First skateboarding and now sandsurfing…
First and foremost, though, Tony Hawk is a skateboarder. Many of you will know him as “that skateboarding legend”.
Born in 1968, Hawk is considered to be one of the most successful and influential pioneers of modern skateboarding. He was a hyperactive child who took to skateboarding as a duck takes to water. His parents viewed his passion for the sport with equanimity as it was the perfect conduit for his excessive energy. He went professional at the age of 14 and in 1999 he became the first skateboarder to land a 900 in competition. This trick involves completing two-and-a-half revolutions with the skateboard. However, when asked what was the most complicated trip he had ever done his response was “Either a kickflip McTwist or a varial 720, both require everything to come together in a split second. Also the Fakie-to-fakie frontside cab 540 or a 360 varial McTwist, both of which I have only made twice in my life.”
His advice to skateboarders wanting to get into competitions is “Relax! You have to approach it just like you are practicing or else you’ll fall doing things that you take for granted. I got second-to-last in my first competition because I doubted my abilities. But it was a good learning process.”
The popular American athlete is one of the most recognised action sports figures in the world and in 2002 he created the Boom Boom Huck Jam, an extreme sports competition in Las Vegas. It is a small, but extremely popular event featuring competitions in many sports such as motocross, skateboarding, and BMX.
Also in 2002 he created the Tony Hawk Foundation, which he set up in order to give something back to the sport that has given him so much. The Foundation has, to date, helped finance public skateparks in low-income areas. It has awarded more than $3.2-million in grants to build skateparks in 463 communities throughout the U.S. from Sitka, Alaska to Marathon, Florida.
He is actively involved in many philanthropic activities and in 2007, Hawk, along with other major sporting heros such as Mohammed Ali, Andre Agassi and Lance Armstrong – to name just a few – founded the charity Athletes for Hope which helps professional athletes get involved in charitable causes and aims to inspire all people to volunteer and support their communities.
He continues to give demonstrations and exhibitions all over the world. Last weekend he was in Abu Dhabi at the Yas Marina Circuit where he was opening and closing the Real Action Heroes weekend. The Circuit imported a half-pipe especially for the event with the view that it could become a permanent feature close to the existing Yas Kartzone. Plans for the permanent skateboarding section are not yet finalised and will depend in part on public response and reaction to the initial exhibition by Hawk and his crew. Hawk’s spectacular skateboard demonstration were performed in the main oasis area.
“We believe that a permanent skateboarding facility would be a great addition to the range of options here at the circuit, so we are giving serious consideration to creating a skateboarding park here. People now come to Yas Marina Circuit not only for our big race weekends but also for karting, drag racing, our weekly cycling and running nights, track days and our two Racing Schools for drag racers and track cars. Skateboarding would be a natural extension of those attractions,” said Richard Cregan, Chief Executive Officer of Yas Marina Circuit.
On 14th May, Hawk will be at Linkoping, Sweden for a skateboard demo and in the Summer of 2011 he will be taking part in the Birdhouse USA Skateboard Tour.
Some advice Tony Hawk would leave up-and-coming skateboarders with would be “Learn kickflips! They are the future!”