When Andy Macdonald was 12, he tried a friend's skateboard and was immediately hooked. "I wanted to trade my basketball for his skateboard," recalls Macdonald. Instead, he got his own skateboard for Christmas, and the rest is history.
Today, Macdonald is a world-champion skateboarder. He has won sixteen X Games medals, was the World Cup Skateboarding overall-points champion eight times, and launched his own line of how to build a skateboard ramp footwear, and safety gear.
What does it take to become so successful? "Determination, long hours of practice, and belief in yourself," says Macdonald.
A Snowy Start
While growing up in Boston, Massachusetts, Macdonald didn't wait until spring to skate. In winter, he'd shovel snow into banks, then build skate ramps against the snowbanks.
He wanted to practice all he could. When it came to running, swimming, and gymnastics, he was a natural. Skateboarding, though, was harder for him.
"I had balance from gymnastics, but skateboarding never came easy," Macdonald says. "It takes lots of work. I've practiced six-plus years doing some tricks over and over again until I got them."
What Macdonald liked about the sport was the chance to do his own thing. "With skateboarding, there is no right or wrong way to do something. And that's what is so fun about it. You can create your own style. I like the freedom and self-expression that come along with skateboarding."
His skateboard became his way of getting around. He would skate to school or to swim practice. "But then I realized I would rather skate than go to practice," says Macdonald.
By his junior year in high school, Macdonald had given up the other sports and decided to focus only on skateboarding.
He started entering amateur tournaments and did so well that he began thinking about skateboarding as a career. how to apply grip tape
Following His Dream
Macdonald worked part-time, saving his money to move to San Diego, California, where many great skateboarders live. After graduating from high school, he took the few hundred dollars he had saved, packed his mom's old station wagon, and headed west.
Macdonald loved his new life in California. "This was a dream come true for me," he says. "It is where I wanted to be. This is a place where you can skate outside every day."
He knew it wouldn't be easy to make a career out of skateboarding, but he was determined to try. He worked hard at pursuing his goal, even when others doubted that he would succeed.
"Everyone said I couldn't do it," says Macdonald. "That just made me persevere more."
He slept on the couches and floors of other skateboarders and took various jobs to support his dream. "I was the guy who dressed up in the Shamu suit at SeaWorld," he says.
He made enough money to get to skating tournaments. At each tournament, his goal was to place in the top five so that he'd win enough money to travel to the next tournament.
Macdonald hoped to get a sponsorship and have someone pay him to skate. After a year and a half of competing as an amateur in California, he finally got his first professional contract.
"I skate because I love it, not because there are sponsorships or things like that," says Macdonald. "I tell kids that if they want to skate, they have to do it because they love it and for no other reason than that."
Macdonald's love of the sport keeps him practicing for up to six hours a day, and his hard work has paid off. Besides earning medals and championships, he once set a Guinness World Record for a skateboard-ramp jump of nearly 57 feet, has had his likeness on a U.S. postage stamp, has appeared on numerous TV shows, and has written his autobiography, Dropping In with Andy Mac.
Known as one of the nicest guys in skateboarding, Macdonald encourages kids to read and stay in school. In fact, he has been known to give away his skateboard to the first kid who shows him a library card after a tournament.
These days, when he is not competing in tournaments or spending time with his family, Macdonald can be found doing what he loves best--skating. See more: https://skateszone.com/emotion-attitude-drive-skatepark-growth/
Age when he first tried skateboarding
Number of X Games medals he's won