- WSL

Announced today, Tony Hawk has joined Vans as a new global brand ambassador for the iconic footwear brand.

Hawk was just nine years old when his brother gave him his first skateboard. He would go on to change the world of skateboarding in innumerable ways (while his word-minded brother went on to be an editor at Surfer Magazine).

Growing up in Carlsbad, California, the Hawk boys were exposed to surf and skate culture from the youngest of ages. Young Tony, prodigious on four wheels, quickly refined what was possible on a skateboard in the 1980s and '90s.

Cementing his stature as the defacto face of skateboarding, much like Kelly Slater has become the face of surfing, Hawk's talent and affable personality have elevated him to the stature of cultural icon. From skating in the halls of the White House to being spoofed on The Simpsons, he's the most recognized skater on the planet.

And for his next act, the 51-year-old Hawk is teaming up with Vans to elevate the game yet again.

"Vans were the first skate shoes I ever wore, beginning in 1978," explained Hawk in a statement to the press. "My dad bought me a pair and I begged him for the β€˜ankle guard' accessory because high-tops weren't available yet. I wore Vans almost exclusively until the mid β€˜80s."

Besides his long, storied relationship with the waffle-soled shoes themselves, Hawk will step into a role as a color commentator in the Vans Park Series, as well as producing a brand-new professional vert skateboarding event.

"Vans has supported skateboarding since the very beginning, and never wavered in its commitment, even with massive mainstream success," said Hawk. "I have always respected their integrity, so it is an honor to officially join forces and help continue to grow skateboarding culture in the most authentic way possible."

For his 50th birthday last year, Hawk rallied a few friends to the Surf Ranch in Lemoore -- including gold medalist Shawn White and Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder. Keeping the part going, and proving that some skaters just get better with age, when Hawk he also dedicated himself to landing 50 of his favorite tricks.

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