Rodney Mullen

35-time skateboarding World Champion, inventor

Rodney Mullen

Rodney Mullen won his first world skateboard championship at the age of 14; over the following decade, he won 34 out of 35 freestyle contests, thus establishing the most successful competitive run in the history of the sport. Over the following years, he turned from freestyle, translating his accumulated skills to a newer, different form of skateboarding. He is widely considered the most influential street-skater in the history of the sport, having invented many— if not most— of the tricks used today, including the street Ollie, kick-flip, 360-flip, Impossible, etc. As a consequence, Rodney was deemed “Godfather of modern street skating” in the Tony Hawk video game series, which featured his character over a span of about 8 years.

Publications: In 2004, Regan Books published his autobiography, co-written with Sean Mortimer. In their December 2006 issue, Los Angeles Magazine included him among their top 100 most influential people. In 2011, Cole Louison wrote The Impossible: Rodney Mullen, Ryan Sheckler, and the Fantastic History of Skateboarding, a book on skateboarding as a whole, largely from the perspective of Mullen’s influence. Most recently, Rodney’s board was inducted into the Smithsonian– where he was chosen for a Professional Fellowship– and subsequently inducted into the Skateboard Hall of Fame. He is also featured in the Sundance acclaimed documentary, Bones Brigade, An Autobiography.

Beyond Skating: Mullen studied math and engineering at the University of Florida before co-founding World Industries, the largest skate company in the 90’s, which eventually was acquired by Globe Shoes, traded publicly on the ASX. He continues to skate and design, having earned his second patent for a board and truck design, just this year. His skating background combined with his more analytic interests have also opened the door to the TED community, giving talks at two TEDx’s as well as other similar— often tech— forums, such as PopTech, Foo Camp, etc.

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