Since becoming a professional skater in 1982, Tony Hawk has helped bring the sport to mainstream prominence, through his amazing tricks, his best-selling video game, and medal-winning performances at the X Games. Now, skateboarding is as popular as ever and will make its Olympic debut at the 2020 Tokyo Summer Games.
Over the years, Hawk has helped push forward the evolution of tricks, including when he became the first skateboarder to land a 900-degree spin trick at the 1999 X-Games in San Francisco:
The skateboarding legend took some time to speak with Men’s Journal about his career, his favorite gear, his favorite drink, and more. Here’s Tony Hawk’s MJ5:
On his the best advice he’s received: “The one good piece of advice that I’ve received is to stay the course and do what you love, even if it’s not the most financially rewarding, because you’ll love what you do for a living. That’s far more important than doing a job you hate just because it’s lucrative. I’ve done what I do for many years without any compensation and I’d gladly do it now without any compensation. I’m very lucky and I don’t take it for granted. Even if it’s not the most lucrative option, it’s going to be the most fun. If you’re in an industry, learn all the other aspects of it, because it’s going to give you an advantage in the end. Always be open to other options in your world.”
On his favorite piece of gear: “Without being painfully obvious, my favorite piece of gear is my skateboard. It’s gotten me this far in life, it’s allowed me to do so many things beyond just skating itself. It still gives me the most enjoyment in terms of physical activity. I am rarely without it. Some people think I carry it around to get recognized, but that is not the case, I assure you. I carry it, especially on planes, because if I check it in and it doesn’t arrive when I get there, it’s a problem.”
On his favorite travel spot: “My favorite place I’ve ever traveled to not for skating is Iceland. It’s amazing. The landscape changes every five or 10 miles. It feels like one time you’re on the moon, in the desert, then lush forests. It’s really amazing there.”
On his favorite drink: “It’s hard to pinpoint my favorite drink, but if I’m actually going to have an adult drink, it would be an Old Fashioned. Not too bitter, savory, with really good whiskey. That’s my go-to. But if it’s in the middle of the day, nothing beats a bottle of Coke. I know the time of day if I’m drinking coffee, water, Coke, or whiskey.”
On his favorite meal to cook: “I don’t really cook meals at home, but the one thing I do make when I’m in a rush, I will make an open-faced turkey or tuna salad sandwich with provolone cheese, avocado, and mustard if it’s turkey. I try to avoid bread these days.”