Hot Wheels played a major role in skateboarder Tony Hawk’s childhood. How could it not be? As the action sports legend points out, he and the brand were both born in the same year, 1968.
In fact, Hawk credits Hot Wheels with spinning the figurative gears in his head for one of his most iconic skateboarding feats – the 360-degree death loop stunt, which he has first completed in 1998 (a year before he made history by landing the first 900 on a green ramp at X Games V).
It’s no surprise, then, that Hawk jumped at the chance to team up with Hot Wheels on the company’s first-ever line of model car keys, Hot Wheels Skate. Just as the Mattel-owned Hot Wheels brand emerged as a toy car competitor to Matchbox in 1968 (with Mattel later buying Matchbox’s parent company, Tyco Toys), Hot Wheels keys are now entering a space currently dominated by X-Concept Tech Deck keys. , launched in the late 1990s.
The Hot Wheels Skate line, which was announced on Wednesday and available in early August, is supposed to be the most inclusive when it comes to fingerboarding, with shoes that clip onto the boards to make it easier for beginners to master tricks. Experienced fingerboarders can use the boards without the shoes.
“The learning curve is quite steep for fingerboarding, so shoes are a unique item,” Hawk told me.
The fingerboard line, which includes five distinct products, features designs created by the Hot Wheels design team in conjunction with Hawk and replicas of some of Hawk’s most famous Birdhouse designs, including the Hawk, Flying Hawk and Birdhouse. skull imagery.
Product prices range from $2.99 (a single fingerboard and clip-on shoes) to $29.99 (an amusement park playset including a fingerboard, shoes and park-themed obstacles. There’s also a set that pairs a fingerboard and shoes with a Hot Wheels die-cast car ($5.99), a multi-pack assortment that includes four assembled fingerboards with iconic Birdhouse designs, and two pairs of skate shoes ( $11.99) and a skate park set including board and shoes ($14.99). “A lot more irreverent than I imagined.”)
Products are available in-store and online exclusively at Walmart
The piece de resistance of the collection, however, is definitely the Hot Wheels x Tony Hawk life-size Birdhouse skateboard deck and matching fingerboard.
Only 100 decks, all signed Hawk, will be sold on July 29 and will be available exclusively on MattelCreations.com starting at $350.
As part of its collaboration with Hawk, Hot Wheels will also donate to his foundation, The Skatepark Project (formerly Tony Hawk Foundation). Since its inception in 2002, the foundation has funded 652 skatepark projects in all 50 states. The Skatepark Project has also provided advice and advocacy training to thousands of skatepark projects around the world.
“I am grateful that Hot Wheels has chosen to support our foundation, The Skatepark Project. It is above all a validation that a great company like this believes in our work and believes in skateparks as something good for young people”, Hawk said.
“Skating was considered an outcast and maladaptive activity when I was a kid and even in the 90s and early 2000s. It was misunderstood and skate parks weren’t embraced. The irony is that the kids were branded as outlaws because they had no place to go in. We were able to change that narrative a bit with public skateparks.
Since skateboarding debuted on the Olympic program at the Tokyo Games last summer, Hawk notes, there has been even more interest, especially internationally, in community skate park projects.
“What has changed since the early Olympics is that the inclusivity factor is very equal in terms of race, gender, age; if you have a skateboard, you are welcome in the fold,” Hawk said. “It’s something that’s been a long time coming, something I’ve always believed in but has been hard to present because skating has been so male-dominated over the decades. Once it blew up on TV and people saw that there were these 14-year-old girls and people from all over the world killing it, and a camaraderie that you don’t see in other sports, who shone.
Removing barriers to accessibility is a major step towards diversifying skateboarding and nurturing the next generation of talent, but skaters who choose to go the competitive route also need competitions willing to pay them fairly.
Green skating, in particular, faced a dearth of fee-paying competition opportunities – only park and street skating were included in the Olympics. The X Games, which ended last week, feature green competition and launched a new “megapark” discipline this summer, but only men were able to compete in green events.
In 2021, Hawk, the athlete whose name is synonymous with discipline, has redoubled his efforts to resurrect it. He launched Tony Hawk’s Vert Alert, what he hopes will become an annual vert skating contest that crowns a male champion, a female champion and also awards prizes for the best male and female trick.
The event also features a Legends demo where, in 2021, sports legends (and likely your choice Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater hand) all took Hawk’s mobile ramp – Bob Burnquist, Bucky Lasek, Andy Macdonald, Christian Hosoi, Mike Frazier, Sandro Dias and Lincoln Ueda.
Vert Alert will return on August 26 and 27 of this year, once again at the Utah State Fairpark in Salt Lake City.
“I’m proud of the noise we made last year and the success of Vert Alert. We try to provide a stage for people who choose to skate green and we have equal disciplines for male and female skaters,” Hawk said. “Green skating is an underrated discipline in skateboarding, absolutely one of the most exciting for spectators.”
Hawk will be the first to praise park skating and clarifies that he gets nothing out of it. But, as an example of what he means, he cites Aussie Keegan Palmer’s winning run in the men’s Olympic park event – punctuated by his varial 540 kickflip body. It was a massive feat – the first time that the return had been successful in a greater contest of the park.
And yet: “It was one of 12 more difficult laps that [13-year-old Brazilian skateboarder] Gui Khury did it in his race [at X Games last week]”, said Hawk. “People don’t understand that [vert] is a different level of technical difficulty compared to park skating. I love park skating, and there’s a certain nuance, style, and skill set that people need to navigate the terrain. But for the real aerial and acrobatic aspects, it’s all about green. We want to promote that.
It’s unclear if Hawk himself will be able to participate in the Legends demo again this year. He broke his right femur in March in a bad fall from his warehouse ramp.
It was the same week that HBO released the trailer for the documentary on Hawk’s life, Tony Hawk: Until the Wheels Fall Off. Hawk was scheduled to present at the Oscars alongside fellow action sports icons Shaun White and Kelly Slater, and he wasn’t going to let injury stop him.
He began his healing methodically, perhaps maniacally. He didn’t miss the Oscars. Now, four months later, he’s back on his ramp to attempt some Caballerials. Never doubt Tony Hawk.
Part of what the HBO documentary captured so well was Hawk’s mostly graceful, but at times seemingly painful transition from competition and life on his board to running his brand. He’s learning to accept the inevitable process of aging (hey, it’s better than the alternative) and understanding what he can and can’t still do on the ramp at the age of 54. With his new Hot Wheels touches, however, he and the brand – both now middle-aged – can return to childhood.