Sports & Gaming

Trials & Tribulations

Tony Hawk

Lesson time 6:19 min

At the peak of his success, Tony nearly loses it all when skateboarding tanks in popularity. Tony opens up about rebuilding his career and how he learned that his love of skateboarding means more to him than the money.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: The Birdhouse Business


- I think there's so much to learn from failure through your life. You learn what you're capable of. You learn what you can endure. And you learn to be successful through those failures. [MUSIC PLAYING] My best advice to anyone that experiences early success is to realize that it might be short lived. Definitely enjoy it while you can, but stay true to your values and save your money. It was really strange to be at a young age making money. I was 17 years old. I was making six figures from royalties and from prize money. And it just felt surreal. And at some point when you're that young and you get that much success very quickly, you think you're invincible and you think that it's never going to end. And suddenly I found myself buying cars. I bought a house. I bought a house when I was 17. My parents co-signed it, but I paid for it. And then I was living on my own as a senior in high school. You know when you're a senior and some kids' parents aren't home and that's where everyone's partying? My parents were never home. The party was always at my house. But at the same time, my priority was skating. So I was very lucky that I realized early on that these distractions of partying and fame and whatnot are only pulling you away from this activity or your skill set. And I knew that my priority was always to keep skating and getting better and skating. And I think that's what saw me through those very formative years and those times when I could've just fallen into that trap. I'd have been one of those behind the music. Well, he had a good run, and then he struggled the rest of his life. Well, the first sign that the skateboarding was declining in popularity were the skate parks closing. And a lot of them closed because it was the popularity waning, but most of them closed because they couldn't afford the liability insurance anymore. And then through the '90s, because of the lack of facilities, people took to the streets. People were out skating private property and trespassing and getting tickets. So to be a skater back then, you had to kind of be an outlaw or you had to not worry about that element. And if you're trying to make a living at it, good luck. The opportunities were drying up. The competitions were scarce. Sponsorships were scarce. My royalty checks in the early '90s were being cut in half every month. I'm not talking about a gradual decline. I'm talking about one month I made $2,000. The next month I made $1,000. Next month I made $500. And you just can't maintain a career that way. And so I started looking for other ways to make ends meet. I started a skateboard company in 1992 when skateboarding was sort of at its biggest lull of popularity, because I thought it was my transition from being a pro skater to being a company owner. Because I thought that my career as a skater was kind of done. I was more known as a vert skater. Vert skating was over. And I believed in the cycle of skating. I saw it come and...

About the Instructor

A pro at 14 and the first to land a 900 at the X Games, Tony Hawk is one of the most influential skateboarders of all time. Now he’s helping you take your skateboarding to the next level. Joined by pros Lizzie Armanto and Riley Hawk, Tony teaches you beginner, intermediate, and advanced tricks in street, park, and vert. Learn how to push yourself, get up when you fall, and find your own style. Start reaching new heights.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

Tony Hawk

Legendary skateboarder Tony Hawk teaches you how to take your skateboarding to the next level, whether you’re a beginner or a pro.

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