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Volume 21 No. 14
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Tony Hawk Inc. mixes business with pleasure

Influential and iconic athlete Tony Hawk feels right at home taking risks on and off the board.
A casual stroll through the office.
Photo: Tony Florez

With business interests scattered across Southern California in the early 2000s, Tony Hawk wanted to gather his operations in one place closer to home. An office park setting in Vista, Calif., became the home to Tony Hawk Inc. and its related entities. These include: Birdhouse Skateboards, 900 Films, Hawk Clothing, Ride Channel, Demolition Radio on SiriusXM and the Tony Hawk Foundation.

 

The nondescript building contains all of the elements of a typical business: A cozy lobby with coffee table books, products on display, office space for employees — even a conference room. But that’s where typical ends.

 

The star of the space is the vert ramp.

 

“We built the ramp for the [Boom Boom Huck Jam] tour and after the second year of our tour, I said, ‘You know what? This ramp is the best in the world and the only time we ever ride it is when we are on the road,’” Tony said. “We found a building that was in development but not finished, and I was able to have them raise the ceiling height so that it would fit the ramp and we wouldn’t have to worry about hitting the top.”

 

I have been planting seeds with other sorts of businesses and projects so that I can spend less time having to risk myself, so to speak. I don’t think I would quit skating altogether, I just may not do it in public so much.
Tony Hawk
Professional skateboarder

Tony’s time is divided evenly — roughly half on the road (or in the air) and half at home.

 

“When I’m at home, it’s pretty much guaranteed that I will be going to the office at least a few times a week, if not to have meetings but to definitely go skate.”

 

Tony turned 50 this year and maintains a busy travel calendar, skating whenever and wherever possible and spreading goodwill for skateboarding. 

 

A big part of his legacy is the foundation, which provides grants to communities that are trying to build skateparks.

 

“We’ve helped to fund 588 parks so far,” Tony said. “We’re close to $6 million in grants. I’m very proud of the work we’ve done and how it resonates. Through that money that we’ve given, we’ve helped to secure much more [in] matching donations and much more momentum for a lot of projects.”

Tony and the band Devo are mutual fans of each other. He’s had the iconic hat for many years, but the record is a new song from Devo’s Mark Mothersbaugh that was played at Tony’s 50th birthday party in May.
Photo: courtesy of THI
Tony working on a video edit with 900 Films Senior Editor Matt Haring.
Photo: Tony Florez
Comfy lobby area at the headquarters.
Photo: courtesy of THI
Wall of memories in Tony’s office, including his 2009 Skateboarding Hall of Fame award (lower left); a five-deck “Big Lebowski” series (Tony’s a big fan of the movie); and Tony in a fire suit at the Toyota Grand Prix Celebrity Race in Long Beach, Calif., in 2010. Bonus: Animal Chin makes an appearance on this wall.
Photo: courtesy of THI
A variety of Birdhouse decks in the warehouse.
Photo: courtesy of THI
”They call that the autograph table. If I see things out there, I just go sign them.”
Photo: Tony Florez
The ramp: About 80 feet wide and 13 feet tall with 1.5 feet of vert and a sizable channel. Behind it are smaller ramps, ledges and rails for not-so-high-flying sessions.
Photo: courtesy of THI
Tony’s personal office. Some highlights: Colorful drawings (at left) from his school-age daughter; hot sauce on the desk (“I eat lunch in my office quite a bit. It’s either Sriracha or Cholula.”); a metallic MTV Award in the form of a halfpipe; a Tony Hawk special-edition snowboard from Omatic; and an eclectic collection of skateboards from over the years, including an odd setup made from Irish hurley sticks. “We did an impromptu demo at a park in Dublin, and this guy brought that and people were freaking out. That made the newspaper — not our demo — but the fact that I rode that thing.”
Photo: courtesy of THI
Conference room, complete with a display case of toys and trinkets.
Photo: courtesy of THI
Various action figures. Tony was on “The Simpsons” in 2003 as a featured character, along with the band Blink 182. The figurine was part of “The Simpsons” 25th anniversary set from 2014.
Photo: courtesy of THI
Tony and Tony Hawk Foundation Executive Director Miki Vuckovich. Community groups throughout the U.S. seeking to build free, concrete, public skateparks that serve at-risk youth are eligible for construction grants up to $25,000.
Photo: Tony Florez
A variety of special-edition skateboard decks on display at the office.
Photo: courtesy of THI