Tony Hawk

October 3, 2012

IAm Tony Hawk, professional skateboarder, videogame character, father, and founder of YouTube's Ride Channel, AMA

subscribe to Ride Channel! You won't be disappointed:

What is the proudest moment of your career?

Probably landing the first 900. It marked the end of 20+ years of competing, and opened up new doors of opportunity to keep skating and promoting skateboarding in general.

When was the last one you landed?

In Sweden last year:

my question stems from this. i've always been fascinated by the fact that once a trick has been shown to be possible by multiple people (the 900 in your case), all of a sudden it can almost become the norm, when before it was just this untouchable thing. do you think this is all mental, or is the skill bar actually getting higher and higher? i don't see how nobody could do a 900 before you, and once you did it, it somehow just becomes an achievable thing. i'm really fascinated by this, even more so when it comes to freestyle moto-x. what are your thoughts on that?

edit: i have no idea if that makes any fucking sense, it's really hard to explain.

It is easier to achieve something when you know it's been accomplished before. I would have made a 900 years earlier if someone else had already done it.

What is one trick you never pulled off that you wished you did?

Ollie 720. I still try it sometimes.

you have done great things for sk8ing so thank you for that. I have a few other things to say...

1) Have you seen him? (but really who is the guy you used for the Animal Chin picture?)

2) New Birdhouse video?

3) You should totally play a game of skate against Riley and post it on Ride channel.

1) It was a cardboard cutout from a stock photo of a random Chinese guy. He became a metaphor for keeping skating fun.

2) We are always working on new video stuff, most of it goes up on Ride Channel as individual parts... like mine:

3) That would be horribly embarrassing... unless we took it to ramp.

Hi Tony!

Here's a "Welcome to reddit" lase for you. Link

I've done hundereds of these, but for some reason this is one of my favorites. It came out really well.

That is awesome, thanks! "You're going down Homer, and then you're going back up again. That's how the game is played."

Proof please?

um... well, Reddit promoted this for a couple weeks. I am Tony Hawk and I am typing this sentence right now. You can find me holding the "AMA" thingy on my Facebook & Twitter pages.

Hi Mr. Hawk, big fan of yours for a long time. couple of questions.

What was your first thought after landing the first 900?

How good are you at the Tony Hawk Pro Skater games?

What do you think you would be doing if you never started skateboarding?


my first thought was "finally!" and then never wanting to do it again. But I keep coming back to it. Here's one I did in Sweden last year:

I'm very good at THPS, especially when it comes to revert combos on vert

I would probably be doing video editing or production if I didn't skate.

What is your favorite trick that you invented?
What is your favorite trick to do on flatground/street

Ollie 540 is probably my favorite, because I really didn't think it was possible when I first started trying it.

my favorite flatground trick is varial heelflip because I can catch it the highest in my limited flatground repertoire.

[No question]

um... am I doing this right?

What was your favorite Tony Hawk video game? Also the record for longest grind?

My favorite in terms of symbolism is THPS2 because it established our games as a franchise and created skating as a genre of videogames. And it had Downhill Jam level (big fan).

Dunno my record for longest grind, but I was one of the first to pull the Holy Sh!t grind in THPS1

I wish PS3 would add thps1, 2 and 3 too the PS2 games that you can purchase on PSN. I've been searching flea markets for a PS2 solely to play my thps games.

THPSHD features the best of THPS1 & 2, and is available on XBLA & PSN right now. The "THPS3 Revert" DLC pack is coming soon. Hooray for reverts.

Do you ever have the song Superman by Goldfinger in your head when you skate?

haha, no. But definitely Dead Kennedys' Polic Truck and California Uber Alles

How dizzy were you when you pulled off that first 900?

not dizzy, just glad to not hit the flat bottom with my body again.

What is your favourite and least favourite level in any of the Tony hawk games?

One of my favorites (besides DJ) was Rio because I got the highest scores. I was never a fan of Venice because I thought the flow was weird. I like real Venice Beach better.

Best level was the canyon level in the original game.


Hey Tony, is Bam Margera personally responsible for the drop in popularity of skateboarding?

Edit: Apparently people mistake a Bam Margera joke for a slight against skaters or Tony Hawk.

I believe he is partially responsible for it's boom in the early 2000's. And there are more skateparks than ever these days... Not sure where you live, but skateboarding is alive and well; just look around.


yes, I finished every single one... without using cheats.

I know you have to travel a lot, where is the best place to get delicious food?

NYC and SF have the best selection of restaurants. Tokyo and Sydney are awesome too.

Pizza's good. How do you like your pizza?

My favorite is the Knockout from Flippin' Pizza here in San Diego.

do you get high tony? do you?

I do not. But people love to comment that I look stoned in many of my photos. Oh trolls, how I love you.

Well I better take this opportunity to apologize because I took a picture with you a couple of years ago in Colorado Boarder and accused you of being stoned to my friends. And for that I am sorry.

It's just age. I'm 44. I guess my face/eyes/cheeks sag a bit now. I have learned to accept it and be thankful that I can still skate for living.


I did. Look up. Or are YOU too stoned?

Hey Tony! Thanks for doing this AMA, so, why did you get into skating in the first place?

because my older brother was a surfer and he liked to skate when the waves were flat. I picked up one of his old boards and started doing it around my neighborhood. Many of my friends were also doing it at the time, but they quit soon after.

How do you feel about Riley being on Baker now?

I'm proud of him for paving his own way and letting his skating speak for itself. He is in an incredibly tricky situation, skating and having me as his dad. He handles it with grace and finesse.

How do you feel about the current state of skateboarding? How do you feel about what it has evolved into?

It's amazing that we've come this far. Skating was considered lame and not a career option when I was young. Parents did not want their kids in such an outcast activity. It is exactly the opposite now. I am proud to have had something to do with that shift.

If you couldn't be a pro skateboarder for whatever reason, what would be your next choice of a "dream job"?

I gave up playing violin to pursue skating. I still get jealous when I see an accomplished concert violinist. They are badass.

Is there anything you regret not achieving? it seems you have done everything possible, I can't imagine there'd be anything you would regret.

I would still like to take the Boom Boom Huckjam concept overseas, possibly to Europe, Asia or Australia.

At X-Games 13, you were commentating the Big Air skateboard competition. After you saw Jake Brown fall 50 or so feet onto the halfpipe you said:

"Wow, I can't believe he hit the 720."

Did you say that to try and break the tension? Because looking back at it now, that was one of the worst/hilarious thing you could say at that situation.

It was a heavy moment, marred by awkward silence. They kept replaying the run and his slam. At some point, I wanted to steer people's attention to the fact that he made an incredible trick before the tragedy. He had NEVER done it before.

Just wanted to mention that I had an utmost amount of respect for you talking about where the man succeeded, looking at the man who flew, not the man who fell. I'm very impressed that he still competed after that.


Please tell me your house is somewhat like it is in Rocket Power

I have a swimming pool and a small cement skatepark, if that's what you mean. My actual house is not filled with quarterpipes and rails, unfortunately.

Please tell me your house is somewhat like it is in Rocket Power

Here is my backyard skatepark:

Who is your favorite skateboarder and what is your favorite skate video?

Mitchie Brusco is my favorite ramp skater these days. he will be the next to pull a 1080.

My favorite street skater is Aaron "Jaws" Homoki. He has the record for biggest Ollie... crazy stuff:

Would you consider Rodney Mullen as one of the godfathers of modern skateboarding? And do you still try to skate everyday?

Yes, Rodney created most of the modern flip tricks that we all take for granted. He was also the first person to do on ollie on the flatground.

I skate almost every day. If not at home, then at my vart ramp. Here is my most recent video part:

Do you ever have moments where you wish you weren't famous, or do you really enjoy it? Sort of two part.

only when it interferes with my time with my kids. Otherwise, it's usually fun. I never expected to be rich or famous when I started, because nobody had achieved such things. So I am still surprised by it, and it seems to happen more often than ever these days.

What inspired you to start your own franchise of games?

I have loved videogames ever since playing Pac Man and Missile Command at my neighborhood arcade as a kid. I always knew skateboarding could lend itself well to videogames, it just needed the right team. When I first met with Neversoft/Activision, I knew it was a perfect fit.

I met you almost a year ago when you were filming the Epic Meal Time episode in that apartment courtyard in Williamsburg. I was here and here. The only thing you said to me was that I should watch A Serbian Film. Watched it. o_0 I feel much better about my life now, so thank you, Tony Hawk.

Did you and Shaun skate afterwards that evening?

haha, I blame the EMT guys for that. They told me about the film that day, saying it is the most disturbing thing I will ever see.. and to please never watch it. Oops, sorry.

How many bones have you broken?

3: pelvis, elbow and rib.

What is one of the best stories you have from the Bones Brigade days?

That we thought doing a video with acting was lame during the middle of Animal Chin, and Stacy took off in the middle of shooting in Bakersfield because he was fed up with our whining. We apologized the next day and got back into the groove.

How closely were you involved in the creation of the Tony Hawk video games

I play them every step of the way during production. The first few games were the most labor-intensive for me, because I had to teach Neversoft about the nuances of skating very quickly. By the 4th game, they were very familiar with skating (and most of the designers had actually started skating by then)

When(and if) you sit down and play the Tony Hawk games, do you play as yourself?

Yes, I play with myself. There, I said it.

Proof from his facebook for the lazy:

edit: Twitter link

Thank you.

What do you think of female skateboarders? I used to skate a lot (and was pretty good as a kid) until some douchebag yelled at me  and told me to do 'girls stuff' because apparently  i was growing balls. Traumatised and never touched a skateboard again. 

I think the level of female skating is incredible these days, and you should continue to do it if you truly love it. If I had quit when haters spoke up, I would have been out of the game a long time ago.

How do you reflect on your performance in that episode of Rocket Power?


Has skateboarding taken a long term physical toll on your body? How much input do you have in your shoe and clothing lines? Thanks for doing AMA your were hilarious in "The New Guy"

I have many scars, and my neck gets very stiff on some days. But it has kept me fit all these years.

I approve all clothing/shoe designs before they go into production.

Thanks, doing The New Guy was a blast.

Hey Tony! Any plans to open up a restaurant in the village?

Carlsbad Represent!

No, but I am an investor in Market Del Mar (best restaurant in SD, IMO):

What does your car collection look like?

Lexus 600hL, Ford Explorer, 1964 Stingray

millencolin - no cigar

In terms of "newer" music, yes.

How does it feel knowing that your video game series single-handedly saved millions of kids from listening to shitty music?

haha thank you! I am very proud of our soundtracks, and I think they represented skateboarding's lifestyle, roots and culture well.

What's the hardest fall you've ever taken?

I crashed doing a full-loop ramp while shooting Wild Boyz. Concussion. broken pelvis, fractured thumb & fractured skull in 2003. That day sucked more than anything had sucked before.

On an episode of cribs a long time ago, you displayed the contents of your refrigerator. Literally nothing but Hershey Milkshakes (a sponsor of yours) saying that your kids "love that stuff." A promotional ploy? Possibly, but what actually happened to all that liquid heaven?

Please don't tell me you drank it all. As awesome as those things are, they might have some of the most staggering Nutritional stats ever. 41g of sugar...... in 1 cup. I'm not even sure how that is legal.

I mean I can't judge, I would have drank every single one. Just wondering. And jealous.

I was sponsored by Hershey's chocolate milk at the time. My kids actually did drink it every night before bed, but not all of the flavors that were in my fridge. So.. it was a bit of both. My boys have grown up to be healthy and active, so I was doing something right.

Thanks for doing this AMA.

You've occasionally appeared in a few films without any real fan fare, like The New Guy. Is there any particular reason you chose to appear in that film and what it like to be one of the bigger celebrities on set?

They asked, and I though the script was funny. It was a blast being on the set. We shot everything in Austin, TX

How do you feel about competitions in the future? Do you see them filled with younger kids, or older adults still kicking ass?


Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Bob Burnquist almost kill Shaun White in real life? At an MTV rock and jock sort of thing.

yes, they collided doing a doubles routine. It was heavy. Shaun was knocked out and broke a few things (wrist, nose, fingers, etc). He was very young at the time, and just starting to get on people's radar.

Would you rather fight a duck-sized horse or 100 horse sized ducks?

Is this some new meme? I didn't get the memo. I'd rather fight 100 small horses. Horses don't like me anyway, so I might as well kick their asses.

Hey Tony I'm a huge fan! I wanted to know who your favorite skater is for whatever reason, like not necessarily for there skills as a skateboarder maybe because of their personality or whatever really. Also did you work closely with the people who made the Tony Hawk video games?

Rodney Mullen is the best ever.

[No question]

Hey everyone, I'm almost finished. Gotta go skate and try to get this trick on video (since I crashed trying it yesterday). For skate nerds: fs Ollie 270 over 8'foot channel to switch crooks, then back in forwards. I almost had it but my front foot slipped on the way in.

I'm having trouble envisioning this. Are you doing a fs alley oop 270 to switch crooks back to forwards? That's just crazy.

For the record, I made one today right after my AMA.

I have a few questions 1: do you prefer open toed shoes to closed toed shoes 2: have you ever tried longboarding and 3: what was the weirdest thing you ate while on your recent trip to china (i fallow you and your whole family on instagram)

closed toes I have only used longboards for transportation. It's too hard to do tricks on them, and that is what I most enjoy about skating. The weirdest thing I have ever eaten was a beetle in Cambodia.

Has "hi, I'm tony hawk" ever worked as a pick up line for you?

Possible in my single days, but some people have told me that they used it (because they kinda look like me). Which is awesome and creepy all at once.

[No question]

Thank you everybody for participating. I was trying to scroll and type as fast as I could. I would like to leave you with this auto-tuned montage of clips from Ride Channel. It is strangely hilarious:

keep skating... or whatever you love doing. And please check out THPSHD if you get the chance.


Were you scared or uneasy during the interview you did with Tyler the Creator?

I was apprehensive because I didn't know very much about him. I like to be more prepared when I do interviews, but that one happened very spontaneously while we were on tour in Australia.


Yes, a few times

How disappointed were you with the Tony hawk ride at six flags?

I loved it. They had financial troubles so they eventually took my name off of it, which made me kinda sad.

Have you seen Tim Sabean in the wild again? BABABOOEY!

not yet, but I have am keeping an eye out.

[No question]

I interviewed Louis CK over the weekend about Dane Cook, his FX show, and our REDDIT IAmA's:

This interview was transcribed from an "ask me anything" question and answer session with Tony Hawk conducted on Reddit on 2012-10-03. The Reddit AMA can be found here.