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Tony Hawk reveals how a Citizen smartwatch took him to ‘the next level’ for his X Games return

Tony Hawk uses Citizen Watch to return to the X Games at age 55

Tony Hawk wearing Citizen CZ Smart YouQ
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Tony Hawk is one of the most famous and beloved athletes of the last few decades. Not only did he revolutionize the sport of skating (truly, he made it cool to jump on a board with wheels nailed to it and throw yourself into a halfpipe), but he also revolutionized the gaming industry. The games carrying his name were some of the best selling in gaming for PlayStation, Nintendo 64, and GameBoy. Now he may be doing so again with the addition of a smartwatch.

At the spry young age of 55, the skating legend is making his return to the X Games for the first time since 2003. While returning to the sport for the first time in 20 years is a feat that most athletes could never even fathom, Hawk had a little bit of help on his road to return, thanks to a new technology from Citizen Watch. He sat down with The Manual to talk about his partnership with Citizen and how it helped him, once again, revolutionize the world of skating and the world of stylish timepieces.

Citizen CZ Smart adds YouQ technology

Smartwatches are all the rage, as we use them for everything from tracking our sleep to listening to music and even communicating in our best Dick Tracy impressions. Citizen is diving into a new level of smart tech that brings with it a revolutionary kind of wellness assistance. The YouQ wellness app was developed using research pioneered by NASA Ames Research Center and AI models built with IBM Watson, learning with you as you get better.

“It’ll take you to the next level,” Hawk said when describing the new technology. “In terms of feedback and planning your days, it will tell you when you are physically and mentally at your optimal peak performance and even give you some checkups.” He continued to talk about the way it will even keep you on track, “It will give you little tasks to do to stay firing on all cylinders.”

So how does it do all of that? And how does it work for Tony Hawk specifically?

Citizen CZ Smart with YouQ app
Courtesy of Citizen

CZ Smart YouQ optimizes you based on a hereditary trait

Some people are early risers, jumping out of bed at 4 a.m., pulling on their favorite sneakers and going for a run, chasing the sunrise while the rest of humanity hits the snooze button. Others burn the midnight oil, hitting their most creative and productive strides while the world sleeps, taking advantage of the quiet hours and the lack of chaos.

CZ Smart YouQ identifies your chronotype, a hereditary trait closely tied to your circadian rhythm, which dictates the timing of your body’s clock, the natural cycle of physical, mental, and behavioral changes your body goes through in a 24-hour cycle. In lay terms, it determines whether you are a morning person or a night owl.

The technology operates on six different chronotypes:

  1. Morning Go-Getters: These people (MGGs) have their highest productivity levels in the morning and steadily diminish throughout the day.
  2. Evening Enthusiasts: Slow starters that hit their stride late in the day while the MGGs are starting to wind down.
  3. Midday Dynamos: They hover right down the middle, with lower energy levels in the morning and evening, hitting their strides after lunch.
  4. Early Bird Enthusiasts: Perky, motivated, and hitting the ground running in the morning. They are in need of an afternoon nap and then sometimes can hit a second wind in the evening.
  5. Steady Achievers: Middle of the road in every way. Rarely high energy, rarely low energy, they are the tortoise of the group. Slow and steady wins the race.
  6. High Energy Hustlers: Never stop, never let up. Morning, noon, and night, no time is better than right now with these hard chargers.

Once it determines which of these chronotypes you are, YouQ finds your Power Score throughout the day and pinpoints when you are at your optimal performance times. When you are at your lowest, it will offer some Power Fixes as a way to make the most out of your day, including tasks to get you moving or nutritional advice.

Tony Hawk wearing Citizen CZ Smart YouQ
Image used with permission by copyright holder

It changed Tony Hawk’s mindset

For the last 30 years, Tony Hawk has been moving the needle of a sport that many people saw as more of an underground, alternative activity. With his help, it became not only a video game phenomenon but also featured on SportsCenter highlights. To be able to do the sport in his mid-50s, Hawk leaned on YouQ to help him recover faster.

“I’ve been doing this a long time,” he told The Manual. “I used to just wing it when I was a kid. I didn’t really consider what I was putting in my body or what I was doing outside of skating that was going to affect my longevity. But now I realize that those are big factors, especially at my age. Honestly, I never imagined I would be a professional skateboarder into my 40s and now into my 50s. That was not something that people aspired to, or thought was possible.”

It takes a lot to be an athlete in any sport; being cognizant of your body and your wellness is paramount to longevity. Hawk seems to have found the fountain of youth in getting the constant updates and suggestions to keep him operating at a high level long past when others are forced to walk, or limp, away from the sport.

Tony Hawk wearing Citizen CZ Smart YouQ
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The future of skating

Technology is something that can invade every aspect of every sport. As science becomes more accessible and easier to understand (or more automated), we start to see more athletes taking the Ivan Drago approach, using the latest and greatest in technological advances, over the Rocky Balboa approach of chasing chickens and lifting logs. When asked if this was the next logical step in skateboarding, Hawk was open to accepting tech into what we can probably call “his” sport at this point.

“It can help, sure. If people want to lean into the technology and try it out. You can get a wealth of information. It can be a companion and help people understand their body rhythms and when they might want to change their habits.” He also gave his thoughts on where the sport is headed and the state of skateboarding at the moment.

“I think skateboarding has come so far in just the last five years or so. It is much more widespread. Much more international. Much more inclusive. I feel like skateboarding is truly the big melting pot. If you go to a skate park right now, you’re going to see people my age, maybe older, little kids, all genders, different races, all cheering each other on. I can’t think of any other sport like that. At all.”

Tony Hawk skating
Courtesy of Citizen/Tony Hawk

On his return to the X Games

On top of talking about his collaboration with some pretty epic Citizen watches that feel like having a trainer and nutritionist strapped to your wrist, Hawk also talked about his return to the X Games and what we could expect from his long-awaited reappearance after two decades away.

“I am going to the X Games,” he revealed. “I am working on a couple of NBDs — what we call NBDs are Never Been Done tricks — and they are probably going to be much more appreciated by skaters than the general public. They’re not going to move the needle in terms of SportsCenter highlights, but they feel progressive to me, and that’s all I care about.”

He has been doing this longer than some of his fans have been alive, and when asked what inspired him to make his return to the games, he let us in on his purpose. “I have been skating through all these years, and I feel like I have been progressive through that time and learning new techniques. For me, it’s just a celebration of my career. I don’t expect to win, move the needle, or create a new movement. But I am going to add my own flavor and my own signature to it. I’ll try to come up with something new, and that’s good enough for me. I can’t think of any other sport where there is a 55-year-old out there competing with young teenagers and on the same level.”

It may not get you to the X Games, but the Citizen Smart CZ with the YouQ wellness app is now available to help get you to your optimal performance day in and day out. Whether you are 15 or 55, Tony Hawk is showing all of us that it’s never too early or too late to focus on yourself and get the best out of your body.

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Mark McKee
Mark is a full-time freelance writer and men's coach. He spent time as a style consultant and bespoke suit salesman before…
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