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Skateboarding. You probably picture wild teenagers doing it, not responsible family men. But at the same time that he became the most successful and spectacular star in the sport’s history, Tony Hawk found ways to be fully involved in raising three sons: Riley, 9, from a previous marriage, plus 3-year-old Spencer and 10-month-old Keegan with wife Erin. Given Hawk’s fast-paced life (he’s starting a 24-city tour soon), we were lucky to catch him in his Southern California home.
Fit Pregnancy: When you first found out you were going to be a father, you were A 23-year-old professional skateboarder. How did this change your life?
Tony Hawk: It was different, you know? [Laughs] I wasn’t used to that sort of responsibility, but I learned to adapt. The biggest adjustment was learning to be more available.
Any advice after witnessing three pregnancies?
Each one is unique, and you have to be understanding and supportive because you can’t identify with what the woman is going through. There were times when there was a lot of tension because Erin was sick and suddenly was scrutinizing how I spent my day. But we came to an understanding.
Did you have moments when you looked at your baby and thought, Where’s the owner’s manual?
Especially with your first baby, it is weird when you come home from the hospital and think, “OK, this is it.” Suddenly you are solely responsible for the well-being of this very small person. But it doesn’t take long to understand their personality and realize what keeps them entertained. By the time Keegan was 3 or 4 weeks old, I knew exactly how he liked me to hold and calm him.
Are you able to be home more now?
Yeah, I have the freedom to be selective. That’s a big luxury. I’m going to Australia in a few weeks, but only for three days, whereas they wanted me to go for a week-and-a-half. I can’t be away that long anymore.
Didn’t The Wall Street Journal recently call you “an unlikely icon of the family man”?
Yeah. [Laughs] That’s weird, because it’s not like I set out to project some image, to say, “Look, I bring my son [Riley] with me!” I take my son because he loves to go and I love being with him. It’s really difficult to have a normal family life and a career as a professional athlete as well. I’m just trying to do what I do and stay balanced.