About Rodney Mullen - Pro Skateboarder Profile, Biography and History

About Rodney Mullen - Pro Skateboarder Profile, Biography and History

Rodney Mullen was born on the 17th of August 1966. He is a professional skateboarder and widely regarded as the most influential skateboarders of all time. He invented the flatland ollie, which is the gateway to untold numbers of tricks, on both street and vert.

He was first introduced to skateboarding through a friend on New Years Day, 1977. Rodney's father was always against him skateboarding and he was told he must stop skateboarding as soon as he got injured.

Rodney would in his early days skate the transitions at the local skateparks, but when his family moved to a farmhouse in a remote area of Florida, he began practising freestyle skateboarding on a patch of cement his father had laid down in the garage. All of his time skating would pay off and at Oasis Skatepark in 1980, a 14 year old Rodney, entered the Oasis Pro Competition, going on to beat the current world champion, Steve 'World Industries' Rocco. It was also here that Rodney and Tony Hawk met for the first time, going on to have a lifelong friendship to this day.

Shortly, Rodney Mullen went on to join the Bones Brigade, who were to put simply, part of the Powell Peralta Team - consisting of the top pros. His Powell Peralta freestyle model deck is likely the most popular freestyle board of all time. Aptly named the "Chess Board", with the graphics of a skeleton dancing on a chess board.

Ollies on transitions has already been invented, thanks to Alan Gelfand, and this led to Rodney's most significant gift to skateboarding, which has been his invention of the flatland ollie! (Before this, skaters would grab the sides of their boards, with their feet, and simply jump up, in the quest for air!). But once, Rodney invented the flatland ollie, this opened up boundless possiblities and continues to, to this day! He also invented the kickflip (at the time known as the 'magic flip' because no-one else other than Rodney could understand how he did it), backside ollie, heel ollie, 360 ollie, double ollie, impossible ollie, dark ollie, and countless other tricks.

Rodney Mullen would go on to leave the Bones Brigade / Powell Peralta, to start up World Industries with Steve Rocco (the same guy he beat back in 1980)

At the end of the 80s, flatland (and vert skating) was on a decline, and the focus was now on street skating. Rodney switched from the old style freestyle skateboards, and changed to a street deck, to which he took his freestyle skating tricktionary and mixed it with street terrain, such as ledges and handrails, therefore going on to create a massive explosion of possibilities.

Throughout the years, Rodney would go on to have a great skate career, moving on to Plan B Skateboards, Starting Enjoi Skateboards which then led to Almost Skateboards which he was in partnership with Daewon Song. He also went on to have a successful series of videos with Daewon Song: Rodney vs. Daewon, which would go on to have 3 "rounds". These fun to watch videos consisted of Rodney and Daewon "competing".

Mullen has spoken in public on a wide variety of themes, including his own life, skating, creativity, invention, and the meaning of community.

The Lemelson Centre at MIT, which is affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History, asked Mullen to speak there about invention and creativity in the United States. In addition to discussing skateboarding and the role of creativity and innovation in fostering a better society, members of the Lemelson Centre shared their perspectives on these topics with Rodney.

The Sapling Foundation in June 2012 brought Mullen to USC to talk as part of its TED (Technology, Entertainment, and Design) public speaking series. In his talk titled "How Context Shapes Content," Rodney shared his thoughts on how skateboarding's street-based context informs his practise and how he perceives the skateboarding community, drawing parallels between it and the open source and hacking movements. At the Pop! Tech "Sparks of Brilliance" event in October 2013, Mullen gave a talk titled "Getting Back Up" in which he discussed perseverance and innovation.

Mullen was a featured speaker at the "Strata" and "Velocity" conferences hosted by the technology firm O'Reilly Media in Santa Clara, California in the first half of 2014. Mullen's Strata presentation in February 2014 had the title "The Art of Good Practice" and comprised an analysis of the nuanced way in which skateboarders practice their craft. Next, in June of 2014, Mullen gave the keynote address "Build on a Bedrock of Failure," in which he addressed how concepts like "failure," "pain," "injury," and "recovery" are "embedded in the very notion of what it is to be a skateboarder."

Mullen was named "Skater of the Year" by Transworld Skateboarding magazine readers in 2002. In 2003, he was voted for being the all-time greatest extreme sport athlete on the Extreme Sports Channel's Legends of the Extreme countdown. Following Tony Hawk and Mark Gonzales, Mullen was voted third on Transworld's "30 Most Influential Skaters of All Time" list, published in December 2011.

Mullen attended the May 2013 ceremony in Anaheim, California, at which he was inducted into the Skateboarding Hall of Fame. Mullen's "face" was changed, according to professional skateboarder Steve Caballero, who spoke before the award was given, and musician Ben Harper also spoke about their experiences with Mullen.

In July 2013, Mullen was selected as one of the "top ten" professional skateboarders by Paul Rodriguez. In a statement posted to his website, Rodriguez cited Mark Gonzales and Rodney Mullen as the two people he felt had the greatest impact on the development of street skateboarding. Rodney has invented 50, 60, who knows how many tricks, but he has always had the most mind-boggling, challenging stunts. Almost every flat-ground tactic we use now can be traced back to him.

Tony Hawk along with Daewon Song have stated Rodney Mullen as their favourite skater in the "Skater's Favourite Skater" video series which was produced by Transworld Skateboarding.

A small selection of skateboarding tricks invented by Rodney Mullen.

Godzilla rail flip (1979)
540 shove-it (1979)
50/50 Saran wrap (1979)
50/50 Casper (1980)
Helipop (1980)
Gazelle flip (1981)
No-handed 50/50 (1981)
No-handed 50/50 kickflip<
Kick flip (1982)
Heel flip (1982)
Double heelflip
Impossible (1982)
Sidewinder (1983)
360 flip (1983)
Switch 360 flip
360 pressure flip (1983)
Casper 360 flip (1983)
Half-cab kickflip (1983)
50 / 50 sidewinder (1983)
One-footed ollie (1984)
Backside flip (Backside 180 Kickflip) (1984)
Ollie Nosebone (1986)
Ollie finger flip (1986)
Ollie Airwalk (1986)
Frontside heel flip shove-it (1988)
Helipop heel flip (1990)
Kickflip underflip (1992)
Half-cab kickflip underflip (1992)
Casper slide (1992)
Half flip darkslide
Handstand flips

Rodney Mullen has been featured in an untold amount of skateboarding videos including:

The Bones Brigade Video Show Skateboard Video

Future Primitive: The Bones Brigade Skateboard Video

Public Domain Skateboard Video

Rubbish Heap Skateboard Video

Gleaming the Cube Movie

The Questionable Video Skateboard Video

Virtual Reality Skateboard Video

Second Hand Smoke Skateboard Video

Rodney Mullen vs. Daewon Song Skateboard Video

Canvas: The Skateboarding Documentary Skateboard Video

Rodney Mullen vs. Daewon Song: Round 2 Skateboard Video

Opinion: To Each His Own Skateboard Video

Rodney Mullen: From the Ground up Skateboard Video

Transworld: Show Me the Way: Darkslide Skateboard Video

Hangin With...Rodney Mullen Skateboard Video

Almost: Almost: Round Three Skateboard Video

Tony Hawk's Secret Skatepark Tour Skateboard Video

The Globe World Cup Skateboarding Skateboard Video

The Man Who Souled the World Skateboard Video

D.O.P.E. Death or Prison Eventually Skateboard Video

Bones Brigade an Autobiography Skateboard Video

Waiting for Lightning Skateboard Video

Gracias Skateboarding Volumen Uno Skateboard Video

Motivation 2: The Chris Cole Story Skateboard Video

Rodney Mullen: Liminal Skateboard Video

Tony Hawk: Until the Wheels Fall Off Skateboard Video

If you haven't already, check out the Rodney Mull autobiography book, entitled "The Mutt: How to Skateboard and Not Kill Yourself, co-authored with writer Sean Mortimer."