From: Vol. 2, Issue 34, August 23-29, 2007
By Norb Garrett
San Clemente Times
We talk one-on-one with San Clemente pro skateboarder Ryan Sheckler about his own MTV reality show that debuts Monday
Monday, August 27, 2007, likely will be a day young Ryan Sheckler and his friends and family will not soon forget. At 10:30 p.m. on a TV network watched by just about every teenager (and adult with a guilty pleasure) on the planet-MTV-Sheckler the pro skateboarder will become Sheckler the household name when a brand-new reality show called “Life of Ryan” debuts.
Filmed mostly in and around San Clemente, including Golden Spoon, Wahoo’s and OC Tavern, the show is the latest in a series of reality shows the network has become famous for: “Laguna Beach” and “Real World” to name a couple. Described by MTV as “a coming-of-age story featuring a 17-year-old superstar skateboarder who defies gravity for a living but is being grounded by the pull of his personal life as it starts to fall apart,” the show interweaves Sheckler’s desire to be home in San Clemente with family and friends as he deals with all that his life entails. The network has 10 episodes to air this season, each capturing Sheckler balancing life as a “normal” teenager, the pressures of a fractured home life, emotionally supporting his two younger brothers (Shane, 15, and Kane, 8), traveling four to five months a year as a professional skateboarder and studying in a home-school program. It’s a lively mix of issues and topics the network hopes will produce a hit series, and one that Sheckler knows will bring out the haters-as well as new fans-but he says he’s ready for all comers.
The SC Times spoke with Sheckler, who’s skated professionally since he was 13, just one week before the show’s debut during a moment of downtime after he’d just returned to San Clemente after competing in the Dew Tour in Portland, Ore. Also on the line was MTV’s West Coast communications manager, Anastasia Lee, just to ensure he didn’t give away too much…
SC TIMES: How does it feel having a show on MTV?
RYAN SHECKLER: It’s crazy. I’ve always wanted to be on TV or do a movie or some big theatrical something, and it just so happened that we had the opportunity to do this MTV show. My producer, Jason Carbone [who also produced MTV’s “Run’s House”], has great ideas, and he really is a smart guy. We started filming and everything just started happening so perfectly. It’s been a fun ride. We’re almost done with season one-hopefully we come back with season two. It’s long and emotional, and there are a lot of things going on that are good, a couple crazy things that happen. It’s been a learning experience, and I hope everyone just sees how I am and what I’m about.
SCT: Did MTV approach you, or did you approach them?
RS: We approached them awhile ago. It’s been like a two- to three-year process that has just taken forever. It’s finally good to see it going and ready to air.
SCT: Did you get a chance to call Bam Margera [pro skateboarder from MTV’s show “Viva La Bam,” which ended in 2005] and get his advice about having your own reality show?
RS: Oh yeah, I talk to Bam all the time. He’s a trippy dude; he just does what he wants to do and has no rules in life. He gives me some good advice like to just flow and deal with it. He and Rob Dyrdek [another pro skateboarder of MTV’s “Rob and Big Show” currently in season two] are really good friends, and I chill with him all the time. Rob’s pretty excited, too, because now we’re going to have two more skate shows on MTV. Skateboarding’s taking over the world, so it’s pretty awesome.
SCT: What did it feel like having cameras around all the time?
RS: I’m such a humble person and it’s really difficult for me to go out in town with the cameras because a lot of the locals don’t know how to take it. There are a lot of negative thoughts going through the minds of some people who live here. Every time we film on the street, people are always yelling. It’s crazy, ’cause I’ve done nothing wrong. There’s always going to be haters, but there’s always the lovers, too. I’ve always had cameras in my face, so I’m used to it.
SCT: How do your friends who are featured on the show feel about being on TV?
RS: I didn’t really ask them about it; I just told them “you guys are my best friends.” Tony [Panici] is such a dork: He’s one of my best friends. It’s me, Tony, Taylor [Bogart], Casey [Feitler] and [my brothers] Shane and Kane, and it’s just so fun. They’re eating it up. This is such a new experience for them, and I’m glad they’re having a lot of fun.
SCT: The show illustrates just how much pressure there is on you as a professional skateboarder. Given all that, would you recommend to your little brother Kane that he follow in his big brother’s footsteps?
RS: I would hope that Kane does whatever he wants to do, because he’s going to be more famous, more popular than anyone [on the show]. Kane is awesome. There’s not even words to describe how much I love that kid. I hope he just does whatever he wants to do, because whatever he does he’s going to be successful.
SCT: The show exposes some of the emotional issues you’re dealing with, including your parents’ divorce. How do you deal with that being out there for everyone to see?
RS: I did [the show] knowing that everyone is going to see it. It doesn’t really bother me because I know there are a lot of kids out there going through the same things-maybe minus the traveling-but some of the family issues are right on target. If they see how I deal with it, and I can get everything done and still go to the contest that weekend and win, there are a lot of kids who are going to relate to me and I hope they can handle their situations as well as I do.
SCT: How do you personally deal with all the issues you have to deal with?
RS: You’ve just got to relax and surround yourself with good friends who you can trust and you know you have a good time with. Without my friends I would be a wreck. There’d be so much chaos going on. You just can’t let everything get to you; it’s something that took me forever to learn. Just never give up, just do what it is you want to do and surround yourself with good people, have fun and stay safe.
SCT: One of the big issues on the first episode is the difficulty you have in finding a girlfriend who’s going to like you for who you really are and not as a pro skater. Is that going to be even tougher now that you’ll have your own TV show?
RS: Dude, it’s so ridiculous trying to find a legit girl-and still eight episodes into this show I haven’t found one yet. The episodes after [the first] one are going to be pretty funny. There’s a lot of good material on everything. I just got to live and see what happens and not really try to find a girl and let her find me.
SCT: The skateboarding world has always been a counter-culture world. As you said, there’s going to be haters out there who call you a sellout for doing a show on MTV. What would you say to those people?
RS: I don’t even need to address the haters. The haters … there’s nothing you can do about them. They have no reason to hate is the one thing I have to say. They don’t know me, they can assume all they want, say what they want to say, but in the end they’re just making themselves look stupid. Let them do it, I don’t care.
SCT: So where do you see yourself in five years and 10 years?
RS: Well, let’s see, in five years I should still be in the first house I buy running my two companies [one includes Ryan Sheckler Inc. and the other’s in the works], if not more. And 10 years from now, hopefully at my vacation home hanging out driving my Phantom around. I just know I want to be somewhere tropical. Cabo [San Lucas] maybe.
SCT: Where will you be for the premiere airing?
RS: I think my producer got us this cool house up in Malibu to watch the first episode: the whole cast and a bunch of friends. That should be an interesting night.
SCT: Watching that first episode, how do you think it came out?
RS: I liked it. I think it’s good. I think people are going to see it and like it, too. So, we’ll see what happens.
Let us know what you think of the show after it airs. Go our “Message Board” and click on “Cover Story and Featured Articles.”
San Clemente Favorites
Best Place to Skate: My backyard. I have a full skatepark in my backyard.
Best Place to Surf: Cotton’s, Lasuens, T Street. Everywhere.
Best Breakfast: Pipes
Best Lunch/Dinner Spot: Wahoo’s. I eat Wahoo’s every day.
Best Hangout Place: Everyone just kind of caravans around San Clemente until we find the place to go. It’s just fun hanging with your homies-even if it’s just driving around finding nothing to do.
Favorite Band: Just got back into Guns and Roses
Favorite sport to do after skating? Motocross. I love racing dirt bikes and jumping them.