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Mark50: Tony Hawk


IdeaPaint salutes Tony Hawk for starting a (900°) skateboarding revolution.

The first time Tony Hawk got on a skateboard was no epiphany, no choir of angels sang. The 9-year-old merely rode the beat-up blue fiberglass gift from his brother to the end of an alley, turned around, and asked what to do next.

It’s a question he’s never stopped asking. What was the next limit he could test, with his board and his body? What next implausible moves could he pull off? It was the kind of question that led him to pro status at 14. And to being one of the world’s top competitive skateboarders at 16. To twelve world champion titles in a row at the age of 25. To a career spanning movie roles, a video game franchise, a skateboard company, a clothing line, and a charity to bring skate parks to underprivileged kids.

But making it all look easy was not easy. Unquestionable born talent aside, he worked obsessively to outskate the world. And despite his early success, the sport’s popularity suddenly tanked in the early 1990s, the sponsorships and attention along with it. A lot of his peers jumped ship and left, but Hawk kept the sport alive the same way he skated, unrelenting, ignoring the impossible. When it came to what was next, there was still only skateboarding.

The sport eventually resurged, in a large part due to his refusal to let it die. Today he’s a hero and legend to this generation of skater kids. They know he was the first to land a 900 on a vert ramp. They know that even at the ripe old age of 45 he can still put most any of them to shame. They may not know that without Hawk, there would have been no next for skateboarding.

Follow along on his ride, and meet his equally daring MARK50 teammates here.

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