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Skating legend Tony Hawk takes on the world of fingerboarding with Hot Wheels Skate

<i>JC Olivera/WireImage/Getty Images</i><br/>Tony Hawk attends the premiere of HBO Max's
JC Olivera/WireImage/Getty Images
Tony Hawk attends the premiere of HBO Max's "Tony Hawk: Until the Wheels Fall Off" at The Bungalow on March 30

By Zoe Sottile, CNN

Legendary skateboarder Tony Hawk has announced a collaboration with Hot Wheels that will bring a new toy to market and help expand access to community skate parks.

Hot Wheels Skate is a line of “fingerboards” — mini skateboards used to simulate skateboarding tricks using the middle and index fingers. The toys were first popularized by professional skateboarder Lance Mountain in the 1980s.

The Tony Hawk fingerboards and matching playsets, featuring ramps and other skate park elements, will be available exclusively at Walmart. For beginners, the sets even include clip-on “skate shoes” that clip to the boards, making them easy for kids of all ages to use.

Hawk, 54, told CNN that he’s most excited about the fact that the line is suitable for fingerboarders of all skill sets.

“I loved the direction they had because it was more for all skill types,” he said. “Also just their creative team is so amazing. So the playsets that they have are really fun, and irreverent. And so it just seemed like a really cool angle and take on on fingerboarding as a whole.”

For Hawk, the beginner-friendly ethos of the fingerboard sets stems from the inclusivity skateboarding symbolizes in general.

“I feel like skateboarding is the great equalizer,” he said. “And anyone is invited to jump in. You’re only judged by your skating and not by your background. And uniqueness is key — uniqueness is welcome.”

As part of the partnership, Hot Wheels announced that they will donate to The Skate Park Project, a non-profit organization Hawk started to create public skateparks around the US.

The organization is “important to me because I grew up near one of the last skate parks in the US,” he said. “That was my home away from home, that’s where I found my sense of community, where I found my friends, my sense of identity. And it was never lost on me how lucky I was to have that.”

“And so when I had some sort of success, I thought the best thing I can do with that is to provide more of these places that meant so much to me as a kid,” he went on. “It’s more about developing a place for your community, not about trying to raise professionals.”

Hawk retired from professional skateboarding in 2003, but has continued to champion the sport, helping transform it from a counterculture activity to a defined and rigorous sport with prestigious competitions. In 2021, the sport even premiered in the Olympics, a move that Hawk said has helped show people just how “disciplined and how serious it can be.”

This year, Hawk plans to host the second annual Vert Alert, a competition designed to highlight the “underappreciated” challenges of vertical skating — that is, skating up a steep ramp or incline, instead of in a street setting or skate park.

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