Tony Hawk Never Thought He'd Make "Any Money off of Skateboarding” (EXCLUSIVE)

"I still have that drive in me to keep skating and keep trying stuff," Tony told 'Distractify.'

Mustafa Gatollari - Author

Jun. 11 2024, Published 11:48 a.m. ET

Tony Hawk on the red carpet
Source: Getty Images

During an appearance on The Joe Rogan Experience, Steve-O of Jackass fame gushed about how excelling at skateboarding is a barometer for cross-applicable success.

"The kids that stuck with it. I mean right there dude that is like a white-hot core of... persistence, dedication, like, f---ing sacrifice," Steve-O said in the now-viral clip.

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Tony Hawk, easily the most recognized name in the sport, has another word for it: "stubbornness."

"Yes. If nothing else it’ll teach you to not give up. That stubbornness it’s worth it, all of that effort is worth it," Tony told Distractify exclusively when asked about the life lessons he's gained from his dedication to skateboarding.

We got a chance to chat with Tony — who is collaborating with Starbucks on its new content series urging cold coffee lovers to "Try This at Home," featuring the new Starbucks Iced Coffee Blends and Cold Brew Concentrates — about his life-long obsession with skateboarding, and how he is still learning new tricks.

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chill tony
Source: Starbucks

Tony Hawk never thought he would make any money from skateboarding.

It's his commitment to excelling in his craft that shone in Until the Wheels Fall Off, the HBO documentary chronicling Tony's trajectory from a kid who loved to skateboarding into becoming a global icon.

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Although he says that now he's much more "comfortable in [his] own skin" in reconciling with fame, his career path was never rooted in a "get" but rather a give.

Tony said he was "obsessed" with how much he'd be able to give himself to attempt to land a trick over and over again.

tony hawk young
Source: Getty Images

Tony Hawk at 18 years old.

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"I never thought I’d ever make any money off of skateboarding," Tony revealed to Distractify, "I was obsessed with learning tricks and getting to do new tricks and the path that takes. Something compelled me to do those tricks," the father of four stated, before enthusiastically stressing that the ratio between what he gave in order to successfully pull off a trick was significantly lopsided.

"[I had an] obsession with perfecting [those] moves, sometimes practicing for years just to get it right one time," Tony added smiling.

Nothing in his being or the trajectory of his life seems to express an ounce of regret he's had in practicing a single move for years, in some instances, just to land it right once.

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Tony admits his dedication to skateboarding takes time away from his family.

The subject of family comes up often in Tony's documentary, and when asked what impact he believes the personal dedication he's placed in skateboarding had on his children, the 16-time X-Games winner said that he hopes he "lead[s] by example" for his children, before stating that sometimes his obsessiveness for training may take him away from his children.

Source: Facebook | @Tony Hawk
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"Sometimes training might take me away from my family," he admitted, before discussing his decision to return to the X-Games. In 2021, Tony ran from the announcers' table and jumped on a vert ramp at 52 years old trying, over and over again, to land a frontside cab revert, a trick he landed only once in competition in 1995.

"When I decided to get back into skateboarding [professionally competing] I had to work twice as hard. My body didn’t heal like it used to. I needed to perform strength and conditioning work just to attempt to pull off those moves," he shared.

The idea of sticking to a training regimen outside of pure skateboarding was something foreign to him decades ago: "I never did strength and conditioning work when I was younger," Tony admitted.

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tony hawk familyu
Source: Instagram

Tony with his kids Riley, Keegan, and Kady, and his wife Catherine.

The desire to consistently challenge himself, Tony said, fuels him: "I still have that drive in me to keep skating and keep trying stuff," even though he isn't a young man any longer.

He acknowledges that this "takes times away from my family," but it appears that Tony's admission of this lends itself to more gratitude towards skateboarding and his time in general.

"That risk factor that I generally ignore [I can't anymore]." He admitted that while he does "have this skill set [that] every once in a while [a trick] goes bad. That came with a very important reality check. [My] body can’t [work without] conditioning and building my strength."

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