Tony Hawk on Skating Past 40: 'Shred or Die'

At 41 years old, world-class skateboarder still lands on his feet.

ByABC News
June 18, 2009, 4:00 PM

May 19, 2009 — -- Today at about 9 a.m., professional skateboarder Tony Hawk tweeted from inside the White House: "Hi. I am inside the White House gates eating Frosted Flakes and about to do press. You heard it here first. Yes, I brought my skateboard."

Hawk, who was at the White House to meet with President Obama for a press event, brought his board for a reason -- to ride. A quick photo of Hawk was snapped as he rode along the halls of the Old Executive Office Building.

Hawk, along with other athletes and entertainers, was at the White House to meet with President Obama for a press event called "First Fathers."

Watch this story tonight on "Nightline" at 11:35 p.m. ET.

On a typical day at just past 8 a.m., the Hawk family is doing its best to avoid any skinned knees before breakfast -- a tall order in a household with its own personal skateboard park. Matters are complicated even more when the father at home is the world's most famous skateboarder.

Through the years, Tony Hawk has received fame and acclaim by completing incredible stunts during the X Games, as well as from his popular video game titles. But recently, he entered what once seemed an unthinkable category for him ... middle age.

"Yeah, I'm definitely testing limits [with] how far you go with the profession and at what age," Hawk told "Nightline." "I don't make ultimatums. I'm sure one day I won't feel good about being out there in public. But until then, I'm just going [to be] enjoying it."

At his home, he has his own personal skateboard park. And as he whimsically skateboarded directly toward an approximately 5-foot-high cement wall -- and jumped it without a ramp -- two things must be considered: 1) It's really dangerous, and 2) Tony Hawk is 41 years old.

Hawk said getting older does have its limitations.

"Usually, it's like when I take a big hit: It takes me a little bit longer to bounce back, because I'm still actively skating all the time," he said. "It's not as bad as you think it would be."

Hawk is a man who knows how to land on his feet and isn't worried about the hottest young contenders half his age. He hasn't stopped being a kid since he was 14 -- when he was so good on the skateboard that he turned a hobby into a career.

While other kids were playing baseball, Hawk was traveling the world as a professional skateboarder and turning his name into a brand.

His childhood friend and skate-buddy Kevin Staab -- a top skateboarder in his own right -- is now Hawk's full-time assistant and occasional nanny.

"There was definitely something about him that you knew he was going to be insanely good," said Staab. "He's just always been that guy. Like he learned things twice as quick as everybody else did, yeah. And he never stopped to this day. He is still pushing everybody else out there."

Click here to read a Twitterview with Tony Hawk on his White House ride.