Author: Carleton Curtis

Growing Up Fast

It’s the mini adults of the Hawk Clothing team.

By Carleton Curtis

No cliche is more dead-on than, “Gee, kids sure do grow up fast these days.” The Hawk Clothing team exemplifies that and then some. In fact, most of the Hawk kids have been on more airplanes in one year than their parents have in their entire lifetimes. And let’s not get started with the contracts: some of ‘em are making more bank than their parents-at fourteen, no less. Oh, and did we mention street smarts? Hawk Team Manager Rodney Johnson summed it up best: “They’re sharp little dudes. You’ll be getting clowned by them and you won’t even know it.” Ouch, that’s cold.

But their success has been earned. The mini adults on Hawk compose one of skateboarding’s most elite junior teams. Yeah, they’re young and a little reckless, but they can break it off as hard or harder than their sponsored elders. And with personalities as diverse as their skateboarding, you know the sky’s the limit. No doubt, the Hawk kids ain’t your average groms.

David Gonzalez

Birthdate: NEED TO GET FROM RODNEY

Home: Medellin, Colombia

Sponsors: Flip, Hawk Clothing, Libre Skate ShopHow old were you when you first started skateboarding, David?

Ten years old. I saw some skateboarders in my neighborhood, and then I bought a deck without a tail and nose. I started skating with that deck, and I did tricks like hardflips, flips, frontside boardslides, and grinds.

When did you realize, “Wow, I’m pretty good at this”?

When I won my first contest and I won a new deck-I thought I must be good since I won the contest. I’d just started skating only two months before that.

Do you make more money than your parents now?

More than my mom, yes. But more than my father? I don’t know … sometimes he earns more, sometimes less. But I don’t really know, I haven’t lived with him since eight years ago.

What’s the first big gift you’ve given to yourself?

A DVD player and a VCR. I won some other local contests, and the prizes were cash.

Does your team manager, Rodney Johnson, give you stuff that your parents won’t?

He gives me a lot of clothes!

Does leaving your parents and flying around in airplanes scare you?

The first time I traveled by plane I was so scared, but only the first time. The next time I felt more confident about leaving my mother. I only miss her now if the travel takes too long.

Out of everyone on the Hawk team, who gets you most stoked?

Marius (Syvanen) and Evan (Mirschel)-the other guy who skates for Osiris. I saw him in a mag doing a backside hurricane on a nine-stair handrail. It was sick.

If Tony Hawk were to compete one-on-one with Ryan Sheckler, who would win?

It all depends on the course. If it’s a vert contest, it would be Tony Hawk. But if it’s a street contest, it would be Sheckler. He’s really good at contests.

And who would win between Riley Hawk and you?

Hmm … I don’t know. I’ve never seen him skate, but I think I’d win, because I saw Riley in a 2004 mag doing a boardslide down a four-stair rail-it’s an easy trick.

Does it scare you having the biggest name in skateboarding history constantly looking over your shoulder?

Well, I’d never thought about it. Not really, I guess.

Does being a tiny skateboarder give you any advantages?

I think maybe the agility is not the same, but I don’t really see an advantage or disadvantage. Maybe on high handrails it would be difficult for me to do a lot of tricks.

Who’s more famous in Colombia: you or Carlos Valderrama?

Probably Valderrama a thousand times more. He’s famous for all the people in Colombia, and I’m only famous in the skateboarding scene.When you retire from skateboarding, what trick will you have invented by then?

Invented? Maybe a really strange one. No, I know … on a ledge, a flip body varial to backside five-0 with both feet on the tail going backwards (laughs).

Evan Mirschel

Birthdate: January 29, 1992me: Amelia Island, Florida

Sponsors: Hawk Clothing, Osiris, Ninja bearings, Grind King

At twelve, you’re the youngest rider on the Hawk team-does that mean the other riders get to boss you around?

Not really. I guess I stand up for myself.

What grade are you in right now?

Seventh grade.

Are you a big celebrity in your school?

No, I’m homeschooled. It’s pretty fun. We go from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.-part of the reason is ’cause I skate so much.

Did you know that Tony Hawk’s old high school just started a skateboard P.E. class?

Yeah, it’s like a class with only skateboarding.

Would you get an A-plus if you were in it?

Yeah.

Which trick of yours would be graded an F?

I’m not that good at frontside nosegrinds. I can do them okay on rails, but not ledges. That’s probably the worst trick for me on a ledge. When I do them on a rail, I can kinda turn ‘em more, but on a ledge, I just can’t keep ‘em straight. I’d like to get better at them, but I don’t really try them too much anymore.

What do you think your best trick is?

I have a lot of different tricks that I can do really good. I don’t really have anything that I can do the best. But back tails are fun-those are my favorite.

Do you wanna have your own character on Tony Hawk Pro Skater?I guess that’d be pretty cool.

What would be your secret move?

I guess a really cool grind trick or something (laughs).Do you like touring with your Hawk teammates?

Yeah, the East Coast trip was fun-we went to New York, Detroit, and Philadelphia. I’ve probably been on eight or nine trips so far with everyone.Do you enjoy skating in the Tampa Am contest?

Yeah, I’ve been there for the past three years. My favorite contests are the Damn Ams, though.

What’s the scariest thing about being a sponsored skateboarder?

Sometimes I get nervous skating contests-right before my run. I don’t get that nervous where I’d puke or something.

Name some older skateboarders you like.

I like Jerry Hsu and Eric Koston. I liked everyone’s part in the Almost Round 3 video and That’s Life by Foundation.

John White

Birthdate: June 29, 1987

Home: Colton, California

Sponsors: The Firm, Vans, Active, Fury, Bones Wheels, Hawk Clothing

Dude, you’re seventeen. That’s really old.

(Laughs) Yeah, that’s pretty much why I’m not gonna be on Hawk for much longer. Rodney was trying to work out this Hurley deal, so hopefully I’ll be with them soon. My filmer friend is lagging on my tape, so Rodney hasn’t been able to give it to them yet.

Do you have any gray hair yet?No, I don’t think so.

You and Danny Cerezini are the oldest guys on the Hawk team. So you get to boss the younger kids around, huh?

Kinda (laughs). We don’t really do anything to them, but when it comes to sharing rooms, we’re the ones getting the beds. They get the roll-outs.

Sometimes the younger kids get bummed with our pranks. One time with Kyle Nicholson, we put a bucket of water over his door and knocked. When he opened the door, he got drenched and his clothes that were nearby got wet, too. He got real bummed on that.

Are you allowed to watch R-rated movies on tour?

Yeah.

Do your parents know that?

My parents wouldn’t care, dude.You can legally drive a car now. So are you rolling around town?

Naw, I ain’t even got a license yet (laughs). I just never went to go get it. Something about driving school bummed me out.

So how do you get around to spots?

My filmer friend Justin who’s nineteen, or this other dude from Arizona, Robert. He also has a camera, so he films, too.

What kind of ride is Tony rolling in these days?

I have no clue. I’ve only met him like once. We had a meeting over at Quiksilver.

Do you think that’s weird being on the Hawk team and you’ve only met him once?

Yeah, kind of. I get that question a lot. I only met him a few months ago. People always ask me if I’ve met him. I skated with Riley once at Damn Am. He was pretty good.

What’s the best tour story you have?Just Rodney. He stands out. He’s just crazy, the stuff we get into with him (laughs). He just wilds out.

Do you think it’s weird that there’s no vert rider on the Hawk team? It is Tony Hawk’s company after all.

Yeah, there’s no real vert rider on the team.

How are your vert skills?

I used to try vert a couple years ago, doing little tricks. But this one time I tried a trick and landed on my face. My tooth ripped the top of my lip, so ever since then I wasn’t really into it. I like the mini ramp, though.What’s your best move on the mini?

Back nose revert (laughs).

Who on the Hawk team stokes you out the most?

Probably Danny. Actually, no-Tyler (Bledsoe). That guy’s crazy.What’s the best trick by your fellow Hawk riders that you’ve witnessed?

I remember Tyler doing a perfect hardflip down a big four. I think it was used for a Hawk ad-so crazy.

Marius Syvanen

Birthdate: December 4, 1989

Home: San Diego, California

Sponsors: Hawk Clothing, Osiris, Ricta, Fury, Sun Diego Board Shop

So how did you get hooked up with the Hawk Clothing team?

Pretty much through Rodney. He approached me at the Damn Am contest, and we started from there.

Was part of Tony’s recruitment process testing your vert skills?

Nah, it was just Rodney. I’d only met Tony once and that was before I got on the team. I don’t think Tony has too much to do with the company-they just use his name, I guess.

Who has better skate spots: Finland or the United States?

Here, but in Finland it’s more kicked-back. The cops and security guards don’t give a f-k, because skating’s legal over there. I go there every three months or so.

How old were you when you moved to the U.S.?

I moved when I was five years old.

Do you usually skate with older kids or kids closer to your age?

I pretty much skate with kids my age or the guys who’re on Sun Diego. I skate with Wes Cramer, Dan Connolly, and (Peter) Smolik a lot. I don’t skate too much with the Shorty’s dudes anymore.

Who are some of your favorite skateboaders?

For the older guys, I like Arto (Saari) and Jani (Laitala) and pretty much everyone from Finland. I’m a little biased because I hate America. I don’t like it here … I hate the concerned citizens who hate skateboarding.

Dang. So do you think being small gives you an advantage when you slam a trick?

Yeah. But that hasn’t stopped me from breaking both my wrists ‘n’ shit. I was about thirteen when that happened.

Are you a fan of Tony Hawk Pro Skater?

Yeah, a little bit.

Which character do you like to play the most?

I usually create my own character. But I don’t make him look like myself-he usually looks jacked.

If you were a character in the video game, what would be your secret move?Oh, that’s a good question. Probably like a triple backflip (laughs). I have no idea.

What does “Boom Boom HuckJam” mean?

(Laughs) I have no idea where he got that. Maybe it’s some 3-D dance revolution or something.

Danny Cerezini

Birthdate: June 13, 1987

Home: Curitiba, Brazil

Sponsors: Flip, Vans, Hawk Clothing, Active Ride Shop

Who’s more famous in Brazil: Bob Burnquist, Ronaldo, or Danny Cerezini?

Ronaldo’s the most famous, but Bob’s pretty famous, too.

Why do so many rippers come from Brazil?

I’m not sure. I guess there just happens to be a lot of naturally good skateboarders there.

What’s the coolest place you’ve toured with the Hawk team?

New York was by far the best place that I’ve been to with the team.

Have you toured the Hawk household yet?

No, I haven’t been there yet.

Do you ever get homesick?

Not really, ’cause I travel a lot and you sort of get used to it.

You’re only sixteen. What kind of tricks do you think you’ll be busting when you’re 26?

Maybe a McTwist down ten stairs!

Which Hawk teammate gets you most pumped to go skate?

Definitely John White, because we’re really good friends, we’re the same age, and he’s just a great skater.

t tour story you have?Just Rodney. He stands out. He’s just crazy, the stuff we get into with him (laughs). He just wilds out.

Do you think it’s weird that there’s no vert rider on the Hawk team? It is Tony Hawk’s company after all.

Yeah, there’s no real vert rider on the team.

How are your vert skills?

I used to try vert a couple years ago, doing little tricks. But this one time I tried a trick and landed on my face. My tooth ripped the top of my lip, so ever since then I wasn’t really into it. I like the mini ramp, though.What’s your best move on the mini?

Back nose revert (laughs).

Who on the Hawk team stokes you out the most?

Probably Danny. Actually, no-Tyler (Bledsoe). That guy’s crazy.What’s the best trick by your fellow Hawk riders that you’ve witnessed?

I remember Tyler doing a perfect hardflip down a big four. I think it was used for a Hawk ad-so crazy.

Marius Syvanen

Birthdate: December 4, 1989

Home: San Diego, California

Sponsors: Hawk Clothing, Osiris, Ricta, Fury, Sun Diego Board Shop

So how did you get hooked up with the Hawk Clothing team?

Pretty much through Rodney. He approached me at the Damn Am contest, and we started from there.

Was part of Tony’s recruitment process testing your vert skills?

Nah, it was just Rodney. I’d only met Tony once and that was before I got on the team. I don’t think Tony has too much to do with the company-they just use his name, I guess.

Who has better skate spots: Finland or the United States?

Here, but in Finland it’s more kicked-back. The cops and security guards don’t give a f-k, because skating’s legal over there. I go there every three months or so.

How old were you when you moved to the U.S.?

I moved when I was five years old.

Do you usually skate with older kids or kids closer to your age?

I pretty much skate with kids my age or the guys who’re on Sun Diego. I skate with Wes Cramer, Dan Connolly, and (Peter) Smolik a lot. I don’t skate too much with the Shorty’s dudes anymore.

Who are some of your favorite skateboaders?

For the older guys, I like Arto (Saari) and Jani (Laitala) and pretty much everyone from Finland. I’m a little biased because I hate America. I don’t like it here … I hate the concerned citizens who hate skateboarding.

Dang. So do you think being small gives you an advantage when you slam a trick?

Yeah. But that hasn’t stopped me from breaking both my wrists ‘n’ shit. I was about thirteen when that happened.

Are you a fan of Tony Hawk Pro Skater?

Yeah, a little bit.

Which character do you like to play the most?

I usually create my own character. But I don’t make him look like myself-he usually looks jacked.

If you were a character in the video game, what would be your secret move?Oh, that’s a good question. Probably like a triple backflip (laughs). I have no idea.

What does “Boom Boom HuckJam” mean?

(Laughs) I have no idea where he got that. Maybe it’s some 3-D dance revolution or something.

Danny Cerezini

Birthdate: June 13, 1987

Home: Curitiba, Brazil

Sponsors: Flip, Vans, Hawk Clothing, Active Ride Shop

Who’s more famous in Brazil: Bob Burnquist, Ronaldo, or Danny Cerezini?

Ronaldo’s the most famous, but Bob’s pretty famous, too.

Why do so many rippers come from Brazil?

I’m not sure. I guess there just happens to be a lot of naturally good skateboarders there.

What’s the coolest place you’ve toured with the Hawk team?

New York was by far the best place that I’ve been to with the team.

Have you toured the Hawk household yet?

No, I haven’t been there yet.

Do you ever get homesick?

Not really, ’cause I travel a lot and you sort of get used to it.

You’re only sixteen. What kind of tricks do you think you’ll be busting when you’re 26?

Maybe a McTwist down ten stairs!

Which Hawk teammate gets you most pumped to go skate?

Definitely John White, because we’re really good friends, we’re the same age, and he’s just a great skater.

Do you have many friends who don’t skate?

No, not a lot.

Have you ever played Tony in Tony Hawk Pro Skater?

Never, because I don’t like video games.

If you were a character, what would be your special move?

A double kickflip crooks would be dope.

Do you have any good stories about hanging with Tony?

Well, I’ve only been with him one time, and I happened to break his sunglasses. It was pretty funny.

Lamare Hemmings

Birthdate: May 31, 1988Home: Los Angeles, California

Sponsors: Lakai, Hawk Clothing, DaKine, Active Ride Shop, Zero, Ghetto Child, Venture

What’s the best thing about being sixteen and riding for the Hawk team?

It’s really fun to be able to travel with friends. Hawk takes me around a lot. I’ve been to Orlando, Tampa-tons of places. But the plane rides can be boring, so I just listen to my iPod and chill.

Rodney says you like to forget your bags at the airport.

(Laughs) Yeah, I have bad luck traveling sometimes-like my bag will end up in an entirely different state. One time, I went down to the Make-A-Wish contest and my bag never showed up. It had my board, my shoes, all my gear. I was so bummed.

How many flights have you missed so far?

Just one, really. I’d read my iternary backwards, and when I got to the airport, my flight had left two hours earlier.

You better shape up. Do you think about turning pro in the future? There are a lot of responsibilities in professional thrashing.

Yeah. I want to skate well and get some exposure so hopefully the boards will sell in the future.

Is it scary to have skateboarding’s other top young guys on your team?

Not really. It’s really fun to hang out with those guys.

Is there anybody on the team that you secretly hate?

Nah, they’re all cool.

Do you think Hawk is the best junior team in skateboarding?

Yeah, I think it is. We’re pretty good. I don’t think we need anyone else on the team.

What do your parents think about skateboarding?

My mom likes it ’cause it keeps my off the streets and it keeps me busy. But I was never in trouble before skateboarding or anything.

How do you like living in Hollywood?

It’s a lot of fun. There’re so many cool kids who skate here.What are your favorite spots to hit in Hollywood?

Just different parks … and I go downtown a lot to skate.Have you ever been arrested for skateboarding?

Nah. I haven’t had too many run-ins with the cops yet.

Do you have any parting advice for young kids like yourself looking to get sponsored?

Just skate hard, get all your tricks down, show up to contests, and blow up, man.

Kyle Nicholson

Birthdate: July 2, 1989

Home: Reading, Pennsylvania

Sponsors: Hawk Clothing, Nocturnal Skate Shop, DVS, Habitat

How old were you when you first started skateboarding?

I was around nine years old.

How did you get into it?

My mom’s friend gave me a board on Easter, and a bunch of kids by my house were skating, so that’s how I got into it. The board was an Acme with Mack trucks.

When did you realize, “Wow, I’m pretty good at this”?

Probably around twelve, ’cause that’s when I really starting getting into it-doing tricks and stuff. I remember skating around at this parking lot by my house doing varial flips, and I was like, “Damn, this is sick.”

How big of an influence was Tony Hawk for you?

He wasn’t at first. Skateboarding’s a big industry, so there were a lot of other people who influenced me first.

You’re almost sixteen. Are you getting excited to drive?

I’m so psyched.

John White’s seventeen and he still doesn’t have a license yet.

(Laughs) Yeah, I know! As soon as I turn sixteen I’m gettin’ my permit.Do you have enough money to buy your own car yet?

Not yet. I’ve got like 800 dollars saved up, but that’s it. My goal, if I ever get rich, is to buy one of those Chevy SSRs.

Do you want a Ferrari someday like your fellow Pennsylvanian, Bam Margera?That would be sick.

Who do you skate with in Pennsylvania?

I usually go