For Tony Hawk, it wasn't enough to skate for two decades, to invent more than eighty tricks, and to win more than twice as many professional contests as any other skater.It wasn't enough to knock himself unconscious more than ten times, fracture several ribs, break his elbow, knock out his teeth twice, compress the vertebrae in his back, pop his bursa sack, get more than fifty stitches laced into his shins, rip apart the cartilage in his knee, bruise his tailbone, sprain his ankles, and tear his ligaments too many times to count.No.He had to land the 900. And after thirteen years of failed attempts, he nailed it. It had never been done before.
Growing up in Sierra Mesa, California, Tony was a hyperactive demon child with an I44 IQ. He threw tantrums, terrorized the nanny until she quit, exploded with rage whenever he lost a game; this was a kid who was expelled from preschool. When his brother, Steve, gave him a blue plastic hand-me-down skateboard and his father built a skate ramp in the driveway, Tony finally found his outletwhile skating, he could be as hard on himself as he was on everyone around him.
But it wasn't an easy ride to the top of the skating game. Fellow skaters mocked his skating style and dubbed him a circus skater. He was so skinny he had to wear elbow pads on his knees, and so light he had to ollie just to catch air off a ramp. He was so desperate to be accepted by young skating legends like Steve Caballero, Mike McGill, and Christian Hosoi that he ate gum from between Steve's toes. But a few years of determination and hard work paid off in multiple professional wins, and the skaters who once had mocked him were now trying to learn his tricks. Tony had created a new style of skating.
In Hawk Tony goes behind the scenes of competitions, demos, and movies and shares the less glamorous demands of being a skateboarderfrom skating on Italian TV wearing see-through plastic shorts to doing a demo in Brazil after throwing up for five days straight from food poisoning. He's dealt with teammates who lit themselves and other subjects on fire, driving down a freeway as the dashboard of their van burned. He's gone through the unpredictable ride of the skateboard industry during which, in the span of a few years, his annual income shrank to what he had made in a single month and then rebounded into seven figures. But Tony's greatest difficulty was dealing with the loss of his number one fan and supporterhis dad, Frank Hawk.
With brutal honesty, Tony recalls the stories of love, loss, bad hairdos, embarrassing '80s clothes, and his determination that had shaped his life. As he takes a look back at his experiences with the skateboarding legends of the '70s, '80s, and '90s, including Stacy Peralta, Eddie Elguera, Lance Mountain, Mark Gonzalez, Bob Burnquist, and Colin Mckay, he tells the real history of skateboardingand also what the future has in store for the sport and for him.
About the Author
Tony Hawk is the bestselling author of Hawk: Occupation: Skateboarder. In the 1999 X Games, Tony landed the first 900 degree arial turn in skateboarding history. A stunt he had been working on for years. He has released three video games for playstation: Tony Hawk's Pro Skater, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2, and Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3. He lives in Carlsbad, California, with his wife and three children.
Read an Excerpt
I spot her head over the wooden guardrail and track the cloud of grandmotherly, curly white hair drifting past. I only see the top of her head, so I know she's across the room. She's probably heading into the kitchen to make me some food -- I have only a small window of opportunity before she's out of range. I have to act fast. No hesitation. I pull myself up, wobble a bit on my just-learning-to-walk legs, and pick up my red metal car. I lock the center of her aged shoulders in my crosshairs. She's turned her back on me -- fatal mistake. I couldn't have wished for more. I aim, cock my arm back, and fire. My red car shoots across the room and finds the target. My arm is pretty feeble. I don't nail her straight in the back, but I wing her on the hip. She squawks, grabs her hip, and turns to confront her assassin. I scowl back from my crib, my one-and-a-half-year-old attitude burning, meeting her sweetness head-on.
I don't know why I threw my toys at the sweet elderly baby-sitter who looked after me as an infant. She never took me behind the woodpile and beat me with a shaving strap. In fact, I don't remember her ever doing anything mean to me. I remember her being nice. Maybe she was just the perfect-sized target.
The thing that probably pulled my trigger was that she had power over me. She told me what to eat, and where to sit, when to wash, and decided when to exile me back to Stalag 17, my baby crib. After a few months of dealing with my target practice, she quit. She wasn't upset because of my wimpy ambushes, she just didn'tthink it was healthy that I was so angry. Had she continued baby-sitting, I think my life would have been a lot different. I might have been a professional baseball pitcher instead of a pro skater.
My general disposition didn't change once the nanny left. In fact, that was just a warm-up. I may not have thrown toys at my parents (my dad probably would have thrown them back), but I definitely participated in some serious parental abuse. Even now, I can't figure out why I was such a nightmare. I was born extremely high strung. A picture of me as a week-old infant shows my hands clenched into fists and a faint scowl on my face. I look like I'm ready to punch the photographer. If my sons, Riley and Spencer, ever acted like I did, I'd make my wife hold them down while I checked their heads for the number of the beast.
Punish Thy Parents
Making my parents' lives miserable was more difficult than it sounds. I was an accident; my mom was forty-three years old and my dad was forty-five when I popped out. Mom and Dad thought they were entering a nice, relaxing phase of their life when I interrupted. They lived comfortably in Serra Mesa, California; my sister Lenore was twenty-one, my sister Patricia was eighteen, and my brother Steve was twelve. My parents handled everything in their lives with a mixture of humor (dry and dark) and severe understatement. My party crashing was no exception. When my mom announced to the family that she was pregnant, she received a variety of responses.
"Well, Mother, some of my friends have had to tell their mothers that they were pregnant, but you're the first mom I know who's had to tell her twenty-one-year-old daughter she was expecting," Lenore said.
Pat looked at my dad, raised her eyebrows knowingly, and said, "Well...good old Dad."
Steve was a little more stressed. "But Mooooom, I really hadn't been planning on anything like this."
Mom looked at him, raising her Jack Nicholson-like eyebrows, and said that he wasn't the only one.
Birth and potential death were treated with identical humor in my family. One Friday night when my mom was five months into building me, my dad walked through the door holding his chest. He looked like he was trying to release a big belch, which he'd been known to do.
"Are you all right?" Mom asked.
"Well, either I have a bad case of indigestion, or I'm having a heart attack."
He was rushed to the hospital and into the emergency room. A heart specialist came in to examine him and told my dad he'd had a heart attack. He wasn't allowed to leave the hospital for two weeks. The doctors wouldn't even let him lift his arms, because the strain would be too much for his heart.
My mom, naturally, was concerned. One day she leaned over his bed and told him how much crap he'd be in if he died and left her knocked up. Afterward she started joking about it and telling friends my dad had had the heart attack the moment she told him she was pregnant. He felt much better when he returned home, but after two weeks in the hospital he'd lost his job as a salesman. This marked the beginning of his job jumping, which continued throughout the rest of his life. But as uncertain as situations became, my parents always made sure I had what I needed. I never realized how tight money had been back then until I was a teenager.
On May 12, 1968, 1 made my entrance into the world. When I came home from Sharp Hospital in San Diego, both my sisters were already off at college. My parents had worked hard raising their three kids, and all of them were pretty mild mannered until I made an appearance.
I rebelled more as an infant...Hawk. Copyright © by Tony Hawk. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Table of Contents
|Introduction: the 900||1|
|3||The Bones Brigade||47|
|8||Rock Star Burnout||127|
|9||The Coming Death||149|
|10||An Ugly Death||159|
|11||World Champion, But Who Cares?||165|
|12||The Long Way Home||173|
|13||The Extreme Games||187|
|14||We Don't Wear Spandex||195|
|17||1999, The Year of the 9||227|
|18||One 900 History||233|
|Appendix A||Professional Skateboarding At a Glance||259|
|Appendix B||Tricks are for Kids||261|
|Appendix C||The Contests||272|
|Appendix D||A Tour in the Life||274|
|Photography Captions and Credits||286|