PRODUCT REVIEW

Tony Hawk MasterClass Review (2021): Can You Learn to Skateboard?

Sophia Conti
November 3, 2021

Tony Hawk MasterClass review synopsis

What you’ll learn: Fundamental skateboard techniques like pushing and turning, basic to advanced tricks for street, park, and vert skating

How long does the Tony Hawk MasterClass take? 1 hour, 41 minutes across 16 videos

Similar Courses: Simone Biles Teaches Gymnastics Fundamentals, Stephen Curry Teaches Shooting, Ball Handling, and Scoring, Misty Copeland Teaches Technique and Artistry, Alex Honnold & Tommy Caldwell Teach Rock Climbing, Penn & Teller Teaches Magic Tricks

Do I recommend Tony Hawk MasterClass?: I recommend the Tony Hawk MasterClass for anyone even remotely curious about skateboarding. You’ll get excited to start skating and have the know-how to do it right.

Get the Tony Hawk MasterClass

Disclosure: In the interest of full transparency, Codeless uses affiliate links in our MasterClass reviews to cover our site’s costs.

Our Verdict

It doesn’t matter if you’ve had a skateboard sitting in your closet for years or if you’re sure you’ll only ever land a trick in Tony Hawk: Pro Skater. The Tony Hawk MasterClass gives you the encouragement and tools you need to drop in to a skate park for the first time.

Tony Hawk MasterClass Become a Pro at Skateboarding

$15 /month
PROS
  • Expert tips and instruction from Hawk and other pro skaters
  • Slo-mo video and on-screen arrows make it easy to understand tricks
  • Incredibly useful supplemental workbook that’s packed with extra info
  • Tons of old footage of Tony Hawk’s skate career
  • Gives you a clear sense of where to start and how to grow as a skater
CONS
  • Trick instructions move quickly
  • The class is on the short side

A few frequently asked questions…

Do I need a subscription to access this course?

Yes. You’ll need to purchase an annual MasterClass subscription to access the Tony Hawk MasterClass. When you do, you’ll also get access to every MasterClass in dozens of categories.

Is the Tony Hawk MasterClass for beginners?

Yes — in fact, it might even be better for beginners than intermediate skaters. Hawk breaks everything down, starting with the very basics. So if you don’t know what an ollie is, you’re in good hands.

If you’ve already mastered the ollie and maybe even a kickflip, you’ll get more out of the latter half of the class.

Does MasterClass have a cancellation policy?

You can cancel your MasterClass subscription at any time prior to your next renewal date to avoid being charged again. If you cancel within 30 days of your original purchase, you can request a refund of your entire membership fee.

Is the Tony Hawk MasterClass worth it?

The Tony Hawk MasterClass is absolutely worth it. There is so much knowledge and passion for skateboarding packed into a series of videos that’s shorter than the average feature film. When you throw in the downloadable workbook (more on that later), you have all the wisdom of the world’s best skateboarder ready to guide you into your very first ollie.

And did we mention you’ll get access to all of the other available MasterClass courses when you subscribe?

Check out Tony Hawk Teaches Skateboarding

About Tony Hawk

Tony Hawk left professional skateboarding competitions at what appeared to be the pinnacle of his career: in 1999, he became the first skateboarder to land a “900,” or two-and-a-half mid-air revolutions.

YouTube video

At that point, Hawk had been skating for more than 20 years, most of that time as a pro. He first stepped on a skateboard at age nine and went pro by the time he was 14. By 16, many considered him the best skateboarder in the world.

That reputation continued for years. Hawk was the skateboarding world champion for 12 years in a row, won historic medals at the X Games and other skate competitions around the world, and invented dozens of new skateboarding tricks.

list of tony hawk skate accomplishments including landing the first 900 and inventing over 100 tricks

Hawk skated his last X Games in 2003, where he won the gold by landing the 900 yet again. Since then, he’s remained an active figure in the international skateboarding community, developing the Tony Hawk Pro Skater video game series, building skate parks and companies, and most recently, serving as a commentator for skateboarding’s first Olympic appearance in Tokyo.

A short breakdown of the Tony Hawk MasterClass course

The Tony Hawk MasterClass consists of 16 video lessons that teach technical skateboarding skills and give you a behind-the-scenes view of Hawk’s life and career.

tony hawk leans against a backdrop of skateboards on his masterclass homepage
Tony Hawk’s MasterClass.

You’ll start with foundational skills like doing an ollie — “the foundation to doing almost every trick on the street,” Hawk says. Later video lessons cover basic, intermediate, and advanced street, park, and vert skating tricks.

A handful of videos allow Hawk to tell you the story of his skateboarding career. You’ll learn about his origins, struggles, and ultimate retirement from competitive skateboarding.

Some videos toward the end of the MasterClass give a little bonus content: Hawk breaks down two of his most iconic tricks and takes us behind the scenes of Tony Hawk: Pro Skater.

How much does Tony Hawk MasterClass cost?

You’ll have to purchase an annual MasterClass subscription to take the Tony Hawk MasterClass. These annual passes begin at $180 per year or $15 per month.

A MasterClass annual subscription comes with unlimited access to the Tony Hawk MasterClass, the supplemental workbook, and the class hub where you can chat with other classmates about what you’re learning.

Plus, you’ll get unlimited access to every MasterClass in every category. You can build out your sports skills by taking classes from Simone Biles or Stephen Curry or branch out to learn cooking from Gordon Ramsay, photography from Annie Leibovitz, writing from Judy Blume, or music production from Timbaland

Check out “Tony Hawk Teaches Skateboarding” on MasterClass

What is included in the Tony Hawk MasterClass?

Runtime: 1 hour, 41 minutes

Course Value: 5/5

Lessons: 16

Supplementary materials: 59-page workbook, MasterClass Hub access

Supplementary workbook

The workbook for the Tony Hawk MasterClass is one of my favorites by far.

The nearly-60-page downloadable PDF wastes no space for handwritten notes. Instead, it crams each page with glossaries, diagrams, trick tutorials, and even a map of all the Tony Hawk Foundation skate parks in the U.S.

front ollie step by step tutorial alongside an image of tony hawk performing a front ollie in 1995
Front ollie step-by-step tutorial.

You can also read summaries and additional information about each lesson. There’s a detailed biography of Tony Hawk and his skateboarding career and three full pages on the development and evolution of the Tony Hawk Pro Skater video game franchise.

The MasterClass Hub

With every MasterClass, you can access a discussion board where fellow students ask questions or discuss other related topics. You can use the Hub for as long as you’re a MasterClass member.

Tony Hawk MasterClass hub with discussions on falling like a skater, the skateboard buying guide, and playing tony hawk pro skater
Tony Hawk’s MasterClass Hub.

The Tony Hawk MasterClass hub is admittedly pretty quiet — just a handful of views and responses on most threads.

A complete breakdown of the Tony Hawk MasterClass curriculum

Tony Hawk’s MasterClass is packed with step-by-step technical tips for doing everything from an ollie to a frontside pop-shove it or a fakie disaster smith.  

In the technique videos, you’ll hear everything that goes through Hawk’s head as he lifts his board off the ground in an ollie or spins through the air in a 900. His biographical videos are packed with Hawk’s charm, honesty, and 80s and 90s footage of Hawk skating and greeting his fans.

The curriculum runs just over 90 minutes and is broken into 16 short video lessons.

Lesson list:

  1. Meet Your Instructor
  2. Skills & Techniques
  3. The Ollie
  4. Underdog to Icon
  5. Trials & Tribulations
  6. Street Basics
  7. Street Intermediate & Advanced
  8. Park Basics
  9. Park Intermediate & Advanced
  10. Vert Basics & Intermediate
  11. Vert Advanced
  12. Playback: The 900
  13. Playback: The Kickflip McTwist
  14. How to Win
  15. An Inside Look: Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater
  16. The Future of Skateboarding

Course summary

First things first: Tony Hawk is ready to get you excited about skateboarding.

His love for the sport he helped create radiates out of his “Meet Your Instructor” video, and it continues for the duration of the class.

Seriously — I thought this would be a cool class because I watched some Olympic skateboarding events, and my boyfriend likes to play Pro Skater, but now I’m considering trading in my roller skates for a skateboard.

Before anything else, you’ll cover some basics: pushing, turning, and stopping. Your first trick? An ollie. The foundation of nearly all skateboarding tricks, an ollie is simply getting your board into the air with your feet “stuck” to it.

Tony Hawk is in mid-air, with his feet “stuck” flat to his board.

Next up: the technical trick videos. For these, Hawk recruits professional skateboarders Riley Hawk (his son) and Lizzie Armanto to show some of the most advanced street, park, and vert tricks out there.

For each trick, one of these pro skaters performs it while their voiceover explains exactly what your feet, body, and board should be doing. Thanks to the magic of slow-motion video and on-screen animation, you can see exactly how these pros move to complete each gravity-defying feat.

Armanto balances her board on the top of a ramp with one wheel resting on the top and the wheels pointing down the ramp. A horizontal yellow line shows how your front wheels should be positioned relative to the coping on top.
Armanto balances her board on the top of a ramp.

The trick videos are super helpful, but they move fast. The skaters spend 30 seconds or less on some of the most advanced tricks, so if you’re using these to practice, you’ll probably want to watch your target trick over and over.

The course workbook also includes written instructions for each trick in the video, so if you download it to your phone, it can serve as a handy pocket guide when you’re out skating.

The curriculum includes a few interludes that provide a look into Hawk’s skating career. They were a lot of fun to watch — since Hawk has been competing and performing for so long, there’s tons of old footage of his tricks that the class makes liberal use of.

Old skateboarding footage is put to its best use in the “Playback” videos that appear toward the end of the MasterClass. You’ll see footage of some of Hawk’s many attempts to land the 900 as he talks you through the lead-up and aftermath of that iconic 1999 X Games.

What I learned: 4 takeaways from this MasterClass

I have a lot more practicing to do before I can give you any tips on how to perfect your kickflip, but thankfully there’s so much more to skateboarding than the technical tricks.

Here are a few takeaways from the Tony Hawk MasterClass to get you ready to hit the skate park.

1. Tony Hawk made skateboarding cool

Maybe you’re well aware of the impact Hawk had on the world of skateboarding, but I sure wasn’t — and it’s pretty incredible.

Today, Hawk is known as a champion trick skater. But when he first started, that tricked-based style was considered robotic — not much of a style at all.

On top of that, skateboarding was far from cool during Hawk’s teenage years. Without the heavy surf influence of early skaters out of places like Dogtown, Hawk had to work hard to get his skating recognized.

But as he developed more tricks and consistently medaled at skate competitions and the X Games, people started to take notice. When Hawk landed the first 900 at the 1999 X Games, skateboarding was thrust into mainstream culture like never before.

Hawk wears a helmet and elbow pads and raises his arms above his head. His mouth is open and he looks shocked.
The look on Hawk’s face right after he changed skateboarding by landing a 900. (Y Games)

At the same time, the Tony Hawk: Pro Skater video game series was released for the first time, bringing skateboarding into even more homes across the world.

2. Skateboarding is a community

If you plan to visit your local skate park to try out some moves, it’s important to understand skate culture first.

Hawk puts it this way in his second video lesson: “[Skateboarding] is a community of individuals who all have their own pursuits but come together in a sense of camaraderie that I’ve never found anywhere else.”

That community is evident throughout Hawk’s MasterClass. He tells of sessions with early trick skaters where everyone supported each other in figuring out their latest trick. He lays out some tips for visiting your local skate park, like how to watch to know when it’s your turn.

And in perhaps the best example of how skaters support each other, Hawk only landed his iconic 900 after the entire X Games Best Trick competition turned its attention to encouraging him in his attempts. Hawk landed the trick on his 12th attempt.

3. Different types of skateboarding require different tricks

Did you, like me, watch Olympic Skateboarding and wonder what all the different events and arenas meant?

Hawk breaks it down right at the beginning of his class. The three main types of skateboarding are street, park, and vert:

breakdown of three types of skateboarding: street, park, and vert
  • Street skating is what you’d find in public. Think stairs, curbs, and handrails.
  • Vert skating — Hawk’s specialty — consists of a tall ramp that allows for lots of aerial tricks, like the 900.
  • Park skating is a mix of street, vert, and bowl skating where skaters show off a series of tricks and skills.

Some skateboarders adapt tricks to different skate styles and become proficient in all three types. Others focus primarily on one style.

4. Don’t skip your helmet

Pro skateboarders make even the most complicated tricks look easy, but that comes at the cost of dozens or even hundreds of falls and potential injuries. Hawk broke a rib trying to perfect the 900, and his son Riley has had numerous ankle injuries during his street skating career.

All that to say: wear your safety gear! Get a helmet and protective pads for your knees, wrists, and elbows. Skate parks can have a lot of hard surfaces, and when combined with new aerial tricks, you’ll want to be as safe as possible.  

icons showing safety essentials like a helmet, knee pads, elbow pads, and wrist guards

Your course workbook has some tips and suggestions for getting the right safety gear.

Check out the Tony Hawk MasterClass today

Memorable quotes from this MasterClass

“My favorite thing about skateboarding is that it’s constantly evolving, it’s all-inclusive, and it is a community of individuals who all have their own pursuits but come together in a sense of camaraderie that I’ve never found anywhere else.”

Lesson 2: Skills & Techniques

Tony Hawk’s MasterClass Pros and Cons

There are a lot of pros to the Tony Hawk MasterClass. Here are some of the top ones:

tony hawk masterclass pros and cons

Pros

  • Expert tips and instruction from Hawk and other pro skaters
  • Slo-mo video and on-screen arrows make it easy to understand tricks
  • Incredibly useful supplemental workbook that’s packed with extra info
  • Tons of old footage of Tony Hawk’s skate career
  • Gives you a clear sense of where to start and how to grow as a skater

Cons

  • Trick instructions move quickly
  • The class is on the short side

Do I recommend this Masterclass?

I’m all in on the Tony Hawk MasterClass. I didn’t expect to come away so excited about skateboarding, but here I am.

If you’re even remotely curious about skating, this course is for you. It doesn’t matter if you’ve had a skateboard sitting in your closet for years or if you’re sure you’ll only ever land a trick in Tony Hawk: Pro Skater. The Tony Hawk MasterClass gives you the encouragement and tools you need to drop in to a skate park for the first time.

Start learning skateboarding with Tony Hawk on MasterClass today

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