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Tony Hawk: From Skateboard to Boardroom


A lot of you must have heard about skateboarding legend Tony Hawk and his absolute prowess as an athlete.

But something that might be news for you is the fact that just as his landing of the 900 at the 1999 X Games was historic, so is his precision and success as an entrepreneur, be it the Birdhouse, Tony Hawk Clothing line or the Tony Hawk Pro Skater video game series.

However, this is not any sudden development for this Southern California based boy. He turned into a professional at a tender age of 14 and also developed the keen understanding that he must start investing the money he is winning. Needless to mention the growth in his professional achievements and investments became interlinked to each other.

Tony Hawk Success Story

The Tony Hawk’s Early Days

Tony got his first set of skateboards at a tender age of nine and has not turned back since then. He made the two and half midair spin, a classic to remember forever and started his first company at a time when the Skateboard industry was on the brink of losses. But Tony Hawk had his gaze fixed on future and did not get buoyed by challenges that present had to offer.

As you would already know he is amongst the world’s highly paid athletes and according to Forbes, his earnings stand around $12 million annually. His product range includes Tony Hawk skateboards, bicycles, shoes and clothes. Additionally, there is also a bestselling autobiography, the exhibition tour and of course the recent addition, a video game series.

With his worldwide sales close to topping $1.6 billion, he has earned the rare feat of sustaining a successful business even at a time when skateboarding was not as much of an acceptable sport, way back in 1999. As he grew as a sports person, so did his fortune as a businessman. So what crucial sporting lesson did he incorporate in his business venture to reap rich reward?. We decided to scan through his career trajectory to understand the way sports and business got interlinked.

Sports Mantra Enriching Boardroom Efficiency

Tony Hawk surely has his eyes on the future, and that helps him to sustain his business over the long-term. Perhaps his office in Vista, California truly embodies his radical spirit and that important X factor that sets him apart from the rest. From the outside, it seems like any other sprawling successful office building but when you enter you know the difference.

It has a $2 million state of the art vertical skating ramp not just for product testing but also to provide the thrill factor to employees including himself and prepare better for challenges.

Ready To Take Up Challenges

As a skateboard champion, one of the earliest factors that Tony Hawk mastered was to accept any kind of challenge and overcome it in any fashion. He is not afraid to take risks whether it is in his sport or the business. The mid-air two and half 900 degree spin in many ways exemplifies his business outlook too. He is one of the champions of the fundamental clause of entrepreneurship; one should enjoy what one does and learn as much and whatever possible about something that they enjoy.

It is this in-depth knowledge that helps them become confident about the challenges that face them and gives them the mental strength to follow their gut feeling. Invariably the gut feeling is something instinctive and often a split second decision on them makes or breaks the outcome. Just as in the game, Tony Hawk never over analyses his decisions or actions. He just follows his instinctive response to a situation and takes it forward there on.

Brand Is Primary

If you notice, each player has a specific approach and manner of presenting their sport, and they are extremely conscious of keeping it as it is under any circumstance. Tony Hawk maintains in the same way; it is important for an entrepreneur to protect the brand that they create. He maintains that even as a sportsperson, maintaining control of the brand is crucial come whatever. He believes that it is a much better strategy to put trusted associates in the major responsibility zones but the final control is always better to remain with the entrepreneur, the key brain who conceptualized the entire exercise.

There Is No End to Learning

Whatever you might be doing in life, learning is a crucial aspect of living a quality life. Taking a skating example, Tony Hawk outlines how he learnt several skating forms which he had no interest in as well. He maintains that it is this experience that provided him with the confidence of being in any position and yet coming out of it stronger be it in his career as a sports person or otherwise as an out of the box entrepreneur who converted his passion into a brilliant business idea.

Even as Tony Hawk’s latest brainchild, the video game series clocked sales close to $1.5 billion and his diversified business now includes pretty much every aspect of a lifestyle product you can associate with a sports person. These include clothes, sporting gear, books, reel games and even film production, it is difficult not to be wowed by the scale of his achievements in more ways than can be imagined.

Tony Hawk, perhaps in excelling as an entrepreneur, has kept one sporting mantra very close to his heart and that is following his heart and staying true to his passion. Even at the time when he opened Birdhouse, even in the face of tanking business prospects of the skating industry, he did not flinch for a second in investing all his earnings towards the one simple goal and motive that he considered worthwhile in investing and Voila!

You had the success story called Birdhouse. The rest, as they say, is history but Tony Hawk truly embodies the sporting spirit in attaining his entrepreneurial goals. The never say die spirit that often makes the sportsperson to make that final dash to the finish line is also the same X-factor that helps an entrepreneur to make it big in the world of business.



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"Whether you think you can, or you think you cannot, you are right." - Henry Ford

2 thoughts on “Tony Hawk: From Skateboard to Boardroom
  1. I began surfing at the age of 7 years old and was competing by 14 years old. I surfed beside some of the best in the world at the aloe up cup held in new Smyrna Beach Florida many years ago. I can relate to tony on that level. I always regret not going pro but would have had a hard time winning events due to Kelly Slater being in my age range. I have been in position many times to do great things but feel nothing compares to the opportunity here at luckscout.

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