Aged 48, Tony Hawk Just Landed A 900, And Proved He’s Still The World’s Most Important Skateboarder

He's mad, he's rad, and old enough to be your dad: Tony Hawk

Tony Hawk landed a 900 aged 48 – Photo: James Renhard

Tony Hawk, aged 48, has just landed yet another 900. Tony Hawk is 48. Forty Eight! So, why is this significant? Let’s just cast our minds back to the last whiffs of the 20th century.

June 27th, 1999. San Francisco. A 31 year old called Tony Hawk is the most dominant vert skateboarder the world has ever seen. That evening, at the X Games Best Trick contest, he lands a 900 – two and a half full rotations on a skateboard. It’s a trick that, at the time was the holy grail of vert skateboarding.

Within days of the Bird Man touching those four wheels down onto the halfpipe, skateboarding was changed forever. Video games were released. Movies were made. Skateboarding may have already left the underground by that point, but it was catapulted into being a global phenomenon by Hawk and his 900.

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Everybody from major sports brands, to the president of the Unites States wanted to bask in the reflected ‘cool’ of skateboarding. Hell, even the normally stuffy IOC want skateboarding in the Olympics. And it all started that night when Tony Hawk span himself and his skateboard around two and a half times in the air.

The trick may have been bettered since then – people are now landing 1080’s (three full rotations) but off Mega Ramps that afford significantly more time in the air. On a regular sized competition vert ramp, the 900 is still the trick. The trick. And 17 years later, Tony Hawk is still landing them.

Already people are saying that, for landing a nine aged 48, Hawk is the greatest skateboarder of all time. This is nonsense.

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While acknowledging the foolishness of comparing a bloke riding skateboard to da Vinci or Botticelli, selecting any skateboarder as the greatest is a bit like trying to pick out the greatest renaissance artist. How can anybody choose Hawk over Mark Gonzalez, or Rodney Mullen, or Isamu Yamamoto.

But landing a 900 at 48 might just make Tony Hawk the most important skateboarder of all time. Naturally, some will sneer. He’s not the coolest. People will suggest he’s some sort of skate jock. There’s every chance that Hawk represents the very opposite of what skateboarding is to you.

However, chances are, directly or indirectly, it’s Tony Hawk that led you into skating. Maybe through the THPS video games. Maybe through seeing skating on TV or in the media after it was made accessible by Hawk – palatable for the execs who’d previously not wanted to touch it. Or the wider expansion of skating that happened because of Hawk.

And for this figurehead to still be beating himself up to land the trick, aged 48? That’s pretty significant. That’s pretty important. Tony Hawk, we salute you.

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