Tony Alva Bio
The First Tony
Tony Hawk might be one of the most famous “Tony's” in the World, but he might have never even become famous if it weren’t for Tony Alva and the Z-boys of Dogtown, California. Tony Alva was one of the first pioneers that turned skateboarding from a boring speed race on a narrow track to radical shredding in swimming pools… which would later turn into halfpipes, bowls and skateparks. Tony helped bring the vertical aspect to the skateboard world which is why skateboarding is so much fun today.
From Fads to Forever
From 1940-1965 skateboarding was like a fad like the yo-yo and like all fads, it died because it wasn’t that exciting. The tricks became boring and not very challenging. It wasn’t until the 1970s where Tony and his friends revolutionized the style that created a huge momentum that has made skateboarding today one of the most exciting extreme sports that will never die.
Swimming Pool Playgrounds
Tony and his friends were known as the Z-boys (the “Z” stands for Zeffers, a company that sponsored them in skateboard competitions). Before skate parks, half pipes and bowls were invented, Tony and the Z-boys would hop fences to get into neighbourhood swimming pools. Because there were many water droughts in California, all the swimming pools were very low on water. Tony and his pals would drain the pools with garbage cans and then skate in them until the owners came home from work.
Dropping into a swimming pool was a lot like dropping into a wave while surfing, so this style of skateboarding became the new substitute for surfers to do something when there were no waves. This new style of skateboarding gave horizontal skateboarding a new dimension… skateboarding was now vertical using the forces of gravity to generate power and speed and skateboarders everywhere wanted to ride walls of everything.
Tony’s amazing reputation for this new wave of skateboarding helped him start his own skateboarding company "Alva Skates" when he was only 19 years old. He was the very first skateboarder to run his own company and make skateboards. He became a legend of the sport and now skateboarders everywhere tell stories around the campfire about Tony and their daring adventures into strangers’ swimming pools.
- First ever recorded Frontside Air
- Held the Guiness World Record for barrel jumping
- Invented Rip Grip for Aerial Tricks
- Starred in Skateboarding Films: Skateboard Kings (1978) Shreddin (1986) Dogtown and Z-boys (2001)
- Character in Tony Hawk’s Video Game