Tony Hawk. Mentioning that name brings one thing to mind: skateboarding. His name is synonymous with the sport that millions of kids around the world participate in each year at skate parks, driveways, public streets, and wherever. Tony Hawk has a powerful brand, and he’s taken that brand to spread his passion of skateboarding by helping put skate parks in neighborhoods around the United States that can least afford it. This past weekend was a Stand Up For Skateparks fundraiser, and GeekDad was invited to cover the event.
In the U.S. it’s estimated that over 13 million people participate in skateboarding; however, there are only about 3,000 skate parks nationwide. Communities face the challenge of having people skateboard where it is illegal or unwanted and yet lack the funding to provide a place for skateboarding to take place. The Tony Hawk Foundation was started in 2002, and since that time over $3.1 million dollars has been raised and distributed to fund or help fund skate parks in 444 communities.
Tony’s Stand Up For Skateparks events are some of the primary vehicles to help raise funds for the grants. As a dad of 4 children, Tony and the foundation have crafted Stand Up For Skateparks into a family-friendly, high-action event. My youngest son and I went to the October 17th event in Los Angeles, and with the exception of two things, had a great time.
This is a high-energy event with sponsors you would associate with skateboarding – the X-games, Bell, Nixon, Omatic snowboards, Tech Deck, Quicksilver, and others.
Some of my favorite booths were from T-Mobile (they supplied the inflatable slide games), explore.org (they brought Lego bricks), and Clif Kids (fun crafts and games along with healthy snacks). Activision was the title sponsor bringing their soon-to-be-released Tony Hawk: SHRED video game. Everyone got a chance to try out the game which doesn’t release until next week. Look for a review here in the near future.
Outside of participating in both a live and silent auction (which raised $750,000 for grants to skateparks), families had no shortage of food, games, and prizes to fill the afternoon. Looming large in the middle of the event was the ramp. Tony Hawk, a BMX bike rider, and other skateboarders were scheduled to perform mid-afternoon. That’s when we hit one of the two things that was a negative affect on the afternoon – the weather. A slow steady drizzle and cloudy skies kept the weather tarps over the ramp and the skaters off the ramp. (Side note: I thought it never rained in L.A.)
The other thing that negatively affected the afternoon was the band — whose name I won’t mention to avoid providing them any publicity. They did a several song set that I didn’t have a problem with; however at the end of the set, their lead singer let off a string of expletives completely out of place for a family-friendly event. He lost the crowd at that point, tried to salvage the situation with a (lame) joke/disclaimer, and even mumbled “no one’s listening to me” as the band got up to leave. A fitting exit from the stage.
Towards the end of the afternoon the weather did break, so the tarps were pulled down and 150,000 BTU jet heaters were brought out to dry off the wooden ramp. About 3:30pm Tony Hawk on his skateboard and Mat Hoffman on his BMX tested things out. Soon the rest of the skaters came out to warm up and we were treated to an incredible show of skating and BMX tricks. These guys (and one woman) could get some really big air and perform some jaw-dropping tricks.
All in all, with the exception of the headlining band and the way they chose to end their performance, it was a great afternoon for a good cause.
Full disclosure: transportation, lodging, and entrance to the event were provided.