Tony Hawk is synonymous with skateboarding, a living, breathing human trademark for his sport. An icon, he’s also a brand, running a business empire with tentacles in video games, amusement park rides, action sports exhibitions and his new YouTube channel, RIDE, which features Hawk himself in “Tony’s Strange Life.” He’s also known for his philanthropic activities, helping to build skateparks in low-income areas with his Tony Hawk Foundation, which has given away more than $3.4 million to help construct over 400 parks around the US.
We sat with Tony Hawk and asked a few questions about where he’s been and where he’s going next.
I’ve read that you were a really hyperactive child and that discovering skating helped you burn off that excessive energy. Is this why it’s so important for your charity to build skateparks in needy communities? So that other kids might find that same kind of focus you found through skating?
Tony Hawk: Yes, but it’s also important to me because I grew up near one of the last remaining skatepark of the ‘80s and I only realized later how lucky I was. It was a huge part of my life and gave me the opportunity to practice my passion, while spending time and sharing ideas with other skaters. I want to help provide the same type of opportunities and facilities for youth in difficult areas.
How do you tame that same hyperactivity today as one of the most successful entrepreneurs in sports? What keeps you centered and on target at this stage of your life?
My kids. Keeping up with them while trying to manage a career in skateboarding is a constant challenge. But I enjoy the challenges that being an “elder” skater and entrepreneur provide. It’s a whole new era of skateboarding and I am living the dream.
Sponsorships are obviously a large part of the business of Tony Hawk and you’ve always had A-list companies behind you. Tell me about some of those relationships. For example, you’ve worked with Nixon for a long time. How did that come about?
I have always admired Nixon‘s products and marketing, even before I was sponsored by them. I might be the only skater that begged my way onto the team, and I am proud to fly the Nixon flag in all my endeavors; they truly understand our culture.
What’s the project that’s currently got you the most excited?
My next video game, coming out in late 2015 for newer consoles. It’s already looking on point.
Sponsored by Nixon