Why does Tony Hawk always break while skateboarding?
Tony Hawk doesn’t look like Tony Hawk in the first images of HBO’s new documentary about the skateboarding legend’s life.
Normally, the lanky, lean skater casually tears through the air, pulling a jaw-dropping move from his unrivaled bag of tricks (Hawk invented over 100 himself) before landing smoothly on the ramp floor and throw an easy smile and wave. to its enthusiastic spectators.
But in director Sam Jones Tony Hawk: Until the Wheels Fall Off, which will premiere on April 5, the 53-year-old is struggling. He hits the ground violently, several times. At one point he screams in frustration and pain, almost knocked out from the force of trying again to land on the nearly impossible 900. He scratches the floor, sweat dripping from his face and dutifully climbs up the ramp to give him another chance.
The 900 is considered one of the most difficult tricks in skateboarding, requiring a skateboarder to launch high enough to complete 2.5 rotations in the air. Hawk became the first to accomplish this feat at the 1999 X Games, eventually landing the trick after his 10th attempt.
However, that was years ago. And with every failed attempt where Hawk’s board flies out from under his shoes or his helmet nearly jumps due to the brute force of his fall, the film silently asks the question: Can Hawk still do it? And if we’re being brutally honest, should he even try? The question is even more relevant considering Hawk showed up to the film’s premiere Saturday at Austin’s SXSW on crutches after injuring his leg.
Jones, whose previous documentaries include I’m Trying to Break Your Heart: A Wilco Film and Lost Songs: The Basement Tapes (continued), is an amateur skateboarder himself, admitting to stalking a teenage Hawk in California skateparks growing up. Jones’ intention wasn’t just to tell a typical origin story of a skinny kid from San Diego who helped transform the skateboarding industry, ending with a photo of Hawk surrounded by all his trophies and accolades. (There would be surprisingly few, as Hawk has a habit of throwing away his medals and trophies, according to close friends.)
Instead, Jones decided to tell a raw, intimate story of Hawk’s journey, his relationship with skateboarding, and the all-too-real consequences of loving something deeply that could mean your end, but persevering with abandon. reckless.
The doc features never-before-seen footage of Hawk’s early days in San Diego. He was the fourth child of Frank and Nancy, who had Hawk when she was in her 40s, and it was Hawk’s older brother Steve who inadvertently helped introduce her to skateboarding, with a young Hawk picking up the one of his unused boards.
From there, Hawk managed to land a spot on pro skater Stacy Peralta’s Bones Brigade team, which also included Rodney Mullen, Mike McGill, Lance Mountain, Steve Caballero and Andy Macdonald, all of whom appeared in the film.
But while Hawk made a name for himself as a high school kid in the 1980s, earning six figures a year from touring, competing and selling his line of skateboards, it all came to an abrupt end at first. 90s as interest in skating dropped dramatically and cities razed skate parks. Stuck with two mortgages and a young family, Hawk was in such dire financial straits that he borrowed money from his parents and paid his water bill in instalments.
Finally, things started to pick up again in the mid to late 90s with the introduction of the X Games, which helped bring the sport to a wider audience when it aired on ESPN. By the late 2000s, Hawk had become a household name with his own string of popular video games, arena tours, and wins in nearly every competition he entered.
Now a father in his 50s, Hawk has long since retired from competition, but his skating days are far from over. He rides four to five times a week, always pushing himself to perform risky, highly skilled tricks just to prove he still can. During his career, he broke countless bones, including his ribs and pelvis, and suffered a number of nasty concussions.
“Now a father in his 50s, Hawk has long since retired from competition, but his skating days are far from over. He rides four to five times a week, always pushing himself to perform risky, highly skilled tricks just to prove he still can.”
There’s a moment in the film where Hawk reconnects with some of his Bones Brigade brothers to recreate one of the iconic skating videos the band made in the ’80s. As some of his peers let their boards fly when they don’t want to risk getting hurt, Hawk goes for it. He lands hard on the ground, barely able to move. Everyone around him is silent. After five minutes of motionlessness on the ramp, he limps to the side, white as a sheet.
Peralta says it was that accident that led him to rally some of Hawk’s closest family members and friends to convince the skater that it was high time for him to pack it up. He is far too old to risk death as a hobby, they reasoned. .
But as Rodney Mullen, a skateboarding legend in his own right, says, real skateboarders can’t help it. Skateboarding is their life; it makes them what they are. And they’ll keep doing what they love until the wheels fall off.
In the final moments of the film, after countless attempts to land the 900, Hawk watches with silent concentration before launching himself up the curved ramp again. He spins his body quickly, gracefully touching the bottom of his board. He landed the 900. He’s done attempting the dangerous trick, at least for now.