Even after turning pro nearly four decades ago, Tony Hawk continues to skate at a high level and remain relevant. He is learning new tricks, earning new sponsors, and also celebrating the remastered release of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2.
Tony’s career in skateboarding has been nothing short of prolific. He achieved mainstream success and he is a cultural icon in the eyes of practically every skateboarder.
Early and Sustained Success in Skateboarding
Tony is perhaps most famous for landing the 900 at the X Games in 1999 and his super-successful video game franchise. However, let’s not forget that he is a professional skateboarder through-and-through who continues to get better and better.
Tony began skating at the age of 9 and quickly made a splash in the skate world. Throughout his illustrious career, he dominated the contest scene and was among the top vert skaters to ever exist.
Tony would go on to launch and operate his own skateboard company called Birdhouse Projects, which is now known today as simply Birdhouse. Although the company experienced a lot of ups and downs, Birdhouse was ultimately able to rebound. Today Birdhouse one of the foremost skate brands in the world.
Fame, Lucrative Endorsements, and Movie Cameos
After his contest career came to an end, Tony went on to experience mainstream success. Of course, I’m referring to the popular Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater video game series. This paved the way for movie cameos and several mainstream sponsorships, including the now-infamous bagel bites commercial. (Tony also appears briefly as himself in the movie The New Guy and is disappointed when Courtney fails to notice him landing an Indy 360.)
Around this time Tony also founded the Tony Hawk Foundation (which is now the Skatepark Project). Their mission is to build skateparks around the United States in underserved areas so that everyone can have a chance at experiencing the joy of skateboarding.
Tony’s unbelievable success, however, has made many people wonder if this has sidetracked him from his skateboarding career. There was also the question of whether or not Tony Hawk played his own video games, but a recent appearance on a popular YouTube gaming channel proved otherwise.
It’s safe to say that Tony achieved many extraordinary milestones in skateboarding that no one originally thought was unattainable. But again, we tend to forget that Tony continues to push himself on a skateboard. He continues taking slams, but he also keeps climbing up to the top of that vert ramp.
The Vans Sponsorship
For Tony, shoe sponsors have come and gone. There was even a period where he was wearing whatever shoes he wanted and had minimal involvement in any shoe company. With everything that Tony has achieved, anyone would naturally assume that the Birdman himself wouldn’t have any issuing in securing an elite shoe sponsor.
However, it took until 2020 for Vans to announce Tony Hawk as a rider for their skate team. Vans is without a doubt a legacy shoe brand that is a go-to choice for many skateboarders. For Vans to sponsor Tony Hawk at the age of 53 is truly amazing. It is a testament to Tony’s talent on a skateboard and dedication to honing his craft.
High-Caliber Skateboarding at an Older Age
Tony, like many skaters, is always challenging himself and taking things to a new level. In 2016, at the age of 48, Tony landed a 900 spin, which is a major feat in itself.
The Ride Channel, a popular channel on YouTube that Tony launched via his production company, 900 Films, featured the Birdman doing 50 tricks on his 50th birthday. This is something that many skateboarders marvel at and hope to achieve as they get older.
Tony also goes on tours with his son, Riley Hawk, who happens to be a professional skateboarder and has his own signature skate shoe with Lakai.
Appearances in Videos on The Berrics
As recently as a year ago, popular skateboarding website The Berrics featured Tony prominently in their videos for an entire week, which they appropriately dubbed “Tony Hawk Week at The Berrics.”
The theme of Tony Hawk Week? The Birdman was learning new tricks, showing us how to be a cool kid, and filming a Battle Commander
What’s a Battle Commander? It’s where The Berrics invite a professional skateboarder to film a gnarly video part that they will feature on their website. The skate community considers it an honor and a token of admiration to have a Battle Commander.
What Defines Tony Is His Skateboarding
Can you call it defying the odds? How many professional athletes do you know that can continue to perform at a high level well into their 50s? Tony’s skateboarding mastery is certainly an anomaly, but I think that we can all appreciate his desire and dedication. If anything, the Birdman is a sports icon.
Keep killin’ it, Tony!