John Rodney Mullen (born in Gainesville, Florida) is a Freestyle skateboarder, who is considered to be one of the most influential skaters in the history of skateboarding. He is credited with inventing many tricks, including the kickflip (originally called "magic flip"), in 1983, the Heelflip, the tre flip (also known as the 360 kickflip), and the Impossible. Some people might say that he is called the "songbird of skateboarding." He also has taken on many nicknames one of which being "Applesauce and Balance Master." Rodney entered a contest in Kona with his best friend and also pro skater Brian M., Jacksonville, FL, In 1977. He took third place in the Boy's Freestyle event. Immediately he was noticed by Bruce Walker, and became sponsored by Walker Skateboards.
Over the next three years he went on to take nearly 30 victories, which had been achieved mostly in Florida, culminating in a win at the Oceanside Nationals in June, 1979. Coached by Barry Zaritsky, Mullen endured a radical training regime, which led to the defeat of world champion Steve Rocco at the Oasis Pro in 1980. He turned professional with legendary skate company Powell Peralta and was a member of the Bones Brigade.
In 1988, Mullen left the University of Florida, where he had been studying Biomedical Engineering for four years.
In early 1989, Mullen left Powell Peralta and started a skateboard company, World Industries. He also maintained his professional status as a rider for the company. By the end of the freestyle competition era in 1990, Rodney had won 33 of 35 freestyle competitions he’d entered over the previous 10 years, the most successful run in skateboard competition history. Later career - the 1990s to present day
His tenure at World Industries marked the beginning of a shift in his skating career from freestyle to street skating. He left the World Industries team to join Plan B, a super team made up of some of the high profile pros of that time. Throughout this period Mullen was learning from his idol Mike Ternasky, the Plan B founder, to adapt his freestyle skating form. This approach was first seen in the 1992 Plan B video Questionable, and ushered in a new era of street skating that took freestyle tricks which were traditionally done without rolling, or at slow speeds in a confined flat area, to a more varied terrain, often at speed and incorporating obstacles.
In 1995, Mullen started the A-Team. It was his take on forming a super team with the defection of Plan B from the World Industries empire. A-Team folded in 2000 and Mullen went from company founder to company rider under former A-Team rider Marc Johnson, who started Enjoi Skateboards. Mullen left Enjoi and headed Almost Skateboards along with Daewon Song, which he continues to maintain professional status. Mullen expanded his product development and created Tensor truck in 2000 and has also developed experimental and composite deck constructions for Dwindle brands.
In 2002 the World Industries companies, under the holding name Kubic Marketing, were bought out by Globe International for $46 million. Kubic's management remained intact and Mullen began working for Globe International under the Dwindle Distribution brand.
In 2003 Rodney wrote and released his autobiography, entitled "The Mutt: How to skateboard and not kill yourself". In late 2003 Rodney Mullen was voted as the all-time greatest action sports athlete on the Extreme Sports Channel's Legends of the Extreme countdown.
2004 saw the announcement by Dwindle that it has been producing skateboard decks in China under the direction of Mullen. A Dwindle spokesperson explained that the move was “to better control our current product quality and develop new advanced products while simultaneously lowering the price on existing skate-deck products.”
- Powell Peralta: Skateboarding in the '80s (1982)
- Powell Peralta: The Bones Brigade Video Show (1984)
Mullen has appeared in the Tony Hawk Pro Skater (THPS) console games including THPS 2,3,4, Tony Hawk's Underground, Tony Hawk's Underground 2, Tony Hawk's Underground 2 Remix, Tony Hawk's American Wasteland, Tony Hawk’s American Sk8land, and Tony Hawk's Project 8. He also appears as a featured rigger skater in Tony Hawk's Proving Ground. Mullen is also featured in Globe's United By Fate episodic skate video series. [www.unitedbyfate.tv] He also made a brief appearance in Episode 10 of the 2007 HBO series "John From Cincinnati." He appears in a few cut scenes towards the end, wearing a red shirt and freestyle skateboarding in the background.