Tony Hawk is one of the most famous skateboarders ever, but these days, he often goes unrecognized.
In an interview with PEOPLE, Hawk, 51, admitted that he is rarely identified in public, and the mistake happens most often at airports — encounters he frequently shares on social media.
“It happens quite a bit, and honestly I’ve stopped sharing every encounter because a lot of them are redundant, but it’s mostly because that’s where they check your ID,” Hawk told PEOPLE.
“So my ID says Anthony, that’s my real name, no one’s ever called me Anthony through my life, but there sets the first bar of confusion, and then they see me and they’re used to seeing me at a younger age, because maybe they only know me from video game days, 20 years ago,” he continued.
Hawk reached the height of his fame during the late 1990s and early 2000s, when he became the first skateboarder to land a “900,” a trick involving the completion of two-and-a-half mid-air revolutions on a skateboard.
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The following years sent him into stardom, with licensed video games, and numerous appearances in other media, such as films.
Now, Hawk says he has the perfect comeback for when he does get a little name recognition.
“I’ve actually had people say ‘Oh, like Tony Hawk, like the skateboarder guy.’ I said, ‘Yeah, exactly like that,’ and they say ‘Oh, I wonder what he’s up to these days.’ My answer to them is, ‘He’s up to this,’ and they still … It doesn’t register,” he said.
However, it doesn’t phase the successful skateboarder.
“I think the misconception is that in these encounters is that I expect people to know who I am,” Hawk said. “I never expect people to know who I am, I didn’t get into this to be rich or famous. So, I just think it’s funny when they either don’t believe it or they don’t know at all, and I’m not trying to help them out with that.”
While Hawk may not be in the spotlight as much, his life of excitement and adventure — particularly with his children — continues, and his latest project allows for fellow dads to experience the same.
Hawk has teamed up with Bagel Bites to create “Rad Dad Squad,” which gives dads and their families the opportunity to spend a day with the athlete at his skate ramp in San Diego for private lessons.
: ‘Skateboarding Saves Lives’: How Tony Hawk is Bringing Skate Parks to Kids in Low-Income Communities
“We’re looking for dads that are really involved with their kids, that get goofy, that really play with them and support them and engage them,” Hawk explained of his latest project.
He added, “And we’re looking for those sort of snippets of their life that they share on social and when they do a #raddadsquad and #sweepstakes we’re actually going to pick some of our favorites and the winners will join me at my office for a skate session and pizza party.”
Hawk is a father of four children — Riley, 26, Spencer, 20, Keegan, 17, and Kandace, 10 — and has taken up teaching his youngest daughter the tricks of skateboarding, which he previously shared on Twitter.
“It’s really fun, it’s very bonding. It’s a little bit nerve-racking just because I want her to overcome her fears, but at the same time I want her to be safe, and there’s a fine line of that, and there’s a fine line of being a parent of where you don’t want to be too pushy with it, but at the same time you don’t want to see them walk away disappointed,” he said.
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And while skateboarding might not be a future profession for daughter Kandace, it was a proud father moment nonetheless for Hawk.
“She definitely came through with a big accomplishment for her and I was really proud of her,” he added. “It’s not something we anticipated to be such a public thing, I was just more sharing it because I thought it was interesting, because I happened to document it — like literally set my phone in a paper cup near the ramp when we were doing it, because I knew that she would want to see it.”
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