Tony Hawk rose to prominence in the 1980s as a young skateboarder who not only excelled in the sport, but also helped turn it into a nationally enjoyed pastime. Hawk made skateboarding history in 1999 when he became the first athlete to successfully land a difficult trick called "The 900," which required a difficult two-and-a-half aerial turn, and managed to be the only person to do so for several years. Hawk gained mainstream appeal, thanks to multi-million dollar endorsement deals, successful video games, and apparel ventures, as well as appearances in films such as the big-budget action thriller "xXx" (2002) and the independent drama "Lords of Dogtown" (2005). In 2000, Hawk released his autobiography HAWK - Occupation: Skateboarder, where he chronicled his humble beginnings and talked about his journey toward becoming one of the skateboarding world's most successful and revered pioneers.
Anthony Frank Hawk was born on May 12, 1968 in Carlsbad, CA. The future sports star was a hyperactive and adventurous child, traits he inherited from his father, who flew torpedo bombers off of aircraft carriers during World War II. Hawk received his first skateboard at the age of nine, a gift from his older brother. It was not long until the Southern California teen began his career as a professional skateboarder, earning his first sponsorship from Dogtown skateboards when he was 12. By the time he was 16, Hawk was considered one of the top skateboarders in the world. His family supported his athletic endeavors, especially his father, who drove the skateboarding protégé to various competitions. For the next 17 years, Hawk competed in more than 100 professional contests, where he reportedly won 73 and placed second in at least 19. Hawk made skateboarding history at the 1999 X Games when he became the first athlete to perform "The 900," a difficult trick that required two and a half mid-air spins. He announced his retirement from professional competition shortly after the 1999 X Games, but held the record as the only skateboarder to successfully land "The 900" for more than a decade.
Hawk remained an influential figure in the world of skateboarding even after his retirement from the sport. He founded the California Amateur Skateboard League and co-founded the National Skateboard Association with his father, both of which helped to transform the sport from the city streets to the mainstream. Hawk signed million-dollar endorsement deals with skate company Birdhouse, video game giant Activision, and also launched his own line called Hawk Clothing that was sold at Kohl's department stores. He published his autobiography, HAWK - Occupation: Skateboarder (2000) that made The New York Times bestseller list. In 2002, Hawk launched the "Boom Boom HuckJam," a multi-city arena tour that featured top extreme sports athletes - from skateboarders to BMX bike riders to Motocross daredevils.
His athleticism and influence on the world of skateboarding also caught the attention of the entertainment industry. One of his earliest film roles was to act as a skateboarding stunt double for actor Eric Stoltz, who was originally cast to star in "Back to the Future" (1985). When Michael J. Fox replaced Stoltz due to production changes, another skater stepped in as his stunt double. Hawk eventually made his feature film debut with a minor role in the action drama, "Thrashin'" (1986). He has later guest-starred in numerous feature films and television series - from playing a caddy driver opposite Vin Diesel in "xXx," to an astronaut in the biographical drama "Lords of Dogtown" - yet Hawk's most memorable onscreen appearances were often cameos as himself. He joined a merry band of pranksters in "Jackass: The Movie" (2002), a hilarious gross-out-fest that featured fellow skateboarder Bam Margera and actor Johnny Knoxville. Hawk returned for the equally successful follow-ups "Jackass Number Two" (2006) and "Jackass 3D" (2010). He released his second book in 2010, How Did I Get Here? The Ascent of an Unlikely CEO, where he shared secrets to his successful journey of professional skateboarder-turned- entrepreneur.