Whenever people mention skateboarding, chances are high that the first athlete you would think of is Tony Hawk.
In fact, his name is pretty synonymous with the sport itself, and for a good reason.
For over 20 years, Tony Hawk created hundreds of skateboarding tricks, helped build a billion-dollar video game franchise, and revolutionized the way we see skateboarding today.
Not too long ago, Tony Hawk also released a skateboarding course on MasterClass where you can learn the basics from one of the best-known professional skateboarders ever.
In this review, I discuss what Tony Hawk teaches in his MasterClass and the reasons why I enjoyed this course.
Let’s get started.
First, what is MasterClass?
Before we stuck into the Tony Hawk MasterClass review, let’s quickly go over what MasterClass is and how much it costs.
MasterClass is making waves as an online education platform because the instructors are some of the world’s most successful people.
Want Timbaland to teach you about music production? Gordon Ramsay to teach you cooking? Daniel Negreanu to teach you poker? Alicia Keys to teach you songwriting? Chris Voss to teach you the art of negotiation? Jeff Koons to teach you art and creativity? Then MasterClass is for you.
The format of MasterClass is pretty standard for the e-learning industry. You get access to lessons in the form of videos and notes.
What makes MasterClass unique, and utterly compelling, is this:
- The instructors are legends in their field. MasterClass has 90+ instructors and all of them are household names. It’s pretty staggering how MasterClass was able to recruit these instructors to come aboard.
- The video lessons are epic. This is because the production quality is Hollywood level good and that the instructors are so candid when they talk about their craft.
I’ve taken over a dozen MasterClasses and I found each one valuable. You can read about my overall experience with MasterClass in my review here.
In my opinion, I’ve found MasterClass more engaging and useful for my brain than binge-watching Netflix all day.
I’m sure you’re wondering:
If you want to consume just one class, it will set you back $90.
But MasterClass also offers an All-Access Pass that gives you unlimited access to every class for $180 per year.
They’ve also got a money-back guarantee. If you’re not satisfied within 30 days, you can get a full refund.
I have the All-Acess Pass option as I originally signed up for the writing courses. It’s completely up to you though, obviously.
Why I Decided to Check Out the Tony Hawk MasterClass
Allow me to preface the rest of this review by saying I had absolutely zero knowledge about skateboarding before I took the course.
I have never tried it as I have been repeatedly told over the years that I walk with two left feet and have no sense of balance or coordination whatsoever.
That being said, I have always been fascinated by skaters in the street who whizz by on the sidewalk and fly above the vert ramps at the skatepark.
So when I saw that Tony Hawk was offering a MasterClass about skateboarding, I was pretty convinced to take a look.
If you’re at least a little bit interested in the world of skateboarding like me, I don’t think anyone can be a better instructor than Tony Hawk himself.
He has been the name and face of skateboarding since the 2000s, although he often recounts all the comical times he wasn’t recognized by fans or mistaken for another celebrity on Twitter.
Simply put, I think it was a worthwhile investment to subscribe to this course because you get to learn from someone who was the best in his field.
He was the world champion of the National Skateboard Association for 12 years and has really brought skateboarding to the forefront of our cultural consciousness.
I also think there is a lot to learn from someone who has pursued one passion for their whole life.
Tony Hawk has been active in the skateboarding industry since he became a pro at 14 years old so I can imagine he would have had a lot of experiences that no other instructor can bring to the table.
Even after retiring from professional competitions, Tony Hawk’s businesses and philanthropic efforts still revolve around skateboarding.
Tony Hawk’s philosophy, which was discussed in the MasterClass lessons, is something that everyone can benefit and learn from.
For him, skateboarding builds a lot of self-confidence and self-belief. After all, one of the major challenges in skateboarding is learning how to stand up after you fall.
Skateboarding is also a community-centric sport, where fellow skateboarders are supportive in teaching and encouraging each other to do next-level tricks.
As many people can do skateboarding, it’s also inclusive enough that most people from all ages and social-economic groups are accepted.
And based on what I learned from Tony Hawk, it really is a fun and engaging sport to pursue.
What Tony Hawk’s MasterClass Is All About
The MasterClass is all about basic skateboarding skills and three different skating styles, as taught by three different pros.
In 101 minutes and 16 video lessons, you will go through cornerstone moves like ollies and backside pop shove-its to more complicated tricks like the Madonna and the McTwist.
Each lesson is also framed with an anecdote related by Tony Hawk so expect to pick up a few life lessons and secrets to success along the way.
The course can be seen in four different segments: The Basics; Street, Park, and Vert; Learn 38 Tricks; and Supplementary Content.
Here is what these segments are all about:
As the title suggests, you begin the course learning all about the fundamental, technical aspects to begin skating.
Tony Hawk will teach you how to choose good gear and how to pick a skateboard.
You will also learn how to push a skateboard, how to stop it, how to turn, how to generate speed, and how to perform an essential tic tac turn.
If you don’t know how to skate yet, this is the best section for you.
Otherwise, stick around and listen to Tony Hawk recounting his career and what skateboarding looked like back then because these parts are really fascinating.
Street, Park, and Vert
For this section, Tony Hawk brings in two other instructors who have more expertise in certain styles of skateboarding.
His son Riley Hawk, another pro skater, will explain how park skateboarding works while world-famous pro Lizzie Armanto teaches you the ways of street skateboarding.
Tony Hawk himself will cover vert, which is the style he became a legend with.
To summarize these unique skateboarding forms, street skating is all about making obstacles work for you.
Park skating is tighter, requiring faster turns and alert reflexes.
Vert is the freestyle skating used in major competitions where the skateboarder is on a U-shaped ramp and each jump is a chance to perform an impressive trick.
Tony Hawk and his team will explain the basic and advanced techniques for these styles as well as how to avoid injury and how to interact with other skateboarders at the skatepark
Learn 38 Tricks
The lessons on skate, park, and vert continue as you see demos on how bigger tricks are performed.
You’ll also learn fundamental moves: the frontside 180 ollie and the backside pop shove it.
Tony Hawk will even get into the nitty-gritty, physics explanations of certain tricks like the 900 and the Kickflip McTwist so more advanced skaters have something to look forward to.
Finally, you’ll receive lessons on how you can become a more complete skateboarder.
Tony Hawk gives you tips on winning and how to handle the problems that may come your way.
I think this was one of the most entertaining sections that can appeal to all audiences.
You’ll hear about competition tricks to make you stand out, how the Tony Hawk Pro-Skater video game got developed, and a glimpse at the optimistic future ahead for the sport.
Who Is Tony Hawk’s Skateboarding MasterClass for?
If you are someone who is:
- Interested in getting into skateboarding
- Eager to learn new skating tricks and techniques
- Serious about improving your skateboarding skills
- Tired of listening to bad skateboarding advice
- Determined to master street, park, and/or vert skating
- Fascinated with Tony Hawk, his skating career, or his Pro-Skater video game series
… then this MasterClass is ideal for you.
Actually, I think this MasterClass course is suited to anyone who wants to learn new tricks, polish what they already have, or start skateboarding for the first time.
As someone who doesn’t have experience with skateboarding, this class surprised me because it wasn’t just a collection of tricks or how-tos.
Rather, Tony Hawk discussed fundamental concepts and principles in skating so I never really felt confused or lost while watching the videos.
The materials included in the course will even guide you on how to purchase your skateboard and safety equipment.
I also enjoyed how the course was designed like a documentary so it was interesting throughout.
I didn’t even notice the hours pass by and it felt like the course was so short because it’s a breeze to watch.
I think Tony Hawk’s skateboarding MasterClass gives the most value for beginners because it eases you into skateboarding, its history, and basic moves.
Of course, more advanced skaters would still benefit from hearing about key techniques pro skateboarders actually use or the different styles for skating.
Maybe you don’t have a lot of experience with vert skating or you really want to improve how you perform a particular trick; the course is great for skaters at any level.
You hear fresh perspectives from the best in the business as the course covers street, park, and vent style-skating.
Intermediate and expert skateboarders would also get the chance to learn tricks invented by Tony Hawk from Tony Hawk himself.
No matter your expertise, you shouldn’t miss this Masterclass.
Based on some reviews, there seems to be some criticism about the class as there are plenty of video tutorials online, and nothing someone teaches you can actually help you if you don’t get on the board yourself.
However, I think it’s important to build some knowledge before you get on a skateboard so you can gain confidence.
And learning from someone who achieved so much in his field will definitely boost your confidence to try skateboarding.
What Makes Tony Hawk the Perfect Mentor
Tony Hawk is a key figure in the realm of skateboarding.
He has accomplished a lot to promote the sport since he became a pro at the age of 14: video games, films, and TV shows.
Even his philanthropic efforts center around skateboarding, as he builds skateparks in underprivileged areas.
As one of the most influential skateboarders of all time, Tony Hawk has done some pretty impressive things.
He has skated across the floor of the New York Stock Exchange and was invited to skate on the grounds of the White House on Father’s Day in 2009.
Over the course of his 17-year competitive career, he developed 100 signature tricks and won over 70 skateboarding competitions — including 10 X Games titles.
Born with an unusually high IQ of 144, Tony Hawk began skateboarding when his older brother gave him a skateboard as an outlet for his hyperactivity.
It proved to be a remarkable passion as he became a professional skateboarder as a teenager.
However, skateboarding’s popularity waned in the early 1990s before he became fully established.
The winnings from contests got cut and many of Tony Hawk’s sponsors dropped.
Eventually, this led him to partner with fellow pro-skateboarder Per Welinder to launch a skateboarding company called Birdhouse, which he still manages to this day.
Soon, extreme sports became the fashion and fueled a new interest in skateboarding.
Upon competing in the first Extreme Games (or X-Games) in 1995, he won the gold and was brought back into the spotlight.
In the 1999 X-Games, Tony Hawk made skateboarding history by completing a trick called the 900, which he will demo in this MasterClass course.
The 900 is a trick where the skater rotates two and half-turns mid-air, a feat Tony Hawk accomplished again in 2016 when he was 48 years old.
After formally retiring from competitive skateboarding in 2003, Tony Hawk continues to promote skateboarding through his business and philanthropic ventures.
The Tony Hawk’s Pro-Skater video game series he helped create with Activision earned both critical and commercial success, effectively introducing the sport to the mainstream.
He also established the Tony Hawk Foundation to fund over 900 legal and safe skateparks in various underprivileged areas around the US.
What makes Tony Hawk such a fantastic mentor for this MasterClass is the wealth of life experiences he shares with students.
He is familiar with all the ups-and-downs (both literal and figurative) that any pro-skateboarder will have to face.
Most importantly, he is an instructor who is more than qualified to teach you about the discipline, hard work, and perseverance required to pursue this sport.
Overall, I think Tony Hawk was a phenomenal instructor for this course.
Everything You Get With Tony Hawk’s MasterClass
If you’re interested in this course, you might be wondering exactly what you will get if you sign up for Tony Hawk’s MasterClass.
You will receive the following materials and resources:
– A 60-page WorkBook: Each MasterClass comes with its own downloadable, PDF workbook.
For Tony Hawk’s class, this PDF is incredibly detailed and it’s really helpful if you want to review something that was discussed in the video.
– Access to the Community Hub: For each course, you can connect to other students through the Community Hub. Although the skateboarding class community is not very active, you still get the chance to meet fellow skateboarding enthusiasts around the world.
– Video lessons: The bulk of your learning will be through 16 video lessons that take around 1 hour and 45 minutes to complete. The videos are broken down as follows:
– Meet Your Instructor: The first video introduces Tony Hawk and gives you an overview of what his class is going to be all about.
– Skills & Techniques: For students who have never stepped on a skateboard prior to the class, this video helps you begin as Tony Hawk walks you through fundamental movements.
– The Ollie: The ollie is a bread-and-butter trick if you want to skate on the street or on ramps. This one technique can be further developed into different types of ollies, which Tony Hawk will explain.
– Underdog to Icon: If you’re looking for more inspiration on skateboarding, this section will definitely help you as it gives you a look at Tony Hawk’s skateboarding journey from scrawny kid to global sport icon.
– Trials & Tribulations: As a continuation of the previous lesson, chapter five covers how Tony Hawk pushed on with skateboarding despite its decline in popularity — and how he picked himself up again.
– Street Basics: Students who want to get on the street should check this lesson out first as Tony Hawk teaches you the fundamentals for navigating a suburban landscape.
– Street Intermediate & Advanced: Riley Hawk steps in to head the class as a top-level street skateboarder. He will teach you all about intermediate and advanced street skating tricks.
– Park Basics: If you plan on dropping by a skate park for the first time, let Tony Hawk show you the basics of dropping in and carving.
– Park Intermediate & Advanced: Lizzie Armanto takes over the class as one of the world’s top female professional skateboarders around, covering intermediate and advanced park tricks.
– Vert Basics and Intermediate: Tony Hawk shows you the fundamentals of vert skating and how this style lets you fly.
– Vert Advanced: This lesson covers Tony Hawk’s advanced signature moves like the 540 McTwist.
Playback: The 900: For students curious about how Tony Hawk accomplished the 900 trick at the 1999 X Games, this lesson is for you.
– Playback: The Kickflip McTwist: Tony Hawk will explain and demonstrate how he invented a combination trick called the Kickflip McTwist.
– How To Win: For serious skateboarders, Tony Hawk will share his tips on what he thought helped him stand out from the rest of the competition.
– An Inside Look: Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater: Fans of the Pro Skater video game series would love this lesson as Tony Hawk explains how the game was created and how it changed the public perception of skateboarding.
– The Future of Skateboarding: The course ends with Tony Hawk sharing his views on how skateboarding evolved from a casual hobby to a Olympic sport and why he’s optimistic about its future.
Is Tony Hawk’s MasterClass Worth It?
Personally, I think the class is great if you want credible advice from an expert skater and if you really want to improve how you skate.
Of course, you will need to practice on the board yourself — but the great thing is that you have the theory to back you up.
With the course content, you’ll move up from beginner to intermediate to expert.
You will have to put in hours of practice but the course allows you to move past stagnating as a beginner and help you progress with your skills.
Many other students on MasterClass seem to be equally satisfied as well, rating the course with 4.7 stars.
And I have to admit, the course will motivate you to try to follow each step-by-step instruction and get on the board yourself.
As Tony Hawk and other pros demonstrate the moves and show you the history of the sport, you won’t be bored or confused at all. It’s a truly unique, well-presented tutorial on skateboarding.
The All-Access Pass would be my preferred way to access this MasterClass, as it gives you access to 90+ other courses from experts on different topics.
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