Ep. 32: Tony Hawk Talks Tricks, Falls and Triumphs in Skateboarding

July 22, 2023

Tony Hawk used to describe himself as “a scrawny kid from San Diego,” but he’s best known for his wide and mighty innovations on skateboards throughout the 1980s and ‘90s.

Listen to Episode 32: Tony Hawk here

As perhaps the sport’s most daring pioneer, he was brought onto the famous skate team known as the Bones Brigade by 1970s legend and Z-Boys member Stacy Peralta. As the Bones Brigade’s youngest member, Hawk not only became a standout and perennial champion, but also skateboarding’s most acclaimed athlete.

But his career didn’t fade away with the 1990s by any stretch. If you missed it, Hawk took part in the 2023 X Games in Tokyo this past May, and when I spoke to him back in the spring, he was pretty stoked.

“I am going to be 55 years old next month,” Hawk said earlier this spring when I spoke to him via Zoom. After pausing a moment to laugh, he said “and I am competing in the X Games! There’s not a lot of sports where you have 55-year-olds who get to compete with teenagers.”

During the Tokyo X Games, Hawk took part in the event for the best vertical trick, versus skaters in their teens and twenties. He said it would be his final appearance in the well-known extreme sports event.

A legend and all-around cool guy

Back in 1999, Hawk showcased a trick called “The 900” at the X Games in San Francisco. It entailed completing a 900-degree or 2½ revolutions while aerial. The move documented in 2022’s HBO documentary film, Tony Hawk: Until the Wheels Fall Off.

Hawk at Playa del Carmen, Cancun, Mexico, October 2017

Yet today, Hawk spends a lot of time making sure he’s taking care of himself and staying fit, monitoring his diet, sleep and other aspects of his life.

When I spoke to him about this in detail in April 2023, Hawk sounded like any health-conscious fifty-something. Perhaps even mortal.

As a watch enthusiast, Hawk mention that his new Citizen CZ Smart Watch helps him track a number of aspects of his health and everyday life that he said most people ignore until their fully tap into their wellness.

“(As) I got into my forties and now into my fifties, I realized that if I wanted to be able to keep doing this professionally, I (would) have to lean into all that information and to be disciplined.”

During Episode 32 of Andy Frye’s Sports Podcast Hawk also talks about how skateboarding has evolved to become much more popular and inclusive—and that it’s not just “blonde-haired surfer dudes” anymore.

There’s also a fun segment, in the second half of the episode, in which I talk with Hawk while walking my dog, Roadie.

Read more in my recent Forbes.com interview with Tony Hawk here.

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