On June 13, when most eighth-graders at Earl Warren Middle School in Solana Beach were sitting at their graduation ceremony thinking about summer and what high school might hold in store for them, student Tom Schaar was probably thinking about flying down a huge skate ramp and a $30,000 check.
Schaar's winning run
A week earlier, the 14-year-old pro skater won the gold medal in the “Big Air” category at the X Games in Austin, TX. Schaar beat out his mentor (and former gold medalist) Bob Burnquist on his third run down the 50–65-foot-tall “mega ramp.” Schaar pulled off a 720-degree rotation over an approximately 60-foot gap, went up a 27-foot quarter-pipe, and completed 900 degrees of spin before coming back down.
When he landed the quarter-pipe maneuver, Schaar said his first thought was he couldn’t believe he had successfully made the run. An elated Burnquist ran up and hoisted Schaar over his shoulder. Schaar then got a high-five from his Make A Wish Foundation buddy Cameron Copeland, of Allen, TX, whose wish was to accompany Schaar during the meet. Copeland placed the gold medal around Schaar’s neck.
After his win, Schaar says he didn’t attend any big after-parties — he still had school on Monday. When asked what his classmates thought of his win, Schaar said, “Most of them didn’t know.” His skate buddies did, however. Coastal North County skaters were glued to the TV on Sunday, June 8, watching the tape-delayed competition on ESPN.
Schaar started skating when he was 8 years old. When he was 12, he became the first skater to do a 1080 in competition. He medaled in the 2013 X Games in Munich and Los Angeles.
When listing off several of his sponsors to this reporter — “Red Bull, Element, DC, Bone Swiss, Type S,” I stated he must be a pretty good skater to command all of the product and money from his sponsors. “I guess,” he replied.
Tom is well known at the Encinitas YMCA skate park, where he spent most of his early years. Now he mostly hangs out at Burnquist’s mega ramp at his Vista home. It’s a spot where most San Diego–based pro skaters also practice.
Back at his home in Cardiff by the Sea, Tom said he’s not really thinking about high school. He’ll be taking the basic curriculum — math, English, history, and science courses. “I just want to have fun skating,” he said.
Tom will attend Encinitas’ San Dieguito Academy High School in the fall. The same campus where, in the mid-1980s, Tony Hawk was part of the then-unpopular skater group.