Tony Hawk Foundation Board of Directors member Ben Harper is helping turn old skateboards into new skateparks by recycling old decks via art. Using song lyrics as the basis for each piece, the boards are then sold to raise funds. All proceeds will go towards building positive recreational outlets for at-risk youth. The decks are set to debut during X Games XVIII. See more information on the project below.
Old Skateboards Become New Skateparks
Tony Hawk and top skaters team up with award-winning recording artists to benefit at-risk youth.
6/28/12 (Los Angeles, CA) – What do pro skaters do with the boards they skate and destroy? They turn them into skateparks.
Legendary skateboarder Tony Hawk and renowned singer-songwriter and musician Ben Harper have come together to recruit their friends in the skate and music worlds for a very special project. A member of the nonprofit Tony Hawk Foundation Board Of Directors, Harper conceived the idea to use pro skaters’ old decks to write song lyrics on and raise funds to build positive recreational outlets for at-risk youth.
“I’ve always felt that skateboards are one of the best canvases for art, and noticed that wear and tear only made them look cooler,” said Harper. “I was at Tony’s place and saw a note that a friend of Tony’s had written on a board that had been skated. And being a musician and a skater, it just seemed obvious.”
The Boards + Bands fundraising initiative merges the worlds of skateboarding and music to benefit the work of the Tony Hawk Foundation. Hawk invited a select group of professional skateboarders to donate their personally ridden skateboards and submit the name of their favorite songs. Harper then sent those boards on to the appropriate artists with one simple message: “Please write the lyrics to this skater’s favorite song on his skateboard, and we’ll use it to create more skateparks for kids.”
The chosen recording artists have hand-written the lyrics on these one-of-a-kind skateboards, which will be auctioned this Fall. Some of the skater/artist collaborations secured so far include Bucky Lasek and Adam Yauch, Rodney Mullen and Ben Harper, Mike Vallely and Tom Petty, and Tony Hawk and Paul McCartney.
“This is literally a dream come true,” said Hawk. “When Ben Harper first approached me with the idea, I was skeptical because the list of musicians requested was legendary. But they came through, proving that skateboarding’s reach is even broader than we imagined.”
Funds raised through this effort will benefit the Tony Hawk Foundation, which supports at-risk youth through the creation of public skateparks in low-income communities across the U.S. These skateparks are safe, sanctioned places for youth to come together, form communities, and practice the sport they love in a healthy environment. Since 2002, the Foundation has helped to fund 505 public skateparks in 50 states.
Decks from the Boards + Bands auction were unveiled for the first time at a press conference during the 2012 Summer X Games in Los Angeles, where they can be viewed through Sunday, July 1 at ESPN Zone at LA Live.