When you ask most skate kids who their favorite skaters are, they usually pick someone from the lineup of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater video game. But when I asked Evan Hernandez who his favorite pros were, he said Mike Carroll, Cairo Foster, and Danny Montoya. I must say, to pick those three you must really know that (A) They all do good nollie kickflips, or (B) There are plenty of great street skaters outside the lineup of today's most popular video games. Evan's knowledge of today's street skating goes further than the switch of a PlayStation.
In addition to his knowledge, Evan poses a skill that lets him progress at a hyperfast rate. He can learn a trick on something small, and in a short amount of time, he'll double the size of the obstacle he learned it on. For example, I saw him getting frontside boardslides wired on a eight-stair rail, and within six months, he was doing them down eighteen stairs. He's a kid with a lot of options–it only took a eighteen-stair frontside boardslide to make everyone (his sponsors included) realize he's going to be a big part of the future of skating.
Evan's making enough money to buy a car, but the problem is, he's still only fifteen years old. When he first started skating, I asked him if he thought he'd ever make money off skateboarding. He said, “No, I didn't think I'd even get sponsored.” But because his friends told him he was good, he kept with it. Evan resides in the L.B.C.–for those of you who never listen to Snoop Dogg, that's Long Beach, California. He's usually learning the ways of the concrete jungle at Cherry Park, or at the El Dorado skatepark. He likes all the things a kid would like: junk food, games of SKATE, and getting in trouble with his friends, who are the usual suspects–Terry Kennedy, Knox Godoy, and Brian Herman.
Andrew Reynolds first scouted out twelve-year-old Evan at the Huntington skatepark. Andrew started to battle him in games of SKATE. Noticing how he had a proper flick and could do good frontside flips, Andrew saw the potential of Evan being good once he added a little more power to his punch. And now that Evan's added a little more power to his diet, Andrew admits, “Evan has a couple tricks I wish I could do, which might make me jealous, but hey, he's on the team and it's good for everyone.”
In the last year and a half, Evan has done a pretty good job of getting his face out there with coverage and whatnot. Keeping good relationships with the media side of skating is one of Evan's biggest keys to coming up. When I asked one of today's top filmers, Lee Dupont, what he though of Evan, he said “He's the only Baker am who doesn't need Ritalin.”
The hype behind Evan has been different than most, I'd have to say the buzz for those who don't believe the hype. When I asked Rob Dyrdek if he knew who Evan was, he said, “I wouldn't know him if he was standing right in front of me, but I certainly know how raw the guy is. I've seen him getting so buck-wild at such a young age all over the magazines.”
With this, I wondered if Evan's making it a little hard for today's pro to get work, so when I asked Eric Koston what he thought about that, he said, “He doesn't scare me, I'll teach him a thing or two. But for kids his own age, he'll definitely be a problem.”
Evan seems to be holding all the right cards. When asked when he'd like to turn pro, he simply replied, “When Andrew (Reynolds) says I'm ready to turn pro.” With his future in the hands of Andrew, and all his other sponsors ready to plaster him on everything from shoes to shirts, it might seem like too much for a fifteen year old to step into a grown man's world of problems and pressures. But for today's pros such as Eric Koston and Tony Hawk, who turned pro before they were grown men, it doesn't seem all that bad. But at the same time, it's a whole different game now. Hopefully, Evan can always have fun dropping “grown-man hammers.”