Skateboarding's Top 10 Influencers
Jonathan Mehring has traveled up the Amazon River to the city of Belem, Brazil; through the mountain roads of Kazakhstan; over the ancient grounds of Istanbul, Turkey, in a hot air balloon; and on an arduous trip on the Trans-Siberian Railway. Where most photographers let geography dictate the look of their photos, Mehring adheres to the highest standards of great skating. Here's Aaron "Jaws" Homoki kickflipping in Utah.
Justin "Figgy" Figueroa
Justin "Figgy" Figueroa was at the top of Thrasher Magazine's 2012 Skater of the Year poll, and deservedly so. Figgy has been on fire for the past few years with a banging part in the "Bake and Destroy" video, tons of great photos in the mags and his ability for going big. Figueroa made our list of influencers because we all want to skate full-throttle like Figgy.
Grant Taylor is everything that is good and real and raw and true in skateboarding. The Atlanta native was put on a skateboard as a 1-year-old by his father, legendary skater Thomas Taylor. Winning the Thrasher Magazine Skater of the Year award in 2011, Taylor is inspiring the new generation to get out there and skate it all.
There are few examples of skateboarders making the transition from child prodigy to full-fledged superstar: Tony Hawk, Steve Caballero, Ryan Sheckler and now Nyjah Huston. Huston, 18, has racked up more Street League and X Games victories over the past few years than most could dream of winning in a lifetime -- and there's no end in sight.
Style does matter, and Dylan Rieder has it in spades. Great trick selection and amazing video parts, and he just looks right on a board. Riding for Alien Workshop, Rieder has carved out a niche in skateboarding that has set him apart as one of today's premier skaters.
Ty Evans is one of the greatest, if not the greatest, skateboarding filmmaker of all time. Beginning with his stint at Transworld Skateboarding and its series of skate videos, Evans teamed up with director Spike Jonze to become the most emulated filmmaker in the skateboard industry. His Girl/Chocolate video "Pretty Sweet" may be the best-selling skate video of all time.
Several years ago, professional skateboarders Steve Berra (pictured) and Eric Koston bought a warehouse, built a skatepark and started a website named "The Berrics" that showcased the park. The Berrics has become the de facto website where you'll see today's top pros on a daily basis. If there's anything on the Web that is influencing skateboarding today, it's The Berrics.
In 2007, a series of video documentaries titled "Epicly Later'd" began on Vice.com. The brainchild of skateboard photographer Patrick O'Dell,"Epicly Later'd" was a look into the lives of professional skateboarders. "Epicly Later'd" showed the good, the bad and the ugly of dysfunctional teenage superstars with all their quirks and insecurities.
Austyn Gillette, Real Street
Austyn Gillette is one today's brightest upstarts in the world of skateboarding. His silky-smooth style and unique approach to tricks and terrain make him a skater's skater. His free, online Thrasher Magazine video last year had everyone talking about how fast Gillette skated and some of the weird and rad tricks he was doing. Here, Gillette switch carves in a tight spot in Corvallis, Ore.
The term "legend" is thrown around a lot and usually refers to skaters past their prime, but Guy Mariano is today's living legend. Not only did Mariano rip in 1991's "Video Days," 1996's "Mouse" and 2007's "Fully Flared," he took it to another level in last year's "Pretty Sweet." Whether it's tech ledge skating, finding unique spots or a backyard pool, Mariano oozes style and gnarliness.