Five days ago Independent trucks posted a 15-second video of 44-year-old Tony Hawk trying to sort-of bounce off a six-foot step ladder atop a pro-sized vert ramp. Hawk fumbled several attempts in an unHawkish, possibly intentional way before the video ended with this message: “Welcome to Indy.”
Monday, Independent posted the full video to announce the partnership -- two minutes and 49 seconds of stupefyingly difficult technical maneuvers executed on a 12-foot vert ramp with the signature smoothness Hawk's brought to skateboarding since turning pro at 14.
It quickly went viral. “Tony doesn't stop,” wrote one poster. “OG,” wrote another. “Gap over the channel to 5-0 fakie? Holy mother shit,” wrote rising star Josiah Gatlyn on his Facebook page.
Independent Trucks came along at the tail end of the 1970s, when technical advancements in wheels, bearings, and trucks revolutionized skating into a whole different sport.
Two San Franciscans named Fausto Vitello and Eric Swenson worked with local pros John Hutson and Rick Blackhart, who were looking for an alternative to then-popular Tracker and Bennett trucks. They did four or five prototypes before The Independent premiered in 1978, took over half the market in six months, and has since been a force in what's estimated today as a $5 billion industry.
Nineteen seventy-eight, by the way, was the same year a storky 10-year-old was donning volleyball pads and garden gloves to learn “ollie aerials” out of the kiddie bowl at Oasis Skatepark. Coincidence?