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Skateboard legend Tony Hawk
This article is about the American skateboarder. For the British comedian and author, see Tony Hawks. For the New Zealand basketball player, see Tony Hawke.
Anthony Frank Hawk (born May 12 1968), known as Tony Hawk
 uses physics to land his daredevil skate stunts.

It had never been done before. Not even Tony Hawk, perhaps the world's greatest skateboarder, had ever landed a front-side "900"--two-and-one-half midair somersaults (900 degrees of rotation)!--the pinnacle of all of skate stunts. Hawk, 33, wrestled with the stunt for 10 years--with nothing to show for it but a busted bust·ed  
1. Slang
a. Smashed or broken: busted glass; a busted rib.

b. Out of order; inoperable: a busted vending machine.


Then he headlined the 1999 ESPN ESPN Entertainment and Sports Programming Network  X Games X Games Sports medicine The official Olympics of 'extreme sports' sponsored by ESPN, held annually during the summer. See Extreme sports. , the Olympic Games Olympic games, premier athletic meeting of ancient Greece, and, in modern times, series of international sports contests. The Olympics of Ancient Greece

Although records cannot verify games earlier than 776 B.C.
 of extreme sports extreme sports

Sports events characterized by high speed or high risk. Such sports include aggressive inline skating, wakeboarding, street luge, skateboarding, and freestyle bicycle events (wherein tricks such as back flips are performed on a bicycle).
, where 8,000 screaming fans overflowed Mission Bay Park in San Francisco San Francisco (săn frănsĭs`kō), city (1990 pop. 723,959), coextensive with San Francisco co., W Calif., on the tip of a peninsula between the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay, which are connected by the strait known as the Golden , Calif.

All eyes were riveted on the lanky lank·y  
adj. lank·i·er, lank·i·est
Tall, thin, and ungainly. See Synonyms at lean2.

lanki·ly adv.
 skate champ as he launched 1.5 meters (5 feet) off the rim of a half pipe--a hollow U-shaped ramp that's flat in the middle and curls skyward sky·ward  
adv. & adj.
At or toward the sky.

skywards adv.
 with steep walls. Midair he executed two-and-one-half warp-speed flips with the board tight at his feet. He flawlessly sailed back into the half pipe--and became the first skater in history to nail a perfect 900! The crowd went wild. "It was my greatest personal achievement," says Hawk.


The most awesome force in skateboarding skateboarding

Form of recreation, popular among youths, in which a person rides standing balanced on a small board mounted on wheels. The skateboard first appeared in the early 1960s on paved areas along California beaches as a makeshift diversion for surfers when the ocean
 is gravity, the force that pulls all things toward Earth. Gravity helps keep Hawk glued to his board and guarantees every air-bound trick returns to Earth. Gravity also helps him accelerate, or pick up speed, as he swoops Swoops are a chocolate candy manufactured by The Hershey Company. They are potato-chip shaped, and come in many candybar flavors. These flavors are as follows. Hershey's Milk Chocolate, Almond Joy, Reese's Peanut Butter, York Peppermint Pattie, White Chocolate Reeses, and Toffee  down into the half pipe. Speed is critical for Hawk: the faster he goes, the higher he can soar out of the pipe--and the more seconds for his in-flight magic.

What's the first step Hawk must take to gain speed? Overcome inertia, the resistance of an object to a change in motion. According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.

2. In keeping with: according to instructions.

 Newton's first law of motion Noun 1. Newton's first law of motion - a body remains at rest or in motion with a constant velocity unless acted upon by an external force
first law of motion, Newton's first law
, an object at rest remains at rest unless acted upon by an outside force. That means Hawk needs to exert enough force to launch his body and board off the pipe's lip or edge. His leg muscles generate the force in the form of kinetic energy kinetic energy: see energy.
kinetic energy

Form of energy that an object has by reason of its motion. The kind of motion may be translation (motion along a path from one place to another), rotation about an axis, vibration, or any combination of
 (energy of a moving object).

Another way Hawk amps up speed: a technique called pumping. As he glides across the ramp's flat bottom, called the transition, Hawk crouches low on his board. Then, as he nears the steep incline, he quickly bends his knees and straightens his legs. This raises Hawk's center of mass, the point where he perfectly balances the entire weight of his body, and increases his kinetic energy. More energy translates into lightning-speed maneuvers.


The 900 may be Hawk's ultimate claim to fame: "I thought up the trick in 1986, but didn't have the guts to try it for 10 years." To master the stunt, Hawk endlessly practiced midair somersaults--which rely on angular momentum angular momentum: see momentum.
angular momentum

Property that describes the rotary inertia of a system in motion about an axis. It is a vector quantity, having both magnitude and direction.
, or the moving power of a rotating object. At 1.5 m (5 ft) above the half pipe rim, Hawk has less than 2 seconds to complete two-and-one-half full flips. Rotating his legs beneath him--as his arms and torso rotate in the opposite direction--Hawk curls his body into a tight ball. He draws his weight closer to his axis of rotation Noun 1. axis of rotation - the center around which something rotates

mechanism - device consisting of a piece of machinery; has moving parts that perform some function
 (center point at which Hawk rotates), and hikes up his speed. It's the same principle used by twirling Twirling is any of several artforms, hobbies, or sport and recreational activities accomplished by spinning or rotating the twirled object either for exercise, or in a rhythmic, or otherwise artful manner.  figure skaters when they perform their routines by pulling their arms close to their body. "The most dangerous thing to do is to panic and stop your spin in the middle of a trick," Hawk cautions. "You end up on your back!"

Naturally, what goes up must come down. The second part of Newton's first law of motion states that objects in motion stay in motion until acted on by an outside force. Hawk might soar skyward forever if not for gravity exerting a downward force on his body and board. Gravity's force reconnects Hawk and his board to the ramp.

Grasping the laws of physics may help you become a better skater, but Hawk also suggests using the laws of common sense. "When I try a trick I don't throw caution to the wind," he says. "I figure out the safest way to approach it, then practice until I can say, 'OK, this is the right way to do it.'"

Hawk officially retired from pro skating last year, but his skate career, along with his skateboard company and best-selling videogame (see "Tony Hawk's Pro Skater Tony Hawk's Pro Skater (THPS), released as Tony Hawk's Skateboarding in Europe, is a skateboarding video game, and the first in the Tony Hawk's series.  2[TM]), has netted the legend more than $1 million! To join Tony Hawk's fan club, check out his Web site:

SKATEBOARD LEGEND TONY HAWK rockets off the half pipe to execute what he calls the "Stale Fish"--a midair front-of-the-board grab with one hand. The stunt is one of more than 100 daredevil tricks he's invented. Others include the "Madonna" (Hawk grabs the nose of his board in midair and kicks one leg out) and the "720 McHawk" (in midair Hawk flips twice with the board at his feet).

How does he do it? Practice! The California native started skateboarding at age 9. By 14, he ranked as the world's number one boarder and since then has nabbed more prizes than anyone. "Skateboarding keeps me motivated," Hawk says. "Every time I get on the board I learn something new."



1 Hawk drops into the half pipe by pushing off its solid rim. In turn, the rim pushes back on Hawk with an equal and opposite force to propel him forward. (The same force rebounds a tennis ball as it smashes against a wall).

2 As Hawk edges over the rim, the upward force pushing beneath his board disappears.

3 Gravity's downward force accelerates Hawk and his board down the ramp.


MAY THE "FORCE" BE WITH YOU See how the forces of physics help Hawk "ollie Ollie may refer to the following:
  • Shortened form of the given name Oliver
  • Ollie (skateboarding trick), the skateboarding trick invented by Alan "Ollie" Gelfand
  • Ollie Impossible, a variant of the trick first performed by Rodney Mullen
" over this bench.

1 On the approach, Hawk bends his knees and lowers his center of mass (balancing point).

2 Hawk straightens his knees and raises his center of mass. He also exerts a sharp downward force on the tail of the board, forcing its nose up.

3 The ground pushes back on Hawk's board with an equal and opposite force. This force and his upward momentum launch him into the air.

4 Midair over the bench, Hawk pulls his knees to his chest. His front foot exerts a downward force on the nose of the board. This raises the board's tail and changes Hawk's velocity, or his speed and direction.

5 Gravity's downward pull balances out the upward forces acting on Hawk. With both feet on the board, Hawk lands and bends his knees to absorb the impact.



Tony Hawk wipes out on the half pipe. Why? His center of mass was improperly balanced over his skateboard. If Hawk shifts too much weight over the board's nose, for example, gravity's downward force will send him tumbling. Don't try this at home!



How does Tony Hawk balance with one hand on the lip of a half pipe (see photo on p. 16)? He positions his arm directly beneath his center of gravity, the point at which the entire weight of his body balances. At this point, gravity pulls equally on all part of his body. Check out the experiment below to see how a saltshaker's center of gravity helps it balance on its edge.

YOU NEED: a saltshaker full of salt * two pinches of salt


1 Sprinkle two pinches of salt onto a table and push the salt into a mound.

2 Tilt the saltshaker halfway toward the tabletop and place one of its edges in the middle of the salt pile; crush the salt on which the edge is resting by pushing on the saltshaker.

3 With your finger or a pencil point, tightly pack some salt under outside edge of the shaker Shaker

Member of the United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Appearing, a celibate millenarian sect. Derived from a branch of the radical English Quakers (see Society of Friends), the movement was brought to the U.S.

4 Using both hands, slightly tilt the shaker back and forth until you find the point at which the saltshaker balances on its edge. (If you have trouble, wedge more salt under the shaker and try again).

5 Once you balance the shaker, put your mouth at table level. Gently blow the salt away from the shaker. Be careful: If you blow too hard, the shaker could fall over.

6 Your shaker appears to be balancing by itself!

CONCLUSION: What keeps the saltshaker from tipping over? How does salt help support the shaker's center of mass? What happens to the shaker if you remove all of the salt? Why?


Anatomy of a Video Game: Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 [TM]

Check out Tony Hawk's smash-hit video game Pro Skater 2. This interactive adventure puts you in the virtual shoes of Tony Hawk and is among the most advanced video games See video game console.  ever created. But without these basic computer parts the game would "crash."

* Hardware: Mechanical parts you can see and touch, like the game console See video game console. , the box-like computer that plays video games.

* Software: Programmed instructions inside the video game that interact with the hardware.

* Central processing unit See CPU.

(architecture, processor) central processing unit - (CPU, processor) The part of a computer which controls all the other parts. Designs vary widely but the CPU generally consists of the control unit, the arithmetic and logic unit (ALU), registers, temporary buffers
 in full central processing unit

Principal component of a digital computer, composed of a control unit, an instruction-decoding unit, and an arithmetic-logic unit.
): An electronic device that allows the game to perform multiple tasks. Each button you press transmits a command to the CPU in the form of an electronic signal that travels near the speed of light (186,000 miles per second)!

* Computer codes: The "beef" of a video game: written instructions that the computer translates into a series of numbers called binary code binary code

Code used in digital computers, based on a binary number system in which there are only two possible states, off and on, usually symbolized by 0 and 1. Whereas in a decimal system, which employs 10 digits, each digit position represents a power of 10 (100, 1,000,
 (a two-digit computer language made of zeros and ones). Each code commands the CPU to perform a different task, like displaying 3-D images.

* 3-D graphics: Images with height, width, and depth made up of thousands of tiny pixels, or small bits of information that form shapes.

* Motion capture: A technique used to fuse real-life video footage into a video game's animated images. To help make the reality-based graphics in Pro Skater 2, Hawk stuck green Ping-Pong balls to his body. Then he performed skate stunts in front of a video camera. The footage was fed into a computer, and animated characters were created to trace the movements of the green balls. Learn more about videogames at:


Be a Skate Stunt Scientist!

GRAND PRIZE: An autographed Tony Hawk skateboard.

10 FINALISTS: Tony Hawk's new video game Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2.

YOUR MISSION: Tony Hawk has created more than 100 skateboard tricks. Now it's your turn--and you don't even need to know how to skateboard. The only thing you need to enter our contest is imagination and physics know-how. Design, describe, and name a skateboard trick. (It can be any combination of flips, twists, and jumps.) Then explain the physics principles that would make your new skate stunt possible.


* a written description of your skateboard trick (include a creative name) on an 8 1/2-by-11-inch sheet of paper

* an illustration or diagram of your trick

* a written explanation of the physics principles that make it possible.

An official entry form, along with the contest's official rules, can be found in this issue's Teacher's Edition.


Cross-Curricular Connection

History: Trace the history of skateboarding to its origins in California during the early 1960s. Name the first three professional female skateboarders.

Did You Know?

* At age 33, Tony Hawk is one of the oldest elite skateboarders. The average age of pro skaters is 20.

* During a formal half pipe competition, a skater has 45 seconds to perform variations on three types of acrobatic tricks: lip tricks This article or section may contain original research or unverified claims.

Please help Wikipedia by adding references. See the for details.
This article has been tagged since September 2007.
 (performed on the edge of the pipe), aerials (performed above the pipe), and plants (performed with the skater's hand or foot).

* Most skateboards skateboards

mini surfboard supported on roller-skate wheels; 1960s craze enjoyed renaissance. [Am. Hist.: Sann, 151–152]

See : Fads
 are made of seven layers of maple wood--a material that allows for maximum elasticity, flexibility, and toughness.

Directions: After reading the story "Fly Like a Hawk," fill in the blanks.

1. The force that pulls all things toward Earth is --.

2. Gravity helps Hawk --, or pick up speed, as he swoops down the half pipe.

3. To gain speed the first thing Hawk must do is overcome --.

4. An object at rest will remain at rest according to --.

5. Hawk's -- is the point where his weight is perfectly balanced.


1. gravity

2. accelerate

3. inertia

4. Newton's First Law of Motion

5. center of mass
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Title Annotation:skateboarder Tony Hawk
Publication:Science World
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 12, 2001
Previous Article:CLIMATE FEVER.
Next Article:You Can Do It.

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