- Keith Hamm, Action Sports
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A 12-year-old boy added a new page to the history books of skateboarding this week, pulling off the first 1080, a three-rotation aerial maneuver that has eluded the world's best for the past half-decade.
At 4:11 p.m. Monday, Tom Schaar, after just a handful of attempts, landed the groundbreaking trick while skating the MegaRamp at Woodward West action sports camp in Tehachapi, Calif. "It was the hardest trick I've ever done, but it was easier than I thought," said Schaar on Friday.
"He did it on his fifth try," his father, Nick Schaar, told ESPN.com in a phone interview. "He warmed up with 10 gay twists [a fakie to forward mute-grab 360], half a dozen 720s, and I think he threw a 900 in there. Then he did the 1080 on his fifth try. Then he went back and did it again the next day."
"Tom's a little giant and a spinning machine," says defending X Games Big Air gold medalist Bob Burnquist, 35. "Amazing. I look forward to learning a lot from him in the future. All eyes on Tom!"
Schaar, a sixth-grader who checks in at a little less than 5 feet tall and weighs about 80 pounds, grew up skating with his older brother, John, in Malibu, Calif.
"John was pretty darn good, and Tom just copied him," said Nick Schaar, adding that the brothers also surf and snowboard.
The Schaars had a small vert ramp in their back yard growing up, but Tom's progression grew most exponentially during the past three or four years, during which pro skater and multiple X Games medalist Bucky Lasek took the Element-sponsored prodigy under his wing.
"Skateboarding is so cool in that these little kids can go to the skatepark and ride with the top pros on the same ramp, guys like Bucky, Shaun White, PLG, and Bob Burnquist," Nick Schaar said. "It's like me being able to go play catch with [former Major League Baseball pitcher] Sandy Koufax."
Defending X Games Skate Vert champion Shaun White was widely considered the safest bet to land the first 1080, especially during his competitive skate streak after winning his first Winter Olympic snowboard gold medal in 2006. Another small 1080 buzz erupted in August when 14-year-old Mitchie Brusco considered an attempt during his fundraising event at Woodward Camp's Pennsylvania facility.
For the record, Schaar did not attempt the 1260 during his stay in Tehachapi, Nick Schaar said. "But I think he'll go for it when he's a year or two older and little bit stronger. It seems like he could do it."
"Tom's an even better bowl skater than a MegaRamp skater," he added. "He'd really like to qualify for this year's Pro-tec Pool Party." Looking ahead to X Games 18 this summer in Los Angeles, Schaar said getting an invite to skate the Big Air comp would be "really exciting, just insane."