Anthony Frank ‘Tony’ Hawk also known as ‘The Birdman’ is an American professional skateboarder, actor and entrepreneur. ‘Tony Hawk Pro Skater’ is one of the most famous video games worldwide. Hawk was called the second most influential skaters of all time by the ‘Transworld Skateboarding’ in 2011.
Hawk was born on 12th May 1968 in Carlsbad, California. As a kid he was very hyperactive. At school he was psychologically evaluated and it turned out that Hawk was exceptionally talented and also had an IQ of 144. His parents encouraged his passion for skateboarding because they felt it helped him to release his extra energy. Hawk started skateboarding when he was 9 and by the time he turned 16 he was a professional. No other skateboarder has won as much as Hawk; by the age of 17 he had won over seventy competitions. Unfortunately he suffered some rough times in the early 1990s despite his extraordinary talents. It was so bad that Hawk almost went bankrupt. He established a skateboarding company called ‘Birdhouse’ with another professional Per Wilender. Birdhouse did not do so well until the rise in popularity of extreme sports. Hawky regained his immense popularity in the late 90s. He could perform extreme stunts and tricks such as the ‘900’. Tony Hawk announced his retirement after winning the 1999 X Games.
He launched his video game based on skateboarding in 1999 which became a huge success spawning 16 titles such as the main series titles, repackages and the spin-offs. The most recent game in the series is the ‘Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD’ which includes a collection of the initial two titles. His character in the game became usurped in the later series. In 2007 and 2008 amusement park rides in three ‘Six Flags’ parks were named after his moves known as the ‘Tony Hawk’s Big Spin’. The rides gave a complete ‘extreme sports’ experience and also had a big Tony Hawk figure on top of the ride. These rides were demolished in 2010 and instead a ride called ‘Tony Hawk’s Halfpipe’ was opened; the name was later changed to ‘The Halfpipe’ in 2011. In 2012, Tony Hawk launched an online channel on YouTube called the ‘RIDE Channel’.
Apart from other business ventures, Hawk also made several television shows and movies. Some of his appearances include ‘Police Academy 4: skateboarder extra’ in 1987, ‘Stoked: The Rise and Fall of Gator’ in 2002, ‘Haggard’ in 2003, ‘Black Label: Who Cares? The Duane Peters Story’ in 2005, ‘The Reality of Bob Burnquist’ in 2005, ‘Waiting for Lightening’ in 2012 and ‘Bones Brigade: An Autobiography’ in 2012.
Hawk also does much philanthropist works. His foundation called the ‘Tony Hawk Foundation’ has donated over $3.4 million to assist in the building of more than 400 skate parks in the United States. He is also a co-founder of the charity named ‘Athletes for Hope’ which is an organization that inspires people to do volunteer work and sustain their communities through activities of professional athletes. Hawk has been married and divorced thrice. His son Riley is also a skateboarder.