Skateboarding trick renamed to honor deaf inventor Chris Weddle

Chris Weddle is finally getting proper credit for his trick. Tony Hawk’s is a video game series about…
Chris Weddle skateboarding trick

Chris Weddle is finally getting proper credit for his trick.

Tony Hawk’s is a video game series about skateboarding. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 and 2, games that came out in 1999 and 2000, respectively, are being remastered right now. The classic games are getting “a fresh coat of paint” for a new audience in 2020.

But one way the games didn’t age well goes beyond graphics. The games show a trick called the “Mute Air.” To perform this trick, a skateboarder in the game or in real life grabs “the front of [their] board with [their] forward hand while airborne.”

This trick comes to the skateboarding world courtesy of creator Chris Weddle. He was the first to perform it around 1981, but it quickly garnered a name that ignored his identity.

Skateboarders called the trick the “Mute Air” because people in the community thought of Weddle as the “quiet, mute guy.” Tony Hawk took to Instagram to discuss the ignorance in this title.

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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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Last year, Hawk spoke to Weddle about the trick and its name. Weddle said “he would have rather named it the ‘deaf’ or ‘Weddle’ grab,” because Weddle is “deaf, not mute.”

So, the new Pro Skater 1 + 2 remaster has changed the name. What was once called the Mute Air is now called the Weddle Grab.

The remaster is also improving the original games by adding more diverse skateboarders to the lineup of playable characters. The game’s new skaters include Leo Baker, Aori Nishimura, and Lizzie Armanto.

In his post, Hawk thanked Darrick De La O, a deaf skateboarder, surfer, and snowboarder. He said that De La O was “a great advocate to the deaf community in action sports,” and “the catalyst in this renaming process.”

And of course, thanks for this change also goes to Chris Weddle himself, who created the forty-year legacy that needed honoring.

Chris Weddle (Deaf Skateboards)

Weddle’s response to hearing about the name change? “I’m so stoked!”

Article source: Kotaku

Featured image source: Yousta Storytellers Club

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