Old Skateboards Become New Skateparks

Posted: June 27, 2012

Tony Hawk and top skaters team up with award-winning recording artists to benefit at-risk youth.

6/28/12 (Los Angeles, CA) – What do pro skaters do with the boards they skate and destroy? They turn them into skateparks.

Ben Harper, Tony Hawk, and Mike Vallely at the launch of the Boards+Bands display at X Games, 6/27/12.

Legendary skateboarder Tony Hawk and renowned singer-songwriter and musician Ben Harper have come together to recruit their friends in the skate and music worlds for a very special project. A member of the nonprofit Tony Hawk Foundation Board Of Directors, Harper conceived the idea to use pro skaters’ old decks to write song lyrics on and raise funds to build positive recreational outlets for at-risk youth.

“I've always felt that skateboards are one of the best canvases for art, and noticed that wear and tear only made them look cooler,” said Harper. “I was at Tony’s place and saw a note that a friend of Tony's had written on a board that had been skated. And being a musician and a skater, it just seemed obvious.”

The Boards + Bands fundraising initiative merges the worlds of skateboarding and music to benefit the work of the Tony Hawk Foundation. Hawk invited a select group of professional skateboarders to donate their personally ridden skateboards and submit the name of their favorite songs. Harper then sent those boards on to the appropriate artists with one simple message: “Please write the lyrics to this skater’s favorite song on his skateboard, and we’ll use it to create more skateparks for kids.”

Beastie Boys lyrics by Adam Yauch on a deck for Bucky Lasek.

The chosen recording artists have hand-written the lyrics on these one-of-a-kind skateboards, which will be auctioned this Fall. Some of the skater/artist collaborations secured so far include Bucky Lasek and Adam Yauch, Rodney Mullen and Ben Harper, Mike Vallely and Tom Petty, and Tony Hawk and Paul McCartney.

“This is literally a dream come true,” said Hawk. “When Ben Harper first approached me with the idea, I was skeptical because the list of musicians requested was legendary. But they came through, proving that skateboarding's reach is even broader than we imagined.”

Funds raised through this effort will benefit the Tony Hawk Foundation, which supports at-risk youth through the creation of public skateparks in low-income communities across the U.S. These skateparks are safe, sanctioned places for youth to come together, form communities, and practice the sport they love in a healthy environment. Since 2002, the Foundation has helped to fund 505 public skateparks in 50 states.
Decks from the Boards + Bands auction were unveiled for the first time at a press conference during the 2012 Summer X Games in Los Angeles, where they can be viewed through Sunday, July 1 at ESPN Zone at LA Live.

For more information about the Tony Hawk Foundation and this unique auction, please visit www.tonyhawkfoundation.org. To place a proxy bid on these unique boards, please contact Lily@tonyhawkfoundation.org or call (760) 477-2479.

Beatles lyrics by Paul McCartney on Tony Hawk's skateboard. Ben Harper--instigator.

Photos (from top): Ben Harper, Tony Hawk, and Mike Vallely at the launch of the Boards+Bands display at X Games, 6/27/12; Beastie Boys lyrics by Adam Yauch on a deck for Bucky Lasek; Ben Harper--instigator; Beatles lyrics by Paul McCartney on Tony Hawk's skateboard.


A charitable, non-profit organization, the Tony Hawk Foundation was established in 2002 by its namesake, professional skateboarder Tony Hawk, to promote and provide funds for high-quality public skateparks in low-income areas throughout the United States—with an emphasis on the word “quality.” Since then, the Foundation has awarded $4,102,350 to 505 communities in all 50 States. The Foundation focuses on working with local officials and grassroots, community-based organizations that plan to hire designers and contractors with strong experience designing and building skateparks.

The Tony Hawk Foundation was established by a gift from Tony Hawk. Its directors raise additional funds through events, donations, and continuing contributions from Tony and other entities. In addition to skateparks, the Foundation also makes donations to other children-related charities, as chosen by its Board Of Directors. For more information or to make a donation, visit the Foundation's Web site at www.tonyhawkfoundation.org. You can also visit THF on facebook at www.facebook.com/tonyhawkfoundation, on Twitter @THawkFoundation, and on Instagram @tonyhawkfoundation.

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Public Skatepark Development Guide

Public Skatepark Development Guide
Second Edition Released!

The Public Skatepark Development Guide, the indispensable handbook for public-skatepark advocates, is now available in an updated and improved second edition. First published in 2007 by the Tony Hawk Foundation, Skaters For Public Skateparks, and the International Association of Skateboard Companies, the ultimate guide for community-skatepark advocates was available for free, and supplies quickly disappeared. The new 128-page second edition features updated information and expanded chapters, including skatepark vision, advocacy, fundraising, design, and management, plus several supplements and visual aids.

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