SKATEBOARD LEGEND

Tony Hawk stops by for a little fun at McNair Gravity Park, which his foundation helped fund
By 
Ryan Peerboom — Enterprise Staff Writer
Friday, July 10, 2020
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Enterprise photos by Nate Howard

Mason Slehofer, 15, has his skateboard autographed by professional skateboarder Tony Hawk Thursday at McNair Gravity Park.

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A crowd of skateboarders gathered at McNair Gravity Park when word spread the legendary skater Tony Hawk, third from right, was at the park.

The skaters at McNair Gravity Park got the surprise of a lifetime Thursday when skateboarding legend Tony Hawk dropped in unannounced to skate at the park.

A flood of people descended on the skate park once word spread around town that the skate icon was there.

Hawk, one of the most prominent ambassadors for the sport of skateboarding who landed the first 900-degree spin in competition, has ties to the McNair Gravity Park. The Tony Hawk Foundation gave the city of Livingston a $25,000 grant in 2016 to help fund the facility.

“I can’t claim full responsibility, but yeah, we were happy to help and give our endorsement and give some funding,” Hawk said Thursday after he was finished skating. “That’s the basis of our foundation; we’ve been doing it for 18 years now.”

Hawk, who is also well known for his line of skateboarding video games, pulled up to the skate park in a Jones Soda-branded motorhome while on vacation with his family.  

“To be able to skate it, that’s just a bonus,” he said. “We’re on a family vacation and this is on the way from one place to the next, and I showed a picture to my kids and they’re like, ‘We’re stopping there.’”

After skating, Hawk hung around to chat with fellow skaters who showed up once word spread that he was at the park. He signed autographs and took selfies with fans before heading back out. 

Hawk said Livingston was the right choice to receive the grant because of the support for the park from the community. 

“They had a lot of passion,” he said. “They had done a lot of groundwork and they were really trying to move forward and reaching a lot of stumbling blocks because cities are slow and a lot of times they don’t really understand the positive impact that it might have.”

Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament was also a major factor in getting the park built, Hawk said. 

“Between us and Jeff Ament from Pearl Jam, there was enough support that I think they finally realized there was a need,” Hawk said. 

Hawk said he supports projects like the McNair Gravity Park because of how important his local skate park was to him while growing up. 

“The community I found there, I found people that I connected with and I didn’t find that in other circles or sports,” he said. “And so to have a place like that, to be able to provide places like that, is the best thing I can do with my success.”

After he spent around an hour at the park, Hawk headed back to the motorhome, but he wasn’t done skating just yet. As he was getting ready to pack up his board, a car pulled up and someone yelled, “Do a kickflip!”

Without hesitating, Hawk obliged to the request, as he’s been known to post videos online of himself driving around and yelling the same request at skaters he finds. 

Before he left, Hawk had a message for the community. 

“Thanks to the people of Livingston for hosting us … everyone was super friendly and we had a blast,” he said.