No one has shaped skateboarding like Tony Hawk. The US American is the pioneer of the modern vert style and advanced to become the first world star of skating in the 1990s - including his own Tony Hawk Pro Skater video game series and film appearances (Jackass, Triple X). But Tony Hawk has also left his mark on the scene away from the halfpipe: with his Birdhouse skateboard brand and his Tony Hawk Foundation, with which he builds skate parks in disadvantaged neighborhoods.
Tony Hawk was born on May 12, 1968 in San Diego, California. Even as a child he was difficult to control: hyperactive and with almost boundless energy, which sometimes turned into aggressiveness, highly gifted and impatient. His mother took him to psychologists several times.
Until Hawk discovered skateboarding at the age of nine. Now he was able to let out all his energy on the board, until his rather lanky body could master the most daring tricks. His father, a former Navy officer, even built his youngest son his own halfpipe in his backyard in California.
The rise was rapid: at fourteen Tony became part of the Powell Peralta professional team and showed his tricks in the famous Bone Brigade videos. At the age of 16 he was already the world's best. Numerous victories, videos and a business empire born out of the skateboarding scene followed. He became skateboarding world champion eleven times in a row, won 73 of 103 professional competitions, won six gold medals at the X-Games, was on the cover of "People", "Esquire", "Rolling Stone" and the "New Yorker".
Hawk has four children and is married for the fourth time. His son Riley is also a professional skateboarder.
Hawk is considered a pioneer of the so-called vert style and is at home in the halfpipe. But his tricks could also be seen in street style. No other skateboarder has invented as many tricks and jumps as he has, almost a hundred in total. His most difficult trick is the "900": a two-and-a-half turn around the body's longitudinal axis. He was the first person ever to do it, 20 years ago. Even in his forties he was still able to do it, until he officially gave up the trick with one last video.
Since Tony Hawk retired from the competition scene in 2003, he still skates privately, in videos and at events. And also active in the skateboarding scene, hosted the X-Games for example. On an invitation from Barack Obama, Tony Hawk showed some tricks and was the first person who was officially allowed to skateboard in the White House.