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Hawk Talks Kids, Community and Skateparks
On August 21, the Tony Hawk Birdhouse Crew Tour kicked off at the Westwind Lakes Skatepark. We had a chance to catch up with Tony Hawk and talk about the benefits of skateparks to kids and the community.
MDParks: What's the impact you see a skatepark like this one having on a neighborhood community?
TH: It's awesome, because it creates a community for kids to share ideas in, where they're looked after and cared for. When you build a skatepark, it gets used all day long.
MDParks: Especially in summer. And, it's cool how kids are never limited, because skateboarding can be an individual or group sport.
SkateboardersMDParks: Got any advice for kids hoping to achieve your level of success in skateboarding?
TH: Keep challenging yourself. Don't rest on your accolades.
MDParks: What's the biggest mistake you see kids making?
TH: They lose their motivation once they get a taste of success.
MDParks: If you could do anything else, what would that be?
TH: Nothing. I'm doing my passion. I gave up playing violin to skate. I played it for three years and started when I was 8. I started skateboarding when I was 10.
MDParks: What other sports do you love?
TH: I snowboard a lot and surf, too, because they're all similar sports. They're fun.
MDParks: What's the next big goal you're going after?
TH: My foundation - I want to take it international. You can check it out at www.tonyhawkfoundation.org.
MDParks: What's the best way to support your foundation?
TH: Donate skateboards to kids in need.
Close enough to see them sweat
9 year old Pedro Pablo Garcia Ramo was both starstruck and awestruck at the launch of the Tony Hawk Birdhouse Crew Tour that rocked the Westwind Lakes Skatepark near his home on August 21. It was a skateboarder's dream event where the gods of skateboarding shocked fans with screaming tricks and got up close and personal with the crowd that cheered them on.
Pedro Pablo and nearly 1,200 fans were given the opportunity to meet the legends Tony Hawk, Kevin Staab and Willy Santos, along with the rest of the Crew, including Aaron "Jaws" Homoki, Riley Hawk, Shawn Hale, Clint Walker, David Loy, Shaun Gregoire, and Elliot Sloan. But, Pedro Pablo got lucky when the legends walked into the gated skate court where he was riding and allowed him and about 100 others to stay inside to watch the spectacle they were about to put on.
Standing just two feet away-and sometimes just inches-from his icons and the professional photographers at their feet, Pedro Pablo got a good close-up look at how the greats create their magic and the hard work and risks that go into putting on a jaw dropping display of skills.
We took a time-out to ask Pedro Pablo a couple of questions:
Q: I just heard you telling your friends that Tony Hawk is the only one skating on the court today that's wearing a helmet. Why did you think that was important?
PP: He's the only one who thinks he needs safety. Thank God, because he fell, but he had his helmet on, so that was good.
Q: What do you think about today's Birdhouse Crew Tour event with Tony Hawk, all of the guys and all of these people?
PP: It's awesome! I've never seen this before, skateboarding like right in front of me.
Before and after the big show, the pros signed autographs, shook hands and posed for photos with fans, even handing out free posters and skateboards. Pedro Pablo walked away with a Tony Hawk autographed poster and memories he will never forget, like when he yelled out to the pros at the top of the ramp who were catching a deep breath before taking off on another dare-devil trick, "Believe in yourself!"
Who knows, Pedro Pablo just might be the next Hawk, Staab or Santos to inspire and be inspired by fans.
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