Tony Hawk, a 45-year-old San Diego native, was the first skateboarder to complete a “900,” two-and-a-half revolutions in mid-air, a totally rad move not repeated for another five years.
He went on to create the “Boom Boom HuckJam,” an extreme sports exhibition and tour in Las Vegas, appear in several films, license a video game named after himself and start the Tony Hawk Foundation, which builds skateparks in underprivileged neighborhoods. The urban dictionary even has a slang term named for him — the hawkie, “One who has partaken in the activity of skateboarding purely because they were influenced by a computer game.”
And although Hawk is an example of philanthropy, perseverance and stardom, the New York Hall of Science in Corona is most interested in how Hawk is an example of gravity, force, velocity, inertia and balance at play.
“Tony Hawk: Rad Science,” an exhibition about the physics of extreme sports, opened Feb. 2 at the New York Hall of Science. The touring program, co-produced by Hawk, earned praise in Berkeley, Calif. and Las Vegas. Its current home in Flushing Meadows Corona Park is its East Coast debut, which will run through April 22 with accompanied special workshops.
“Physics is everything in skateboarding,” Hawk said. “So much of what we do on a skateboard is learn to make physics work for us. I hope that by demonstrating that in this exhibit, we’re helping to make science more interesting and fun — especially for kids who may not have considered that skateboarding and science are actually related.”
There are 25 interactive experiences that include the Bodacious Board Balance to test balance in classic tricks like “grinding” and “manuals” on the safety of a padded surface; Loop of Centripetal Force, where guests use plastic balls to attempt the 360-degree “loop of death;” and Friction Hill, where guests use pucks to see how a given surface affects motion.
Guests can also test out Hawk’s video game and watch him perform his legendary “900.”
Additionally, NYSCI’s science instructors and “explainers” are developing a series of inquiry activities and pre- and post-visit materials to enhance the educational aspects of “Tony Hawk:Rad Science,” especially for students on school field trips.
To enhance the tubular experience the hall will offer a slew of workshops.
“The Rad Gear: Extreme Safety and Style,” on Feb. 16 from noon to 4 p.m., shows individuals samples of safety gear for adventure sports. Guests will also make their own gear so they can try their hand at a “900” safely.
“Radical Tricks with Torro! Skateboards NYC,” on March 9 from noon to 4 p.m., is led by pro skater and Queens native Rodney Torres and the Torro skateboard team. They will bring to life skateboarding tricks featured in “Tony Hawk:Rad Science.”
On March 23 and April 20 from noon to 4 p.m. skaters can design their own skateboard, experiment with ramps and learn the fundamentals of skateboarding with a Go Skate pro skateboarder. Thirty-minute beginner and advanced beginner sessions will be offered. Space is limited.
Everyone can learn the basics of controllers to make a wearable, electronic turn signal for rad — and safe — biking and skating on March 29 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tickets are $20 per project. Space is limited; pre-registration is required.
Boarders can go high tech learning the basics of 3-D modeling to design and print their own finger skateboards with a 3-D printer on April 20 from noon to 3 p.m. The cost is $20 per project. Pre-registration is required.
When: through April 22, Monday closed, Tuesday to Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Opened Mondays starting April 1.
Where: New York Hall of Science, 47-01 111 St.
Tickets: $11; $8 for children, students and seniors
(718) 699-0005, nysci.org