Tony Hawk Thrills Fans, Returns to Vert Ramp Five Months After Broken Femur In Vert Alert Event
Salt Lake City, UT (August 31, 2022) — No one has ever questioned Tony Hawk’s drive. When he sets his mind to something, the legendary skateboarder and entrepreneur tends to get it done.
So when Hawk announced on March 8 that he had broken his femur skating his ramp, it became one of the biggest tests of his self-described creed—“I won’t stop skating until I am physically unable.”
On Instagram at the time, Hawk wrote, “I’ll be back… maybe not at full capacity but I resigned to that notion years ago as I approached ‘mid-life.’”
The day after Hawk broke his femur, the trailer for Sam Jones’ HBO documentary on Hawk’s career, Until the Wheels Fall Off, dropped. Two weeks later, Hawk was invited to present at the Oscars on March 27 alongside Shaun White and Kelly Slater and vowed that he would not use crutches to cross the stage—and indeed, he didn’t.
Five months out from the injury, Hawk crossed another recovery milestone off his list. His vert skateboarding event, Tony Hawk’s Vert Alert, returned for its second year after debuting in Salt Lake City last August. Once again, the event was held at the Utah State Fairpark in partnership with the Utah Sports Commission.
The first night of the event featured the Legends Demo, which saw Hawk, Christian Hosoi, Lincoln Ueda, Cara Beth Burnside (who was injured but there for support), Andy Macdonald, Sandro Dias, Bucky Lasek, Mike McGill, Mike Frazier and Lizzie Armanto take to the vert ramp to show off their skills.
Present in the crowd at the free event were fans who thought they may never see their heroes skate again, as well as a whole new generation of fans who may have otherwise missed out altogether.
Perhaps the highlight of the event was Hawk and Macdonald bringing back their famed vert doubles run, which won them six gold medals in X Games vert doubles, including five consecutive years from 1998 to 2002.
The run features the pair doing double McTwists, a Macdonald 360 with Hawk flying over him, two Judo Airs and a neat bit where Macdonald grabs Hawk’s skateboard from the deck of the vert ramp and effortlessly replaces it with his own on the way back down.
“It was a humbling challenge to skate in public tonight but I’m relieved that one of my good runs happened while sharing the ramp with @andymacdonald [Andy Macdonald],” Hawk wrote.
The day after the Legends Demo, Hawk was on the mic for the men’s and women’s vert finals, as well as best trick, after “recovering from asking too much of my leg yesterday.”
But it was quite possibly a once-in-a-lifetime event for the fans who got the chance to see him skate live.
Hawk is “proud of the noise we made last year” with Vert Alert’s debut, he told me in July ahead of its return.
“We’re trying to provide a stage for people who choose to skate vert and we have equal disciplines for male and female skaters,” Hawk said. “Vert skating is an underappreciated discipline in skateboarding, absolutely one of the most exciting for spectators.”
In one of his posts promoting the men’s and women’s finals and best trick events at Vert Alert, Hawk wrote that they were “a bunch of tricks you won’t see in Paris 2024.”
What he means by that is while street and park skateboarding were added to the Olympic program for the Tokyo Games last summer, vert skateboarding was not included. Its next chance to land on a Summer Games program would be Los Angeles 2028—a stone’s throw from its birthplace.
Hawk has been the greatest advocate not only for skateboarding as a whole, but for vert skateboarding specifically.
“Vert skating is where it is because of having someone like you steering the ship for all of us for the last 25-30 years,” Frazier wrote on Hawk’s Instagram, while McGill added, “Thank you for stepping up and supporting vert always.”
Because of Hawk’s efforts as a steward of the sport—as well as his work building new skateparks with The Skatepark Project—we may yet see more equitable vert events for men and women.
After all, Hawk walked across the Oscars stage three weeks after he broke his femur and skated in a vert event five months after that. And he’s clearly elevated the profile of vert, once skateboarding’s most popular discipline, into the mainstream again. Who’s to say he can’t accomplish his goal of getting vert skateboarding into the Olympics?