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Tony Hawk is a prolific skateboarder who turned pro at a young age. As one of the most well-known faces of the sport, Hawk invented numerous tricks over his 20-year skating career. He spent the 1980s and 1990s as an innovator, creating and perfecting new tricks. He's most known for inventing gravity-defying aerial tricks -- midair maneuvers typically performed on half-pipes or quarter-pipes that feature a vertical wall with a transition.
Tony Hawk introduced the 900, which he first landed at the 1999 X Games Vert Best Trick competition. He landed it on his eighth attempt of the evening. According to ESPN, Hawk's 900 influenced a generation of skateboarders. Since then, only a handful of skaters have landed a 900 in competition. Considered one of skateboarding's most difficult tricks, the 900 is done by launching down a ramp, soaring up the other side with a great deal of height and speed, then completing 2 1/2 revolutions -- or 900 degrees -- in an aerial spin, while airborne.
One of the tricks Hawk is most proud of inventing is the kickflip McTwist, according to the book, "Tony Hawk: A Life in Skateboarding," by Time Inc. This highly technical trick combines a kickflip, a move invented by Rodney Mullen, with a McTwist created by Mike McGill. A kickflip is performed by swiping your foot at a certain angle so that the board spins 360 degrees and a McTwist is a 540-degree backside spin with a muted grab. This all happens while airborne. Put together into a Kickflip McTwist, the board spins 360 degrees while the skater spins 540 degrees at the same time.
Hawk invented the frontside 540, which is a variation of the regular 540 aerial. In this move, the skater and the board spin 1 1/2 rotations -- 540 degrees -- in midair. The frontside 540 is where you grab your board and twist frontside while spinning 1 1/2 rotations. Hawk invented other variations, like the frontside stalefish 540. As you end the rotation, you reposition your board by grabbing the backside with your back hand right in front of your back foot, which is known as stalefish.
Hawk created the 720, a trick he discovered by accident, according to the Time Inc. book. To perform the 720, a rider grabs his board and spins two revolutions while airborne. Like other aerial tricks it requires a lot of speed and enough height off the lip to complete two full rotations. Today you'll find a wide range of variations of the 720, particularly grab variations like the backside 720, where you grab the board backside. Hawk created variations such as grabbing stalefish for this move as well.
- Tony Hawk: Trick History
- X Games ESPN: Reflecting on Tony Hawk's 900
- Tony Hawk: A Life in Skateboarding: the Tricks, the History, the Progression, the Man; Time Inc.
- Encyclopedia: Tony Hawk
Ainsley Whitley is a contributing writer for various branded properties that together attract more than 280 million readers seeking influential content. Whitley's articles have appeared in various print and online magazines, including "GQ," "Details," "Southern Living" and "Cooking Light."