We did what was supposed to be a quick interview with Tony Hawk about his career, but it turns out that he is not very articulate and most of what he said was completely unintelligible. Here are five quotes that we edited heavily for clarity.
Tony Hawk had a pretty hard time explaining himself when we asked him how he knew he wanted to be a professional skateboarder, so we had to edit him down to what was arguably the main sentiment he was trying to get across. After spending about 20 minutes trying to describe what his skateboard looked like using a diagram of what was clearly a minivan, Tony said, “And now it’s time for me to tell you what happens when I sit on my incredible board.” At that point we really tried to help coax a quote out of him, but he kept calling skateboarding “sliding around” and all he would say about it was “I like it better than you do.” We took that to pretty much mean that he has always had a talent for skateboarding and pieced together what we could.
2. “[My typical day starts out with a healthy breakfast and a workout, followed by hitting the skate park, spending time with my wife, and then] lunch.”
Very little of what Tony told us about his typical day was salvageable, starting with when he explained that he doesn’t eat Mentos every day but could if he wanted to, then mumbled for a while about how Mentos are “the fattest mints that exist.” We threw him a few softballs like “How often do you work out?” but what he said about his workout regimen made basically no sense, and he referred at least 15 times to a man he called “old, tired Claude,” which is what it seems like he calls himself when he’s at the gym. At some point Tony mentioned eating lunch, so we ran with that and pretty much put the rest of the quote together from our best guesses about how his life probably works.
The gist of what Tony Hawk said about success was that it was equivalent to happiness, but the way he expressed that was mostly by pulling up hundreds of photos of smiling chimps on his phone, scrolling through them, and saying, “See, now that’s good.” We figured that as long as he said the word “success,” taking down a quote like this one was reasonably fair. Trust us, you would not want to spend your time wading through what he actually said. Three different people had to work for an entire week trying to transcribe the recording. It was supposed to just be a quick, light-hearted interview, but Tony made it very difficult on everyone.
This was the clearest quote we were able to get out of Tony by a long shot. Several hours into the interview we asked him about his work developing a new skateboarding video game in a desperate attempt to get a grabby quote like “The game I want to do next is gonna be the raddest Tony Hawk video game yet.” But after Tony spent a while explaining that video games are fun because “they are like real life but insane,” he then got up to yell at passing cars for a while. After that, Tony turned back toward us and said, “My favorite food is pizza.” We wrote that down immediately.
We thought we were going to get a declarative statement when Tony started a sentence with “I’m,” but that was not the case at all. Instead, Tony followed up the “I’m” with a high-pitched squeal and jumped in the passenger seat of what looked like someone else’s Lyft, which then peeled out and drove away. We’re not entirely sure if this quote represents what he was trying to say, but hopefully this is a fairly accurate interpretation. This interview was truly a nightmare for everyone involved.