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Tony Hawk was nine years old when his brother changed his life by giving him a blue fiberglass banana board. Before skateboarding Hawk was a self-described nightmare. "Instead of the terrible twos, I was the terrible youth," he said. "I was a hyper, rail-thin geek on a sugar buzz. I think my mom summed it up best when she said, 'challenging.'" He was also pathologically determined. When Tony was six his mom took him to an Olympic size pool. "He decided that he had to swim the length of it without a breath. And then he was so frustrated when he didn't do it," his mom, Nancy, remembers. "He was so hard on himself and expected himself to do so many things." Another time Tony 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," and school advisors recommended placing him in advanced classes. The root of his frustrations was uncovered as well: "The psychologist said he had a 12-year old mind in an 8-year old body," his Mom recalls. "And his mind tells him he can do things his body can't do." Luckily, for those around, Tony's brother, Steve, supplied the answer to his sibling's brain/body problem-he gave him a skateboard. Tony started goofing around on the thin Bahne board, and his body finally caught up with his brain. "When he started getting good at skating it changed his personality. Finally he was doing something that he was satisfied with," Steve said. "He became a different guy; he was calm, he started thinking about other people and became more generous. He wasn't so worried about losing at other things-he wasn't as competitive at Pac Man as he had been." His
mother agrees with a laugh, "I was just glad he was taking all his energy out on skateboarding and not on me." But Tony was still beating himself up. If he didn't skate his best in a contest-even if he won-he would be silent, and when he arrived home he'd take his trusty cat Zorro up to his room to be by himself. "If I don't do my best it kills me," he lamented. It's not entirely clear where all of this determination came from. At least some of it, no doubt, came from his father, Frank, who flew torpedo bombers off of aircraft carriers in World War II. More than providing the genes, however, Frank Hawk also played a major nurturing role as Tony progressed as a skater -- not by teaching or training, but by throwing his full support behind his son's athletic passion. Frank drove Tony up and down the coast of California for skate contests, built innumerable skate ramps over the years, and when he grew dissatisfied with the competitive organizations, founded both the California Amateur Skateboard League and the National Skateboard Association. The NSA's high-profile contests have been credited with helping the sport surge in popularity during the 1980s. Frank died in 1995. By twelve, Tony was sponsored by Dogtown skateboards, by fourteen he was pro, and by age sixteen Tony Hawk was the best skateboarder in the world. In the ensuing 17 years, Hawk has entered an estimated 103 pro contests. He won 73 of them, and placed second in 19. By far the best record in skateboarding's history. (He even won a contest after a redeye flight and only three hours of sleep.) Unfortunately, being the world champion of skateboarding doesn't necessarily translate into financial security. Skateboarding is notorious for its peaks and valleys in popularity. As a senior at Torrey Pines High School in Del Mar, Calif., he was able to buy his own house at age 17. Two years later he bought another house: a fo
ur-and-a-half-acre spread in nearby Fallbrook, where he built a monster skate ramp at the top of a hill. A smaller ramp was wedged between his house and his pool. Hawk was constantly traveling worldwide for demos and contests. He was making enough money to buy his friends trips to Hawaii so everyone could vacation together. He married Cindy Dunbar in April 1990 and they lived in Fallbrook. Always an electronics nut, Hawk constantly updated his computers, stereo systems, video cameras and cars (he has a Lexus fetish). But, one day in 1991 this all came to an end. Tony felt the bump on his helmet and when he looked up, it was too late; the sky was already falling. Skating died. Not a slow death where you could see it coming and plan ahead, this was a blood-hose-out-the-nose aneurysm at the breakfast table. Tony's income shrank drastically, and suddenly his wife, a manicurist, was the family breadwinner. The times were so lean that Tony was allotted a daily Taco Bell allowance of five bucks. The next few years ripped by in a blur of financial uncertainty and personal eruptions. He sold the Fallbrook house and the Lexus and in 1992 Cindy gave birth to their son, Riley. Tony refinanced his first house and started a skateboard company, Birdhouse Projects, with former Powell pro, Per Welinder. Two years later, he and Cindy divorced. Birdhouse wasn't making money and Tony's future was sketchy. If he couldn't make a living skating he figured he could either edit video for other companies or get a job "sitting behind a computer doing some sort of programming or web design. I thought skating was over for me." (Hawk is a proud computer geek.) But skateboarding went through its cycle and was deemed cool again. The Hawk became the Phoenix. In 1996 he married his current wife, Erin, and bought a new house with a new pool with a new waterfall. Birdhouse is now one of the largest skateboard companies in the world an
d he's signing six-figure endorsement deals with companies like Adio shoes. In 1998 he and his family started a kid's skate clothing company called, of course, Hawk Clothing, which was acquired by Quiksilver in early 2000. In 1999 Activision and Tony created Tony Hawk's Pro Skater video game for PlayStation. They expected decent sales, but the copies blew off the shelves and it quickly became a bestseller. The next year Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2 was released and jumped to the number one position for over a month. Both versions are available on all platforms today. On March 26, 1999 Erin and Tony had another baby boy, Spencer, who already has a weird attraction to skateboards--he rides a mini-board around the kitchen. Tony's success overflows into the non-electronic world as well. His autobiography, HAWK Occupation: skateboarder was a New York Times bestseller and is currently in it's eight printing. The paperback will be available this summer. He created Tony Hawk's Gigantic Skatepark Tour for ESPN and it is second only to the X-Games in viewership. Today, Tony's days adhere to an outlandish dichotomy. Recently, after slicing his shins open while shooting a TV commercial(probably needed stitches but didn't go to the doctor) he had to rush back to pick Riley up from school. "It makes me proud that I can switch from being a skater to a responsible parent," he said. "But," he's quick to add, "I don't feel as old as other parents." He may not feel as old as other parents, but he's old enough to have retired at age 31. It should be made clear though in skateboarding "retire" doesn't mean stop skating. It simply means he's stopped competitive skating. He still skates every day and was voted the best vert skater by readers of Transworld Skateboarding last year. One of the reasons Tony decided to retire at the end of 1999 was that he landed the first
-ever 900 (two and a half mid-air spins) at the X Games. The 900 was the last on a wish list of tricks he'd written a decade earlier. The list included Ollie 540, Kickflip 540, Varial 720 and the 900. "I'm pretty happy with the way things turned out," Tony says. "I mean, I never thought that I could make a career out of skateboarding." Thanks for listening this took ages
why does everyone love Tony Hawk? because he is a proffessional skateboarder, he rides for birdhouse, and he has jis own game. WWHO CARES!! Tha doesn't make a QUALITY skater, a quality skater is someone who can pull off the maddest tricks, and be the best at whatever there preference is, vert or street. Sure, Tony Hawk is good at his prefered choice, but he is only REALLY big because his name is on the front of a GAME. That doesn't mean a thing to a lot of people, sure i can see their point. Some people ( myself included - i have been sjating for five years ) knew about Tony Hawks before his game, and i didn't and still don't like him, but that is just my opinion. that brings me to my other opinion, on trendy skaters who only started after they played tony hawks pro skater. they think ist's so somple to pull off a 900, as if they only need to press a button and it'll happen. This is WRONG! It's not that simple! Thank You i have made my point.
*the Ollie* To do an ollie, you have to be smooth and gradual. you should try this at firat while you're not moving because you're gonna wipe out the first time if you are moving. First, put your back foot on the tail and place your front foot in the middle of the board between the trucks. Then, pop the tail of the board down with your back foot and immediatly jump into the air. Now put you foot in a position so the outside soul of you front foot is dragging up toward the nose of the board. Once the whole board is off the ground, gently push to tail of the board foward so it creates leverage and the back rises more. Then, position your two feet over the trucks where the four bolts are an both side and cusion your landing by crouchingafter you hit the ground. It takes hard work and practice to get the ollie if you're new to skateboarding. So don't get pissed if you can't do it. by daniel macphee
I love skateboarding and i have loved it for sometime now. i am trying to learn to ollie and i can nearly do it properly si all i need to do is get there!!! i love watching skateboarding on the television but all the extreme channel ever shows is snowboarding and i do like that as well but i wanna see a good half hour of skateboarding. so i got fed up with waiting for it to come on the television so i went out to HMV and i bought a copy of "Johnny goes down under" its a hardcore skateboarding video and now i am waiting for it to be delivered so i can watch it whenever i want!!! i have got the game Tony hawks skateboarding and i love playing it. it is one of my favourite games at the moment! i have completed it but it never gets boring!!!
King of the board??? Maybe in the commercial sense, oui mon ami. He is a top skateboarder. EXTREME ....*ahem*....but what is all this crap?!?! The hawkster ?? 'I think if he beats the Hawkster hes gonna make it all the way'....it is quite quite sickening. Really, i respect Tone, hes goood. He looks nice in glasses. But....but....he isn't THAT DAMN good(okok he is good...but some other pros are there too....). He is skateboardings little commercial posterboy is what he is. I mean if we talk vert then people like Bob Burnquist, Colin McKay and Bucky Lasek are superior, or around that same level. But in the media they barely receive half the attention. He must be a rich man sure - happy ? - i dunno, whatever. Street skating no one cares about, the real creative art, less a sport - more enjoyment. Althou nowadyas it seems to have stagnated in to popular culture, all over MTV and whatever....but i digress.... I just wanna point out that as cool, as good, as whatever that Tony Hawk is im not sure that he is. I mean the media hawk eats it all up and people beleive what they see on tv....sad but true.