Tony Hawk

May 19, 2014

I'm Tony Hawk, AMA!

Hi I'm Tony Hawk, professional skateboarder, videogame character & philanthropist, ask me anything!

[No question]

sorry if I didn't put the picture link in the right place... I am reddit challenged. But it's me, and I'm live. -Tony

We believe you! Automoderator didn't recognize the twitter verification picture because the url in your txt post wasn't typed properly it should be:

including http is so 2000

Hey Tony Hawk! I’ve played a lot of your games, my favorite was American Wasteland.

I’ve ALWAYS wanted to ask this: When you play your own games, do you play as the pre-made Tony Hawk? Or do you make yourself as a character?

I always finish my games with my "pre-made" character so that I know all of "my" special moves and I'm ready for any random challengers. So I play with myself, so to speak.

How the hell do you still manage to skate in your mid 40s with all the falls you have to endure? Do you have to constantly take joint and bone supplements or something?

My only secret is that I never quit. As I get older, I am not as interested in doing (aka too scared to do) bigger airs or more spins. I've learned to refine my skating with more technical moves that are less taxing on the body. I'll never quit, but I might not do it in public as much if I start sucking at it.

This thread has aged to shit.

This is why reddit rules. I follow these threads and literally laugh out loud (I'm too old to type LOL, btw)

What is the proudest moment of your career?

either landing the first 900 (at X Games) or being on the Simpsons. Tomorrow my proudest moment might be surviving an IAma

What is your favorite Tony Hawk video game, and why is it Tony Hawk Pro Skater for N64?

haha, my favorite is THPS2 because it put skateboarding on the map as a videogame genre and many people have said it is the reason they started skating at all.

Hi Tony! I'm a huge fan of yours.

My question to you is who has been the biggest influence in your life as a skater and as a person?

Thanks for doing the AMA.

my dad was a huge influence in terms of supporting me and taking me to all the local skateparks when I was younger. He also helped to form a competition series when there were very few events. In my later years, Stacy Peralta influenced me in many ways. He believed in my "circus" style of skating when I was largely made fun of by the cool kids.

TONY!!! I've waited over ten years to be able to ask you this. Way back in High School I was making a local video and while we were at a spot in Seattle we ran into a guy by the name of Oli...Oalie...Ol' Lee? Idk, but this guy claimed to have skated against Tony Hawk back in the 80s and beaten him. He can be seen here. It has since become local legend with many being able to recite his claim line for line. I must know, did you in fact skate against this man, and lose? And do you remember him... as Oli? And will you ever skate against him again?

Thanks Tony, and thanks for doing everything you have for skating over the years.

um, I don't recall exactly. But if that's his claim to fame, I don't want to take it away from him. So yeah, he beat me... badly. I never recovered from that embarrassment.

Are you a fan of the Ea Skate games?

I honestly rarely played them. I appreciated that skateboarding had come so far as a videogame genre that there was viable competition in the field though. And any game that had a Pixies song in the soundtrack is okay with me.

Link or it didn't happen.

Hey Tony! Just wanted to say that your instagram page is great. I really like the videos of the doubles runs you put up.

Keep it up!

Thanks! I try to keep it interesting and fun. I really gotta up my selfie game though. Actually, with the amount of "you got old" comments I already get... maybe not.

On Instagram you post a lot of pictures of you around the world. What is your favorite place on Earth?

home (Encinitas), because I am only there half the time these days. My favorite place to travel is Japan. It's weird and awesome, and I love the food.

What's it like seeing Riley grow up and do big stuff too

It's incredibly fun to see him make his own path in the fickle world of skateboarding. While I am concerned as a parent, I trust his instincts and sense of limitations. I think he is very creative, and he deserves his recent pro status. Here is an example:

One day they're little shredders, the next day they're grinding and gnashing their way to college.

I make up words too.

What's your favorite aspect about San Diego? Best place to get a burrito?

The best thing about San Diego is the weather (sans fires). But the burrito question might be the most difficult question for a San Diegan. I like Rudy's in Carlsbad

Tony Hawk, I've always thought if I wasn't me, I'd want to be Tony Hawk. If you weren't Tony Hawk, who would you want to be?

Pharrell Williams. The dude is a musical super genius. And ageless.

Hi Tony! The mini cooper stunt: INSANE! You are the man. link for those who haven’t seen it

I just wanted to thank you for being such a great ambassador for skateboarding. Also, thanks for doing the Tony Hawk Twitter Hunt! And… thanks for hiding stuff in Montana! I kept telling my buddies that you’d put stuff up here, so thanks for not making me a liar.

That brings me to my question: after a couple years of trying, I finally found one of the THTH packages and got this!!!!. However, I’ve never ridden this style of board before, so: What setup would you suggest?

I can’t wait to ride it! Thanks, Tony!

Thanks! I had the idea for that stunt a while back because I saw video of someone faking the same thing (insert snarky hoverboard comment here). When I partnered up with Mini last year, I told them I wanted to do it and they helped organize it.

For an old-school shape like that I recommend Indy 149's & Bones 60mm (exactly what I still ride)

If you could ride any horse-sized animal into battle, which one would it be? Ex: Horse sized grasshopper.

What is with the horse questions always rising to the top? I would ride a horse-sized wombat because they seem like the angriest animals and would do the fighting for me.

What was the first bone your broke?

My pelvis. Worst. Bone. Ever (to break). You can't move, for months.


What input (if any) did you have in Nick Hornby's "Smash"?

None, but he called me to ask for my blessing to be included in the book in such a prominent way. I was already a fan of his work, so it was a great honor.

Tony, I'm not very good at skating. Will you teach me how to kickflip?

I could, but my kickflip is not the one you want to emulate. Try Spencer Nuzzi's (his are higher and cleaner than my heavy-footed vert technique):

Please explain to us what took place on the set of Jackass and how was it hanging out with the crew?

It's always fun, but you have to keep your drink and your crotch covered at all times. Since that's not possible, one of those two things will be violated when you least expect it.

Hey Tony, what philanthropic programs are you involved in that you would like people to know about?

my foundation supports public skateparks in low-income areas. We have been around for 12 years and given away over $5 million to over 500 skateparks in the USA. Here is an example of one we helped in Detroit:


I have but one question. Is Rodney Mullen a robot?

I cannot comprehend half of his tricks.

No, but he is a rare creature. His pursuit of perfection is far beyond any artist or athlete I've ever known. And he is extremely smart. Like think-tank level.

He did a fantastic TED talk awhile back that I think really demonstrates that. Seems like a really sweet guy.

Here he is telling me how he invented the kickflip:

THPS3 is my all time favorite Tony Hawk game.

Is there any chance of THPS5 coming out in the future?

In my opinion if you want the game to be a hit, you have to go back to the roots and making part 5 is the way to go

point taken. There is a CHANCE of something in the future for newer consoles. In the meanwhile, we are releasing TH Shred Sessions for mobile devices (iOS, Android, tablets) soon-ish. I'm going rogue with information at this point so I better shut up now.

Where's your favorite place to skate in San Diego?

my ramp, but it's private. I recommend the new Oceanside park or Alga Norte for public skateparks. Here is the last video we shot at my place though. Sorry I can't let everyone else skate it:

will you bring back rocket power?

I never brought Rocket Power to begin with. But if "they" bring it back, I will gladly do another guest spot. The best thing about being animated is that you don't look as old as you really are.

I love your books, especially "Round Ireland with a Fridge". How did you find the time to write it in between all of your land-surfing shenanigans?

It is exhausting having a second identity as an Irish comic. For those that don't know, he is referring to Tony Hawks. Actually, I was once on a British talk show with him and he threatened to "throttle" me because of the amount of misdirected fan mail he gets.

What is your favorite beer?

Peroni or Inedit

Could you take Rodney Mullen in a fight? Have you already?

not a chance. He is lean and fast. I'm slow & tired because I have too many kids.

Hi Tony, I was wondering how much of a role you played in picking the music in your games? My friends always laugh when songs come on and we can say "this is from proskater 2!" That music has always made skate sessions a lot more fun

I gave many suggestions because I wanted the games to represent the diversity and uniqueness of skate culture. And once Activision acquired Guitar Hero, the music licensing team got approvals much faster.

Once heard that you taught Christian Slater to skateboard for the film Gleaming the Cube. Any truth to that? Also, is that movie ever gonna see the light of day on blu ray. My VHS copy is too worn out to watch

That is true, Tommy Guerrero & I would meet up with him at schoolyards in LA and practice in the months leading up to filming. We had to make him look "comfortable" on a board, and he was very cool about it. I interviewed him a couple years ago and we talked about it:

Do you think The X Games would've been any different if Cristian Hosoi showed up and was at his best?

I don't know if they would have been much different in terms of programming, but they would have had a lot more style and flair.

What is your favorite sport besides skateboarding?

Snowboarding. Same stance, softer surface (sometimes). In fact, I was riding in Mammoth yesterday.

Hey Tony! A little back story before my question. So when i was a kid, probably 11 or so, i decided i was going to start skating. And instead of buying a new board, my uncle told me he had one for me. He told me about how he got it. He said his good friend went to either high school or college with you, and you gave him your personal board one day. So i still have to this day, that complete skateboard. Just in case it really is yours. Ill take a couple pictures, but do you remember anythinh like this? And is this your personal skateboard?

That doesn't look familiar, as I would not spray paint the top. And I never used rails that you had to drill all the way through (as seen by the holes on the sides). Sorry about that.

Hey Tony! First, I'm still a little upset that the Hovr Board wasn't real. Second, I just want to ask how you feel about skateboarding changing as a culture, moving from the punkish, raw attitude it had in the late 90's to the more mainstreamed culture it has now. Also, as the original generation of "pro skaters" age, who would you say is the future face of Skateboarding?

The hoverboard thing was done by Funny Or Die. I was under the impression that they were presenting it as a joke all along. But then they created the fake website and pretended it was real when they posted it. Then people got mad at ME because they had nobody else to blame. But here's the reality: if hoverboards existed as shown in the video, NONE of us could afford them. next question: skateboarding will always have it's raw DIY attitude no matter what or how many mainstream companies are involved. The future faces of skateboarding are Tom Schaar, Curren Caples, Yoshi Tenenbaum, Tristan Rennie, Aaron Homoki, Ben Raybourn, and Alex Sorgente

Hi Tony,

I'm curious if you could shed some light on your actions in this commercial. It always struck me as a bit inconsiderate to not only destroy their living room ceiling and steal their bagel bites, but also be unwilling to share. What was going through your head?

I become crazed when I can smell anyone cooking Bagel Bites nearby. I have no excuse, but I am seeking therapy for this issue.


I have no idea. Someone that looks young, is skinny and socially awkward. I guess that sums up most of the male Hollywood stars these days, so take your pick.

Who is your favorite skater, past or present, and why is it Rodney Mullen?

I was a huge fan of Eddie Elguera growing up because he was the most innovative pool skater at a time when there was little appreciation for new tricks. But of course Rodney is my all-time favorite because he created most of modern skateboarding.

Two quick questions:

Thanks Tony!

because Andy had his own videogame for a minute. But he and I collaborate on many different projects (like our most recent doubles video:

whatup Elliott! Sorry I missed you. I'm sure redditors will have many kind things to say about you in my absence. Stay gold.

What kind of music do you listen to when you skate?

NIN, Jane's Addiction, Modest Mouse, Metallica, Joy Division, TSOL, Dead Kennedys, 999, Buzzcocks, Clash, Black Keys, Cure, Cold War Kids, Pixies, Devo, QOTSA, At The Drive In, Bad Brain, Guns and Roses, Gang Of Four, Vandals, Fugazi... the list goes on and on. You have entered my music vortex.

No question, but a huge thanks for liking my son doing a report of you on Instagram it put you as his all time favorite skater and rockstar, it meant the world to him and me.

Thanks! I am sometimes to go through my feed when people tag me, and then like their pics. It's either narcissistic or friendly, and I'm okay with either.

What is your take on Nike and how it has affected the skateboarding industry. As a shop owner I feel like its been a bit of a snowball since Nike has been accepted into the skateboard world including shops closing due to resounding debt owed to Nike and other companies following Nikes lead, leading to a more standardized feeling of skateboarding as a "sport". A lot of people avoid the question because they have friends that are supported by Nike so I hope that wont happen here.

I appreciate that a big company like Nike has come in and supported the skaters themselves and helped to create bigger events (and more awareness for skating in general), but I understand your concerns. The irony is that most "core" skate companies are now owned by bigger entitites. The whole idea of skateboarding as a "sport" is not new though. If you compete, it's a sport. But there is so much more to skateboarding than the competition series.

Any chance of EA Skate's control scheme or something similar being implemented into any of the THPS franchise games, since Blackbox games is no more?

If we make a new console game, I would prefer to keep the original control scheme. That's what makes our series THPS, and not a copy of something else...

[No question]

In case anyone has seen this, it was just posted this morning. Me and my big (MINI) ideas...

Hey Tony! Back in 2003 you landed the 900 at X-Games IX. Afterwards you threw your helmet into the crowd and I caught it! You then signed it two years later at the X-Games, but you didn't seem to understand when I told you what it was. So my question is: How did it feel landing such a huge trick at the buzzer? Helmet proof:

It's always a big deal to me when I land that trick, but doing it before the buzzer is a bonus. Here's the last one I made (a few years ago) at a demo in Sweden:

Tony, I am a native of San Diego and have seen you several times exiting taco shops with your daughter (namely Roberto's and Juanita's). What is your favorite item at these places. Do you prefer your California Burritos with guacamole instead of sour cream?

I go with rolled tacos at Roberto's and chicken burrito at Juanita's. My daughter loves bean & cheese burritos from Roberto's because they give her a Jell-O cup with it.

Tony Hawk, This must have been 8-9 years ago but for one of my class's we had to write to a celebrity, and see if they would respond. Some people wrote to movie stars, some people wrote to politicians, I chose to write to you. In fact, you were the only person in my class (around 20 students) that actually got a replied letter back, as well as a autograph of you. I can't tell you how happy that made me as a child. So, I just wanted to say thank you again from my younger self. Like others have said, you are Good Guy Tony Hawk.

Thank you! I was just glad someone finally wrote to me.

What are two of your proudest moments outside your professional career?

I have four, and they are my children. I know it sounds cliche, but they are the best things I've ever created. And they are constant entertainment.

What's your favorite song out of all the Tony hawk pro skaters?

Police Truck started it all.

Hey Tony,

Will you be my friend?

Definitely. Can I get a ride to the airport?

When was the last time you pulled off the 900?

In Sweden a few years ago:

What sort of philanthropy work do you do? I also work closely with charity:water & Make A Wish

What current AMs are you most excited to see turn Pro? What current young pros do you think will change skateboarding in the future?

David Loy just turned pro, and I'm excited to see how he evolves.

[No question]

Thanks to everyone for participating, or just reading along. I have to go to a meeting right now (so corporate) then leaving for Australia later today. Please subscribe to if this skateboarding thing interests you at all. And here is my most recent footage in hopes of proving that I still skate on a regular basis: Thanks to reddit for having me. Stay cool, Bret!

This interview was transcribed from an "ask me anything" question and answer session with Tony Hawk conducted on Reddit on 2014-05-19. The Reddit AMA can be found here.