Scene story: ‘Tony Hawk: The History of Hawk’, November 2011

A cover story for Scene Magazine. This was originally to be built from an interview with Hawk, but when the Q&A fell through at the 11th hour I quickly compiled a timeline piece. Click on the scanned image for a closer look, or read the article excerpt underneath.

To say that the line-up for this season’s Big Day Out is impressive would be a complete understatement. Kanye West, Soundgarden, Kasabian are headlining the 20th anniversary edition of the festival, with Noel Gallagher, Hilltop Hoods, Parkway Drive, Odd Future and the Jezabels also confirmed to appear, along with many others.

But the Big Day Out’s secret weapon in 2012 is undoubtedly Tony Hawk and his Vert Jam team. Seeing Hawk perform nine McTwists in a row in 1996 while Rage Against The Machine played in the background has gone down as one of the great moments in the festival’s two-decade history, and it looks like he’s set to do it all again.

What Hawk and his Vert Jam comrades have in store this time around is anyone’s guess. But for those who have come late to this particular party, Scene have put together a timeline of Hawk’s achievements so far. Grab an energy drink, and let us learn you something.

May, 1968: Anthony Hawk is born in San Diego, California, to retired US Navy officer, Frank Hawk, and his wife and part-time business teacher, Nancy. Hawk’s a restless, unfocused youngster, later describing himself as a “hyperactive demon child”.

Summer, 1977: Steve Hawk, on a whim, buys his younger brother a blue fibreglass hand-me-down skateboard. Hawk reportedly rides to the end of his driveway, only to ask his brother, “How do I turn?” Hawk’s father, not a believer in walking before running, soon constructs a skate ramp in the family’s backyard. Hawk begins to practice up to six hours a day in the now defunct Oasis Skatepark.

1980: At just 12 years of age, Hawk bags his first sponsorship deal with the legendary Dogtown Skateboards.

1982: Hawk goes professional, and in the same year hooks up with George Powell and Stacy Peralta’s Bones Brigade skate team. He is soon dominating competitions and by 1984 is considered one of the top skateboarders in the world.

1983: Hawk masters the McTwist, a trick involving one-and-a-half rotations on a skateboard with a flip in the middle. He uses the stunt to place first at the St Petersburg Pro Am that year.

1985: Masters the 720 – two full mid-air spins – while training in Sweden.

1986: Tony Hawk graduates from high school, having already achieved an annual income greater than that of his teachers. He buys his first house. Rumours that Suicidal Tendencies used it in their ‘Possessed To Skate’ video have never been confirmed.

1989: Hawk appears alongside Christian Slater in skateboarding-inspired Hollywood picture, ‘Gleaming The Cube’. The film bombs. Hawk’s career survives; I guess Slater’s does too, if that’s how you define survival.

1991: The bottom falls out of the skateboard industry, and Hawk suffers like many other pros. His income shrinks drastically, and Hawk has to survive on a $5-a-day Taco Bell allowance. Whether his allowance permitted him to eat at any other family restaurants remains unclear.

For the full article, visit Scene Magazine.

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