Tony Hawk thrills local skating community in Socorro

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Tony Hawk thrills local skating community in Socorro

Tony Hawk skates in front of a big crowd at the Pakitu Skate Plaza on Saturday, March 24 in Socorro, TX.

Tony Hawk skates in front of a big crowd at the Pakitu Skate Plaza on Saturday, March 24 in Socorro, TX.

Gaby Velasquez

Tony Hawk skates in front of a big crowd at the Pakitu Skate Plaza on Saturday, March 24 in Socorro, TX.

Gaby Velasquez

Gaby Velasquez

Tony Hawk skates in front of a big crowd at the Pakitu Skate Plaza on Saturday, March 24 in Socorro, TX.

Jeremy Carranco, Sports Editor

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Skateboarding legend Tony Hawk performed live at Pakitu Skate Plaza following a local skating competition on Saturday afternoon in Socorro, TX.

The 49-year old world-famous skater showed no signs of aging, showcasing his same world-class skill with flashy moves and high-jumps on a custom built halfpipe.

Hundreds showed up for the event that included both pro and local skaters, who were alongside their families and friends for the special event.

Following his performance, Hawk took his time signing autographs for fans, creating memories that those in attendance will cherish forever.

“Having Tony here is amazing, he’s not just a legend but is one of the people that made skateboarding what it is today,” said event organizer Fernie Peña.

Hawk earned a total of nine gold medal in the Summer X games, all achieved in seven years from 1995-2002. He is also prominent in entertainment, having his own video games series (Tony Hawk Pro Skater) and being in numerous films and shows on television.

Nicknamed “The Birdman”, Hawk has used his nickname and recognition to create a successful skateboarding company called Birdhouse and the Tony Hawk Foundation. His foundation has raised millions of dollars for the launching of more than 570 skate parks nationwide, mostly in disadvantaged neighborhoods.

“Thanks to him (Tony Hawk) and all the other pros, they’ve opened the doors for skateboarding to be accepted as something positive,” Peña said. “Tony (Hawk) has made skating fun and easier.”

Proir to Hawk’s appearance, the plaza hosted a freestyle skating competition in three levels: beginner, intermediate and advanced. The competition was a street competition, meaning there was no official placement or standings following the event. The day was simply a chance for the skaters to show off their skills and have fun in front of their family and friends.

The beginner competition featured five young skaters who used the board to show their developing skills in speed and gaining air.

The intermediate was the largest group of skaters with 39 total participants. The competition was divided into 13 heats with three skaters competing per heat, moving the freestyles to the five-stair jump and higher leveled walls. Some of the moves that the teen skaters pulled off were the 180 jump, finger flip and manual.

The advanced competition featured some of the area’s best skaters with two competing per round. One professional skater named Jacob Whitt, who is scheduled to compete in World Freestyle Championships in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada from May 18-21, used a non-traditional way of skating to impress those watching on Saturday.

Aside from focusing on speed and landing that perfect jump, Whitt showed his talent by performing waddles with his board and handstands before flipping and landing on his board with his feet.

“I know this is a street contest but I told myself that I was just going to do soley freestyle tricks, just to have fun with it,” Whitt said. “I also wanted to shake out the nerves because I am going to be competing in a couple months, so it was important for me to get some practice in front of a crowd.”

Overall, the event was a success but more importantly it gave the surrounding community and young skaters a chance to see one of skateboarding’s best during one of their quarterly events.

“It was a big day for us and a great opportunity for the kids to see Tony Hawk while also competing on the same day,” Peña said. “Knowing most of these guys out here, it really means a lot to have an event like this to help build their love for skateboarding.”

The plaza plans to hold another local competition in the upcoming months as part of their four event, per year plan.

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