“Sheckler Sessions,” a new YouTube series about the skateboarding life of Ryan Sheckler and his teammates, informs viewers: “we’re just traveling, skating the streets and working on the new Plan B video.”
That’s Sheckler doing the voiceover, and it’s a big hook for fans who’ve waited for what will be his first full video part in almost a decade.
The famed last full part was featured in Almost Skateboard’s “Round 3” in 2004 and helped quickly make him a skating figurehead. He was still in middle school, but demonstrated the dynamic multi-talent of the peers on his team: Daewon Song, Rodney Mullen and Chris Haslam -- whom we see badgering Sheckler in the tour van.
Sheckler was 13 when he became the first pro on Almost, a company founded in 2003 by Song and Mullen after the skaters parted ways with their previous companies. Prior to 2003, under Mullen’s direction, Sheckler had been sponsored by World Industries, the company Mullen bought into with Steve Rocco in 1988.
Sheckler left Almost to join Plan B Skateboards in 2007. Plan B was founded by Mike Ternasky with Rocco’s help in 1991 and thrived for three years until Ternasky was killed in a car accident. The team disbanded, but was relaunched in 2005 by former team riders Colin McKay and Danny Way, whom Ternasky had recruited in 1991 after mentoring him on a previous company, H-Street. The new Plan B hunted serious young talent, including Paul Rodriguez, Pat Duffy and then Sheckler, Torey Pudwill and now PJ Ladd.
In late 2008, a trailer for Sheckler’s upcoming video surfaced online and demonstrated more and greater abilities over his footage from 2003. His technical chops were growing, as was his appetite for stupefyingly humungous drops like the show-stopper at the very end of his Almost video. The Plan B trailer ended with a fade to black, and then a date: “2010.”
But at the 2009 X Games, he badly injured his foot on a 12-stair and began a six-month rehabilitation program that prohibited him from standing on his skateboard. Sheckler returned to win the 2010 X Games but the injury (and perhaps his involvement with a much bigger team) was said to delay the video to 2011, which came and went.
Could 2012 be the year? We sure hope so.
Cole Louison is the author of "The Impossible: Rodney Mullen, Ryan Sheckler, and the Fantastic History of Skateboarding."