An Interview

Tony Hawk : Seven Questions

Craig Snyder, July 2012

[Not counting the Bro Bowl,] how many skateparks do you know of from the 1970s that are left in the United States?
Only Kona in Jacksonville and Derby in San Francisco.

Would you regard these last remaining ’70s parks as significant in historical, cultural or other terms?
They represent skateboarding's history better than any video or story; they show how we used to ride and where most modern tricks were formulated.

What about the Bro Bowl?
Yes, I am familiar with it because it remained throughout the years of skateboarding's ups and downs in popularity. No matter which parks opened or closed, Bro Bowl was always there and available to ride.

How important were the ’70s and the creations of that era?
It is why we have bowls, halfpipes, and even Megaramps. Skaters in the ’70s were trying to emulate surfing, so they took to empty swimming pools and eventually created their own versions (with better transitions and lines).

Do you think the last remaining skateparks should have some sort of protected status?
Yes. I was sad when Carlsbad Skatepark [in Carlsbad, California] got demolished a few years ago to make way for an industrial park. It would have been an ideal setting for a skateboarding museum or Hall Of Fame. Perhaps Bro Bowl could be that place.

Is there anything significant about the Bro Bowl that stands out in your mind?
That Tampa has the world-renowned Skatepark Of Tampa, but the locals are equally as proud of the Bro Bowl.

Is there anything else you would like to add?
Please keep skating's history alive for future generations.

Tony Hawk has been skateboarding since the 1970s and he has ridden many of the early sacred concrete parks. He is one of the world's most famous skateboarders and public figures, widely considered to be one of the most successful and influential pioneers of modern vert skateboarding. Hawk launched the Tony Hawk Foundation in 2002, which has given away more than US $3.4 million to help build over 400 skateparks around the US. The Foundation supports projects in low-income areas and helps underprivileged kids.

Craig Snyder is a skate and surf historian whose soon-to-be-released book, A Secret History of the Ollie, helps document the Bro Bowl and its historical significance, as well as many of the other pioneering skateparks of the 1970s.