World-famous Skateboarder, Tony Hawk Comes to Málaga
by Beth Farrelly
Over 1,500 people braved the scorching Malaga summer on a Sunday in July to watch the world's most influential skateboarder, Tony Hawk, perform live in the city's new skatepark.
Malaga was chosen as one of just six stops on the acclaimed Birdhouse European Vacation tour (Birdhouse is Hawk's own skateboarding brand, named for his surname).
When the exhibition started, at 8pm on 19 July 2015, some of his most fervent supporters had clocked up eight hours waiting outside Skatepark Málaga Rubén Alcántara, in order to grab a front-row spot at the free event showcasing Hawk's skills, as well as those of his nine teammates.
The gates opened to members of Skatepark Málaga at 6pm and to the public at 7pm, when hordes of young spectators began to congregate around the skatepark's bowl area. Those who weren't lucky enough to gain entry were packed all along the park fence awaiting Hawk's appearance.
Hawk emerged bang on time, shrewdly demonstrating his support for the city by sporting Málaga Club de Fútbol shirt bearing his name, to a round of cheers and applause from the crowd, before kicking off the performance alongside members of the legendary Birdhouse team.
The exhibition, which lasted one hour, featured a supporting team of nine: Aaron ‘Jaws' Homoki, Ben Raybourn, Clint Walker, David Loy, Clive Dixon, Mike Davis, Shawn Hale, Kevin Staab, and Lizzie Armanto, all of whom were met with an enthusiastic response from spectators, as they negotiated the park's obstacles and ramps.
Raybourn, named by Hawk earlier as among his favourite skaters, wowed the crowd with his expert command of the 3m vertical ramp contained within the bowl park before performing an impromptu trick using a promotional Mini (one of the tour's sponsors) which was next to the bowl´s edge - he executed a handstand and bounced gently off and back into the bowl, without appearing to cause any damage to the car.
David Loy also impressed spectators by completing a complicated nose grind across one of the park's edges, while Hawk, encouraged by the crowd's chants of "Tony, Tony, Tony" - with one spectator shouting "Antonio!" referring to Antonio Banderas, the city's favourite son - landed a McTwist, to the delight of the audience. This impressive trick was invented by Mike McGill in 1984 and consists of a 540° backside spin coupled by a front flip.
As the performance neared its end, the team moved across to the park's vert ramp- a ramp made up of two vertical walls that meet in a horizontal plane in the middle- where hundreds of spectators had already packed out the stands, and demonstrated their skill to the chants and praise of an eager crowd. The sun had by now begun to set, creating a dramatic backdrop for the show's finale. Tony left the park around 9pm, while the rest of the team continued skating until well after dark. Lizzie Armando appeared to be the queen of the Malaga vert.
This was posted on the Birdhouse blog about the team's experience in Malaga:
"Malaga was amazing. One of the best demos and crowds I've seen. The energy level was so high and people where packed up on the hills and bridges surrounding the skatepark. It was super hot during the day so we started the demo at 8pm and skated until 11pm with Lizzie and Staab on the demo ramp until the very end... We can't thank the people of Malaga enough for the hospitality and helping make the few days we were there the most memorable of the trip so far."
Tony Hawk and the Birdhouse team visited the Malaga Skatepark on the 19th July 2015. Read and watch exclusive interview.