Tony Alva

A skateboarder, businessman, and musician from the United States

Tony Alva
Tony Alva Source: Google

Tony Alva is the first skateboarder to pull a frontside air successfully, hence creating vertical skateboarding.

He is known as the “godfather” of modern skating for his outstanding role in creating the foundation for skateboarding. Tony is a multi-talented person as he has accomplishments in both music and film, outside of skating.

About Tony Alva |  Family and Education

Legendary skateboarder Tony Alva is primarily recognized for creating vertical skateboarding and creating the foundation for contemporary skateboarding. Alva belonged to the legendary Z-Boys club as well.

The first skateboarder-designed skateboard shoes were created by Alva under Van’s off-the-wall label. Alva Skates is owned by him as well.

Tony Alva was born on September 2, 1957, into a Dutch and Mexican-American household in Santa Monica, California. Alva has a brother named Mark Alva and a sister named Kathy Alva.

Unfortunately, while he was only 10 years old, his parents got divorced. As a result, Alva remained with his father, while his siblings remained with his mother.

Father of Alva was a workaholic and drinker. Little Alva received little of his attention, and he frequently felt alone.

He used to spend much of his time with his friends, who skateboarded with him first.


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How did he get into skating?

Tony Alva first began as a surfer. However, the inclement weather kept him from surfing the majority of the time. Alva would skateboard on clay wheels at those times.

He gradually switched from surfing to skating. At the age of just six, he began skating. Tony used to ride his skateboards across the streets as other youngsters played.

Until he met Jay Adams, who shared his interest and assisted him in turning his passion for skating into a career, he would typically skate on the road lines alone.

Professional Life and Career

Jay Adams introduced Stacy Peralta, David Hackett, Jim Muir, Allen Saro, and other young skaters to Alva.

In 1972, the skateboarders established Zephyr Surf Team, a skateboarding and surfing crew. Alva was added to the group as well.

The skateboarders in the Zephyr team were extremely skilled. They were skilled, knowledgeable, and passionate about freestyle, slalom, and downhill skiing. Tony was well-known among the gang for being aggressive and competitive.

Southern California experienced a severe drought at the start of the 1970s, which caused the pools to dry up. Pool skating was created by the boys when they began skating over the pools.

The skating experiments by the surfers got underway. In the process, Alva created vertical skating.

He was the first vertical skateboarder to use a polyurethane wheel to become airborne.


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The team competed in the 1975 Del Mar National, wowing everyone with their tricks and skateboarding prowess. Alva also displayed his vertical skating prowess there, and a photographer took pictures of it.

Tony Alva became a skateboarding sensation because of the picture. It is also regarded as the beginning of contemporary skateboarding.

Alva’s success, endorsements, and alliances helped him become a global sensation. In 1977, he took home the title of Men’s World Professional Skateboard Champion.

In addition, he established the “World Record” in the barrel jump and was chosen as “The Skateboarder of the Year.”

Alva received the X Games Lifetime Achievement Award in 1999. Additionally, the Skateboarding Hall of Fame has his picture on display.

Working Together With Vans

To produce the official skating version of the Vans authentic deck shoe, Alva teamed up with a well-known shoe company, Vans, in 1974.

Stacy Perala and he worked together to create the sneakers’ design. They both emphasized the addition of a heel cup and collar padding, which produced a look typical of the Vans era.

They formally introduced the skateboarders-focused Vans off-the-wall label. It was the first skateboarding shoe made by skaters.

Putting on Alva Skates

At the age of 19, Alva founded his own skateboarding business, Alva Skates.

He became the first skateboarder to have a profitable self-created brand when the business quickly achieved success.

Alva skates were stronger and more distinctive since they were made of Canadian maple wood.

About Tony Alva: Music

In 1981, Tony Alva decided to switch from skateboarding to a career in music. He became the bassist for Skoundrelz, a hardcore punk band.

He started a new band in 2009 called GFP, or General Fucking Principle. Amery Smith, Greg Hetson, and Tom Paul Davis, the group’s lead guitarist, were also members.


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Alva joined a psychedelic band in Los Angeles in 2013, and his eyes had fangs. The members of the group were Tony Alva on bass, Matthew Rainwater on percussion, Vulcho Bonev on guitar, and Rachel Anne Rainwater on vocals.

Movies and documentaries |Tony Alva

Tony also dabbled in the acting business. He appeared in three films: 1978’s Skateboard: The Movie, 1986’s Thrashin, and 2005’s Lord of Dogtown.

Similarly, The Tony Alva Story, a documentary by Vans based on his life, was published on YouTube in 2020.

It highlighted Alva’s rise from street skateboarding to skateboarding stardom, his breakdown due to drug addictions, and his ascent back to the top.

The purpose of the documentary is to inspire future skateboarders who admire Tony Alva with hope and aspiration.

Furthermore, Tony Alva will make an appearance in the upcoming 2022 film Skate God. A skateboarder in a dystopian future is the subject of the movie.

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Addiction and its consequences

Tony Alva began using alcohol and drugs at a young age. He used to stay up all night watching his father, which encouraged him to drink.

The impulsive kid and his companions subsequently began using narcotics. He believed that drug use was related to spirituality.

Also, He claims to have been born during the hippie movement when everyone was using drugs and smoking marijuana while referring to it as spiritual.

When he began to experience the recognition and fortune he had never anticipated, things started to become worse. Alva claimed that his fame and success had given his ego more toxicity.

Here, He believed that no matter what he did, people would still be behind him.

Thus, He was involved in several issues, though, which hurt his reputation and ultimately contributed to his collapse.

Putting things right again

Tony’s life had completely collapsed. Due to his toxic activities, he lost his reputation, fame, and relationships.

However, he discovered a therapist who changed his life and helped him get back on track.

Tony continued to resolve all the issues he had brought about after going clean and abstaining from drugs and alcohol. He repented and made amends with his loved ones.

Lastly, He is currently leading a contented life free of conflicts.

Relationship Status

Unfortunately, the marriage between the skateboarder and Victoria Alva did not last, and they separated.

Also, Alva then had a brief romance with Michelle Gerber Bell, but it didn’t work out as well.


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But in 1977, fashion designer Katy Rodriguez—who would later become Tony Alva’s true love—met. They began dating in 1997, got married in 2002, and have been a happy couple ever since.

In addition, Zephaniah Levi and Avalon Victoria, two children born to the couple, are blessed. Zephaniah, his son, has followed in his father’s footsteps by becoming a skateboarder.

Roman Francis and Zoe are Alva’s grandchildren.

Net Worth | Tony Alva

The professional skateboarder has amassed enormous wealth; his estimated net worth is $15 million.

Similarly, His earnings as a professional skateboarder, endorser, entrepreneur, singer, and actor contributed to his net worth.

For the eccentric shoes he created, Alva had a contract with Vans that was exclusive. He also made a lot of money via endorsements and partnerships.


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In addition, he is the owner of the prosperous skating business Alva Skates. Professional skateboarders love the Alva skateboards very much.

Along with his success as an actor, he has also found success as a singer.

Furthermore, Alva has profited greatly from his three professions and investments. He is one of the richest skateboarders as a result.

Social Media

Facebook269k followers

Instagram186k followers

Twitter5k followers

Frequently Asked Question:

Exists Tony Alva still?

Tony Alva is still alive, yes. He’s healthy, fit, and wonderful.

Does Tony Alva still ice skate?

Tony Alva is still a skater, indeed. He hasn’t competed in as many professional skating competitions lately though. However, he continues to be passionate about skating and frequently wears skates.

Why is Tony Alva renowned?

Tony Alva is renowned for his ability to skateboard vertically; he is recognized as the first skateboarder to do so and to establish the foundation for contemporary skating.

Alva is also well-known for founding the well-known skating business, Alva Skateboards.

Quick Facts | Tony Alva

Full name Tony Alva
Nickname Mad Dog, T.A.
Known as Godfather of Modern Skateboarding
Date of birth September 2, 1957
Age 64 years old
Birthplace Santa Monica, California, U.S.
Nationality American
Ethnicity Dutch and Mexican-American
Parents name N/A
Siblings 2; Kathy Alva and Mark Alva
Zodiac sign Virgo
Height 5 feet 10 inches
Weight 160 lbs
Shoe size US 9.5
Hair color Brown
Eye color Grey
Marital Status Married
Spouse Katy Rodriguez
Children Zephaniah Levi and Avalon Victoria
Grandchildren Roman Francis and Zoe
High School Santa Monica High School
Educational Qualification High School
Profession Skateboarder, Entrepreneur, Actor
Debut year 1967
Skateboarding style Street skateboarding, Vertical Skateboarding
Affiliations Alva Skates
Net Worth $15 million
Social Media Facebook, Instagram, Twitter
Merch Skateboarding Accessories
Last Update July, 2022

Written by Jeni Watson

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