. He was married once, had two children, and had a divorce which he reported as a rough period of his life.
Mullen has had a good run in the skateboarding community. Today he is hailed as one of the most significant people who revolutionized the sport with his passion for creativity and progress in the skateboarding community. Mullen is one of the greatest skateboarders of all time.
I’m an aged skateboarder and I still shred responsibly. I started skateboarding 25 years ago but also love surfing, snowboarding, or anything that involves a board.