The end of an era is often a hard reality to contend with, but it allows us to stew in the nostalgia of previous chapters of life while looking forward to whatever comes next. Skateboard legend Tony Hawk kickflipped his way into our hearts several decades ago, officially going pro in 1982 when skating was just finding its footing in the world of professional sports. Hawk set records, invented tricks, and paved the way for pro-skating as we know it today.
Now a 52-year-old dad, the skateboarding icon is quietly celebrating the end of a very special era by performing some of his most famous tricks for the last time. “In 1989 I started trying ollie 540’s as a joke, since it seemed there was no way to keep a skateboard on your feet throughout 1 1/2 spins in the air,” Hawk shared on Instagram. “But at some point I started scooping the tail with my back toe, which kept my feet in place for most of the spin.”
By some miracle, Tony Hawk managed to land the seemingly impossible trick for the first time while shooting a segment for Ban This. “It was the first of many that I’ve made over the last 32 years, and my technique improved as time went on. But they’ve gotten scarier in recent years, as the landing commitment can be risky if your feet aren’t in the right places. And my willingness to slam unexpectedly into the flat bottom has waned greatly over the last decade.”
In Hawk’s post, he shares the footage of his very first ollie 540, a clip filled with promise anticipation of all the firsts yet to come. Following the first clip is a second more somber one, Tony Hawk’s very last ollie.
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“So today I decided to do it one more time… and never again,” he explains.
In the final video, Hawk lands a flawless ollie – his last flawless ollie, before putting his head and his hands, dropping to his knees, and fully absorbing the weight of the moment.
“I’m a little sad,” he says quietly.
Every story has a beginning, a middle, and an end – but this is far from the end of Tony Hawk’s story. While it may be the last page of his time on the ramp, it’s the beginning of whatever adventure he chooses to chase next. An adventure, perhaps, that’s a little easier on the knees.