Andrew Reynolds – In Chronological Order

Words/Photos: Atiba Jefferson

What can I really say about knowing Andrew Reynolds? Well, I think I can tell you that he's from a tiny town in Florida called Lakeland and he has a very supportive mother who's really helped him get this far in skating. Oh, he loves Biggie Smalls and is a clean-freak, too. I've come to know most of this from hanging out with Andrew for the last eight years. Over that time I've seen a little crooked-nosed kid grow-up and become a staple in skateboarding's past, present, and future.

1995

I met Andrew the first year I lived in California. I moved out in May and met him in the summertime through Jeremy Klein. We were shooting this Birdhouse ad–a backside 180 over a handicap ramp. We were both textbook rookies. Total rookies. He was amateur, so it wasn't his first pro ad–it was just an ad. Andrew turned pro when he was sixteen. I was eighteen, maybe nineteen.

One time, we were skating in San Diego at the double-handrail school. We were skating the top one. Andrew was just learning backside lipslides–everything was going good. He was sliding it no problem, and then on one, he clipped his heels on his way up and just jumped onto his shoulder. It was obviously broken and Tony (Hawk) raced him to the hospital.

Being new to California, it was kinda weird seeing someone get that hurt–it was such a bad injury. I remember calling him and talking to him like, “How are you feeling? Are you okay?”

He was like, “Yeah, yeah, I'm fine.” I was definitely a little weirded out by the whole thing. But some contest had come up, and he was already on his way to go there and skate like eight weeks later.

1996

I was working on the second TransWorld video (4 Wheel Drive), and that's how I found out Andrew was doing better. He said he had some footage that he shot with his homey Victor. I got the tape, and it was amazing–enough for a whole video part. You could tell this kid would become great–such variety. In '96, people jumped down stuff, but at the same time, (Tom) Penny and (Geoff) Rowley were the men. People had become pretty specialized at the time, but Andrew did a little bit of everything. He definitely grinded rails–he'd nollie noseslide rails, switch tailslide, nollie 50-50, whereas a lot of people were just doing the basics.

He came out here to visit again and stayed at Tony's house, in Carlsbad, California. I also lived in Carlsbad at that point, so we'd be like, “Let's go out and film.” And he'd seriously get so much–it was ridiculous. Andrew doesn't have a problem with going out and getting stuff done. We got a line at UCSD where he nollie 180'd that big set of eleven stairs at the end of his part, and then he went to Eden Gardens and backside flipped the big three–all before he had to take a flight back home. That's the type of dude Andrew is. And that's what made him what he is. You could really tell he was going to be good because he's so down for skating, you know what I mean? I think that's his talent.

1997

Andrew graduated and I flew out to Florida–drove cross-country to California and helped him make the move. TransWorld was doing that “50 States” article, and we needed to pick up some photos. At the same time, Andrew had called and was like, “Do you wanna roll with me back to California?”

This year also marked the birth of the frontside flip. Andrew always had a good frontside flip, but at this point, “This thing can work down anything,” became the reality. Along with that came his Caballerial. I remember when he told me, “Yeah, I got this trick down.” And he did it down eight stairs in Chicago. And then right after that trip wh he moved to California, we went to this school and he did it down a big four. That was one of his last tricks in his TransWorld video part. It just showed the kid's got it.

It wasn't just a Caballerial, or a nollie 180. He's still doing those tricks and pushing them to this day, but you can check it in this interview–now he does a nollie frontside 180 big spin down some stairs. That's just from knowing how to do nollie 180s and then big spinning in between it. Just another example of how good Andrew has it, so to speak.

After 4WD, Andrew finished his first Pro Spotlight, and a 411 part, which let the public know he was here to stay. Before that, it seemed like people were like, “He's good, but … ” With his 411 part it was like he was saying, “Okay, well, I outdid my last video part, so here, this will show what's gonna keep happening. I'm able to up the ante.” To me, that's what he did, he just kept upping the ante.

1998

This was the beginning of The End, and at this point,the Birdhouse video was Andrew's main focus. But it wasn't a problem for him at all. Never do I remember him stressing about it. He definitely is the type of dude who makes sure he's putting an effort toward it. When he skates, he focuses on it, but it's not like he stresses on it. Of course, he tries to go out and get stuff, but it's not like the average skater where they have to do it. He decides to go out and he does it. That's the bottom line with Andrew. That's how it works with him.

Around this time Andrew's style in skating started to really change, with a mix of different gear and a more relaxed style that sparked the fire of Reynolds mania. He got out of the Hook-Ups cargoes and wore baggy jeans. It wasn't standard skate gear– I remember he had this fisherman's cap in one clip in The End. He didn't wear the official skate uniform. As Andrew got taller, he developed a relaxed style. He kinda floated more when he skated.

There's something about it that you can't really pinpoint. I guess that's why it's called charisma. His style was perfect–relaxed and perfect. Getting taller complimented his style when he squatted. It gave him suspension and made him look smooth. There're only a few people who have that look. It's an “in your own world” type of skating.

1999

After The End and a slot in a video game called Tony Hawk Pro Skater, Andrew's first shoe came out for Emerica. He kept the coverage coming, and he was winning contests, too. It put him in the same light as Eric Koston and the like. We'd go on tour and you'd really notice how many kids were all over Reynolds. When you've got kids running around–and I'm talking about all across the country–and they're into your stuff, you know you're doing something right.

But even with all that on his shoulders, he'd always just go skate the Huntington park. That's what Andrew does, you know? He never strays. He just keeps doing his thing. It's not like he had to do it; that's what he wanted to do. Still, with all that success, the only thing he did was buy a Cadillac. Nothing really changed about him. He got a really nice car and that was it.

2000

After planting the seed for a new skate company, Andrew left Birdhouse, and along with J. Strickland helped to form Baker Skateboards. It kinda seemed like they did subliminal things to promote it. There was a photo of Andrew with an “OG Baker” sticker on his board, and that was before there was a Baker.

They made the Baker Bootleg video, which was just a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff from the Birdhouse video. They planted that seed, got the Baker Bootleg video going, and just got everybody in touch with it, so it wasn't like this shock out of nowhere. And at the same time, in planting a seed, he figured out what players he wanted to put on his team. He got to know everybody, and when it was go time, he already had the formula built. It was already all there.

Then Andrew and the rest of the Warner Avenue mob moved from Huntington Beach to Hollywood. Andrew moved in with Jim Greco, and Erik Ellington moved in with Elissa Steamer, Mike Maldonado, Nickels, and Jeff Lenoce. They all moved together, kinda making sure that no one was left in Huntington.

By the time they moved, everyone was skating a lot–enough to put together Baker2G. When it came time to drop the video, Andrew already had a full video part. At the same time, we did a TransWorld interview and put him on the cover.

I've never known him not to get stuff done.

2001

There were rumors of the start of an Emerica video and Andrew seemed to be just cruising along. He constantly goes out and skates. That's all it is–he goes out and skates for himself, and that's it. Not to impress anyone. Not to be the best. He's never seemed to be one of those people who strives to be the best. And at the same time, it makes you think that he really is gifted. When Andrew wants to skate contests, he wins them, and when he wants to get a trick, he gets it.

But Andrew does have this whole other drive when someone doubts him. Maybe its self-doubt that drives him–I don't know. One night–this was when he still lived in HB–Ed Templeton was like, “You can't grind this rail,” and Andrew was like, “Yeah, I think I can.” It was this mellow square rail and about half way down it drops like six inches and then keeps going. They went there at night, and with the car lights only, Andrew grinded it just out of spite, like, “Yeah, let's go there right now.” He didn't film it–no photos or anything. That just goes to show you–he's one of those people.

At the same time, he stocked up plenty of footage, traveled a lot to Europe and Australia, and really worked on getting Baker going.

2002

This was a big year for Andrew. A near-death experience led him to the realization that he needed to start a program and take control of his life. He was in a one-car accident–just basically veered off the road, driving around with a friend in Florida. It's actually kinda weird because Andrew didn't get hurt–he just walked away from it. Luckily, he went right between two trees. If he would've hit them, he would've been killed because he wasn't wearing a seatbelt. There was only about three feet to give.

Once that happened, it showed him that he had to slow down. I remember him telling me, “I have a lot on the line here. I have a huge career, a company, and people depending on me.” He's still very young, only 23 or 24, but he's a kid who's young and old at heart. I think that was definitely a wake-up call. Since then, he's really focused on skating. I think he really knows how much it can do for him now.

2003

Well, we're only a couple weeks into this year, but Andrew's Emerica video part is already finished. Its funny, too, because he had so much footage that he's already starting on a new Baker part. With Andrew, it's just the wanting. The wanting of it all. He always wants it when he skates. It's his relationship with this thing we call skateboarding.

Not a lot of people have that type of passion–the kind where it's just straight-up loving it, and communicating with it to make him progress so easily and so far. There're people out there who planted that seed, got the Baker Bootleg video going, and just got everybody in touch with it, so it wasn't like this shock out of nowhere. And at the same time, in planting a seed, he figured out what players he wanted to put on his team. He got to know everybody, and when it was go time, he already had the formula built. It was already all there.

Then Andrew and the rest of the Warner Avenue mob moved from Huntington Beach to Hollywood. Andrew moved in with Jim Greco, and Erik Ellington moved in with Elissa Steamer, Mike Maldonado, Nickels, and Jeff Lenoce. They all moved together, kinda making sure that no one was left in Huntington.

By the time they moved, everyone was skating a lot–enough to put together Baker2G. When it came time to drop the video, Andrew already had a full video part. At the same time, we did a TransWorld interview and put him on the cover.

I've never known him not to get stuff done.

2001

There were rumors of the start of an Emerica video and Andrew seemed to be just cruising along. He constantly goes out and skates. That's all it is–he goes out and skates for himself, and that's it. Not to impress anyone. Not to be the best. He's never seemed to be one of those people who strives to be the best. And at the same time, it makes you think that he really is gifted. When Andrew wants to skate contests, he wins them, and when he wants to get a trick, he gets it.

But Andrew does have this whole other drive when someone doubts him. Maybe its self-doubt that drives him–I don't know. One night–this was when he still lived in HB–Ed Templeton was like, “You can't grind this rail,” and Andrew was like, “Yeah, I think I can.” It was this mellow square rail and about half way down it drops like six inches and then keeps going. They went there at night, and with the car lights only, Andrew grinded it just out of spite, like, “Yeah, let's go there right now.” He didn't film it–no photos or anything. That just goes to show you–he's one of those people.

At the same time, he stocked up plenty of footage, traveled a lot to Europe and Australia, and really worked on getting Baker going.

2002

This was a big year for Andrew. A near-death experience led him to the realization that he needed to start a program and take control of his life. He was in a one-car accident–just basically veered off the road, driving around with a friend in Florida. It's actually kinda weird because Andrew didn't get hurt–he just walked away from it. Luckily, he went right between two trees. If he would've hit them, he would've been killed because he wasn't wearing a seatbelt. There was only about three feet to give.

Once that happened, it showed him that he had to slow down. I remember him telling me, “I have a lot on the line here. I have a huge career, a company, and people depending on me.” He's still very young, only 23 or 24, but he's a kid who's young and old at heart. I think that was definitely a wake-up call. Since then, he's really focused on skating. I think he really knows how much it can do for him now.

2003

Well, we're only a couple weeks into this year, but Andrew's Emerica video part is already finished. Its funny, too, because he had so much footage that he's already starting on a new Baker part. With Andrew, it's just the wanting. The wanting of it all. He always wants it when he skates. It's his relationship with this thing we call skateboarding.

Not a lot of people have that type of passion–the kind where it's just straight-up loving it, and communicating with it to make him progress so easily and so far. There're people out there who are naturally gifted, but I don't think they use it to their fullest advantage. I don't mean using it as a moneymaker, but just knowing, “Okay, this is how I make this trick happen.” Whereas with Andrew, I've always felt he had the ability to go, “Okay, this is the way I do this trick,” and then he does it.

Anyway, his Emerica part should be out around the time you read this.

Watch out.who are naturally gifted, but I don't think they use it to their fullest advantage. I don't mean using it as a moneymaker, but just knowing, “Okay, this is how I make this trick happen.” Whereas with Andrew, I've always felt he had the ability to go, “Okay, this is the way I do this trick,” and then he does it.

Anyway, his Emerica part should be out around the time you read this.

Watch out.