VISTA, Calif. (AP) – It’s been described by participants as “controlled chaos” and “visual overstimulation,” a three-ring circus of skateboarders, BMX bikers and motocross freestyle riders launching themselves off giant ramps accompanied by thumping music and pyrotechnics.

Only one extravaganza could possibly fit that billing – Tony Hawk’s Boom Boom HuckJam tour.

“We really feel like this is going to be our year,” said Hawk, the mild-mannered multimillionaire skateboarder with rock star status. Hawk promises bigger air and better stunts as his third Boom Boom HuckJam tour lands wheels first in arenas across North America this summer.

Just five years ago, Hawk and his fellow extreme athletes were content to put on shows at skate parks.

“That’s still a fun concept to me, but the crowds started outgrowing the park capacity,” Hawk said. “There were more people getting turned away from this small skate park than were actually getting in to watch our show. I just thought the only way to do this on the scale and the popularity that it’s reached is to build our own skate park and put it up every night in an arena and get that sort of capacity crowd.”

And that’s how Boom Boom HuckJam became part of skater vernacular.

“I was trying to get it to sound sort of kitschy Japanese, so Boom Boom can refer to either the music or us hitting the ramp when we fall,” said Hawk, who did indeed wipe out a few times during rehearsals on the half pipe, which fits snugly in the big back room of his corporate headquarters in a business park in northern San Diego County.

“Basically, hucking, we use that term to refer to us launching ourselves into the air a lot, like snowboarding uses it, motocross uses it. So it’s a jam format, it’s not a competition format. So it’s a HuckJam.”

Hawk said he drew up the concept on a napkin and has spent about $2 million on the ramps.

There are 13 riders, including Hawk, and a crew of 80.

The show consists of skateboarders and BMX riders doing flips, spins and other tricks in and above the half pipe, a U-shaped ramp that’s 13 feet high, 50 feet across and 72 feet long. The motocross riders jump over it. The skateboarders and BMX riders can jump and flip as high as 10 feet above the half pipe, so when they wipe out, it’s the equivalent of a two-story fall. That’s why they wear helmets and knee and elbow pads.

Hawk has added a 30-foot roll-in designed to launch the athletes 42 feet through the air, over the half pipe and off the top of a 20-foot quarter pipe.

“It’s pretty much the sickest show this summer going on,” said Ronnie Faisst, 27, a heavily tattooed motocross rider.

Skateboarder Andy Macdonald, 31, calls it “visual overstimulation.”

“You could watch the show for six nights in a row and you’d see something different every night,” said Macdonald, an X Games regular with Hawk in the mid-to-late 1990s.

“It’s controlled chaos,” said Mat Hoffman, 33, a BMX rider.

Boom Boom HuckJam will play 30 cities over seven weeks, starting Friday night in Spokane, Wash., and eventually making its way to Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia and the New York area.

It’s almost as big a production as an arena rock tour.

“On the surface it feels like that, but in the nitty gritty of it, we’re still just riding our skateboards on the ramps,” said Hawk, who’s a rangy 6-foot-3. “That’s still what drives me to do this all the time, the fact that I get to literally do this for a living.”

It’s been an amazing living for the 37-year-old Hawk, who as a scrawny kid was hassled by jocks at school but found refuge on a skateboard.

In 2004, sales of Hawk’s video games, apparel, skateboards, books, DVDs, CDs, toys and events such as Boom Boom HuckJam were more than $300 million. He also has income through commercial endorsement deals.

When he was 16, mainstream sponsors didn’t knock on Hawk’s door. Now they do, including companies such as McDonald’s and Jeep.

“I’d say the biggest change is that people value my opinion and the opinion of the guys in our sports as opposed to saying, Oh, you’re lucky that we’re even going to put you in a commercial and you’re going to wear this goofy outfit and this is what you’re going to do,”‘ Hawk said.

“Basically, they know we’re much more in touch with what kids are into. And the kids today, they’re very savvy. They can see through the cheesiness of marketing. They know when it’s real. I feel like if the marketing companies or whoever it is, the advertisers, allow us to just do our thing and keep it based in reality and show the athletes for who they really are, the kids appreciate that, really, and they embrace it.”

Jeep has been involved in Hawk’s video games and signed on as a sponsor for this year’s Boom Boom HuckJam tour.

“It’s very important to both Jeep and Tony Hawk that whatever we do is thoughtful, natural and not be overcommercialized,” said Jeff Bell, vice president of Jeep. “It’s important to both the viewers and the participants.”

In other words, don’t mess with the riders’ street credibility.

Hawk, a father of three, is a legend to two generations of skateboarders. And he can still bring it.

“Tony Hawk’s cool, man,” Faisst said. “He’s just a real dude. He’s pretty much the king of action sports. He still rips. We watch him skate every night and he’s pretty much flawless. I’ve never really seen him make too many mistakes. He’s sticking 900s.”

Hawk was the first skateboarder to land a 900-degree spin, turning 2 rotations above the half pipe during the “best trick” portion of the X Games in 1999, the year he retired from competition.

BMX rider Kevin Robinson said Boom Boom HuckJam athletes – several of whom are married and have kids – hope to debunk the myth of skaters and bikers being punks and nonconformists.

“We’re all professionals,” said Robinson, 33. “I love riding my bike as much today as I did when I was 10 years old. And I still ride it for the same reasons. Of course, in the back of my head I know I have a mortgage to pay and my daughter to feed, but no matter what, it’s still so much fun for me.”

And Hawk? He said there’s a lot of pressure heading his empire.

“It’s a challenge to keep things fresh and keep things core,” he said. “But I wouldn’t do it any other way. I wouldn’t be doing this tour if I felt like I was just going through the motions and that my skills were waning.”

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