Tony Hawk is a certifiable adult. However at the age of 39, he is still doing what many teenagers are doing. He is still skateboarding. How many people at that age can say that are still doing an activity like that? Welcome to the older generation.
Hawk is the Michael Jordan of skateboarding. He is the poster boy for the front side of this generation gap. He started skateboarding at the age of 9 in Southern California. At that time skateboarding was considered an outcast type of activity. Skateboarders were looked at as kids who couldn’t find anything else better to do. They were a nuisance to people that were using the sidewalk or motorists that had to be on the watch for a skateboarder crossing their path. They gave people the impression that they were a bit rebel-like.
Now 30 years later, he has driven skateboarding to mainstream America. He even has a ride named after him at Six Flags over St. Louis. Hawk has his own extreme sports tour. The tour is called Ton Hawk’s”Project 8 Boom Boom HuckJam.” It is a combination of BMX riders and skateboarders. It is a combination of choreography between the two. Yes, they still have their spills.
Hawk turned professional at the age of 14. Despite gray hair behind his ears, he is still the main attraction of the tour. Skateboarders line up for autographs or a chance to shake the legends hand.
“When I was in school their were two kids that were avid skateboarders.” “We were considered lower than nerds.” “We were at the bottom end of the totem pole of high school society,” says Hawk. “Many of our peers considered us invisible nerds.”
Hawk isn’t invisible anymore. When the ESPN Xtreme Games became popular in the 90’s, Hawk was there waiting. He became a star and a household name over night. Video games were named after him. His minions would dress up in Hawk clothes and equipment. He has been in many television commercials. He has even been seen in some episodes of various television shows. The latest being CSI Miami. He has even had a book out titled “Hawk, Operation Skateboarder.”
His life hasn’t been easy. He has had two failed marriages and lost his house before skateboarding made a turnaround in the 90’s. Besides being a skater, Hawk also considers himself a businessman, who focus’s is also on marketing his sport.
Like all of us age caught up with Tony and he retired from pro competition eight years ago. Before that time though, he was considered one of the top 10 athletes among 12 to 24 year old. He created 15 different tricks that are still used today in a skaters repertoire.
With any type of event, you can expect spills, says Tony. “You just have to get up and keep trying until you master your craft.” That is what Tony Hawk has done. He has opened the door for others. Although older now, Tony still promotes his sport of skateboarding.
Tony, now a father of three, says,”I don’t feel old, but I know the responsibilities and concerns as a parent.” “I still believe that there are things to conquer.”
Tony continues to look for new challenges as he did 30 years ago.
sources: Tom Wheatly, StlToday.com