Tony Hawk and the origin of the trick "The Madonna."

Kick flips, ghetto birds, ollie impossibles, airwalks, bean plants, acid drops, gazelle spins, pop shuvits, and the Madonna are the names of some of the hundreds, perhaps thousands of skateboard tricks performed on flat ground, mini ramps, vert, and mega ramp skateboarding. What are the origins of these names? Some may be obvious, describing the actual movement of the stunt wood. Others, not so much. Tony Hawk posted this video about the origins of the name "The Madonna" for a trick he invented in 1984.

The Madonna is a one-footed frontside air where the front foot is removed mid-air, kicked out, and then replanted on the board right before striking the coping and dropping back into the ramp. If that does not make sense, the video will help.

"…I was experimenting with taking my foot off when doing tricks, and around the same time, I was also doing lean to tails, so I was doing a front side air, grabbing the nose, and coming down on the tail. So, I decided to combine those the two things."

"It was named Madonna because I was having a conversation with a friend of mine, Lester Kasai, who is also a pro skater, and I was telling him that I've been inventing tricks lately, but no one seems to care or want to try them. And he 'You've got to name them something popular, something trendy.' In 1984, the trendiest thing that was on the radio and TV was Madonna. So, he said, 'maybe you should name it The Madonna.' And I did. And it stuck."

Innovation and imagination are also about reversals and palimpsests. As a frontside trick, the Madonna has its companion: "So, a backside Madonna is a 'Sean Penn' because they were married at the time."

To learn how to do The Madonna, The Ride Channel posted this video with Andrew Langi.

In March of 2021, Hawk broke his femur, "the most traumatic injury of my life." An amazing recovery followed. The Hawk is soaring again. As reported by Forbes, "I am going to be 55 years old next month," Hawk said, as he paused for a moment to laugh, "and I am competing in the X Games! There's not a lot of sports where you have 55-year-olds who get to compete with teenagers."

Here is the full video of the Skateboard Vert Vest Trick contest that Hawk competed in on his 55th birthday weekend. You can see him attempt a Madonna tailslide revert at minute 6:07 for his first run, 10:06 for his second, 13:42 for the third, then 18:10, 21:18, and finally, minute 24:29 where he lands it to the joy and celebration of the crowd. The slow-motion capture is at 24:56 – was it actually a "Madonna to switch crook?" asks Gary Rogers, Thrasher's Skateline NBD host. As an encore, Hawk completes a "body-varial blunt" at 29:05.

The Birdman is amazing: the competing at 55, the trick selection, and the love from the skateboarding community.

This video of a body-varial blunt is not Tony Hawk.

Click here for the trailer to the HBO film "Tony Hawk: Until the Wheels Fall Off."