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Tony Hawk defends taking his 4-year-old daughter skateboarding without a helmet

Dec 18, 2012, 1:37 PM EDT

Big Day Out 2012 - Auckland Getty Images

My mom was a hospital admitting nurse, so I was never allowed to have a skateboard as a child — I was covered in bubble wrap each morning until my 12th birthday. Pro skateboarding legend Tony Hawk takes a bit of a different approach to parenting.

Hawk posted Instagram photos on Monday of himself skating with his 4-year-old daughter, Kadence, in his 5,000-foot concrete backyard skate park. Hawk is seen carrying the girl, and swinging her by the arms, as he skates … and she’s conspicuously not wearing a helmet. This did not sit well with some of his followers. Sample:

“Crash, split, blood! Put a helmet on her, moron!”

@bigg_oscar
Helmets? Who needs helmets? Accidents NEVER happen and superstars never fall down. it’s a one in a million hot if she falls and cracks her skull. Nothing a little duct tape won’t hold together. #helmetsafety

Hawk responds:

@tonyhawk
One more from yesterday. For those that say I endanger my child: it’s more likely that you will fall while walking on the sidewalk than I will while skating with my daughter.

And from Reddit:

high-tek_low-life
He obviously underestimates my walking skills.

The vast majority of the comments on Hawk’s Instagram account were positive, as one would expect. Fanboys tend to be that way.

Earlier this year Hawk posted a photo of Kadence duct-taped to a wall.

Look, I’m not going to get into the specifics of this debate, but I will say that Hawk is forgetting something very important. He may think this is safe due to his skill, and he may be right. But what about all the kids and adults he’s influencing by posting the photos? As someone who does a lot for charity and works with kids and builds skate parks for the underprivileged, Hawk is well aware of his great influence on his fans. This is not setting a good example. How’s he going to feel if this inspires someone to try this with their younger brother, and it ends in tragedy?

But then, I spent my childhood in bubble wrap, so what do I know?

  1. manchestermiracle - Dec 20, 2012 at 10:47 AM

    He doesn’t put her in a car seat, she’s allowed to use the power tools without supervision, and the kitchen isn’t off-limits. Humor aside, Hawk is setting himself up for an epic fail should she ever get hurt doing just about anything. He’s demonstrating rather poor parental judgment, as well as giving the judicial system graphic evidence beforehand. Agree with first comment: Moron.