Candid Conversation: Ryan Sheckler

Ryan Sheckler has been laying low for a bit. With his television show off the air and a few nagging injuries keeping him off his board and out of the limelight, Ryan's been taking the time to concentrate on his Foundation and get his focus ready for some serious skating as soon as his body is healed. Mary Buckheit caught up with Ryan to get the latest from him on Plan B, his recovery from injury, Life after reality television and more.

You've been off the board for months with a foot injury, how's life in rehab?
This is the longest break I've ever had in my whole life and I'm going absolutely crazy. But, at the same time, I can focus on my Foundation. It gives me time for things I never have time for. I'm taking care of business and it's alright, it's probably a good thing. It's a nice little break especially around the holiday time.

What's the status of the Plan B video, "Unquestionable?"
If there was one horrible thing about this injury it was the interruption of the Plan B video. Basically everybody is skating, that's where it's at; we're working on it, we're getting our tricks done. As soon as I'm back this is my top priority, I'm real anxious to get back to this.

So when will we see it? If you had to give an ETA on this thing how long is our wait?
I'm thinking maybe end of this year, beginning of next. I'm pretty sure that's what we're aiming for at this point.

With some team changes at Plan B in the past year—the loss of Ryan Gallant, Jereme Rogers and Brian Wenning—how has the team changed? Has it gotten tighter knit, or is everyone just doing their own thing?
Man, I don't really know what to say, Mary. It's funny, you put this huge family of skateboarders together and then—I don't know. I mean, I got voted on the team. I had to be voted on the team, the same as everybody, right, we all did. So, I feel like we reached out and tried put this together and I just don't know what those guys are thinking walking away from it. It's balancing everything else they've got going on in their lives and their future, I'm sure, I can't speak for them, but sure, losing Jereme and Ryan and Brian Wenning has kind of put a damper on the team. On the other side, it also gives us a chance to bring on some new heavy hitters, so, hey, it's all positive change. I think everything happens for a reason.

Most people find out about a guy leaving a team through a website, or something. How does it work for team members, is there an open discussion when a guy is going to leave, or thinking about leaving?
I hear about it from my teammates. Like, Jereme, he came and told all of us that this is what he wanted to do and he wanted to continue his music career so you can't really tell someone what to do or talk them out of something that their heart is already set on, so at that point you just listen and you just have to say, alright man, good luck, we'll be here, we'll be here skating, doing our thing. I'm supportive of that, it's just weird that people quit riding when you think you're all having so much fun. It comes at an interesting time because these tours and these trips that we're going on were some of the most fun that I've ever been on. I don't know, I would never leave Plan B, but that's me.

Would you ever drop a verse on one of Jereme's new raps songs?
No, no, no. Negative. Never.

So maybe, then?
I'm a skateboarder, not a rapper.

What's the word on the street about the project Danny Way's got brewing out in Hawaii?
He's basically building a huge skatepark on his property in Kauai, I think is the island. He, Andy and Bruce Irons share a bunch of acres out there so they're building something massive, which is great because nobody is ever going to whine about going to Hawaii.

What are your skateboarding goals for 2010?
This is definitely a fresh start for me. I've never had this big of a break from it and I think that coming back into skateboarding is going to feel like the best thing that's ever happened to me. I'm really looking forward to getting back on my board.

Do you think you'll ever have a year as gnarly as Chris Cole? (In 2009, Cole was Thrasher's Skater of the Year, he won Battle at the Berrics, the Maloof Cup, the Wallenberg comp, the Crossroads best trick comp, placed in X Games, and cab flipped the Carlsbad gap.)
I'm not trying to be as good or better than anybody, that's not how I work. When I come back, I just want to skate my style and skate in a way I am happy with. I believe that I am capable of having a year like Chris just had, and I feel like have had those crazy years before. You know, we're competitors but we're all friends—really good friends—so when somebody has one of those year's, for me, it's nice to be in a place where it feels like we can all respect each other and respect what we're doing and respect mutual accomplishments. It pushes you to be a better skateboarder and it makes you want to have fun while you're doing it. I'm not worried about getting back and putting together a huge year. I'm worried about my part in the Plan B video and I'll take the competitions that I choose to skate seriously, but there's more to it than that, even after this injury it's not a one-track thing, it's still a lot of fun.

Which one of your friends is most fun to watch these days?
I'm pretty much Paul Rodriguez's and Chris Cole's biggest fans. It's cool to have role models like that. Their hard work is inspiring.

When you talk about friends and being fans of each other, do you feel like people in the skate community have eased up on the hate? Tons of people love you, but on the flipside, lots of people absolutely love to hate you. What makes you so polarizing, was it the early success, or the TV show, or what?
I don't know. It's true, but I have no idea. If you're doing something that's cool, and they don't think it's cool, then they're real quick to be like, 'F that and F you and you suck at skating.' It doesn't even make sense most of the time. People hate. They just hate. At times people were really direct, and it was 'don't watch that show,' or 'don't support that kid.' I think the TV show came off the air and everybody just kind of forgot about it. People hate me for whatever reasons they come up with, or they hate me because their friends said they should. What can I do about it? What can I do about people who look at things the wrong way? At the end of the days it's like, you're wrong, I'm just a skateboarder, how can I help you.

No one can dispute the fact that you do a lot of good work in the world by way of The Sheckler Foundation and your support for Beat The Odds and other fundraisers.
What's funny is I get hate for doing stuff like that, which is absolutely unbelievable but that's when I know that it just doesn't make sense. Some people just don't have their mind right. I am involved in those kind of things because I feel like I have a responsibility to help the kids and people and injured athletes who need it. That Children's Defense Fund event last week was about the most amazing thing I've been a part of in a really long time. I feel really blessed to be involved in those things. I feel like I am supposed to give back. I have a responsibility to do more than just skateboard and sit around.

Mary Buckheit is a columnist for Page 2. You can read more of Mary's conversation with Sheckler on her column here.