Tony Hawk: 75 amazing facts about the legendary skateboarder

March 11, 2021 | Skateboarding
Tony Hawk: probably the greatest and most influential skateboarder of all time | Photo: Hawk Archive

Tony Hawk is the ultimate skateboarder and someone who had a multi-generational influence in the way skaters ride the concrete.

He is one of the most recognized sportsmen on the planet and one of the best all-around skaters in the sport's history.

Whether Hawk is vert skating, pulling off tricks at street level, or shredding the local skatepark, he is always on top of his game.

Today, TH runs a skateboarding empire of apparel, gear, merchandising licenses, video games, and media content.

But business ventures have never stopped him from pushing the sport's limits and setting new heights for the Olympic sport.

Hawk believes that the biggest life lesson is the value of perseverance - trying something over and over, keeping at it, and not giving up.

He is keeping the spirit and integrity of skateboarding alive.

Discover some of the most interesting facts about Tony Hawk from his hyperactive toddler years to adulthood.

Riley, Tony, and Frank Hawk: all skateboarders | Photo: Hawk Archive

1. Tony Hawk was born on May 12, 1968, in Carlsbad, California;

2. He has an older brother Steve, and two older sisters, Lenore and Pat;

3. Tony's parents - Frank Peter Rupert Hawk and Nancy Elizabeth Hawk - raised their children in San Diego, California;

4. Hawk was nine years old when his brother Steve - a surfer and skater himself - gave him an original blue fiberglass Bahne skateboard;

Bahne: Tony Hawk's first skateboard | Photo: Hawk Archive

5. The first time Tony picked up his brand new skateboard, he ran into a fence because he didn't know how to turn;

6. After discovering his passion for skateboarding, Hawk told his father he would not return to his club to play baseball;

7. Tony's first Bahne skateboard now sits in the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History;

8. The young Hawk was playing violin at the same time he started skating;

9. Tony got his first pair of Vans skateboard shoes at the age of 10;

10. At 12, he got his first sponsor - Dogtown Skateboards;

11. Tony Hawk turned pro at the age of 14. Two years later, he was already considered the best skateboarder in the world;

12. He is one of the original members of the Bones Brigade, the skateboarding team created in 1979 by George Powell and Stacy Peralta, which also feature Steve Caballero, Alan Gelfand, Lance Mountain, Rodney Mullen, Mike McGill, Steve Rocco, and Tommy Guerrero;

13. After witnessing his son's talent, Frank Hawk founds the National Skateboard Association (NSA) and becomes a passionate skateboarder, too;

14. Tony Hawk won 12 consecutive NSA World Championship titles. Actually, he won all NSA trophies from its creation to its disappearance in 1991;

Tony Hawk: he turned pro at the age of 14 | Photo: Hawk Archive

15. In 1989, the professional skateboarder made around $200,000;

16. In April 1990, the Hawk married his high school girlfriend, Cindy Dunbar;

17. In that same year, the blond sidewalk surfer won Thrasher's first Skater of the Year award;

18. Yes, Tony Hawk has a few tattoos on his arm and ankle;

19. In 1992, after almost declaring bankruptcy, TH and Per Welinder found skateboard company Birdhouse;

20. On December 6, 1992, Tony and Cindy welcomed Riley Hawk, who was named after one of Hawk's ancestors;

21. Hawk and Dunbar divorced in 1993;

22. Tony has two more sons, Spencer and Keegan, from his marriage to Erin Lee (1996-2004), and a daughter, Kadence Clover, from the relationship with Lhotse Merriam (2006-2011);

23. Tony Hawk's most popular nickname is Birdman;

24. The California skate veteran once said that his first three marriages failed due to travel commitments and unbalanced time management priorities;

25. Tony Hawk won two gold medals at the 1995 and 1997 X Games;

26. On July 27, 1999, Hawk became the first skateboarder to complete a 900 - two-and-a-half aerial rotations - at the X Games;

27. Tony Hawk is a goofy-footed skateboarder;

28. In September 1999, the famous skater launched Tony Hawk's Pro Skater (THPS), a multi-platform skateboarding game that would become one of the most successful video game series of all time;

29. Tony's favorite skateparks are Vans Off The Wall Skatepark in Huntington Beach, California, and Linda Vista Skatepark, in San Diego;

30. Also, in 1999, Hawk founded 900 Films, a video production company headquartered in San Diego that developed The RIDE Channel, one of the most popular skateboarding channels on YouTube;

31. Birdman once sent a skateboard to the surviving members of The Clash, who decorated it, signed it, and wrote "London Calling" lyrics on it. When it went up for auction, Hawk bought it back because he couldn't let it go;

32. When he retired in 1999, TH had won over 70 skateboarding competitions;

33. Tony Hawk's business ventures include Birdhouse Skateboards, Hawk Eyewear, Hawk Clothing, and other signature series toys and sporting goods brands;

34. TH's house in Encinitas, California, has a private backyard bowl and swimming pool;

Tony Hawk's house in Encinitas: it had to have a bowl

35. Birdman is often invited as a speaker at corporate conferences and tech summits;

36. In 2002, the legendary skateboarder founded the Tony Hawk Foundation. The organization aims at designing and building quality and safe skateparks in low-income areas where youngsters and adults can practice the sport;

37. In that same year, Hawk designed Boom Boom HuckJam, an extreme sports tour featuring skateboarding, BMX, and freestyle motocross.

38. Tony Hawk's favorite title is dad;

39. In June 2009, Tony Hawk rode his skateboard in the Grand Foyer of the White House, in Washington, for a Father's Day celebration hosted by President Barack Obama. A few later accused him of a "disrespectful act";

40. Hawk once broke his pelvis, fractured the skull, and broke his thumb all in one fell swoop;

41. In 2011, Tony Hawk said he thinks "skimboarding is underrated. There is some raw talent out there";

42. Tony's favorite person he's gotten mistaken for is Tom Brady;

43. In 2012, the skateboarding guru participated in India's first-ever vert skating demonstration in front of a huge crowd of fans;

44. Tony Hawk says that the craziest thing he's ever done on a skateboard was jumping between two seven-story buildings in downtown Los Angeles for an MTV show;

Tony Hawk: he calls himself a transition skater | Photo: Hawk Archive

45. In 2014, Tony Hawk rode a real-life hoverboard that floated a couple of inches above the ground. The experience followed a prank the skater and "Back to the Future's" Dr. Emmett Brown played with the HUVr board on the streets of Los Angeles;

46. Tony Hawk says his least memorable moment was doing a loop in a full gorilla suit;

47. In 2015, Tony Hawk skated the world's first downward spiral loop, a Helix-shaped ramp;

48. In that same year, Tony Hawk married his fourth wife, Cathy Goodman;

49. Precisely 17 years after landing the world's first 900, Tony Hawk repeated the stunt aged 48;

50. Tony Hawk always plays his own character on THPS video game series because he knows his special moves, and that's how he gets the highest scores;

51. Hawk landed a 720 at the age of 52;

52. One of the most famous Tony Hawk memes is the "race war killing";

Tony Hawk: one of the funniest memes involving the pro skater

53. In 2016, Kelly Slater and Tony announced the construction of a vertical skate-to-surf spiral wooden ramp at the Surf Ranch. The idea was to have the ramp's exit driving directly into the wave's take-off zone;

54. Tony Hawk's favorite skateboard trick is the tuck-knee invert;

55. In 2018, Tony Hawk co-founded D/CAL, a brand consultancy and creative ad agency with offices in California and Detroit;

56. In that same year, Hawk worked with Emojipedia's Jeremy Burge on the redesign of the skateboard emoji;

57. The 900-to-revert-to-manual-to-kickflip McTwist is the only trick that video game Tony can do that real-life Tony cannot do;

58. At the age of 50, Tony Hawk embarked on a quest to land 50 vert tricks he had created and/or pioneered. He obviously did it;

59. In 2019, the pro skater launched Tony Hawk Signature Line, a fashion collection;

60. In 2020, the Tony Hawk Foundation was renamed The Skatepark Project to better reflect its mission. The philanthropic program helped fund over 900 facilities throughout the United States;

61. Tony Hawk has 6.2 million followers on Facebook (@tonyhawk), 4.4 million followers on Twitter (@tonyhawk), 6.3 million followers on Instagram (@tonyhawk), and 1.2 million followers on TikTok (@tonyhawk);

62. As of 2020, Birdhouse, Bones, Independent, and Vans are Tony Hawk's main sponsors;

63. Tony Hawk's net worth is estimated between $120-150 million;

64. Hawk authored several books, including The New York Times bestseller "Hawk: Occupation: Skateboarder," "How Did I Get Here? The Ascent of an Unlikely CEO," "Between Boardslides and Burnout: My Notes from the Road," and "Tony Hawk: Professional Skateboarder";

65. The skater-entrepreneur hosted "Tony Hawk's Demolition Radio" show on SiriusXM for 15 years between 2004 and 2020;

66. Tony Hawk is the only sportsperson to have been featured in a video game consecutively on PlayStation, PS2, PS3, PS4, and PS5;

67. The transition skater says the hardest part of any trick is committing to the landing;

Tony Hawk: he has a legion of fans of all ages | Photo: Hawk Archive

68. Tony Hawk was the star and made cameo appearances in over 30 movies and TV series, including "The Bones Brigade Video Show" (1984), "Future Primitive" (1985), "Thrashin'" (1986), "Police Academy 4" (1987), "Escape from L.A." (1996), "Jackass: The Movie" (2002), "The Simpsons" (2003), "Lords Of Dogtown" (2005), "CSI: Miami" (2005), and "The Other F Word" (2011);

69. Hawk started surfing before discovering skateboard, but he admits he is scared of big waves;

70. Birdman invented many skateboard tricks, including the stalefish, Madonna, 720, ollie 540, and kickflip McTwist;

71. TH lobbied for the inclusion of skateboarding in the Olympic Games and even met with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in Lausanne, Switzerland;

72. Tony Hawk is 6'3'' (1.91 meters) and weighs around 175 pounds (80 kilograms);

73. The most unusual Google searches involving Tony Hawk include "how many bones has tony hawk broken," "what happened to tony hawk," "when did tony hawk die," and "why is tony hawk famous";

74. Tony Hawk is often semi-recognized or misrecognized in public. He is frequently mistaken for Kelly Slater, Lance Armstrong, and "that guy from 'Ghost'";

75. Birdman's full name is Anthony Frank Hawk;

76. In March 2021, the skater landed his last-ever ollie 540, aged 52;

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