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I Am American Business

Tony Hawk

Producer Notes

Tony Hawk will log thousands of miles traveling across the US and the world to promote his brand, skateboarding and his new book. But in reality, he doesn't have to go more than a few feet from his office to skate, produce a TV show, host his Sirius radio show, design a skate park... or anything else for that matter. He relishes his role as world-class athlete and entrepreneur; caring for the sport as much as he cares for his brand. And his headquarters is designed to keep him thisclose to his businesses, his fans and his passion – skateboarding! The offices of Tony Hawk Inc. are located in a non descript office park in Vista, CA. The office is pretty low-key. The most "extreme" stuff is the collection of decks artfully displayed on the walls. It's like a very cool museum, actually. However, once you pass through the main office space and get to the back of the building, that's where you enter a skaters' paradise. A million dollar vert ramp; a skate park... and some of the world's greatest skaters and BMX riders doing what they love to do - skate and ride. Andy MacDonald, Kevin Staab, Spencer Nuzzi, Simon Tabron - and of course, Tony Hawk.

Video Interview

The "I Am" Q&A



Transcript

CNBC:
Tony, you have been no stranger to success your entire skateboarding life. But did you ever imagine the sport becoming this popular?

TONY HAWK:
I never imagined skating would be as popular as it is today. When I started doing it, it was one of the most un-cool things you could. [CHUCKLES] I mean, it was so—it, it had, it had come through a sort of fad phase, but it was on its way out, and when I started getting into it and getting good at it, was when it was sort of at its lull of popularity. I never thought it could be a career of any kind. I just loved doing it and I was young enough to not think that I was choosing a career.

CNBC:
It took you twelve attempts to hit the 900. And even when your time was over, you never gave up. What is it about your personality that said, don’t stop, long after your turn was up?

TONY HAWK:
I think I’ve always had a very determined personality. I mean, my mom—she said I was, challenging, that was her nice way of putting it. I just always—if I focused on something, something I wanted, I was obsessed with it. I had to do it, I had to see it through, no matter what, even if it meant harm to my, my body. And, I think in a lot of ways that, I mean, obviously, that translated over to when I finally made the first 900 at X-Games. It was something I’d been wanting to do for a long time, something I’d failed at repeatedly for years. And, then, when I finally had it, and I had—and I felt like I was in a rhythm and I was gonna get close to it, the competition ended, the time was up. I really didn’t care. I mean, I was just out to do it for myself, and I think that a lot of people take inspiration from that, but it wasn’t that I was trying to inspire or, that I was trying to, that I was trying to, take all the glory. I just wanted to do it. I was so tired of not doing it, and I was finally getting close, and— I mean, truly, they could have had the crowd leave, and, and almost shut the lights off. I was gonna—still have been out there trying it.

CNBC:
What is it about the skating community, that those guys were there cheering you on? They didn’t care either. The crowd was behind it, and obviously the show producers were behind it, and said, let’s keep going.

TONY HAWK:
I think that skating— it’s a competitive sport, but it also has a lot of camaraderie. I mean, there are, sort of, there are milestones in skating that, that people want to achieve, and if they don’t—can’t achieve it themselves, they are happy to encourage others to achieve that. And, 900 was definitely one of the milestones in skating. And, it was sort of—I mean, it kind of was a group effort. You know, I had a lot, I had the support of my peers, even though they were my competitors, they knew that the time had come. That someone finally would do it, and, and, I, I feel like, in a lot of ways, if one of us does something that is new or is groundbreaking, the fact that you know it’s possible makes it a little bit easier to get to and to go beyond that. And that, that’s could be true—you could say that of skateboarding all through the years.

CNBC:
And you guys are like brothers in arms, right? A band of brothers, you—pain, success, injury, the whole thing, you probably go through it together?

TONY HAWK:
Yeah, I think that the, the, the professional skateboarding world is definitely a, a, a collective group of friends that travel together, that compete against each other, but at the same time, skate with each other. Bounce ideas off of each other. there are only very few times does it become, sort of cut-throat, [CHUCKLES] and almost secretive, where people are hiding new tricks from each other because they want to break it out in competition. I see more friendships formed than enemies.

CNBC:
What would the tipping point, where the skating world went from counterculture to mass acceptance?

TONY HAWK:
If I had to, if I had to pinpoint one tipping point, from skateboarding being underground to truly mainstream, I think it was, it was probably the release of our video game in 1999. That brought a lot of attention to the skating world because of its success, and it inspired a lot of new kids to try to skate. But, it also made people appreciate skating that maybe would never do it themselves, and understand the intricacies and difficulties of it. And, enjoy watching it from home, watching it on television. And I think that’s the breaking point, that was the tipping point, because, we finally found a fan base for skateboarding. And, in the past, the only people who appreciated skating was skaters themselves.

CNBC:
Skateboarding is uniquely American. You are a California kid. This is a great American story. As you travel from country to country, do you get that sense that all of this is an American, sort of, wild west sport?

TONY HAWK:
I don’t think of skateboarding as exclusively California or American anymore. I think that it was, it was definitely formed here, and, and bred here, in California, southern California, mostly, because of the surf influence and the surf culture that, that sort of branched out and learned how to skateboard. But, since then, it’s really been a global phenomenon, and, and there are many countries that, that, have big skate populations that have nothing to do with surfing anymore. and so when I go, travel the world, I really see more of a global community as opposed to something that I feel like we’re projecting onto them from, from our California aspect. And really the—a lot of inner city kids are skating now, it doesn’t cross any cultural or economical boundaries.

CNBC:
What propelled you into skating? Did you have idols? Who were there people you looked up to as you learned how to skate?

TONY HAWK:
Definitely. I definitely had heroes in the skating when I was growing up. One in particular, his name was Eddie Elguera. And I feel like his story is that he was in the right place at the wrong time. He was the most innovative skater, to me, probably, the best of his time, in a time when skating was not appreciated by very, very many people at all. It was, it was very underground. but he was innovating new tricks, and that’s what I look to, you know, some people look to doing aerials and some people look to going faster, and, I saw him, and I said, he’s doing tricks. I want to learn his tricks. And the first probably two difficult tricks that I learned that were of professional caliber were his signature moves. Other than that, Steve Caballero was an aspiring skater at the time when I was, when I was growing up. he was, he was already amateur on his way to being professional, and I was looking at him because he was about my age. Just a little bit older. But he was relatively small like me. And he was doing these big aerials coming out of empty swimming pools. And, I thought, if he can do that, I can do that too, and I wanna, I wanna do that. And he really did—I think he inspired me to chase that dream of, of flying.

CNBC:
Do you have any idols in business that are your role models for business? One in your business?

TONY HAWK:
Wow that’s hard. It’s hard to pick certain role models, I mean, definitely Tony Hsieh’s of Zappos. And I think that he had—he’s really, he has been a great mentor to people, but also giving a new idea to business, on how to run businesses and how to keep them more of a family, and more fun. And I think—and I really enjoy that, and I want to take inspiration from him for my own business. Other than that, I think—I really, I respect and I appreciate Lance Armstrong for what he’s done, even though I’m not thinking more in a business sense. I really appreciate his philanthropy, and the fact that he has raised, I mean, really, raised the awareness of cancer to a place that possibly didn’t exist, because of what he went through,,, one of the biggest fundraisers for any charity. And so I, I think I just take bits of different figures and try to make them work into my world.

CNBC:
In both of your books, I get the sense that you are very protective of the sport. Not just your brand, but the sport itself. Why is that so important to you?

TONY HAWK:
I’ve always had a deep respect for skating, and the counterculture that surrounds skating, and the fact the, the—when we did it, when we started doing it, it really did set us apart and different, and sometimes even, ah, I don’t want to say dangerous, but it, it, it just seemed like people thought we were rebels because of it. And it wasn’t that we were just—we loved the creative aspect of it. We loved the fact that we were doing something different, and, we were breaking new ground, you know, on something that people just maybe didn’t understand or didn’t want to appreciate. And I think that I’ve always wanted to, not harness that, but keep that and covet that, because I feel like people need to understand how far we’ve come, and how much we—how much passion we have for this, and it’s not—skating is not something that is mainstream in terms of uniforms and point systems and speed and, and, and agility. You know what I mean? It’s like, we don’t want to fall, we don’t want to fall—pidgin-hole ourselves into, say, the way gymnastics is run. We want it to be unorthodox and we wanted we want it to be free. The example is, in competition, like we were talking about doing 900. I did 900 after the competition was over. No other organized sport competition would allow that to happen, or give you credit for it. You know, but the fact that we come from this completely different place, and different perspective on what a sport is, it was allowed to happen and people really appreciated it.

CNBC:
You mentioned the word counterculture. How would you describe the skating counterculture?

TONY HAWK:
I think that—I think skating is a lifestyle. I think it’s an art form. And I think it’s a sport. I mean, people, people hesitate to label as sport, but, it’s very active, there are competition. They’re organized. To me, that, that is a sport. You know, and I think that it is more strenuous than a lot of sports out there, that people [CHUCKLES] truly do consider mainstream sports. But, for me, it’s, it was, eh, eh, it was my lifeline. I mean, it was really what formed my personality, what formed friendships, my bonds, my interests through the years, the skate park was my community. And I think that when you say, what is skateboarding, to people—some people, it’s just a hobby. But to me, it’s a lifestyle.

CNBC:
What is the—what would you describe as the common thread among the products that carry the Tony Hawk name? What are you looking for people to say about your products every time they buy them.

TONY HAWK:
The common thread among all the products that bear my name would be quality, firstly. Definitely, continuity. You know, something as identifiable as associated with me or my brand. I don’t want to be so scattered that it’s confusing out there. But also fun and youthful. Obviously, I’m not [CHUCKLES] as young as I once was, but at the same time, I feel like skateboarding is a very youth-oriented sports. And it’s all about having—enjoying yourself out there. And, and we want to project that.

CNBC:
When you think about a skater’s style, how does that affect your approach to designing something?

TONY HAWK:
Well I think that skateboarding has always been very individualistic. I think, it’s, it’s about your own, your own challenges and your own style, and really making it your own, your own voice, and your own way of doing it. And so, in designing clothing and things like that, we definitely want to make it so it looks different from everything else, but also that you can make it your own. You, you can, you can mix and match and really present it as your own style, as opposed to, sort of, well these jeans only go with these shirts, and this hoodie only goes with this hat. That, that’s not at all what we want to project. Because I feel like as skaters, we are very, eh, we are creative individuals. And, we set ourselves apart from, even from each other.

CNBC:
To what do you attribute the tremendous success of your video game line?

TONY HAWK:
I think our video game was successful because it was unique, obviously. and it’s, it’s replayability is a huge factor. The fact that you can finish a, any one of our video games to completion, do all the goals, and come back and find new challenges for yourself—much like skateboarding. You can get, reach the top of skateboarding, and say you know, all of the tricks, but, there are still things you can improve on. There are still new things you can learn or create. same goes with our video game. You can come back to it, even if you’ve got it completely dialed and you know every secret gap and every secret trick. You can still do a brand new combination of those, or get a, a higher score than you ever have before. And I think that our controls were very intuitive. especially when it first came out. So, I knew our game was, was, was very good, and I knew it—that skaters would truly appreciate it. I had no idea that it would explode beyond our world of skating and create a new genre, at all, I know video games and I knew skateboarding so I knew it had the, the best elements of both. But I just thought that skateboarding was too niche to be able to, to break through that barrier.

CNBC:
In your first book, Occupation: Skateboarder, you wrote you know you’re not a skater if you haven’t woken up in the hospital with your front teeth missing. Were you prepared for the same experience, metaphorically speaking, when it came to creating a successful business?

TONY HAWK:
When I first started my business, it was more out of necessity than, say, ah, I was trying to reach a certain level of success. It was more because, suddenly, I had all these different things happening, and I realized I had to keep them all in one hub, and, and sort of create a more, central place to do all these things. And have more continuity throughout them. So, it wasn’t like I set out to make a business of this level and f—and maybe I’ll fall flat on my face. It just sort of grew and grew exponentially. that being said, there are some risks that I have taken because of the opportunities from that success, and, s—some of them didn’t work. I had to try. [CHUCKLES] And I was up for the challenge, for sure, but, but, not all things fit into this world of, of skateboarding action sports. And, not all companies are that easy to work with. [LAUGHS]

CNBC:
Can you tell me what might be the equivalent of the losing your teeth experience?

TONY HAWK:
Probably one of the most difficult business—well, well, one of the most bus—one of the most difficult business challenges that, that I had is, we tried to do—start a line of high end denim. Right around the time when the, sort of, big gothic graphics were, weren’t even in play yet, and, and, this designer was just starting that, and really doing high end stuff that you, you hadn’t seen before. And denim that was, you, you know of the best stains and the best designs, but expensive. And, it didn’t—it’s not that it didn’t fly, but it just took so much money to keep going to try to grow, I had no idea how much profit it could suck it away from an overall company. [CHUCKLES] and in other ways as well. And ended up really just selling it for debt.

CNBC:
In terms of price points, does high-end it fit the culture?

TONY HAWK:
I think that there’s a style that exudes from skating that can sort of spill over into high end fashion, absolutely. But I don’t think there are any high end brands that are skate specific.

CNBC:
In starting Tony Hawk Ride, you say, it was risky, but, like a new trick, if you want to progress, you have to be willing to slam. How has that philosophy translated into success for your company?

TONY HAWK:
Well there, well, through – with, with having my own company and doing a lot of different projects and, and, and businesses, eh—I definitely know that if, if you’re gonna try something new, you’re at risk of falling. I mean, that’s what I’ve learned in skating. But, but what I also learned is you can learn from your mistake, and you can get up and try again and figure it out. There are plenty of risks that I’ve taken through my businesses and through my success that, were frightening. I mean, definitely one would be the Boom Boom Huck Jam Tour, was an idea that we could bring action sports entertainment, to arena sized venues, and do our type of action – do our type of activities, choreographed, and, and together as opposed to only competing against each other. In a show format. And to get that off the ground, it took a lot of, uh—it, it took the last seed money that I wasn’t getting from anywhere else, so I had to write my own checks, and, and literally this ramp you see behind me, is a million dollar ramp, that I had to pay for myself, just to get the thing off the ground.

CNBC:
What are the, the biggest lessons that you’ve learned in your business career?

TONY HAWK:
I think the, the biggest lesson I’ve learned through all of my businesses and my career is keep control of your brand. Any time that you give up approval rights, or being able to see final versions of anything going out with your brand or your name on it, is when you, you lost in—you lost your integrity and you lose control, and suddenly you’re seeing things that you would never, ever have wanted out there with your own name on it. And sometimes you gotta fight for it. Sometimes you gotta fight for it at a loss financially, because people will offer you much more money if they can grab whatever you—whatever success you have, or whatever product you have. And, do it their own way, but if, if they start doing that, suddenly you will be splintered, and you will lose the impact that you once had.

CNBC:
In your new book, you do talk about Huck Jam. On the eve of the tour, the trucks are ready to roll, you drink it all in, and the Talking Heads song pops into your head—

TONY HAWK:
[LAUGHS] Right.

CNBC:
And you ask yourself, how’d I get here?

TONY HAWK:
Yep.

CNBC:
So, how did you get here?

TONY HAWK:
I’d like to say it’s through a lot of hard work, determination, failures, successes. But, through and through a passion that I never gave up. You know, even when it didn’t seem like the most viable option, or the most—the smartest career move. But I knew there was always something more to skateboarding that people weren’t seeing. And, and I had a feel—you know, I just knew that if there’s some way to, to show that to people, to promote that, to kids and to parents, that this is a healthy positive activity for you, that, that they would finally understand it. And, and, you know there are a lot of facets to that. There are a lot of different things you have to explain. Including, skate park facilities. And, you know, once those were in place, and people see the positive aspects of that, and, and the effects that has on a—the effect it has on a community, they understand, they embrace it. And kids now are literally encouraging their kid—parents now are literally encouraging their kids to skate. When I was growing up, that was—there’s no way that was happening. [CHUCKLES] Parents did not want their kids skating.

CNBC:
When did you start the transition from being world class athlete to CEO businessman?TONY HAWK: My transition from being a pro skater to a business person is kind of still happening, because, I, I’m still definitely out there skating and walking the walk. I think the, the first time that I ever dipped into that water was when I started my company Birdhouse in 1992. Because, I thought that my career as a pro skater was coming to an end. Mostly because skating was really evolving from skating ramps and pools to skating street and I was considered more of a dinosaur because of the type of skating I did. And, and I really wanted to be in the industry, and I wanted to, eh, still help other skaters to have the opportunities that I had, and so I started a skate company. And that was the first, my first move of getting into business at all and it was tough. It was a few years of living lean and, and questioning, is this worth it?

CNBC:
Is there a correlation between being authentic to the sport, being true to yourself, and being successful?

TONY HAWK:
I think there’s a, there’s a huge correlation between, between being true to yourself, being true to your sport, and being successful. I think that, that, they all should go hand in hand, and, and definitely if, if you’re chasing one that doesn’t fit the other, you, you could, you—A, lose your integrity, also, but lose a lot of your, your fan base. And, your customers. Because, those—they see it. You know, kids are savvy these days. They know when something is not real. Or, when they’re being, sort of forced, a product, or an idea. And you have to really believe in what you’re doing, and be passionate about it, or else, you’re just gonna fall by the wayside. But more importantly, you have to walk the walk. You know. I couldn’t be doing these things I’m doing and have this type of success if I really wasn’t out there skating and doing it, you know? And I wouldn’t feel right about it.

CNBC:
And I know in your book you mentioned, speaking of retaining control, photography or illustrations that didn’t match actual moves and saying, you know, any real skater’s gonna look at that and go—what’s that about?

TONY HAWK:
I think that through the years, I’ve, I’ve dealt with a lot of different companies that have their own take on what skateboarding is, and how to present it. And, that’s the—one of the biggest challenges of my life, is fighting for that control. Because, people come from an ad agency perspective, you know, straight out of college, and they don’t—they’re not looking too deeply into what we do, and taking a picture, and turning it one, 180 degrees, because it fits their packaging better, I have to go there and say, look that’s not a real trick—you’ve turned this guy upside down. It’s not—that’s not possible. And kids know. That looks silly. And they say, well you know, it works with the logo over here, and the—and, and I don’t care. [CHUCKLES] And so, sometimes you have to act kind of like a jerk, almost like a pompous jerk about your sport, just so that they’ll do the right thing.

CNBC:
How has being able to practically be one-on-one with your fan base, your sites, like Shred or Die, Twitter, your radio show—how has that changed your approach toward marketing your brand?

TONY HAWK:
Well, with the advent of technology, the way that you market a brand is much different now. It’s much more fast moving. It’s much more interactive. And it’s much more of a human voice as opposed to a big corporate push. I’ve learned a lot, you know, having, having a website—Shred or Die—having, interactive social media network like Twitter, that, you can get that information out there instantly, but also, you, you, should do it in a way that’s fun and engaging and interesting. And not just be, a company saying, look here’s a new product. Look, there’s a sale over here. You know what I mean? It has to be much more like—what do you think about this? Or, how, eh, here’s something presented this way, and would you like it a different way? Or just reading feedback. I mean, that’s probably the most interesting, you know, you have this, you have this gigantic focus group. [CHUCKLES] At your disposal that’s very happy that you’re engaging them.

CNBC:
What do you take more pride in—your skating career or your ability to turn your passion into a successful business?

TONY HAWK:
Wow, that’s hard. I think I’m most proud of making a career out of skateboarding in, in—at a time when people just didn’t think it was possible. and being able to do it into my adult life, still actively, and, and, effectively. I think that I’m definitely proud of my skating career in general and the things that I’ve accomplished in skateboarding. But also proud that I paved a way for other people to actually make a career out of it and to have it be a part of their lives for all the way through. Because when I started skating, once you reached an age of responsibility, you were supposed to quit. [CHUCKLES] It was over, you know, you could only go so far because there wasn’t—there wasn’t money to be made, there, there were—weren’t many opportunities, there was very little appreciation. And the fact that now you see skating all over, you see it in mainstream media, you see it in commercials, there are television shows, based around professional skateboarder and it’s a viable career and I think that I’m most proud that I had something to do with that.

CNBC:
With the Tony Hawk Foundation, you talk about how kids should rally around their towns to get them to get a park put in their place...

TONY HAWK:
Yeah, absolutely, I think that setting up a foundation to help support public skate parks in low income areas was more born out of visit—seeing skate parks cropping up quite a bit over the last, say ten years. And seeing that mostly they were in affluent areas with a lot of congratulatory backslapping from all of the, all the [CHUCKLES] you know, government officials. And, generally the parks weren’t really that good, but a lot of money was spent on them. And, I thought, I want to change this tide. I want to help, I want to help direct funds to the kids in more needy areas, but also to help them be part of that process and to design parks that they really do want to ride. And so, in doing a foundation, it’s not about picking a city and saying, you need a skate park and waving a magic wand and it appears. I want the, the people there to be empowered to, to be a part of that community, to be a part of that process of actually getting a park, and pushing to get a park, and, and petitioning the city, and trying to raise their own funds as well. Because, that is much more important in terms of a lesson learned, and a validation that, that I could help them with that, but the fact that they actually did take it upon themselves to do it is way more important to me. thrives in all kinds of areas. So we definitely have made a big difference with our foundation, we’ve helped to fund almost 500 skate parks now. We’ve given away over three million dollars. And we still have a long way to go.

CNBC:
You did a great job of describing what to do, but it is a laborious process. Your heart and soul has to go into it, right, so they have to want it?

TONY HAWK:
Definitely to get a skate park in a city, the community has to want it. The community has to work at it. Sometimes it’s years. I mean, many, many years to ever convince a city official that this would be a good thing for the community. And inevitably, when they do finally approve a project, a skate park project, and it finally gets built, when the city officials see how much use it gets—I mean, skate parks are used from sun up to sun down, guaranteed. They almost always build another one, in the same town, because they realize that, that, it really is, a, a valid activity, and a valid facility. and I mean, you see other sporting, sport courts and fields stay empty all day long.

CNBC:
What is the future of the skating industry?

TONY HAWK:
I think the future of the skating industry is, is more global. I think that, definitely that other countries are, are starting to pick up on the passion of skating and provide facilities and understand that it could be a very healthy influence on their child—on their children. And so I think that, in terms of how big skateboarding is, I mean, it’s definitely, it, it’s at it’s biggest point here in the United States and a lot of places in Europe as well, but, it has so much potential to go internationally.

CNBC:
Do you have a ten year plan?

TONY HAWK:
[CHUCKLES] What is my ten year plan? Well, I’m gonna keep skating until I physically am not able to. Or until people don’t really want to see me do it publicly anymore. [CHUCKLES] But, other than that, I would love to get more behind the scenes in the companies I’ve, I’ve helped to create. And, to help a lot of the skaters in, that are, that are supporting my companies to have opportunities that I had. You know, to help them sort of guide a career in skating and to give them perspective and maybe advice because of all the things that I’ve been through.

CNBC:
You think your son might be the first one to say to you, dad, it’s time to hang it up?TONY HAWK: [CHUCKLES] I think if if anyone’s gonna tell me to hang it up, it would be my son, but he probably felt like that a while back anyway. [CHUCKLES] Cause, his style is much newer than mine.

CNBC:
What are your top five favorite tricks of all time?

TONY HAWK:
Wow, my top five favorite tricks of all time would be, definitely a 540, because, it was something I was obsessed with learning when I was in high school. It was the newest trick. It was the trick that you had to learn. So, I, I obsessed on it, finally did it, and now I’m able to do it on almost any terrain that has, like, some transition. I’m the guy that can do 540s. It’s kind of—it’s almost a stigma now cause people, like see me skating—oh, he’s gonna, yeah, where you gonna do it? You gonna do it here or there? I love doing backside ollies. I love doing backside ollies because, eh, an ollie is when you, when you lift the board up just using only your feet, and when I do it on, on a ramp, and I turn in the backside direction, I can go really high. And I feel like I have really good control of my board, without using my hands, with the—which is something that, that you strive for in skateboarding. Other than that, definitely 900. I mean, I, it’s my, it’s one of my favorite tricks, it’s not one of my favorite to do cause it takes a lot out of me, and a lot of times, ends in tragedy, but [CHUCKLES] it’s it’s still, it’s still a gift when I, when I do get to make one, you know, I made one recently over the summer in Barcelona for about 30,000 people. And, it’s still unbelievable feeling to be able to—to pull that off. Other than that, wow, this is really hard. I think, uh— ollie, ollie 540, which is a, which is a no-handed 540 spin. Which is something that I used to joke about in the 80s when the 540 was first invented, that, you know, could you ever do this no-handed, and finally figured it out. And so, I’m really proud of that, that I, that I was able to do that. I think, besides that, I would sort of choose one of the old school moves, which is hand plant invert, because that’s sort of a lost art form. No one does that anymore. It was definitely an 80s trick, definitely a pool skating vertical trick. And, and it’s been forgotten for so long that it’s difficult for new skaters to do at all, or to ponder. And, if you go to an exhibition and do it, people freak out. They think it’s unbelievable that you can do a handstand on your skateboard, up on top of a big ramp.

CNBC:
Why - is it just that it’s difficult?

TONY HAWK:
It’s not that it’s difficult, it’s just that it’s—nowadays, in the world of vert skating, it, it kind of slows down your, your routine, and your rhythm. and the judges are generally from that era, and so the judges can, ah, can do it. [CHUCKLES] And if the judges can do a trick that you’re doing on the ramp, they’re not going to mark it very well. [LAUGHS] They want to see stuff that they think is impossible.

CNBC:
Your business is very much a family affair. Your sister, Pat, your brother, contributing substantially to its success. is your son Riley gonna follow in your footsteps?

TONY HAWK:
I don’t think my son Riley is that interested in, in the business aspect of, of any of this. He really just wants his skating to do the talking. He doesn’t even like doing interviews about wh—where he is, or where he’s going. He just, he’s, he’s very, stoic and wants his, wants his skating to speak of itself. And I, I’m proud of him for that. I think that he’s really taking his own direction on it, and, and making his own career out of it because of that.

CNBC:
And what is the conversation like at Thanksgiving? Is it business or is it, family, or does it—is it impossible to not have those two things collide sometimes?

TONY HAWK:
When my siblings are all together, it’s not all about business at all. No, because we have plenty of time for that here. You know, we have meetings on a regular basis here at my office, that include, b—both of my sister and I, and, any other business dealings like when we wrote this book together with my brother, it was all via email and phone calls and, and so when we actually do get to see each other on, on, a holidays, we leave all that behinds. [LAUGHS]

CNBC:
What inspires you?

TONY HAWK:
I’m inspired by anyone willing to take a risk for the sake of progression. anyone that, that is out there trying something different or taking a new path, even if it’s not proven, because they feel—they’re, they’re passionate about it, because they feel like it could lead to something better.

CNBC:
Where are you seeing the most innovation in your sport today?

TONY HAWK:
Wow that’s tough. I think the, the—I, I’m seeing the most innovation in, in skating in terms of how people use new technology, how they use the Internet, and, how they, how they promote skating in a way that, that hasn’t been done before. You know, in terms of, internationally, and, and immediately.

CNBC:
So that speaks more to how they’re spreading the word?

TONY HAWK:
I think so, yeah in terms of—well, for instance, if you go on a tour, and, say the tour is a week long, people will make a video from that tour—you know, a really high quality, well edited video, and put it up the moment the tour is over. And that just didn’t happen before. Put it up on the Internet. You know, before, if you were looking for a skate video, and maybe a tour video, it was months afterwards. You know, and it, and generally it was fun to watch, but it wasn’t so instantaneous and so interactive like that. And, nowadays, people like, kids that want to, say, get sponsored by a company. That used to be a painful process of sending out VHS tapes to different companies and hoping to get, get any kind of response, even if it’s a no. And now, if someone puts up a video on a website that is really good, it instantly [SNAPS FINGERS] gets attention. And, it will get the kind of attention that they’re looking for from, from companies. and that’s amazing to me.