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Tony Hawk Renames 'Mute Grab' Trick to Honor Deaf Creator

Mahlik Campbell

sports /
Tony Hawk

Few athletes are able to truly shape their sport like Tony Hawk. The latest example of his skateboarding influence is his recent announcement that the "Mute Grab" will be called the "Weddle Grab" moving forward. 🛹

He told the story of the nearly 40-year-old trick in a lengthy Instagram post alongside a couple of photos of the trick's deaf creator, Chris Weddle, pictured on the right.

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For nearly 40 years, we’ve shamelessly referred to this trick as the “mute” air/grab. Here is the backstory: around 1981, a deaf skater and Colton skatepark local named Chris Weddle was a prominent amateur on the competition circuit. The “Indy” air had just been created & named so somebody proposed that grabbing with the front hand should be known as the “Tracker” air. 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. In recent years a few people have reached out to Chris (who still skates) about this trick and the name it was given. He has been very gracious in his response but it is obvious that a different name would have honored his legacy, as he is hearing impaired but not lacking speech. 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.” So as we embark on the upcoming @tonyhawkthegame demo release, some of you might notice a trick name change: The Weddle Grab. It’s going to be challenging to break the habit of saying the old name but I think Chris deserves the recognition. Thanks to @darrick_delao for being a great advocate to the deaf community in action sports, and for being the catalyst in this renaming process. I told Chris tecently and his reply was “I’m so stoked!” And then he shot this photo in celebration yesterday. 📷: @yousta_storytellers_club

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According to Tony, Weddle is a SoCal skate local and former amateur competitor largely credited with landing the first Mute Grab around 1981. It evolved out of the "Indy Air" but with the skater using their front hand to grab the board instead of their back one.

Though the move was initially referred to as "Tracker Air," skaters wanted the name to pay homage to Weddle, who was often viewed as the "quiet, mute guy." Tony admitted they "all went along with it in our naive youth."

In recent years, as the 52-year-old was researching trick origins, he reached to Weddle to get his thoughts. “I am deaf, not mute,” he graciously said, and Tony wanted to properly honor his contribution.

So, if you're planning on buying Tony Hawk's upcoming Pro Skater remaster, you'll find the updated Weddle Grab in your repertoire. "I'm so stoked!" is how he responded. This is too dope.