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Thursday, May 31, 2007
Updated: May 16, 2:45 PM ET
The Sheck Shack

By Mary Buckheit
EXPN.com

Sheck's finally taller than his quaterpipe! Time for a vert ramp, kiddo.
SAN CLEMENTE, Calif.—When you hit your mid-twenties, you might start thinking about long-term investments: a car with some class, a starter home or at least a set of cutlery, complete with wood block housing.

I mean, it's sort of sad to look around your apartment and realize your iPod, bicycle and PSP exceed the total value of the rest of your life. But hey, we're still as young as the day is long, and we live in Southern California, where the sunshine flows like taquito samples at Costco.

Keeping it simple (and borrowed) seems like the only way to go. And I was really starting to believe that until I paid a visit to Ryan Sheckler's house last week.

At 17 years old, the kid's killing our generation's financial stability curve.



***

If this skateboarding thing goes awry, Sheck could always call those kind folks at 1-800-gold-melting.
It all started when the two-time X Games medalist agreed to let me in his house for a feature on life in Orange County. Since everybody who is anybody b-lines it to the O.C. as soon as they 'make it' in the action sports world, I figured Sheckler would provide a sweet perspective on living large in SoCal since he's Golden State-born and raised and adamant about sticking around.

He graciously agreed to open up shop for a tour, so I quickly rounded up a renegade video/photo team (my two Cybershot-rearing best buds) for a cruise up the coast from our bachelorette pad in San Diego.

With nothing but beef jerky and Diet Dr. Pepper to sustain us, we braved the 50-mile trek north through La Jolla, Del Mar, Carlsbad and Oceanside before landing in scenic San Clemente. Located on the coast, San Clemente plays host to the goods of San Diego and HelL.A., without all the traffic.

Hardly a word was spoken as we followed Ryan's publicist's directions. As we turned in to Sheck's street, our first obstacle—a huge, key-entry accessed gate—hit us hard and early. We tried entering our ATM pins, social security numbers and total friends on MySpace, but the gate wouldn't budge. Minding the security cameras, we swung a swift U-ee and poached the tail of an unassuming Lexus Trojan horse.

Past the gate, we coasted through a scene of plush cribs and fine automobiles, and before long, we were sitting in front of Sheck's house. Nervous to make the first move, we finally decided we had better get out before somebody called 5-O on our suspect wagon.

My backyard has crack vials and empty 40 bottles thrown in it by passers-by. Sheck's does not.
We knocked, and Ryan answered sporting Volcom jeans, a Plan B hoodie, a Red Bull New Era lid, some ice in his ears and a groggy a.m. smile. He invited us into the front room and we tried to introduce ourselves as professionally as possible to Sheck's roommate, er ... agent, er ... mama dukes. Gretchen does it all, and all in her Juicy tracksuit and Alpinestars camo-sequined hat. She got the scoop on our media assault and suggested we take the interview outside to the skatepark since it was such a sparkling day. Then she peaced out like the best moms do.

Ryan gave us a glimpse of his Skatopia (a quarterpipe, a couple rails, some banks) and we shot some amateur video (and by amateur, we mean grainy, sideways, darting so hard you best take some Dramamine, audio so low you probably won't hear it on full volume with your face stuck to your monitor-type stuff) while he gave us the scoop on San Clemente High School ("It's tight, but not hectic—and there are parties every weekend.").

We moved to the garage, where we presume he gets buff for all those ragers. The weight bench had 25 lbs. on each side, but Ryan was quick to tell us that his little brother had been lifting last and he can throw up way more than that.

When we asked for a sneak peek at the guts of the house, he said his mom wasn't really expecting guests inside. What? My slave-driving editor would never settle for that. That was like a hollow chocolate Easter critter. We needed solid chocolate bunny, baby.

Don't be fooled. The house really is bigger than the truck. Really. It is. The rims are bigger than the truck, too.
Luckily, we were suavely intrusive. We knew he'd want us to roll some trophy room footage, right? Sure enough, ask and we shall receive.

"You know what? Eff it. Let's just barge. ... Mom, we're coming in!"

Ryan led us upstairs for hardware talk and we scoped his dozens of decks. Their mass—sufficient for keeping a village warm for a winter—required a room of their own.

Wrapping it up, we walked outside. Sheck told us about his hot next-door neighbor, his monster truck and its huge off-road cojones and the Range Rover he rolls to Hollywood when he's off to visit Rob and Big.

The kid's got style. He passed the test. The three of us (collectively gayer than a Sunday picnic) rolled home smitten as schoolgirls on his charm, boyish good looks and bling that made our cheeks blush.

As we speak, a house of his very own is being built. Meanwhile, we'll be at home in our apartment ... admiring our Ikea-issue steak knives, set around plastic plates, at our Craigslisted kitchen table.



Mary Buckheit is a Page 2 columnist and EXPN.com contributor. Check out the full archive.