He’s the reigning Big Air champion, the first skater to land a 1080 – and he’s just 15-years-old.
Tom Schaar might be one of the youngest X Games athletes, but he doesn’t compete like it. The 15-year-old skateboard prodigy continues to land tricks seasoned veterans can only dream of, and with each birthday, Schaar seemingly adds another accomplishment to his résumé. Just last year, Schaar became the youngest X Games Big Air gold medalist – nothing new for the California native.
Now, as the reigning champion, Schaar looks to continue his winning ways, though it might not be all about skateboarding when the event makes its triumphant return to Austin June 4-7.
“I just want to go back and check out Austin – get some good barbecue,” Schaar admitted in an interview. “I didn’t really get a chance to check Austin out [last year] and I wanted to.”
While Schaar’s tricks might be loud and flashy, the high school sophomore remains humble and quiet when he’s not on his skateboard. He understands exactly what it is he does for a living and why having fun is one of the most important components to success, which is why he wants to enjoy Austin.
But, Schaar also knows there’s a lot of work to be done to once again claim gold. For the last few days, he spent his time practicing at Camp Woodward in Pennsylvania, hoping to iron out a winning run.
“I just practice and focus on what I’m going to do in the contest and just try that over, and over, and over, until I’ve got it down,” Schaar said about his time at Woodward. “I’m not looking to win again or anything like that, but more importantly, have fun – I think I got kind of lucky last year.”
What Schaar calls luck is simply an amazing set of skills and a certain fearlessness on his board. For a little over three years now, Schaar has competed in front of some of the sport’s largest crowds and with a potential record breaking crowd set for Austin, it’s still just another event for Schaar.
“I just zone out and focus on what’s then and there – not worrying about anything too much,”
It’s a strategy that’s definitely worked for Schaar in the past – and made him a force in the sport.
Back in 2012, at the age of 12, Schaar pulled off his best Tony Hawk impression, becoming the youngest to ever do so. Just a few months later, at the Asian X Games, the youngster one-upped Hawk, landing the first-ever 1080 in competition – three rotations, considered “the holy grail of skateboarding tricks”.
But Schaar isn’t a one-trick pony and admits he’s not sure if fans will see the 1080 in Austin.
“I actually haven’t tried [the 1080] in a while,” Schaar said. “It took me five tries and about two months to land. I don’t know if the fans will get to see it this year [laughs] but hopefully in the future.”
Editors Note: An earlier version of this story stated Schaar was the only skater to land a 1080 and was corrected.