'The First Time' With Tony Hawk

Legendary skater and cultural icon Tony Hawk sat down with Rolling Stone to discuss playing a stunt double for David Spade, breaking his elbow while filming a Gap commercial and more in the latest installment of The First Time. He also teased his new Masterclass — during which he teaches skateboarding, of course.

Hawk begins the episode with a reminder that skating wasn’t always easy for him; he started at age nine. “The first time I picked up a skateboard, I ran into the fence because I didn’t know how to turn,” he says. Still, he went on to land the first-ever 900 at the 1999 X Games and is often credited with changing the perception of skateboarding from a subculture to a widely embraced sport. 

“It’s something that I had been trying off and on for about 10 years,” Hawk recalls of the 900. “At some point, I sort of gave up on it because it took so much to get close. … When I finally made it at the X Games in ’99 it was a bit of a surprise. I did not plan to do it that night.”

On being approached to film a Masterclass, Hawk says: “What an honor to be thrown in with so many masters of their fields. I was excited, I jumped right in.” His Masterclass features 16 episodes highlighting the art of skateboarding, techniques at all levels, and intimate stories and insights from his career. Two of his protégés — his son and top-level street skateboarder Riley Hawk and top-level park skateboarder and future Olympian Lizzie Armanto — are featured in the trick demonstrations. 

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