Anthony Frank Hawk (born May 12, 1968) is an American retired professional skateboarder. He is also an actor and stuntman, as well as the owner of the skateboard company Birdhouse. Hawk completed the first documented 900, licensed a video game series, published by Activision, and is one of the pioneers of modern vertical skateboarding.
In 2002, he created the "Boom Boom HuckJam", an extreme sports exhibition and tour that was launched in Las Vegas. Hawk has appeared in films, other media, and his own series of video games. He has also been involved in various philanthropic activities, including his own Tony Hawk Foundation that helps to build skate parks in underprivileged areas. In 2014, Hawk was named one of the most influential skateboarders of all time by FoxWeekly.
Tony Hawk was born on May 12, 1968 in San Diego, California to Nancy and Frank Peter Rupert Hawk, and was raised in San Diego. As a child, Hawk was described as "hyperactive", and his mother has stated that he was "so hard on himself and expected himself to do so many things." One time, Hawk struck out in baseball and was so distraught that he hid in a ravine and had to be "physically coaxed out" by his father. His frustration with himself was so harsh that his parents had him psychologically evaluated at school. The results were that Tony was "gifted", as he was tested with an intelligence quotient of 144, so school advisers recommended placing him in advanced classes. Hawk attended Jean Farb Middle School from 1980 to 1981, and eventually returned for the show Homecoming with Rick Reilly, where he set up a ramp and did a demonstration. His parents supported his skateboarding because it served as an outlet for his excessive energy. As Hawk's skills developed, he became a professional skateboarder at age fourteen, and was the National Skateboard Association world champion for twelve consecutive years.
On June 27, 1999, Hawk became the first skateboarder to land a "900", a trick involving the completion of two-and-a-half mid-air revolutions on a skateboard, in which he was successful on his twelfth attempt. After completing the trick, Hawk said "This is the best day of my life." Following this feat, Hawk decided to retire from professional competition that same year, but he continued to perform at the annual X Games until 2003, when he retired from professional competition for good.
In 2011, Hawk was still able to land the trick and posted a video on his Twitter account stating, "I'm 43 and I did a 900 today." On June 27, 2016, at age 48, Hawk performed what he claimed will be his final 900. In a video posted on the YouTube channel RIDE Channel, Hawk said "Spencer was there on my first one, and now he was there on my last. Bye." after successfully landing a 900.
Hawk was invited to President Barack Obama's June 2009 Father's Day celebration and skated in the hallways of the nearby Old Executive Office Building, which is on the White House grounds. This marked the first time ever someone skateboarded on the White House grounds with permission from officials. In 2009, Hawk was inducted into the Skateboarding Hall of Fame at its inaugural ceremony.
As of January 2012, Hawk is sponsored by Birdhouse, Lakai Footwear, Independent, Bones, and Nixon. His current Pro model shoe is the Proto. Hawk was formerly sponsored by Theeve. Following an invitation from his former sponsor, Quiksilver, Hawk assembled a group of vert skateboarders to perform, in 2012, the first-ever vert demonstration to have occurred in India. While in India, the group visited Mahatma Gandhi's house, the skateboarders were greeted by a very excited young audience and the 540-degree maneuver was executed during the skateboarding demonstration—the Indian trip was published on Hawk's RIDE YouTube channel on February 4, 2013.
1st in 1983 Spring Nationals Contest at Del Mar: Pool
1st in 1983 Summer World Series at Del Mar: Pool
1st in 1984 Sundek Pro Skateboard Challenge at Kona Skatepark, Florida: Vert
1st in 1999 X Games at Pier 30 & 32, San Francisco, Doubles (with Andy MacDonald): Vert
1st in 1999 X Games at Pier 30 & 32, San Francisco: Best Trick
1st in 1999 Vans Triple Crown of Skateboarding Finals at Huntington Beach, California: Vert
1st in 1999 MTV Sports and Music Festival at Las Vegas: Best Trick
1st in 2002 X Games at First Union Center, Philadelphia, Doubles (with Andy McDonald): Vert
1st in 2003 X Games, Los Angeles, Best Trick: Vert
All contest results are covered in Thrasher Magazine and can be checked at the Thrasher Magazine Archives. Only first places were counted.
Boom Boom HuckJam
In 2002, Hawk started a show tour, featuring freestyle motocross, skateboarding, and BMX. It started in Las Vegas and then on to 31 cities around the U.S. and eventually to Six Flags amusement parks.
A video game series based on his skateboarding, with the title Tony Hawk's Pro Skater, debuted in 1999. Since then, the series has spawned 18 titles so far, including ten main series titles, four spin-offs, and four repackages.
Hawk's role in the series was usurped by customizable player characters in later installments, but he has remained a prominent character. In the fifth game in the series, Underground, he is a minor non-player character whom the player meets in Tampa, Florida and skates against. Impressed with the player's skills, Hawk grants them entry into a skate competition. He later appears in Moscow to teach them the "360 Varial Heelflip Lien" move. Hawk and other skaters are briefly playable near the end of the game when they skate in a promotional video for the player's skate team, and in all gameplay modes except the story mode. He appeared as a kid in the Backyard Sports seriesBackyard Skateboarding.
Amusement park rides
A series of amusement park rides known as Tony Hawk's Big Spin were built in three Six Flags parks in 2007 and 2008. The ride was originally billed as the "Tony Hawk experience" and was designed to have the look and feel of a giant red-and-black skatepark. It offered a full "extreme sports" experience, with monitors in the queue lines displaying highlights of the history of action sports and a large spinning Tony Hawk figure crowning the ride. In 2010 Six Flags cancelled its license and the rides were renamed to Pandemonium. The ride at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom was moved to Six Flags Mexico in 2012 to make way for a new ride known as Superman: Ultimate Flight. Additionally, a water park ride called Tony Hawk's Half pipe (renamed The Half pipe in 2011) was opened at Six Flags America in Bowie, Maryland.
In January 2012, Hawk launched the online YouTube channel, RIDE Channel. In the welcome video, Hawk explained:
... I'm proud to announce the launch of our new YouTube channel—it's called "RIDE." I've teamed up with some of the best people in the skate industry; we are rolling out over twenty-two different shows over the course of the year. Shows like, "Hand in Hand," which basically features different successful musicians and artists and people from all walks of life who have been inspired by skating ... this is something we've always wanted to, and it's finally a reality, and it's here on YouTube...
As part of the RIDE Channel, a show called "Tony's Strange Life" features Hawk interviewing a variety of people, not just skateboarding figures, skits in which Hawk appears, and footage of Hawk skateboarding, including skateboarding footage from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). The predecessor of RIDE Channel was a now-defunct website, entitled Shred or Die, which was similar, with the show, Free Lunch, carried across to the new venture.
In February 2018, New York magazine reported that Hawk was working with Jeremy Burge to help design Emojipedia's skateboard emoji after the company's initial design was criticized by Hawk as "a skateboard you would buy at a department store in the '80s." The updated design was based on Hawk's own skateboard. Subsequent releases of the skateboard emoji from Apple and Samsung resemble Hawk's board (including 60mm wheels) despite no direct collaboration between Hawk and these companies.
In January 2013, professional skateboarder John Cardiel, identified by Transworld Skateboarding as the eleventh most influential skateboarder of all time, listed Hawk as one of his personal all-time skateboarding influences, alongside Gonzales, Christian Hosoi and Sacramento's skateboarders. Cardiel explained, "... the insane 540s with no hands, and, just like, all his tricks; he had the ramps, all his ramps, all the ramps he had—I thought that was insane. Tony Hawk's the best."
In an interview for the online series Free Lunch, produced by Hawk's RIDE Channel, professional skateboarder Andrew Reynolds stated:
... and then Tony's just, like, Tony Hawk—he's like, basically, to me it says, "You can be a skater and take over everything and be, you know ... and use skateboarding to be ... a businessman, a ... role model to young people," um, he's just the best. And, he called my house when I was fifteen, and was, like, "Do you wanna do something with us?" not knowing anything about me. Yeah, Tony's the man, sure, he's the best.
In 2012, Reynolds recruited Hawk's son Riley to his skateboard deck company, Baker, explaining
... I was just, kinda like, "it's kinda touchy, you know what I mean, like?" It's kinda weird, you know? Tony's kid, he rides for Birdhouse. But I look at it, like, I picture him on Baker, you know what I mean? So we just approached Tony, "Yeah, we wanna talk to Riley about maybe gettin' some Baker boards, or something like that." And Tony's like, "Man, he's rippin', he's nineteen years old, he can, you know, it's really up to him. You guys talk to him, you know?" So we just kinda said, "You wanna get some boards?" He's like, "I'm down, man!" And I look at it, like, there would be no Baker without Tony and Birdhouse. I know it's an ongoing process, you know? Tony quits to start Birdhouse; I quit to start Baker; my guys quit to start a new brand, you know? It's just an ongoing thing.
Hawk's Twitter account has become known for his humorous anecdotes of people he meets who recognize his name but conclude that he's not the skateboarder Tony Hawk, or confuse him with another sportsperson.
Hawk married Erin Lee in 1996. They have two sons, Spencer (born March 26, 1999) and Keegan (born July 18, 2001). Lee and Hawk divorced in 2004. Hawk married Lhotse Merriam on January 12, 2006 on the island of Tavarua, Fiji.Rancid played for them as the wedding's band. The couple's only child, a daughter named Kadence Clover Hawk, was born on June 30, 2008. The couple announced their divorce on February 7, 2011.
As of May 2014, the Hawk family home is located in Encinitas, California, where Riley Hawk was presented with his first signature model skateboard. Hawk announced the news to his son, and the owner of Baker Skateboards, Andrew Reynolds, was also present. Riley is also a member of the "Shep Dawgs" crew. Hawk married his fourth wife, Cathy Goodman, on June 27, 2015, at a ceremony in Limerick, Ireland.