"Kinda sad," Hawk said as he fought back tears. "I'm like a little sad. I've never had much finality to anything but that was definitely the last one I'll ever do."
Editor's note: This article was originally published on March 19, 2021. It has since been updated.
Skateboarding legend Tony Hawk has completed what he's calling his "last ever" Ollie 540. The 52-year-old broke down in tears after an arduous but successful attempt at landing the incredibly difficult trick he first pulled off over three decades ago. Hawk — who inspired generations of skateboarders — posted a video documenting his last attempt at performing the move, which showed a bunch of wipeouts before he landed the trick. He is seen falling to his knees time and again in the video and at one point slides completely off the ramp.
According to Yahoo! Sport, the Ollie 540 sees a skateboarder complete one-and-a-half rotations without touching the board with their hand. While landing the trick was a challenge at the best of times, the video shows that it has become pretty brutal work for the godfather of skateboarding now that he's middle-aged. Hawk did eventually manage to land the move and let out a howl of celebration before he fell to his knees and broke down in tears. "Kinda sad," Hawk said as he fought back tears. "I'm like a little sad. I've never had much finality to anything but that was definitely the last one I'll ever do. F*** it. Happy I made it. Thanks guys for hanging in there with me."
Posting the video on Instagram, he wrote: "In 1989 I started trying Ollie 540's as a joke since it seemed there was no way to keep a skateboard on your feet throughout 1 1/2 spins in the air. But at some point, I started scooping the tail with my back toe, which kept my feet in place for most of the spin. When Stacy Peralta came to shoot my segment for Ban This, I decided to finally make one since he was using ultra-high-speed film cameras."
"You can see the progression of my feet staying on with this [unseen] raw footage of my attempts, before finally landing one... in a full squat, with hand dragging behind. It was the first of many that I've made over the last 32 years, and my technique improved as time went on. But they've gotten scarier in recent years, as the landing commitment can be risky if your feet aren't in the right places. And my willingness to slam unexpectedly into the flat bottom has waned greatly over the last decade," he continued.
"So today I decided to do it one more time... and never again. You can swipe to see the progression of those attempts, including a slam that looks eerily similar to the one I took while shooting with Stacy. But this time I took down a camera, tripod, and my pinky as collateral damage in my quest for glory," Hawk concluded. This isn't the first time that the Californian has attempted tricks for the final time. In January, Hawk landed what he said could be his final 720. Similar to his last Ollie 540, it took him several attempts to complete the trick. "I recently made a 720 and it was a battle. The last one I made before this was over three years ago, and it’s much harder now all things considered," he said at the time.
"Recently dislocated fingers hinder my grab, my spin is slower so I need to go higher for full rotation and... I'm really old," Hawk added. "I can't say for certain that this is the last one I'll ever do, but I can't imagine doing many more." Hawk also bid farewell to what is arguably his most famous trick — the 900 — several years ago and retired from competition in 2003.