Thank you for all your questions. I appreciate the quality and the concern for my fellow team rider Shogo. It was nice to be able to address these topics and share my experience, strength and hope with all of you.

Tony Alva is a Legendary Skateboarder, Surfer, Musician and original member of Dogtown Z-Boys. One of the most important and influential skateboarders of all time.

Info page is here:

Comments: 361 • Responses: 44  • Date: 

trotp3130 karma

TA..any advise for an old geezer thinkin about skating after a 30 some year hiatus?

tony-alva-pro-sk8r262 karma

Yes, wear a helmet and just have fun.

Synimatik127 karma

Tony, big fan. I simply love Lords of Dogtown. What did you think of that film, and how accurate was it?

tony-alva-pro-sk8r191 karma

I was one of the authenticity consultants on the film, so if it sucks, I'm partly to blame. but seriously, I enjoyed the film, working with the stunt doubles, the actors, and last but not least, the director, katherine hardwick. she's a good friend and a pleasure to work with. also, to be of note, heath ledger was our star and this is one of his last films.

the_slunk106 karma

Skate high or skate straight?

tony-alva-pro-sk8r223 karma

i skated high for so many years and it affected my performance in a negative way. so for me, the answer is to skate clean not necessarily straight. my experience is that the clearer your perception is the better you do anything that takes a lot of concentration, skill, and grace. thank you for this question. i'm happy to share my experience on this topic.

Campbell_H80 karma

Hi Tony. Greeting from Adelaide. This is your mate Campbell. When are you coming back to here to skate with us, Dorfus and the crew?

tony-alva-pro-sk8r87 karma

Tell Dorfus I say hello. I love Adelaide, especially when they ring all the church bells. It's a beautiful place. The skateboarding is great. And I remember all my mates. You guys have a special place in my heart. Hopefully, I will be able to visit again, in the near future. We should all go back down to Tazzie also because that place is also very special to me.

tymoski58 karma

Can you beat Tony Hawk Pro-Skater 3 on SICK?

tony-alva-pro-sk8r103 karma

I've only seen one of his video games: American Wasteland because I'm one of the characters. And I spend most of my time out of doors instead of in front of a screen playing or watching video games.

LetsChatWithBigots50 karma

Tony, another question, did you prefer the documentary film Dogtown & Z-Boys more than the biopic Lords Of Dogtown or the other way around? Also, my condolences to you and your other Z-boys, RIP Shogo Kubo. Were you still in touch with him when he passed?

tony-alva-pro-sk8r85 karma

Thank you for mentioning Shogo. A lot of people have mentioned him in this interview and it touches my heart to hear how much people miss and respect him. The documentary is definitely the stronger of the 2 films. The feature film was geared toward entertainment. The documentary tells our story based on the real facts and the lives of the principal characters. I think Stacey Peralta is an amazing director and did a great job.

MC5EVP48 karma

Did you guys know you were making history at the time, or was it after the dust had settled and you looked back on it all? I was also wondering who some of your favorite bands were/are?

tony-alva-pro-sk8r103 karma

In retrospect, we just did everything spontaneously but I am proud of the progress we made and I feel that we were responsible for a revolution when it came to the kind of skateboarding that we introduced people to. One of my favorite bands includes one of my favorite people, it's called Fugazi. Ian Mckaye is a good friend and an amazing example of what you can do with the DIY approach to music.

Campbell_H41 karma

Hi Tony. Another question. I am not sure why it is, but a lot of us skateboarders have had a troubled time with alcohol and drugs myself included. I recently, by my own choice, have stopped drinking alcohol... which can be difficult with Australian beer culture. But I am feeling great. Are you refraining from alcohol these days? And what do you ahve to say on the subject?

tony-alva-pro-sk8r93 karma

Yes I abstained from using anything that affects me from the neck up. Self-medicating can become a bad habit. Whether its alcohol or anything else that you think is going to make you better, it's all a delusion. the only way to really remain connected spiritually to the solution is to refrain from using drugs and alcohol to escape reality. Turn it over to a higher power. I use this technique and I am speaking from and experience of over 7 years clean and sober.

4aronP39 karma

If you could only ride one surf break for the rest of your life which one would it be?

tony-alva-pro-sk8r74 karma

thinking man, i gotta pick one that's's called Puerto Sillo [sp?] and it's located in Chile. It's a left-hand point break, cold water, clean, beautiful, and uncrowded. Last but not least: the locals are all either fishermen or surfers and are the salt of the earth.

d0000m35 karma

Do you think skateboarding will ever die?

tony-alva-pro-sk8r103 karma

No, but I probably will. And I'm hoping to have been a positive influence on all other skateboarders for life.

Ya_No29 karma

Was the person that the character Sid in Lords Of Dogtown based on as involved with the Z Boys as the movie portrays?

tony-alva-pro-sk8r85 karma

The Sid Character was based on 2 people that were a part of the Zephyr team history. One was the shop boy Chris Cahill, the other was our friend Dino that was dying of cancer and lived in the mansion where the DOGBOWL pool was. His parents knew it made him happy in the end of his life to have us around. He was a friend and also a big influence on the progression of Vertical Skateboarding because of his generosity.


What do you do now?

tony-alva-pro-sk8r81 karma

Surf, play music, skateboard, and watch my kids grow into adults. My daughter was just married 2 months ago in my hometown and it was an emotional and beautiful experience.

trotp326 karma

Sorry about the recent loss of another bro...any one thing standout that exemplifies Shogos stoke?

tony-alva-pro-sk8r31 karma

Yes, Shogo was a good friend and I will definitely miss him. He was always one of the mellower guys on our team, but his ability on a skateboard spoke for itself. His stoke was that he died in a beautiful place doing something that he loved. My condolences go out to him and his family and everybody that loved him as much as I did.

tmb0212725 karma

I loved reading about you and all the Dogtown guys back in 70s. When Skateboarder came in the mail it was a good day. knowing there were other people with a similar outlook was very cool, my teenage years were a little crazy. Do you ever visit or play in Boston?

tony-alva-pro-sk8r25 karma

Yes, my band will not be playing there, but I'm flying into Boston next week to attend the Water Brothers vintage surfboard show that will be in Newport, RI. My good friend Syd is the host and curator of this event.

IcculusMaximus22 karma

What's the scariest moment you have experienced? Skating or otherwise.

tony-alva-pro-sk8r64 karma

i got some pretty gnarly ones...just lately, i was skating in new mexico down a 3-mile long run in an empty drainage ditch. it's called Indian School and when the wind is at your back you can each speeds in excess of 40mph and if you fall the consequences can be serious. so even though i feel a little frightened, i also enjoy the excitement and adrenaline involved in this experience.

100mikes18 karma

all time favorite bowl?

tony-alva-pro-sk8r52 karma


LetsChatWithBigots16 karma

Hey Tony, you're awesome... Also, what do you think of "stunt-boarding" or what Danny Way and Bobby B. do? Would you ever skate a loop-de-loop with the top off? Or acid drop the Hard Rock Cafe guitar?

tony-alva-pro-sk8r30 karma

no, i'm not really interested in those kinds of stunts. maybe when i was quite a bit younger. at this point, i'll leave it to those guys and just be a spectator.

epco9316 karma

what was the worst accident that you had on a skateboard and surfboard?

tony-alva-pro-sk8r41 karma

Skateboarding, my worst accident, was when I collided with my friend Les Butler: He got a hole in his head, and I broke my two front teeth. It was like being in a prizefight that I definitely lost. Surfing: I once lost my board far out from shore with no leash at Sunset Beach and I had to swim a very long way to get in and when I got close to shore, I got caught in the rip. Thought I was gonna drown. But I didn't.

boybra14 karma

I live in brazil and i find hard to find Alva products here, do u have plans to bring your brand to here?

tony-alva-pro-sk8r10 karma

They are accessible in Brazil through our links to the internet and Alva Surfcraft via my collaborative company Powerstation Project. Here are a couple of links for you:

Lmplog14 karma

Hey Tony, ever been to Sedona,AZ?

tony-alva-pro-sk8r23 karma

Sedona, the skatepark is one of the most beautiful locations I have ever been to. Especially when the sun is rising in the morning. There is no comparison to the natural beauty of the northern part of Arizona. Sedona is a spiritual mecca and a magical place to visit. don't miss it, put it on your bucket list.

SpiffierGoose613 karma

what's your favourite color?

tony-alva-pro-sk8r39 karma

it's called Live Coral. Which is very similar to a salmon.

tony-alva-pro-sk8r23 karma

that's a good question, i have so many favorite colors. thinking

AlexBerghe12 karma

What's your worst experience as a skateboarder ? :D

tony-alva-pro-sk8r35 karma

Being arrested for trespassing in order to have a skateboard session. Police can be a major bummer, especially if they are aggressive and have a bad attitude.

philosopherskater12 karma

Hi Tony. First, appreciate all you've done for skateboarding. Thanks. Question: Who was most influential for you in your own Dogtown years in terms of either getting into skating, or in terms of your style? Did you have a particular mentor?

Oh, and can we expect you in Toronto area anytime? :)

tony-alva-pro-sk8r23 karma

Yes, my mentor was also an amazing surfer and a musician from the Malibu/Santa Monica area. His name is Torger Johnson. He is no longer here, but I am. So I carry on in the tradition and style that he helped introduce to skateboarding and the world.

NoShirtNoShoesNoDice12 karma

Since there is no actual proof given in the description, it was tweeted on his Twitter:

#TonyAlva is available to take your questions on reddit now:

(sorry that this post does not have a question)

tony-alva-pro-sk8r11 karma

[the typist says]: thanks for your feedback.

masterflash12510 karma

What was your worst bail?

tony-alva-pro-sk8r15 karma

the worst bails I've ever experienced are usually in huge pipes that are 20ft plus and when you go too high you have to bail at 10-o'clock or more and you end up on the bottom.

100mikes10 karma

Hey thanks for doin this! Jw. What do you think of bill danforth*?

tony-alva-pro-sk8r8 karma

Bill Danforth is the original american nomad. And similar to his hometown, is making a huge comeback. I will be releasing a reissue of his model that came out on Alva. Look for it here: Everybody keep an eye on the city of detroit, they are going to be making progress.

sinistix9 karma


tony-alva-pro-sk8r19 karma

i love all the young kids. those are the ones i enjoy sponsoring and in the future, they are the ones that will keep me riding and progressing also. because there is really no limit to what you can do on a skateboard. And Tom's 1080 is proof of that.

4aronP9 karma

Another surf question... I see you ride that squared up twin fin. I can't see one being able to really dig in on the bottom turn or gouge deep cut backs with that much I wrong?

tony-alva-pro-sk8r14 karma

I love those boards because they skate on waves similar to the way a skateboard rides in a pool. There is no limit to what you can do if you have the technique and ability to draw the kind of lines that represent surf/skating. My favorite maneuver after the drop-in on a wave is a solid bottom turn. Never had a problem with it. IF the wave allows, I also love to do a figure-8 oriented roundhouse cutback. it's possible.

epco939 karma

What kind of music(genre and/or musicians) do you like to listen too, and do you like hiking?

tony-alva-pro-sk8r18 karma

Most of the time, to get to the best surf spots, I have to hike in. So yes, you have to like hiking, if you're an avid surfer. I love all kinds of music, especially if there's a message and the production is professional.

dntobi9 karma


 Do you ever get to Colorado for some snowboarding?

tony-alva-pro-sk8r28 karma

No, I love snow and the mountains, but I don't enjoy being strapped to a board that I cannot control the speed going down vertical terrain. It's not a comfortable feeling to a guy that's used to being able to get off the board if something goes wrong. I'm a surfer first and foremost. I'm a beach bum. I'm a skateboarder second. And those kinds of boards feel most comfortable to me.

KarlDogIsMyDog9 karma

Dear Mad Dog:

Do you still come to Philadelphia and skate? If so, where?


tony-alva-pro-sk8r17 karma

yes, occasionally, i love philadelphia, because its a city of brotherly love. i have a lot of friends there. most of the guys i know helped build FDR Skatepark so that's probably where you'll find me.

KarlDogIsMyDog8 karma

Hey Tony,

My dad skated with you one night at the Concrete Wave in Baltimore in the Mid-Late 70's.

He just told me that Shogo Kubo passed recently. The two of you were his hero's.

When was the last time you skated with him?


tony-alva-pro-sk8r16 karma

I didn't skate much with him because he lived in Hawaii in the last 20 years. But we did a lot of skateboarding together when we were kids. Shogo was very underrated and his layback was probably the best ever. He was a beautiful person, very sincere, a family man and I think he's going to be missed by everybody and anybody who is connected to surfing and skateboarding history.

_dear_ms_leading_8 karma

Catch any wicked waves as of late?

tony-alva-pro-sk8r18 karma

yes, i was down in baja surfing with some good friends who are expatriates and we ride a lot of good waves with nobody else around.

chunst8 karma

Have you ever heard of the Jak's skate team and what do you think of them?

tony-alva-pro-sk8r9 karma

oh yeah Jak's team. I love the Jak's team. I am still a member. Maybe not as active as I used to be but the Jak's have an important part in the history of skateboarding especially in the Northwest. And I miss a lot of my friends that are no longer with us that were the founders of the Jak's team and probably one of the most hardcore skateboarders I have ever known.

the_slunk7 karma

Has skating gotten too commercialized as a mainstream sport to be as fun for you as it was back in the day when it was more of an outlaw/rebel thing to do?

tony-alva-pro-sk8r20 karma

No, because I keep it personal and fun on a daily basis. The commercial side of skateboarding is beneficial to the longevity of a lot of my friends and myself when it comes to making a living. Some of it I could do without, but that's just the way the entire business world is when it comes to making money.

MykalDreamz6 karma

Do you think you'll ever re release all the dagger member boards?

tony-alva-pro-sk8r6 karma

no, not all of them, but we do have a dagger board that's available. if you want, you can go to this link: and order one.

dntobi5 karma


Did you ever meet Larry Bertleman!?

tony-alva-pro-sk8r9 karma

Yes I have met Larry. He was an amazing surfer and he is still alive and is an amazing person. Hopefully, you will also get to meet him someday because I feel the Hawaiian spirit of Aloha is still a big part of his life.

ALVACVH2 karma

T, to me you were the DLR of Skate/Surf ever hear such compaison?

tony-alva-pro-sk8r9 karma

i'm not sure what this acronym represents, but if it's something positive, i'm down. if it's negative, i will have to deny the affiliation to the DLR.

the_slunk2 karma

You still thumpin' on that P-bass, man? Where's G.F.P. at these days? Also -- what's it like playing with that kook Greg Hetson in a band? Thanks, man.

tony-alva-pro-sk8r8 karma

P-bass, no. I have a new one, and it's called a Dimension Bass, but it's still a Fender. G.F.P. is releasing a collaboration record in Europe and looking for a new drummer. Playing with Greg is always interesting and an honor. He is my hero.

dntobi0 karma

Tony, Do you ever do any windsurfing?

tony-alva-pro-sk8r3 karma


4aronP-1 karma

Do you think Mark Gonzales is overrated?

tony-alva-pro-sk8r8 karma

No way. Mark Gonzales is one of the most influential skateboarders of all time. He deserves al the credit he has gotten, and more. He was one of the original street skaters to master the ollie and I had the pleasure of sponsoring him when he was an amateur. I think I remember him being 13 or 14 years old and growing up in a hardcore neighborhood in LA. I knew he was going to be a special talent the moment I witnessed his ability.

ALVACVH-2 karma

since you did not answer ? want to share something... You were my inspiration as I teen. Folks wouldnt afford me surfboard and had to sctratch every penny and earn my 8" in 1980 before the 10" pig. Alva green/yellow wheels on Trackers. I rode the thing 1000 miles as my transport Seal to Anaheim and all in between. Sacred to me. Im 50 few months back and your game saved me when I didnt know where I fit life. Today our oldest son is 21 in D.C. Army Honor Guard and 16 is in SLO for encampment, they are great boys but most kids today dont know spirit of living outside and playing the way it was then. I know THawk/GSmith well, Tony n Cindy had birth class with us and same midwife and cannot believe havent been able to share in person. 10 yrs ago got a new Alva, cool just miss my OG Alva-Much Respect, Ken

tony-alva-pro-sk8r2 karma

thanks for the feedback. i appreciate it. i answered the DLR question to the best of my ability.

Randonia-6 karma

Do you sometimes wish your last name was Hawk?

tony-alva-pro-sk8r7 karma