That's 2-1/2 spins while airborne. The legendary Hawk stuck the landing on his 12th try.
Fast forward to 2010 and to a relatively new contraption called the Mega Ramp, which has delivered vert skating to daunting new heights.
Skateboarders speed 70 feet down one ramp, soar and perform a trick across a 70-foot gap to another downslope, which leads to a quarterpipe wall that sends them more than 40 feet above ground, where they perform a second trick.
Few people are brave enough to ride the Mega Ramp, let alone try a 900 above the quarterpipe wall, but that's the expected theme during tonight's Skateboard Big-Air final on the first day of X Games competition in Los Angeles.
"Obviously with Jake trying it last year he kind of opened the box a little bit," said Bob Burnquist, two-time Big-Air gold medalist, in reference to a failed 900 attempt by Jake Brown during last year's final.
"But at the same time it's pretty high. It's a whole different ballgame. It's different than regular vert skating -- it's straight hairball. You have to just go for it and try to keep yourself controlled and get out of it safely."
Burnquist has a Mega Ramp in the backyard of his home in Vista, Calif., and top riders have been practicing there, including Brown, who won the gold medal last year on a different run with a different trick.
Burnquist and Brown have spun 900s above the quarterpipe wall, but have always had to bail free of their boards and slide down the wall. The trick is that scary and difficult, and slamming awkwardly onto the lip and breaking bones, or free-falling to the flat surface below the ramp are among the consequences of holding on too long without being in perfect position.