1. Jenson Button – BMX
He was given the nickname ‘Choccy’ by his mates back home in Frome, UK, but the speed-freak will always remember the fact that he was one of the kids-down-the-road who had a BMX. He may not have won anything to the extent of his F1 career but we like to think that his love of the sport came from his BMX.
2. Jason Lee – Skate
The guy that, to the younger lot of you, might be better known as ‘Earl’ or for the older lot of you, that guy from Mallrats. If you’re old enough to know Mallrats and liked skating back then you’ll remember Jason Lee being a pretty damn good skater. He was one of the first two skateboarders to receive a signature shoe from Airwalk – the other skater being Tony Hawk. Lee co-founded Stereo Skateboards with Chris “Dune” Pastras in 1992, and the pair revived the company in 2003 after it had been defunct for several years.
3. Alan Smith – BMX
This former footballer had a first love and it wasn’t kicking a leathery ball around a field, it was riding his BMX. Despite being British Champion before the age of 10, he didn’t see a future in it so turned to football.
4.Marc Frank Montoya (MFM) – Snowboard
Now this is a bit of a weird one to call actually because most people will know him as a pro-snowboarder and nothing else but he has turned his hand to being a self-help guru. Was it the best change he could’ve made? Anyway, for those of you that know MFM as a self-help guru, did you know he was a snowboarder?!
5. Iwan Thomas – BMX
He’s got an MBE, he’s got himself an Olympic silver medal for doing some running but what we’re more concerned about is his background in BMX. Iwan has traveled the world competing at World Championships but after one crash too many he turned to athletics. Watch him talking about his story in this video.
6. Jack Johnson – Surf
Jack Johnson may have been part of your life a few years back as you listened to his dulcet tones durin gthe summer months but he started his life as a surfer. At 17, he became the youngest invitee to make the surfing finals at the Pipeline Masters on Oahu’s North Shore. It began and ended there though when he suffered a surfing accident at the Pipeline that put more than 150 stitches in his forehead and removed a few of his teeth.
7. Spike Jonze – BMX/Skate
You should alal know about Spike Jonze! He’s the ridiculously good movie director who has directed Being John Malkovich and Adaptation who also played a part int he creation of Jackass. Not only that but he used to be involved in the BMX scene as well. Spike shot photos and wrote for Freestylin’ and Go:The Rider’s Manual before moving on from BMX. He’s also pretty handy on a skateboard.
8. Alex Wurz – MTB/BMX
He’s better well known as a racing driver that drove for the Williams team in the Forula 1 championship from 2000-2007. Wurz first tasted competition in the BMX World Championship, which he won in 1986 at the age of 12. In 2000, Wurz returned somewhat to his cycling roots, starting an MTB team with countryman Markus Rainer.
I could probably name a load more but their links to the world of action sports are a little weaker. For example,Juliet Lewis had her own shoe with DVS, Simon Pegg featured a clip from a Unabomber video, Farrah Fawcettused to skate in the 70s, Damien Hirst’s kid skates, George Harrison’s kid skates and has the Bones Brigade Tour visit him in 1989, L’il Wayne said he was going to be the best skateboarder ever (we’re still waiting), Andy Ruffel used to BMX before he went on to create the MOBO awards, Andy White – guitarist for the Kaiser Chiefs – used to race BMX, Heath Ledger used to skate when he was younger (you might remember the famous picture of him jumping Batman), Jim Rippey used to snowboard – he’s now a Minister, Matt Helders – from the Arctic Monkeys – used to ride BMX, Trevor Andrew from Santigold used to be sponsored by Burton, Graham Coxon is well known in the skate world, Kelly Slater featured in Baywatch AND had a head of hair, Kelea Kennely was in Blue Crush (as herself)…