My first ever email address was “firstname.lastname@example.org.”
I was obsessed with the dude and we shared a first name. He was the coolest lookin’ skater I’d ever seen. I’ve since studied his career on the board and behind one of the greatest skateboard companies of all time: Baker. He has committed his life to his legacy in skateboarding, always striving to be the best he can possibly be, deserving the nickname “The Boss.”
As skateboarding has grown in popularity so has the landscape of companies, particularly in the footwear game. So when it was time for Reynolds to move onwards and into some new shoes, it only made sense that he found himself joining the skate-centered Vans Footwear company.
I got a chance to sit down with him and discuss how this has—or in some ways hasn’t—changed much at all with the future of his skateboarding. And yes, I still had to pinch myself the whole way through hanging out with one of my true heroes.
What’s the most exciting thing about being on Vans?
There’s a lot of exciting things: wearing them for one. I get to wear and skate in Half-Cabs, Skate Hi’s, Slip-Ons. There’s just a ton of classic shoes and basically every other shoe company is trying to make the same thing. When I put on Half-Cabs I feel like a skater. I grew up skating these so I’m just stoked. Then, the team is amazing. I get to travel with Rowan [Zorilla], Kader [Sylla], a lot of the Baker guys are on and everyone else is super sick. I get to come out here to New York with Matt Bennett [former pro skater and curren t Vans Skate team manager] and you guys and be a part of the events. They’ve been doing so much for skateboarding, which is so important.
They give back a lot.
Yeah, they do. Always sponsoring contests, supporting shops.
Was it real weird putting on those shoes for the first time and looking down at your board?
Not weird, just awesome, honestly. I don’t get too emotional about the whole thing. I look at the 20 years I was with SoleTech and Emerica as all positive. I got to travel, skate with my friends, watch a lot of dudes come up, but it was just time to change. Needed something new. I pretty much asked myself, “What’s out there?” Nike, Adidas, Vans, New Balance, and all this, and I told myself at some point, “I’m just gonna act like a little kid that’s a skater and try to get on Vans just like I was a 15 year old kid.” I cancelled all the other options out in my head and just started trying to get on, like, “I need to get sponsored.” It felt like I had to work a little harder. It was a good feeling; I haven’t been this sparked in a minute. There was a chance that nobody may sponsor me, so I gotta show that I’m down to work and love to skate.
Does that give you the refresh of “I want to film a part in Vans”?
Definitely. Just getting clips, I see the clips in Half-Cab’s or Skate Hi’s with the big stripe and I just get stoked. It just makes the footage even better and it’s something new. It will be cool to see all the different stages 20, 30 years from now.
What about frontside flips, can you still do them in Vans?
I used to skate a cup sole, and I still do sometimes. The AVE’s are a cup sole. But when you put on this classic Vans sole and break through the first few couple of kickflips, this shit is so grippy. It works, it really works. But yeah, frontside flips still work [laughs].
So what’s the plan after just finishing the Baker 4 video?
My goal is to get clips in a bunch of underground videos. Like that Lotties project we’re working on and I wanna try to get a couple of clips in the GX video, just skate with people who are down to film, low pressure, just film anything.
Who do you get most sparked on at the moment?
I love watching Kader skate and all the guys on the Baker team, of course. Watching Neckface learn tricks, Spanky, Nik Stain, Rowan… I’m waiting for the next Lennie Kirk, or [Sean] Sheffey to pop up… some crazy raw talent.
The Boss always had snaps. Tall-order warmup ollie in the Waffle Grip.
I had some sort of realization watching the new Baker video for the first time after not seeing a Baker video in awhile and I immediately made a comparison in my head to the behind the scenes stuff that Bill Strobeck is putting in all his videos thinking, “Oh, it’s kinda similar,” and then I realized that Baker was already doin’ this in a way from Baker 2g and Baker 3 showing a lot of the team’s personality.
I think all that stuff really stood out to me growing up watching vides, Anti Hero’s Fucktards, any little funny slam or somebody getting kicked out in all the H-Street stuff, even Powell videos with Lance Mountain and Neil Blender playing music in the garage. A lot of it probably also is that nobody has seen a Baker video in HD and a lot of the people we film with, they wanna film like Bill. All artists, I feel like, borrow techniques and make it their own. I’ve been copying [Tom] Penny my whole life [laughs]. I’ve heard that before though, “It looks kinda like this, or that.” At least they’re saying it looks like good stuff [laughs].
Will there be a Baker 5?