Riley Hawk is too damn normal. I was hoping for some stories about crashing his dad’s cars or partying in clubs with hot pantyless celebrities, but instead we talked about moving out of his parent’s house. Big whoop! For being the son of Tony Hawk and skating for the Baker squad, Riley is way too down to earth. He’s genuinely humble, well spoken and has a stronger work ethic than most people I know – maybe some of these flashy jock skaters can take note and learn a thing or two from him. I’m still hoping one day Riley will go on a celebrity tabloid rampage and we’ll have lots of outrageous rumors to talk about, but for now, he’s just another talented hungry skater and soon to become one of street skateboarding’s most admired.
You’re 20, do you have a plan for when you want to move out and get your own pad?
I want to try and buy a house in the next couple of years. I’ve just been at my dad’s saving and figuring out that whole thing. When I was 18, I moved out for a little and just came back recently to save money. It’s kinda like a gnarly life hammer but it definitely helps having someone like my dad who has been down the exact same path.
Have you ever been home and some crazy celebrity is just sitting in your living room?
I live in kinda like a pool house, it’s in the back and separated from the rest of the house so I’m not inside there that much. But I remember when I was 16, it was my little sister’s birthday and for some reason Megan Fox was there. My dad is friends with her husband or something. I didn’t even recognize her or know who she was at the time but my dad told me to take a picture with her. It was random, she didn’t look how you would expect her to.
What do you mean? She looked normal?
She just had reading glasses on, looked kinda normal. It didn’t look like her really. I mean I don’t know what she’s doing now but that was kinda in her peak, when everyone was freaking out about her in the movie Transformers. I’m not really one to ask someone to take a picture but it’s kinda funny to have one with her.
Have you ever been caught doing stuff in your dad’s jacuzzi?
No. The Jacuzzi doesn’t even work right now, I’m bummed. Every day after I skate I used to go in there for a minute just to like, relieve the soreness, but now that it’s broken I’m just sore all the time.
Have you ever jerked off in the jacuzzi to “relieve the soreness”?
No… I can’t say I have.
When you were younger were you ever followed by the paparazzi or had to do any crazy things like send out a decoy car?
No, never. Nothing like that. My dad doesn’t even really get that. We live in San Diego, I’m sure if we were in LA people might be firing off photos or something. I mean if you don’t skateboard, I don’t think anyone really even knows who I am. I don’t look like I would be anyone, you know?
Even as a kid when Tony was blowing up in the late 90s / early 00s?
I’ve been to a couple of movie premieres with my dad, with the red carpet there and it’s definitely crazy but I’ve never been heckled. Maybe if I go to a skatepark there might be a kid that’s stoked and asks for a picture but never paparazzi or anything. I think kids are so used to seeing skateboarders and celebrities and stuff around here, so just seeing me, you know, they don’t even give a shit.
Do you get an allowance or something still?
Nah. Luckily I make money from the sponsors that I skate for and they support me. I hate having to ask my parents for money. I had to ask a few times when I was living on my own, it sucked. Like when I was at the last apartment and something happened with my roommate and I had to pay all of it for a little bit and I needed help. It’s not fun having to ask your parents for money when you’re like 20 years old.
Do you have any friends that try to bum off of you and ask you to pay for stuff?
Not really, a lot of my friends know how I live, they’ve seen that my dad’s not just handing me a wad of cash every week or something. I’ve definitely had to work to get to where I am in skating. It’s not like it is just being handed to me. I always try to hook my homies up, if we’re out and someone doesn’t have money to eat or something I’m obviously gonna help out and get them some food because if they had the money, I know they would do it for me too.
Are there any conspiracy theories you believe in?
Not really, but I’ve watched a bunch of random Youtube videos about all these weird conspiracies. I don’t know what to think – they are pretty convincing in the videos but I’m not a conspiracy theorist. I just watch them to have knowledge and know what they are talking about. I was watching one about the shooting, Sandy Hook Elementary School that was pretty crazy. It was shocking to watch, I’m not trying to say it was or wasn’t real, just some of the things in it were weird. Like in one of the interviews with the dad it shows him on camera before he thinks he’s being filmed. He’s laughing and smiling with people, having a good time and then as soon as they tell him the camera is rolling he puts this sad face on, all teary, it’s strange.
You have said Black Sabbath is your favorite band of all time. But what bands do you listen to besides Sabbath, that people might not know about?
I’ve been listening to Captain Beyond lately. The dude in the band, Bobby Caldwell is the drummer and he’s a super good musician and in this other band too called Armageddon. I’ve been getting stoked on certain musicians rather than entire bands and to see what they are all about.
Seems like you listen to mostly hard rock stuff, 70s & 80s?
I listen to real late 60s to late 70s. Some from the 80s but I feel like most of the bands I listen to died out or were done by like, 1976 or 1977. I love Deep Purple, I had their BBC sessions CD, early recordings, I listened to it so much, for like a month straight in my car. I had to take a break because I played it so many times.
Tell me about how you met Lemmy from Motorhead.
My girlfriend’s older sister knew him somehow. It wasn’t even at a Motorhead show it was just some random band he’s in, that plays covers. It’s more a psychobilly rock band. They played at a small bar, with 50 or 60 people there in LA.
Did you just get a pic or you get to talk?
No, I mean, I didn’t even really want to bother him. I just see how it is for my dad, like after a demo or something, he’s sitting there and people are just coming up. I didn’t even really want to but, my girlfriend wanted to take a picture and I mind as well, Lemmy is sitting right here.
Do you feel bad?
I mean, I know the other side of the story, and just feel kinda weird, but whatever. I got a picture so I’m not bummed on it. I would have been just as stoked shaking his hand.
When your dad takes photos do you ever see him get stressed or turn people down?
No not really, I think I’ve never seen him turn away a photo or autograph. Every time he’s always willing, whatever someone asks him for he usually will do it. It’s pretty crazy.
Have you and the Baker squad ever, you know, gayed off?
Not sure what what means [laughs].
What do you think it means? It’s an old reference from a Big Brother. You should ask your dad about it.
I had no idea what that was referencing, and I still don’t, haha. I don’t see my dad that often and when I do… I should though it’s something that he would probably think is funny, I just completely spaced on it. He’d definitely remember it.
In your opinion who do you think can smoke and who can drink the most out of the Baker squad?
Probably Beagle for smoking. Drinking… I don’t know.. probably Beagle? He seems like he can party hard if he wants to.
You don’t seem to party that much, have you never been into it?
I’m just not a big drinker. I will have some beers or whatever but I’m not drinking hard alcohol. I can’t deal with the whole hangover, and it’s just such a process I’d rather not deal with it.
Have you ever considered changing your last name so you wouldn’t have to deal with any more questions about your dad?
No, no way, I would never change my last name. Even besides my dad, I think Hawk’s a cool last name. Hawks are rad so I can’t be bummed on it.
Younger skaters seem to be skating for different things these days, Ryan Sheckler has said he really wants to win Thrasher’s Skater Of The Year, Nyjah seems like he wants to win Street League. What would your dream or “goal” be?
Just to see all my homies come up in skating too and get to still be able to make videos with all of them for as long as I can.
A GLIMPSE INTO THE BAKER HAS A DEATHWISH II WORLD PREMIERE
16 long years later, the second coming of Baker Has a Deathwish has arrived...
REMINISCING THROUGH THE YEARS WITH STATIC ALUMNI
We talked to 12 skaters featured in the long-standing Static series about their memories and thoughts on the videos.
SKATEBOARDING AND SOCCER WITH NEW YORK CITY’S CHINATOWN SOCCER CLUB
Meet the club of skaters, artists and notable locals that have casually played soccer together for the last 20 years.
THE EVOLUTION OF… NYC’S PYRAMID LEDGES
We collected stories from the only ledge spot made out of tiny mini ledges.
THE STORY OF THE NAKED 540
"Hopefully it’s not remembered. But for anyone that got a laugh out of it that’s about as much as I could hope for."