Huntington, WV Black History

Bryan E. Ridgeway

Consultant

Bryan Ridgeway is a native of Huntington who has become an international skateboarding icon.

Ridgeway is a Huntington High School graduate. He attended Marshall University on a civil engineering fellowship. Prior to that time, he was introduced to skateboarding at the age of 13 by some junior high school friends.

Skateboarding was a perfect activity for him as his asthmatic condition as a youth prevented him from playing traditional sports. He discovered a way to strengthen his lungs but also discovered what would become a passion for success in the coming years, after receiving his first skateboard.

As an amateur skater five years later, “The Ridge” secured sponsorships from two of the California skate industry’s top skateboard companies and eventually was recruited to California to pursue his dream of skating and working in a then-fledgling industry that was on life support at the time.

The move west at the age of 18 was the first time Ridgeway had ever been away from Huntington on his own., but he never fails to tell anyone that he loved every minute of the uncertainty and adventure.

Ridgeway is an international skateboard icon, known not so much for his skating but more for whom he has mentored, as well as trailblazing ways for skaters to own their own companies after their skating careers come to an end. He also knocked down walls for others to follow his pioneering mentality. Specifically, a surge of African Americans participated after seeing someone in the industry who looked like them working in this industry.

When Ridgeway first began skating, there were only a handful of Black skaters who had access, but today there are Black male and female skaters on the U.S. National Skate Team and two who competed in the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2021. Today, multiple African Americans have been voted for Skater of the Year, with many more on the horizon.

Ridgeway is one of a handful of individuals who have 40 years of skate industry experience and numerous accolades to his credit.

African American firsts in the industry include:

-First to produce a handmade skateboard magazine from a Xerox machine, which earned him a Best Skate Zine Award from the Scottish Skateboard Association in 1982
-First Skateboard staff writer and photographer (Trans World Skateboarding Mag)
-First Pro/Am Team Manager (coached and managed Tony Hawk)
-First Head Judge (California Amateur Skateboard League)
-First Head Judge (National Skateboard Association)
-First in the Skateboard Hall of Fame (for his contribution to Tracker Trucks as the ICON parts company)
-First African American member of the Board of Directors of USA SKATEBOARDING (instrumental to the success of integrating skateboarding as an Olympic sport.)

Ridgeway has been featured on the HOW WE ROLL exhibition at the California African American Museum on Black Skateboarding History. He also was featured in the first-ever Smithsonian Museums book titled FOUR WHEELS AND A BOARD, based on the history of skateboarding, released in the fall of 2022.

Ridgeway has created, managed and/or directed more than 10 of the most elite skaters in the industry and has traveled to 42 states and 19 different countries skating and managing professional skaters while on tour.

One of Ridgeway’s most rewarding moments, he relates, was in teaching kids at the Huntington Boys and Girls Clubs about skating and how it applies to what they were learning at school.

Today, Ridgeway lives in Southern California and works as an independent business consultant within the skate industry.

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