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Tony Hawk renames skateboarding move to honor “quiet, mute guy” who created it

Tony Hawk renames skateboard trick
We’ve come a long way in the way society refers to deaf and hard of hearing people, but some uncomfortable legacies still remain.
To address one of these past faux pas in the skateboarding community, Pro skateboarder Tony Hawk says he is renaming a trick to honor the legacy of the deaf skater who created it.

The “Mute” Air Grab

It all started back in 1981, when a man named Chris Weddle first mastered the trick, Hawk explained on Instagram.

The trick involves the rider grabbing the toe side of the skateboard with their front hand, while turning backside.

“For nearly 40 years, we’ve shamelessly referred to this trick as the “mute” air/grab,” Hawk says.

Weddle, whom Hawk says was a prominent amateur on the competition circuit, is hard of hearing.

In an interview with DeafSkateboards.com, Weddle says the trick was named when he preformed it at a Pro/Am event, “because I am always quiet and talk funny, [because] I am hard of hearing.”

Hawk confirms the account in his Instagram post.

“The ‘Indy’ air had just been created and named so somebody proposed that grabbing with the front hand should be known as the ‘Tracker’ air,” he says. “Others countered that Chris was the first to do, so it should be named after him. They referred to him as the ‘quiet, mute guy.’ So, it became known as the ‘mute’ air, and we all went along with it in our naive youth.”

“…we all went along with it in our naive youth.”

Hawk, who would have been about 13 years old when the trick was named, says he recently reached out to Weddle in attempts to better honor his legacy.

“He has been very gracious in his response, but it is obvious that a different name would have honored his legacy, as he is deaf but not lacking speech,” Hawk says. “I asked him last year as I was diving into trick origins and he said he would have rather named it the ‘deaf’ or ‘Weddle’ grab if given the choice. His exact quote to me was, ‘I am deaf, not mute.’”

“His exact quote to me was, ‘I am deaf, not mute.’”

The term “deaf mute,” historically refers to someone who is both deaf and unable to speak. However, this term is derogatory when used outside its historical context. The preferred term is “without speech,” or simply “deaf.”

Read more: Hearing loss terms you need to know

The “Weddle Grab”

Hawk says the official name of the “mute” air/grab, will now be the “Weddle Grab.”

The change will be reflected in the upcoming remaster of Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1 and 2, available on PlayStation Store, Microsoft Store, and Epic Games Store.

“It’s going to be challenging to break the habit of saying the old name, but I think Chris deserves the recognition,” Hawk says.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Tony Hawk (@tonyhawk) on

Both the deaf and skating communities agree.

“Nice — Weddle grab it is!” says one comment.

“Most of my family is deaf,” says another. “Much respect for renaming the trick.”

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The HearingLikeMe editorial team includes Jill von Bueren, Kirsten Brackett and Lisa Goldstein.
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The HearingLikeMe editorial team includes Jill von Bueren, Kirsten Brackett and Lisa Goldstein.