Here comes the Hawk

The greatest skateboarder of all time storms Cayman this weekend.

He is widely considered to be the greatest human to ever surf wood and concrete-and he’s coming to Cayman.

Tony Hawk is scheduled to appear at the Black Pearl Skateboard Park’s official opening this Saturday. He will be accompanied by nine other skate pros. After a ribbon-cutting ceremony at noon, the crew will give the Cayman public a peek at the upper-limits of skateboarding with a demonstration of their high-flying skills.

Hawk changed his sport by creating numerous new tricks and raising the level of professionalism. He helped spark unprecedented interest in skateboarding around the world. Now 37 and retired from competitive skating, he still feels at home in the air and remains perched at the top of his game. His popularity is unchallenged. This month, for example, Hawk picked up his fourth Nickelodeon Kid’s Choice Award, edging out Shaquille O’Neal, Mia Hamm and Alex Rodriguez.

Hawk shredded the video game industry in the 1990s, selling many millions of dollars worth of games to his fans. His book, HAWK: Occupation: Skateboarder, was a bestseller and his charity, the Tony Hawk Foundation is helping plant skateboard parks in poor areas of America.

It is interesting that Hawk succeeded in dominating a sport with such a strong rebel core. He did it while usually presenting himself as downright polite and traditional. He’s the father of three and has no felonies to brag about. The key to his reign, of course, is that he simply skated better than anyone ever had before. Every skater had no choice but to respect him.

A lot of that respect came when Hawk finally pulled off the ‘900’ and hardwired it into his nervous system. At the 1999 X Games he soared off a vertical ramp and successfully completed 2 and 1/2 rotations before safely landing (900 degrees). It had taken five years of failure before he could nail it consistently, and when he did no one doubted that he ruled the kingdom.

The pro skaters scheduled to appear with Tony Hawk are: Alex Chamlers, Steve Nesser, Chet Childress, Kevin Staab, Omar Hassan, Mike Vallely, Darren Navarrette, Shaun Stulz, Matt Dove.

There will be games and chances for the public to win autographed gear. The Black Pearl Skate Park is in Grand Harbour shopping plaza.


HIGH FLIGHT. Tony Hawk has ridden a board with wheels all the way to multi-million dollar and internationally famous heights. He is scheduled to skate at the Black Pearl Park this Saturday. Photo: AP

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