When you think of action sports and skateboarding specifically, Tony Hawk is arguably the best to have ever step on a skateboard. He is a brand unto himself and as large a figure as Michael Jordan. In the 80’s and 90’s at the height of the skating movement, brands like McDonalds were throwing millions at Hawk and there wasn’t an endorsement he couldn’t get or a deal he couldn’t make. The Talks recently caught up with Hawk. As he approaches 50, he reflects on his early days and some of the bumps along the road to becoming a star. Enjoy the excerpt below, and head over to The Talks for the full conversation.
As a kid you were tested with an IQ of 144. Did you feel any different knowing that you were supposed to be smart?
No, they just put me into what’s called the GATE program for people who are more advanced and more gifted and luckily I did have some camaraderie in that. I had a couple of friends who were in the same program.
How does a highly intelligent kid in the ’80s get so obsessed with skateboarding?
I was skating with friends in my neighborhood and then eventually I was invited to go to the skate park with one of them. When I saw people flying all around – literally flying in and out of bowls – that is when I knew I wanted to do it. I wanted to figure out how I could get there and how I could fly.
Do you sometimes have a hard time believing that skateboarding is now generally considered as cool?
I think there is a part in me that still doesn’t believe that because of how it was received when I grew up. But the other part of me is very much like, “Finally they figured it out!” I knew it all along that this was something that was much deeper, a positive creative and artistic outlet.