x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 July 2017

Skateboarding legend Tony Hawk's surprise Dubai tour

The 44-year-old American spent time in the desert on Monday and visited SkiDubai on Sunday morning where he was videod 'shredding rails' on an impromptu ramp.

Tony Hawk managed to execute moves on portions of the Tashkeel ramp that park managers say have never been done before in Dubai. Courtesy of  Edu Munoz / Tashkeel
Tony Hawk managed to execute moves on portions of the Tashkeel ramp that park managers say have never been done before in Dubai. Courtesy of Edu Munoz / Tashkeel

DUBAI // Skateboarding legend Tony Hawk has been draining the emirate of its adrenalin this week.

The 44-year-old American spent time in the desert on Monday and visited Ski Dubai on Sunday morning where he was videod 'shredding rails' on an impromptu ramp.

After a couple hours at the indoor ski slope Hawk headed to Tashkeel in Nad Al Sheba - home of a ramp in the shape of Arabic script that has won international acclaim.

Brad Kirr of Tashkeel said he spotted Hawk's Instagram photo of Dubai Airport on Saturday and immediately invited him to the centre. "He said: 'I've seen footage [of the Tashkeel bowl and ramp] and it looks insane.' He wanted to skate it."

Accompanied by Hollywood director Jon Chu and David Ulevitch, the millionaire founder and chief executive of IT firm OpenDNS, Hawk spent more than an hour putting the facilities to the test. Hawk, who revolutionised skateboarding in the 80s and 90s, didn't take it easy on the Tashkeel ramp or its new bowl ramp.

"He gets out of the car, and says: 'Excuse me, guys: I've got to skate," said Mr Kirr. "He did a backside kickflip, which he posted on Instagram, and a backside Smith grind in a spot nobody could get to before. He also did a tail-pop off the canopy logo wall."

Mr Kirr said Hawk landed the tail-pop after only his second attempt. And his only audience were two university students who caught wind of his arrival and skipped lectures to watch Hawk take on their home ramp.

This is not Hawk's first trip to the UAE - he skated in the capital when he visited Abu Dhabi for the Laureus Sports Awards in 2010 and performed at Real Action Heroes at Yas Marina Circuit in February 2011.

On Tuesday he will leave Dubai for Ethiopia with Mr Chu where they will be visiting a US-based charity that provides clean water.

"The dude is non-stop. His schedule is packed full of everything, every day of his life.  I can't understand how he can have as much energy as he does and just rips into everything he does," Mr Kirr said. "He is a superhero."

Hawk, the founder of Birdhouse skate company and star of several video games, also runs the Tony Hawk Foundation building skate parks in under privileged areas.

eharnan@thenational.ae