Skateboarding as we know it today has its roots in the late 40s or early 50s. Some Californian surfers invented the sport out of boredom, as something to do when they weren’t able to catch any waves. It was initially called “sidewalk surfing” and the first boards were square, wooden platforms with roller skate wheels. As the sport became more widespread, innovations started to come about. The shape of the board was changed to resemble a small surfboard instead by the 1960s. Only a year after the very first skateboard exhibition was held, a magazine called The Quarterly Skateboarder began to be published.
After the development of the polyurethane wheel in the 1970s, the sport began to really take off. Skateboarding ended up eventually taking on a distinctive punk-rock vibe, especially when self-starters in the 1980s embraced this scene. Unfortunately, many early skaters also came into a negative light and a widespread anti-skating movement had begun. Despite the wholly-wrongful association of skateboards with deadbeats and dropouts, many people have ridden their boards to fame and fortune. There are skateboarders in the world today who are worth many millions of dollars. If you want to learn about them, read this article on the 20 Richest Skateboarders in History.
Nyjah Huston — Net Worth: $6 million
Professional skateboarder and five-time champion of the Street League Skateboarding competition series Nyjah Huston is the highest paid skateboarder in the world. Though he appears at the bottom of our list, this is only because he hasn’t had enough time in his career to really build his wealth or brand. Not that he’s inexperienced – Huston started skating at about four years old. Nyjah Huston has officially won more money in skating competitions than any other skateboarder. He has also been named the fifth most influential skateboarder of all time on a list by FoxWeekly. This 23-year-old sports star has built himself a considerable fortune already – it’s only a matter of time until he expands into his own label and business. He is sure to build that $6 million into many more.
Mike Carroll — Net Worth: $6 million
Michael Shawn Carroll is one of the world’s leading skateboarders and skate businessmen. He is the vice-president and co-founder of Girl Skateboards – and even had a co-founding role in the creation of Lakai Limited Footwear. His own pet project was the Chocolate Skateboards division of Girl, which soon grew to take a significant portion of the market. He is also known for his technical and stylish skateboarding, shown in a few videos such as Video Days, Hokus Pokus, and Ban This!. This man has earned every penny of the money he has today. He has also won a few awards as a skater – including the Skater of the Year award from Thrasher magazine. He won it in 1994 at the age of 19. Mike Carroll has also been selected as one of the most influential skaters, making it to the sixteenth position of a list by Transworld Skateboarding called The 30 Most Influential skaters of All Time. He has also been included in all three Skate games from Electronic Arts as a playable character.
Andy Macdonald — Net Worth: $6 million
This Massachusetts native began skateboarding in 1986 at the age of twelve. Though he started a bit later than many other skateboarders, his career and talent were not affected in the least. He is an avid X Games competitor and holds the world record in vert skateboarding for the most X Games medals won in a single year. He is also an eight-time winner of the World Cup Skateboarding competition. Macdonald has been recognized multiple times in many venues. For example, in 1998 he was selected, by readers of Transworld Magazine, as the Best Overall Skater in the world. He is also vehemently anti-drug, and has even spoken at the White House – right after skateboarding down the hallways. He has even appeared in a video game called Backyard Skateboarding as well as one called MTV Sports: Skateboarding featuring Andy MacDonald. He will always be one of the top skaters, and is sponsored by Airwalk, Amazon, Clif Bar, and many other huge firms.
Bob Burnquist — Net Worth: $8 million
This skater is a citizen of both Brazil and America. He was born in Rio de Janeiro, and started training in his hometown Sao Paulo at only eleven years old. It took him just three years to go pro – becoming officially sponsored at the age of 14. He is a well-known skater in vert skating, including at the X Games and some other competitions. Bob Burnquist has a lot of signature tricks. The most famous is the “fakie 900”, which features a 900-degree-reverse-natural rotation. This made Bob the fifth person ever to complete a 900-degree spin, and the first to do it in fakie. Burnquist has also won many gold medals and is among the most-recognizable skaters in the world. He is also in a few video games and television shows – including Bill Nye the Science Guy, Kim Possible, and nearly all of the Tony Hawk games in the franchise.
Stacy Peralta — Net Worth: $10 million
Stacy Peralta was a key influencer in the promotion of early skateboarding culture. He started out at the age of fifteen, competing alongside the Z-Boys (also known as the Zephyr Competition Team). They were sponsored by Jeff Ho Surfboards and Zephyr Productions and were a key group in 1970s skateboarding culture. He has also made strides in skating culture and entertainment. The very first “frontside lip to fakie” was completed by Peralta sometime in the 70s, making him the inventor of this trick. For a short while, he was the highest-ranked professional skateboarder – and eventually formed the Bones Brigade. This was an influential and revolutionary skate team. Many of the biggest names in skating came out of this group – including Tony Hawk. He also spread skating culture with Dogtown and Z-Boys – a documentary film about the legendary skating team.
Mike Vallely — Net Worth: $10 million
Otherwise known as Mike V, Vallely started out when he was about 14. He got his first skateboard from a friend and quickly embraced the punk-centric skateboarding scene of the mid-1980s. He decided then to dedicate his life to skateboarding and has made strides in both street and vert styles since then. His first step to success was at Mount Trashmore – a Virginia Beach skatepark – where he began to skate with some friends in view of the pros. One of the skateboarders (Lance Mountain) competing in the vert competition saw Mike’s skills and brought them to the attention of Stacy Peralta. They soon offered Mike V his first sponsorship deal with Powell-Peralta Skateboards. His career took off quickly – and he soon became a household name in pro skateboarding. He is also a musician, having played in a few bands including singing for Black Flag. Plus, he has appeared in most of the Tony Hawk skateboarding videogames. With so many talents, it’s not surprising that Mike Vallely has the fortune that he boasts today.
Lance Mountain — Net Worth: $10 million
Robert Lance Mountain – more commonly known as just Lance – is an artist and a skateboarder who rose to fame in the Bones Brigade era of the 1980s. He started out in Pasadena, California in the earlier days of skateboarding. To this day, he continues to skate professionally – even at the age of 53. This excellent skateboarder placed in almost every competition he ever went to – including as an amateur. This is what led him to get his first sponsorship deal with Variflex, a deck sponsor that he signed with in 1981. Besides skateboarding, he is also an artist. There is an entire catalog of his work on his official website that is divided into a few distinct categories. He is also known for being instrumental in the invention of the fingerboard – such as the mini Tech Deck boards that became quite popular for some time.
Ed Templeton — Net Worth: $10 million
Professional skateboarder, contemporary artist, and businessman Ed Templeton is a current resident of Huntington Beach, California. He was born in Orange County and started skateboarding in the mid-1980s boom. He first started out because he thought it was an awesome way to get around – after all, you can keep rolling without even stopping for a curb if you know how to ollie. Templeton didn’t have a very long professional career. He skated for New Deal Skateboards from 1990 to 1992, when he left to start his own companies. His first two were short lived – TV and Television – even with the help of Mike Vallely. He founded Toy Machine in 1994 and continues to manage this skateboarding firm to this day. Despite his short professional career, he is regarded as the twentieth most influential skateboarder of all time by Transworld Skateboarding.
Andrew Reynolds — Net Worth: $10 million
This professional skateboarder – a prolific embracer of the street style – is the co-founder and owner of Baker Skateboards. He also has a stake in Bakerboys Distribution and Brigada Eyewear. He also holds the prominent head designer position at Altamont Apparel. He started skateboarding at 9, and was well-known for his unique style. Andrew Reynolds started out in Birdhouse, Tony Hawk’s skateboard team. He was contacted out of the blue and offered the position on hearsay. He skated with them for a while, before leaving to found Baker in 2000. He has found a lot of success with this company. He also won Skater of the Year from Thrasher in 1998. He kept it up in 2010, as well, with a Transworld Skateboarding award for Best Video Part in 2011. He is also featured in a lot of Tony Hawk games as well as Skate 3.
Wee Man — Net Worth: $12 million
This skateboarder was born as Jason Shannon Acuña, but commonly goes by the moniker ‘Wee Man’. He was born in Pisa, Italy and grew up in California. His career started not on the streets, but in association with a magazine called Big Brother. Eventually, the producers of the Jackass series invited him for a few parts – and his antics in the show were great. He has also appeared on television several times and owns a Chronic Tacos in Redondo Beach, California. Wee Man has embraced his size, often poking fun at it in his television and movies. He hasn’t let it slow him down either, as he has a great career in skating and television. He is even the host of Fox Sports’ 54321, a skateboarding show. Wee Man also appeared in Tony Hawk’s Underground 2 as himself.
Danny Way — Net Worth: $12 million
One of the most famous skateboarders in the world is Danny Way. He is best-known as the pioneer of megaramps – and even used one to hop the Great Wall of China on his board. He was born in Portland, Oregon and had a tough upbringing. He took out his frustrations through skating, and quickly became well-known in the scene. Besides for his stunts, Danny Way is also known for cofounding Plan B, a skateboarding company. He has also won a lot of awards, ever since he entered his first contest (and won) at the age of eleven. His incredible fortune is the result of a lot of hard work and heartbreak throughout his life. He has even been injured several times – but he loves skateboarding and is willing to risk it all to never stop.
Tony Alva — Net Worth: $15 million
One of the original members of the Zephyr Competition Skateboarding Team, Tony Alva has made his mark in the scene with his great skating, music, and eye for business. He was born in Santa Monica in 1957 and was a key member of the 60s surfing and skating scene. Alva is best-known for revolutionizing the sport with his aggressive, radical free form style heavily inspired by Hawaiian surfers. Alva also has worked with Vans for many years – and even helped them design the first skate shoe. He also formed his own company called Alva Skates, which was the first one to be run and owned by a skater. He also pioneered layered maple plywood for decks, which hadn’t been done before. In addition, he appeared in the film Lords of Dogtown and has played bass guitar for a couple of bands. He also won several awards and accolades throughout his career.
Eric Koston — Net Worth: $15 million
Eric Koston was originally born in Thailand – curiously enough, in the same hospital as another professional skateboarder named Alphonzo Rawls. He was raised in San Bernardino and was another player in the 80s and 90s skateboarding scene. He started out skating for H-Street alongside Danny Way and Matt Hensley. Later, he joined the Girl team. After a successful skateboarding career in which he placed first in many contests – including at the X Games – he established Fourstar Clothing. He retains ownership of this company as well as a skatepark called The Berrics. Eric Koston has also appeared in many Skate and Tony Hawk video games, as well as playing a small role in Jackass as well as another film called The Motivation.
Ryan Sheckler — Net Worth: $16 million
Skateboarder and television star Ryan Sheckler has always been recognized as a top skater, ever since his career began. He grew up in San Clemente, and first discovered skating at two years old. His dad was a big influence on his life – telling Sheckler that he had learned his first kickflip at six. This kept the young Ryan Sheckler on his board; that is something we can be eternally grateful to his father for. He is ranked one of the most influential skaters of all time. He also played on his own reality TV series called Life of Ryan. Sheckler has a massive fortune – and he shares it. He established the Sheckler Foundation to assist children and recovering athletes. He has also been featured in several Tony Hawk games as a playable character – a mark of success for skateboarders, considering the vast popularity of these games.
Chad Muska — Net Worth: $16 million
After Chad Muska moved to Phoenix, Arizona, he decided that he wanted to start skateboarding. Though he was riding a BMX bike at the time, it eventually got stolen. One of his friends provided him with a new board – and he has been riding ever since. He eventually left Phoenix and headed to San Diego with almost no money, a portable cassette player, and a sketch book. Muska skated for a lot of companies before he decided to create his own brand. In 1997, he started Ghetto Child — one of the most relevant brands of modern times. Though it paused in 2004, it was revived in 2016 and continues to operate to this day. Muska also made some of his fortune in licensed clothing and accessories, using his Factory413 name. He is also a musician and a playable character in Tony Hawk video games.
Stefan Janoski — Net Worth: $20 million
This California native started skateboarding in 1992. His biggest influence was Mike Carroll who he had first seen in a video from Plan B. In his town – Vacaville – there was not much of a skate scene. So, he ended up skating by himself mostly. However, he worked towards networking and eventually scored a sponsorship with Expedition One, a deck company. Janoski made most of his money working with Nike. He helped to design a signature skate shoe that went on to be incredibly successful. He was completely responsible for this design, even though Nike had different ideas for what it should be. Luckily for them, he managed to talk them down as it was far more successful than their first attempt to enter the skate shoe scene. Nike SB still sponsors him as a skater – and he is compensated well for his efforts.
Rodney Mullen — Net Worth: $30 million
Often called the Godfather of Street Skateboarding, Rodney Mullen is considered one of the most influential skaters of all time. He invented the 360-flip, heelflip, kickflip, and impossible, and has won many competitions and awards over the years. In a departure from the usual attitude exhibited by a skater, he is a huge proponent of pads. This is probably rooted in his deal that he made with his father when he first started out – the first time he became injured, he needed to quit skating. Mullen is certainly one of the top skateboarders of all time. He has been inducted into the Skateboarding Hall of Fame and has also been named Skater of the Year by Transworld Skateboarding. In addition, he was placed third on the list of the 30 Most Influential Skaters of All Time by Transworld. He is involved with many companies, but also offers public speaking on his list of talents – giving presentations all over California and the United States as a whole.
Rob Dyrdek — Net Worth: $50 million
Ohio native Rob Dyrdek began skateboarding at eleven. He received his first skateboarder from a professional, which likely piqued his interest in going professional himself. This man’s name was Neil Blender. Though he got his first sponsorship with Blender’s team, they later broke off and created their own company called Alien Workshop. Rob Dyrdek is among those who dropped out of school to make millions. He has ties with DC Shoes as well as Silver Trucks. Plus, his skateboarding career was legendary as he set twenty-one Guinness World Records for skateboarding on his show Rob & Big. He also supports local skaters with his contributions to charity. The Rob Dyrdek Foundation (now merged with the SLS Foundation) provides money for skateparks where street skating is illegal.
Jamie Thomas — Net Worth: $50 million
Jamie Thomas began skating at eleven and grew up in Alabama. He relocated to San Francisco in 1992 to pursue his career in skateboarding. He ended up getting a lot of sponsors and even went Pro for a fomer brand called Experience. After a few crazy stunts – including an 18-foot drop after an ollie-melon over a handrail called The Leap of Faith – he gained a lot of recognition in the scene. In 1996, he started Zero Skateboards. He was a great entrepreneur, growing his business rapidly and amassing a considerable fortune. He was even awarded Entrepreneur of the Year from Ernst & Young, right after he founded Fallen Footwear – a companion brand for Zero. He has even had a tribute song written about him by Graham Coxon, the guitarist for Blur.
Tony Hawk — Net Worth: $100 million
Anthony Frank Hawk – often known as ‘Tony’ or ‘The Birdman’ – is arguably the most famous skateboarders of all time. His name is often synonymous with the sport, especially when you are talking about vert skateboarding. He is the owner of Birdhouse, has a lot of video games with Activision, and is the first person who landed a documented 900-degree air trick on a skateboard. Tony Hawk has won tons of competitions. He was even the first person to legally skateboard on the grounds of the White House – a significant departure from the banning trends of the late 80s and early 90s. He is also a philanthropist who started the Tony Hawk Foundation. They work to build skateparks all over the United States with underprivileged kids in mind. His personal net worth is the result of years of hard work, talent, and networking. He will go down in history as a legendary skateboarder. His name will be household in the sport, much like Michael Jordan is for baseball. And with that, our top twenty richest skateboarders list comes to a close.