Cardiff’s Lyn-z Emerging as next San Diego Skate Legend - Shelby Stanger
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Cardiff’s Lyn-z Emerging as next San Diego Skate Legend

Lyn-z Adams Hawkins.

photo by Bryce Kanights-shazamm – ESPN

Boasting names like Tony Hawk, Bob Burnquist and Mike McGill, San Diego is home to more than its fair share of skateboarding legends.

With the latest accomplishment by a Cardiff-by-the-Sea 20-year old, add another name to that list.

Already considered the top women’s vert rider in the world, Lyn-z Adams Hawkins sealed her place in skateboarding lore when she became the first female to land a 540 McTwist. And she did it front of a raucous Paris crowd and Encinitas skating icon Tony Hawk as part of a celebration for action sports company Quiksilver’s 40th birthday on Nov. 26.

Lyn-z has been practicing the trick for years. When she landed it on the biggest vert ramp ever built in Europe — under the glass ceiling of the “Gran Palais,” — the crowd went wild.

“I was in so much shock, I just went up the other side of the ramp then dropped to my knees and then everyone tackled me,” said Lyn-z reminiscing about the moment.

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The successful maneuver not only sets a new milestone, but carries the torch of a fellow San Diegan. Former professional skateboarder McGill, who now owns McGill Skate Shop in Encinitas, first landed the McTwist in 1984.

“The McTwist was a milestone in skating’s progression and is still considered and elusive trick among professional skaters,”Hawk said. “To have Lyn-z conquer it opens new doorways of possibility for women’s skating in general.

“It did not come easy. I watched her work on it for months before getting close, taking many hits along the way to success,” Hawk added.

About eight years ago, Lyn-z decided she wanted to land the maneuver. The seven-time X Games medalist and this past year’s winner of the X Games vert competition, Lyn-z has been practicing every chance she gets.

Injuries took her out of commission along the way. In 2005, she broke her arm. In 2006 she had ACL knee surgery which sidelined her for eight months. Instead of feeling sorry for herself, Lyn-z used time off to visualize herself landing new tricks. She would spend hours in front of YouTube watching people land the trick, replacing their face and body with her own.

“I would just visualize how it works and the mechanics of it. I just searched McTwist and watched everything that came up,” she said.

After remaining healthy for a year, Lyn-z amped up her training. The multi-board sport competitive athlete usually spends her winters snowboarding in Mammoth.

In the last year, however, she decided to stay closer to home and focus on skateboarding. She started training more with Hawk, who invited her to come to the Tony Hawk Show in Paris. Lyn-Z is also was a character in two of Hawk’s video games including the recent “Tony Hawk: Ride.”

A few months before the event, Hawk offered Lyn-z $1,000 if she landed the trick. In Paris, under the 775,000 square-foot, glass-ceiling palace with DJs spinning in front of thousands of fans, and 30-foot posters of the skateboarders, the demo was coming to an end.

Lyn-z had been skating especially well and wanted to keep going. Surfing legend Kelly Slater upped the ante offering her $500 if she landed the trick.

Just as the production team was about to dim the lights and end the demo, Hawk grabbed the microphone and asked fans if they wanted to see Lyn-z land the McTwist.

As if on cue, Lyn-z dropped in, twisted her body, grabbed her board with her front hand between her feet, flipped her body over and continued to spin another 180 degrees to land four skateboard wheels back on the ramp.

The French crowd went nuts, and Lyn-z put her hands over her face in disbelief, before being bombarded by friends and fans. She had never even landed the move in practice.

In a sport where females rarely get recognition, Lyn-z stepped up the bar for generations to come.

“It marks a turning point for us (females) to show that we are learning new stuff and we are progressing,” said Lyn-z. “It might be taking longer than the guys, but it is happening, and hopefully it will give a lot of girls motivation to learn something new.”

Only 20 years old and already in the history books, it’s just a matter of time before Lyn-z Adams Hawkins becomes a skating household name. Next on her list is a possible skate trip to Australia and more competitions, including trying to defend next year’s X Games title.

“She’s better than most of the guys and she’s definitely a role model,” said McGill. “Best of all, she has youth on her side and she has a lot of years to go to create a legacy.”