In his words, he did it because (he still) can.
Tony Hawk was already ancient in his sport’s terms when he stuck the skateboarding’s Triple Lindy: A 900.
That’s not one, not two, but two and a half full rotations in the air off a vert ramp. Or, to put it in layman’s terms, that would be like texting, tweeting — AND trying to listen to someone talk and order food, all at the same time.
Hawk did it again Tuesday to mark the 17th anniversary of him throwing the trick for the first time in competition at the 1999 X-Games in San Francisco.
Back then, he was in his early 30s, a father, a husband, an entrepreneur and the biggest name in what then seemed like an ever-expanding universe of big names in action sports.
Though the promise of those heady times went largely unfulfilled — think of action sports or extreme athletes like hip hop — the ‘80s and ‘90s was when it was still shrink-wrapped new and stuff was being laid down for the first time. Back then, the whole movement seemed like it would have no end, no apex. Turns out, there are only so many beats and moves a man (or woman) can make and so, those years are now the golden(ish) age. Time and trends continue, but movements only have their heyday once.
Hawk himself was a child prodigy. He turned pro in 1982 just shy of 14, became the face of the ‘80s skate and fashion juggernaut Powell Peralta about the same age the rest of us were flop sweating all over the gym floor at high school dances. He was a star of the first ever blockbuster skate video (which led to mainstream movie work) well before he could legally turn down all the booze and groupies he was being offered.
By the time he dropped in on his early 30s, Hawk had been in and out of semi retirement, was founder and CEO of Birdhouse — the first pro skater to leverage his own image to such an extent — as well as a husband and father of two.
Now the heat is on his son Riley Hawk, the 23-year-old street skating impresario whose first pro board with Baker was released last year and whose segments on the Shep Dog series…
…sort of continue that early/mid-’80s halcyon day ethos of hard-charging and hard-partying, minus all the neon. Don’t look for Riley to be pulling any 900s anytime soon. Vert is as dead as department stores and probably won’t come back until grandpa Hawk is standing atop the coping at age 78, if ever.
Today, Riley’s dad is interested mostly in his business ventures and charitable causes. Now a father of four and on his fourth wife, Hawk is looking more towards the third act as benefactor. Yet on Tuesday, he still wanted to show — perhaps to nobody else than to his second son, Spencer, himself three months old at the time of Hawk’s X-Games feat — that the old man has a little magic left.
“I’m going to try to throw a 900 today. Because I feel like I can …and I never thought I’d be doing this at my age,” he said while pulling the Mini up to the ramp.
So there you go. A man doing something nobody has done before, or since…or will do ever again. Maybe because it bends the laws of physics and maybe because the sport has moved on. Or maybe both.
Either way, anytime something is done for the last time, it’s worth a look: