20 Questions – Evan Hernandez

Words by Mackenzie Eisenhour

A lot of kids come and go in the skate game. But not too many kids go and come. That’s the way the cookie crumbles, and there are always more cookies in the jar. Evan Hernandez was one of the lucky ones to be reared under the Baker banner back in ’01. Since then, he’s grown from a fifteen-year-old kid into a nineteen-year-old man. Unlike most child stars, Evan chose to keep most of his teen years behind closed doors and out of the spotlight. Now, with a plate full of new projects, a baby girl, and the Eastside LBC behind him, Evan sits down to the table and breaks bread with the tape deck. In his own words, he didn’t “come up from the dust for nothing.”

1. Since Baker 2G, it seems like you took a little break from the limelight. What were you up to? Do you stay in touch with the Baker 2G heads?

Yeah, I guess I took a little break. I had a few injuries, but I’ve been skating the whole time. I keep in touch with Terry (Kennedy) and Beagle mostly. And I talk to the other homeys, too-when I see them.

2. Do you care to explain what went down with Baker?

I think we just grew apart over time. It’s all good, though-shit happens.

3. Often when a guy gets injured and hasn’t been seen in the mags for a minute, one company will drop him, setting off a chain reaction with the other sponsors following. Such is not the case here. What companies had your back through all this?

KR3W, Active, Fury, Boost Mobile, Ricta, and Vans have really helped me out.

4. Backtracking a little bit, the ghetto isn’t exactly the first place you’d think would be a breeding ground for skateboarders. How did a kid from not the best part of town get hooked on skateboarding?

When I was going to school, I had a couple of friends that were into skateboarding, but I wasn’t really into it. I was into biking at the time. My dad had bought me two pretty expensive bikes and those both got stolen, so I was basically forced to skate as a mode of transportation. I just got tired of lifting my board up the curb, so I had to learn how to ollie.

5. You came up really quick on the scene-quick as in you were already a big name while you were in your early teens and even had an “endorsed by” shoe as a sixteen year old. As a kid, did you feel like it was hard to deal with all the politics and pressures in the industry-demos, signing kids shirts, and all that?

I never really gave it too much thought. I just skated the whole time. That’s what I was into. I wasn’t into the politics side of it, so it never really bothered me.

6. When most kids come up from nothing into something-and especially that fast-they have a tendency to flaunt what they have and who they’ve become. You might’ve got into a little bit of that at first, but maybe besides having a nice car, there’s absolutely none of that with you. How do you keep it so humble?

It’s definitely a natural act, because I’ve always been that way. And I’ve seen firsthand what can happen to you when you don’t keep it mellow as far as the consequences go. So naturally I’ve forced myself to keep it mellow. It’s just not worth it any other way.

7. What’s a normal day in the life like for you nowadays?

Basically, I take care of any responsibilities I have first. I just try to enjoy my day-hook up with some friends, go skate, chill with my girl. I always make sure all the little side business gets taken care of first. I just never let the day control me. As long as I get out of the house-that’s the main thing. You can’t be a lazyhead-you gotta get up and out right away.

8. Do you have any rituals or things you have to do or have to have every day … like a coffee in the morning?

I usually don’t do the coffee thing, and I’ve been chilling on the soda lately, too. I can’t get out of shape. But I’ll go out and get a … not an expensive-going-out-to-eat meal, but just a casual, big, fat, seven- or eight-dollar meal every day.

9. Speaking of taking carof business, how did the whole Boost Mobile thing go down?

Basically, Terry was hooked up with that whole deal before me. So he approached them to get me on.

10. Skating may be big right now, but many pros still haven’t had the opportunities you’ve had-what’s it like to film a television commercial?

Oh, man, they just spoil you all day. They got RVs to chill in when we’re not filming, and all the food is catered. We were at the library filming, and they were just getting takes of us doing noseslides and boardslides on the rail back-to-back. It was real simple skate stuff, and we didn’t even really have to memorize any lines or anything. It was fun. They’ve got all types of plans for more shit, too. Like, I had billboards all over S.F. and stuff like that. Then I did a Vans commercial after that. That was like a full-on nationwide commercial I did with Rowley and some other dudes that ran on every channel. The Vans commercial was a little more serious in terms of the skating. We had to go do some serious street stuff, so I had a five-0 on a bigger rail and a pretty-good-sized gap ollie in there, too. That was a little less just rolling around. It’s funny ’cause eventually you get to know it, like the directors and those people, and you realize they could be super cool as long as you do what they say. So they were always pretty cool to me.

Plus you still get all the free minutes right?

Yep. That’s the best part right there (laughs).

11. Are you serious with your girl? Do you have a name for your daughter yet?

I’m serious about Aylin. We’re not married or anything, but we have a daughter together, so it’s important we keep a good relationship. Our daughter’s name is Jeneya Aylin Hernandez. My girlfriend came up with it. We made a deal-if it was a boy, I’d pick the name, and if it was a girl, she could pick it.

12. So you’re only nineteen years old and got all these hook-ups and a kid and all that, but do you have a board sponsor in the works? Or are you just focused on the business side and not too worried about the pro board thing?

I can’t really say yet, but there’s definitely something in the works. Skating’s always been my main focus, but I try to keep up to speed with the business side as much as possible.

13. A lot of your homeys aren’t exactly up on the contest scene, but it seems like you’ve been a little more into contests lately. What’s your take on that?

I’ve just never really focused on contests too much in the past, but I plan on entering a few this year-for sure. Really, it’s best for me as a professional skateboarder to be involved in any contest going on-whatever I can get to. So pretty much anything that I can put my name on or be a part of, I should be more than willing to go. I’m just thankful to be where I am and for those who have helped me be here. I owe a lot to those people and have a lot of respect for them.

14. What do you think of all the new courses?

I’m into the way they’re building more street obstacles and all that. I mean, I’m trying to skate it all, and the (KR3W) park has helped me out with my transition skills, but the contest courses just seem more legit now-and more fun. I went out to Ohio and checked out Dyrdek’s park-that place is amazing. It’s real-as close as you can get to real streets. That’s the future right there.

15. Stock question: How did your parents approach the whole skate thing?

At first they didn’t take it seriously at all, so it was kind of funny when it all actually started working out. Now they both know it’s for real and they’re really supportive.

16. Now that you’re a parent yourself, you’re going to have to start thinking about certain types of things. What are you going to tell the first kid who shows up and wants to take your daughter out?

I’m gonna have a restaurant in my backyard and be like, “All right, take her to dinner (laughs).” If she wants to out go the mall, I’ll build one in the yard. Nah, I’m just playing. I guess I’m gonna have to deal with it when that time comes.

17. So back on the skate front, I feel like you kind of came out with a lot of the big-rail skating dudes. Where do you see your skating going from here?

I’m always going to push myself. My goal is to try and skate everything. I love skateboarding, and I want to keep progressing.

But getting back to what you said about taking a break, I mean, I don’t want to say that I had to take a break-and not from skating, but from the spotlight. But I do want to say that I think it did me good. I get a lot of kids that just don’t know who I am now, like they just started a few years back. And I’ll give myself the advantage, like, “Oh, I hear people think I fell off or whatever.” But that’s kind of the advantage right there.

18. You have a pretty unique backside Smith grind-to the point where it could easily get mislabeled as a frontside feeble if the photo editor didn’t have a head’s up. How did you start doing those?

That just started from trying to not get hurt-that’s what that is (laughs). I’m pretty sure there’s some other people that do ’em like that, but I don’t notice sometimes-that’s just the way it goes down.

19. Were you a Tom Penny fan before you guys rode for KR3W?

Yeah. It was funny the first time we met, ’cause I was trying to tell him how much I liked his skating and all that, and he just came back telling me the same thing. I remember just thinking, “is he for real?” He’s cool to just chill with. I remember Penny trying to rap to me and shit (laughs). He was sick. He was seriously freestylin’ to us.

20. If you weren’t skating right now, what would you be doing?

Working a nine-to-five or maybe going to college-or maybe tied up in some crazy business. I’d be forced into some crazy business ’cause I’d want to make it to the top quick. Right now, I feel like skating is my way to do that, so I’m not looking at the bad examples.

Are you saying you were a troublemaker in the past?

It’s not that I was a troublemaker, but I tended to not follow the rules sometimes. And that will get you in trouble.

The 20 Questions and photos on the accompanying pages are dedicated to Evan’s good friend, Blacc Mike. Rest in peace, homey.

Pull Quotes:

I’ve seen firsthand what can happen to you when you don’t keep it mellow as far as the consequences go.

I don’t want to say that I had to take a break-and not from skating, but from the spotlight.

That just started from trying to not get hurt-that’s what that is. just playing. I guess I’m gonna have to deal with it when that time comes.

17. So back on the skate front, I feel like you kind of came out with a lot of the big-rail skating dudes. Where do you see your skating going from here?

I’m always going to push myself. My goal is to try and skate everything. I love skateboarding, and I want to keep progressing.

But getting back to what you said about taking a break, I mean, I don’t want to say that I had to take a break-and not from skating, but from the spotlight. But I do want to say that I think it did me good. I get a lot of kids that just don’t know who I am now, like they just started a few years back. And I’ll give myself the advantage, like, “Oh, I hear people think I fell off or whatever.” But that’s kind of the advantage right there.

18. You have a pretty unique backside Smith grind-to the point where it could easily get mislabeled as a frontside feeble if the photo editor didn’t have a head’s up. How did you start doing those?

That just started from trying to not get hurt-that’s what that is (laughs). I’m pretty sure there’s some other people that do ’em like that, but I don’t notice sometimes-that’s just the way it goes down.

19. Were you a Tom Penny fan before you guys rode for KR3W?

Yeah. It was funny the first time we met, ’cause I was trying to tell him how much I liked his skating and all that, and he just came back telling me the same thing. I remember just thinking, “is he for real?” He’s cool to just chill with. I remember Penny trying to rap to me and shit (laughs). He was sick. He was seriously freestylin’ to us.

20. If you weren’t skating right now, what would you be doing?

Working a nine-to-five or maybe going to college-or maybe tied up in some crazy business. I’d be forced into some crazy business ’cause I’d want to make it to the top quick. Right now, I feel like skating is my way to do that, so I’m not looking at the bad examples.

Are you saying you were a troublemaker in the past?

It’s not that I was a troublemaker, but I tended to not follow the rules sometimes. And that will get you in trouble.

The 20 Questions and photos on the accompanying pages are dedicated to Evan’s good friend, Blacc Mike. Rest in peace, homey.

Pull Quotes:

I’ve seen firsthand what can happen to you when you don’t keep it mellow as far as the consequences go.

I don’t want to say that I had to take a break-and not from skating, but from the spotlight.

That just started from trying to not get hurt-that’s what that is.