Skateboarding Olympian Heimana Reynolds Talks to Skateboarding Icon Jeff Ho

For the first time in history, skateboarding is in the Olympics. 

In order to commemorate the occasion, before the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the Olympics, Skateboarding Hall of Fame Icon, Jeff Ho, interviewed Skateboarding Olympian, Heimana Reynolds.

Heimana Reynolds with a Madonna at 2019 Vans Park Series in Brazil.
Photo by Anthony Acosta courtesy of Vans Park Series

Born in Hawaii, Heimana Reynolds grew up skating and surfing and he quickly became a local skating at Hawaii Kai Skatepark in Honolulu. Heimana loves skating contests and started skating competitively at age eight at the Blue Hawaii Team Challenge at Kapolei on the West side of Oahu. He has also dedicated much of his time teaching skateboarding at his family’s skatepark/skate shop/skate school, Proper Rideshop, which is the only indoor skatepark in Hawaii owned and operated by a local skater family. As a surfer and a skater, Heimana’s flowing style and spontaneous approach has taken him around the globe over the years to compete with the world’s best, as he stacked points to become one of the top men park skateboarders in the world. Now Heimana Reynolds is World Skate’s highest ranking Team USA Men’s Park Skateboarder, breaking ground as one of the first 80 skateboarders in the world to compete in the Olympics.

Jeff Ho Art Print by Shepard Fairey based on photo by Glen E. Friedman

More than two decades before Heimana Reynolds was born, surfskate pioneer, Jeff Ho, was doing his part to get skateboarding rolling from the Zephyr Surfboard Shop in Santa Monica, California. As a surfer, skateboarder, board shaper and Zephyr Surf Shop proprietor, the Zephyr Competition Team was established by adding the hottest skaters from the Dogtown area to the crew. What happened next was a flashpoint in skateboarding that has become a story for the ages, as well as an award-winning documentary [Dogtown and Z-Boys] and a major motion picture [Lords of DogTown]. A literal revolution in skateboarding began when the Z-Boys brought an aggressive and unique approach to the scene at the Bahne/Cadillac National Skateboard Championships in 1975 in Del Mar, California, disrupting the status quo, and changing the ethos of skateboarding into the future.

As skateboarding is making history again, this talk between two surfers and skaters just goes to prove that the multi-generational impact, culture and influence of skateboarding can change the world.

Heimana Reynolds with a Frontside Invert at the 2019 Vans Park Series in Brazil.
Photo by Anthony Acosta courtesy Vans Park Series.

JEFF HO: Heimana, how’s it going?

HEIMANA REYNOLDS: Hey, how are you, Jeff?

JEFF: I’m good. I know that you’re from Hawaii and I know your dad and it’s so cool that you are on the USA National Team for skateboarding in the Olympics. I’m so proud of you.

HEIMANA: Thank you!

JEFF: Do you want to talk about what it was like growing up in Hawaii as a kid?

HEIMANA: Growing up in Hawaii, it was the best playground for me. The beach is right there and the skatepark is just five minutes away. Pretty much all day, I’d just be with my dad and we’d go to the skatepark until we’d get hot and then we’d go jump in the water and go surf and cool down and then go back to the skatepark. It was skate and surf and skate and surf all day. It’s what built me into being the person that I am today.

JEFF: Your dad was a surfer. Did you surf too?

HEIMANA: Yeah. My dad did all boardsports, surf, skate and snow, so I followed in his footsteps. He was more of a surfer that skated on the side. I switched it up, and I am more of a skater with surfing on the side.

JEFF: Is your mom a surfer or skater?

HEIMANA: She loves going to the beach, but she doesn’t surf. She’s tried to skate a few times and she helps at the family skate shop, so she’s super involved.

JEFF: Do you have any brothers or sisters?

HEIMANA: I have a younger sister. She used to skate and surf a lot, but she is in college and she’s been super focused on school lately.

Heimana Reynolds at 2018 Vans Park Series at the U.S. Open in Huntington Beach, California. Photo by Anthony Acosta courtesy of Vans Park Series

JEFF: When did you pick up a skateboard?

HEIMANA: Growing up, my dad wanted me to become a surfer, but, at a super young age, I was like, “It’s cold. I don’t want to go in the water.” When I was six, my dad introduced me to a skateboard and I was like, “This is what I want to do. Take me to the skatepark. Let’s go skate.” I fell in love with it and I never let it go.

JEFF: What skatepark did you like the best?

HEIMANA: I grew up skating Hawaii Kai Skatepark on the Southeast side of the Island. I’d go there every day and I still go there and have so much fun because it’s perfect. I love that place. It’s got so much flow. All of the ramps are four to six feet and there are three different little bowls. It’s beautiful.

JEFF: Did you ever go skate on the North Shore? Did you know Cholo’s Steve?

HEIMANA: Yeah. I used to go skate at Banzai all the time and I’ve been up to Cholo’s a few times. I went there through my dad and a bunch of buddies who live on the North Shore, like Malakai Montes and Noah Montes and all those guys.

JEFF: Cool. What was your first skateboard?

HEIMANA: It was a Natural Koncept board called the Mini Rat. It was a 7.25 with a rat face done by Katch 1 with an orange background. I’ll never forget that board.

JEFF: Were there locals you skated with on Oahu? Who do you like to skate with now?

HEIMANA: I still skate with Malakai Montes, and Noah Montes goes to Banzai Skatepark. I skate with Evan Mock when he’s at home or we’re in the same place. I’ll session with anybody. If we go up to the North Shore, we’ll have a Sheepside session and skate with Tippy and Ivan Florence and all of the gnarly Graveside guys. It’s so much fun. When I’m at home, I go skate by myself usually because that helps me train and stay on my level. I’ll still skate with my buddies that I used to go to high school with who still live at home. They are definitely fun to skate with.

JEFF: I know your family has Proper Rideshop. How long ago did you start that?

HEIMANA: Originally, we started a company called Skate Care Hawaii out of the Hickam Air Force Base Hangar, when I was in eighth grade. Those were 9-2 skate camps and it started with ten kids. Then we bought a small indoor industrial warehouse with a mini ramp and a small four-stair and we started running programs out of that. Then we decided to get a bigger warehouse so that we could fit more stuff. The membership programs have grown a lot, so now we have Proper Rideshop, which is a lot bigger. We have bump to bars and rails and airbags and mini ramps and every ramp from two feet up to 7 1/2 feet. We’ve expanded so much. I just love that place. It doubles as a job opportunity where I can work and teach kids and give back to the community. At nighttime, when I want to go and train, it works as a training facility as well.

Heimana Reynolds with a Smith Seatbelt at the Vans Pool Party 2019 in Orange, California.
Photo by Bart Jones

JEFF: That’s so cool. Who were the skaters that inspired you throughout the years?

HEIMANA: Christian Hosoi was definitely a huge influence on how I skate. Growing up, I watched all of his old videos. I look up to Darren Ho and Kale Sandridge too. I’d watch all of the Natural Koncept videos and see all of those guys skating all of these spots in Hawaii too. I also look up to guys like Grant Taylor and Brad McClain and Shaun White that have pushed the boundaries of skateboarding. I know Shaun and Christian super well and I’ll go skate with them. They are my biggest influences.

JEFF: What was the first pool you skated?

HEIMANA: It was this pool in Kahala at an abandoned house. I was 11 and I was with my dad and one of my skater friends, Hunter Long. My dad heard about it through Jason Tipp and I was like, “I’ve always wanted to skate a backyard bowl. Let’s go skate it.” We jumped the fence and I was like, “This is sick.” You could only go down the waterfall and hit the deep end for one hit and it was all plaster. Four feet below the coping, it was tiled out, so we’d roll over the tiles and then hit the coping. The coping was gnarly, so you could only do slash grinds, so we were just doing frontside ollies and stuff.

Heimana Reynolds at Vans Park Series 2018 in Huntington Beach, California.
Photo by Lee Leal

JEFF: Nice. Do you ever skate with Darren Ho?

HEIMANA: Yeah. Our buddy, Randy, has a backyard bowl at his house that he built himself. They call it the Mango Bowl. I’ve skated up there with Darren a few times. I’ve skated Hickam and Hawaii Kai with him a few times too. He’s so rad. He’s got that old school style and he’s so fun to watch.

JEFF: What are your favorite spots to skate now on Oahu?

HEIMANA: Proper would be my go to spot because we can go there in the evening and blast music and skate until one or two in the morning. I love going to Wallo’s too. It’s super fun to go check out. There is only one bowl that you can hit now, but it’s still so much fun. I love going to Sheepside on the North Shore too. They’ve built so much there and I’ve helped out a little bit. It’s crazy to see that DIY turn into a full blown skatepark. It’s so much fun to skate.

JEFF: Cool. What types of music do you like?

HEIMANA: If you go onto my playlist, which I started in ninth grade, it’s got like 500 songs on it, and it’s the most diverse list you’ll ever see. It goes from Jack Johnson’s “Upside Down” and “Banana Pancakes” to some old school hip hop like Wu-Tang and it’s got Slayer and everything in between. For any mood that I’m in, I’ve got music. If I’m with my friends, I’ll probably play some new school hip hop. If I’m going to skate by myself, I’ll have some ‘80s rock playing. I love all sorts of music.

JEFF: Do you remember the first skate contest that you entered?

HEIMANA: My first skate contest was at Kapolei on the West Side. It was my dad and I and my buddy, Vincent Starn. I was eight years old and we were just going to skate Kapolei for fun. We had no idea that there was a skate contest going on called the Blue Hawaii Team Challenge. I had just learned to skate and some homies had a group going and they were like, “We need one more person. Will you skate with us on our team?” I was like, “I’m not that good and I’ve only been here a few times.” They were like, “No worries. Hop in with us and just skate the bowls.” I was like, “Okay, I’m down.” So I skated and I’m pretty sure that we got seventh place out of eight teams, but it was fun. On that team, I met a kid named Bobo who ended up being a close friend of mine for years, so that was cool.

Heimana Reynolds with a Backside Smith Grind at Vans Park Series 2019 in Brazil.
Photo by Anthony Acosta courtesy Vans Park Series.

JEFF: Do you like skating competitions? Does competition ever get to you?

HEIMANA: I love skating contests and I’ve been doing it for years. I still get pre-game jitters and butterflies and a little bit of stress and nervousness, but I love skating contests and feeding off all of my friends’ energy that are skating good and feeding off the crowd’s energy going crazy. I love being able to put together a run that I’ve been practicing and getting all of the tricks together in one run. It’s an incredible feeling. There’s no other feeling that compares to it.

JEFF: They call you the Flyin’ Hawaiian. How do you feel about that nickname?

HEIMANA: It’s cool, just because it has Hawaiian in it. I like that because I am Hawaiian and that is my roots. It’s silly sometimes, but I’ve been getting called that since the King of Groms days when I was eight or nine, so it’s cool.

Heimana Reynolds with a Frontside Tuckknee at the Vans Park Series 2019 in Brazil.
Photo by Anthony Acosta courtesy of Vans Park Series

JEFF: It’s a cool nickname. I saw you skate at the Vans Pool Party and you skated in the Vans Park Series contests too. Did you enjoy that?

The Vans Park Series is such a cool event to bring out all of the best park skaters. I really like to see everybody doing different lines and crazy stuff. I only competed in it in 2019 and I wasn’t able to compete in every event. I made it to China and Brazil, but I’ve always looked up to that contest. I’ve done the Vans contest at the U.S. Open at Huntington Beach a few years in a row and it’s a super fun event. Everyone gets to skate together. There are Olympic qualifier events and that brings in a certain amount of skaters, but the Vans Park Series brings industry skaters and all of these different people. I think it’s really cool to bring us all together like that. We just skate and have fun and enjoy skateboarding.

Heimana at 2019 World Park Skateboarding Championships Olympics Qualifying Event in Brazil. Photo by Lee Leal

JEFF: Can you tell me about the Olympics qualifying process and how you got on Team USA?

HEIMANA: In 2018, they had the first Olympic trial event, but there were no points for the Olympics. They called it the World Championships. It was the first contest to feel out what the Olympic trial events were going to be like with the rules and stuff. I went to that World Championship contest in Nanjing, China, and I ended up getting second to Pedro Barros. That was a really cool event and I was psyched on it and excited for the upcoming year, knowing that 2019 had three events, which were the Dew Tour Long Beach and then the China and Brazil World Championships. I knew, going into those, I’d just have to do my best, but I wasn’t really expecting anything. I just wanted to go skate in them. The first event was in Long Beach at the Dew Tour and I was able to make the finals, In the finals, I wasn’t able to put together my runs, but I was stoked on my result. I got seventh. I was like, “All right, this is cool. This is a good start. I’m ready for the next event.” The next event was in Nanjing, China, again, but it was in a different park. it was an indoor park that I had skated once before, so I was like, “Cool. I know how this bowl works. I made it all the way through to the finals and, in the finals, I made my run and I was super stoked. I was hyped to come out in first place in that event. I was super stoked, and my points went all the way up and I was leading [in the World Skate rankings]. I was like, “Okay. Now we have the World Championships.” The World Championships came along and it was the most amazing event I’ve ever been in. It was in Brazil and the people there are always hyped on skating. I ended up getting lucky enough to land my runs there and get first in the World Championships and lead in the points again. With all those points coming together, I made it onto the USA National Team. It’s just a blessing to be able to be on the USA National Team and have backing from the U.S.A. I’m lucky and stoked.

Heimana at the Vans Park Series Finals at the 2018 U.S. Open in Huntington Beach, California.
Photo by Anthony Acosta courtesy Vans Park Series.

JEFF: That is so cool. I love it. Let’s hear it for Hawaii! It’s USA, but my heart goes out to Hawaii.

HEIMANA: Yes! I’m not just representing the USA. I’m also representing the Islands! I’m really excited. I love skateboarding and I just skate because I love it.

JEFF: Is there any special type of training that you are doing or changes you have to make in the way that you’re skating to prepare for the Olympics?

HEIMANA: There are a lot of things that factor into how you do good in competitions and they all come together. Style and difficulty of tricks and the flow of the park and staying on your feet and landing your whole run and the creativity in your runs all factor into it. It’s still skateboarding, regardless of it being the Olympics, so you’re definitely going to be scored on your creativity. It’s not so much what I’ve changed in my skateboarding, in training for the Olympics, but I’ve definitely started treating my body and myself more as an athlete. I’ve been trying to eat a lot healthier and I’ve been working out and working with trainers at the Nakoa Gym four times a week to bring my stamina up and stretch more. I realize that this is the Olympics, which is the best athletes in the world, for swimming and basketball and all these sports, so I look at it like, “What are those athletes doing to train for their sport?” That’s exactly what you have to do. You have to train for your sport. That’s how I’ve been looking at things lately. I’m learning from other athletes and trying to skate as much as I can and I’m practicing and learning new tricks and runs and I’m keeping my stamina up and keeping my legs warm and all of those things. I just want to do my best.

JEFF: Are you training with other skateboarders on Team U.S.A. or is there a program?

HEIMANA: Yeah. We kind of do it ourselves a little bit, but we were given access to the Nike Training Facility, because Nike sponsors the Olympics, so all the Team USA skaters have the opportunity to train together at the Nike Training Facility. I only go there once a week to train with them because I’m living in San Diego, and it’s all the way up in L.A. I train by myself with my own personal trainer at Nakoa, but we do have the opportunity and facilities to train together as the USA Team.

Heimana Reynolds with a Frontside Invert in 2019 in China.
Photo by Anthony Acosta courtesy of Vans Park Series

JEFF: That sounds good. Getting back to your approach to skating and contest strategy, is it more about tricks or do you feel that style is really important for you?

HEIMANA: Growing up in Hawaii and surfing and watching guys like Christian Hosoi, style has played a big role in my life as a skateboarder. I would rather flow around the bowl really fast and do big airs than go slow and hit small kickflips over the hip. That’s just how I grew up skating and what comes naturally to me. That’s just what I love to do.

JEFF: Have you noticed any significant changes in skateboarding or how skateboarding has progressed since you started skating?

HEIMANA: Oh yeah. Skateboarding has always been a sport of progression, watching it through the years, even before I was born. Looking at skating in the ‘70s and the ‘80s and then looking at it now, it’s pretty crazy. Then you can break it down to what skateboarding was only five years ago and look at it now and see how much it’s changed, with just the difficulty of tricks. Somebody would do a trick and have it as their banging ender video trick and now some 11-year-old kid is doing it in the middle of a contest run. That’s how much skateboarding has progressed. With all of these kids coming up, skateboarding has gotten insane. The level of skateboarding has gone up so high that it’s crazy and it’s beautiful to see.

Heimana at the 420 Games at the Venice Skatepark in Venice Beach, California.
Photo by Chris Hooten

JEFF: I love it. I’m going to segue into another question. Do you like skating the Venice Skatepark?

HEIMANA: Yeah. I’ve been to Venice a bunch of times and skated the big bowl and the flow bowl and the snake run. It’s super fun. That park is sick because it has everything, deep end bowls and flow bowls and a street course. I know a few people there, like my friend Isaiah Hilt that skates there all of the time. He does these little shows too where he goes and flips over people on the boardwalk. I know a bunch of guys that skate over there. That park is super fun.

JEFF: Okay, well, I’m a fan of the Olympics and I’m rooting for you.

HEIMANA: Thank you!

JEFF: How do you perceive the Olympics and how it’s going to affect skateboarding?

HEIMANA: Well, everyone is wondering about how the Olympics and skateboarding don’t match. For me, personally, for skateboarding to be added to the Olympics, it’s amazing. I love the fact that they are doing that. Growing up, I’ve always heard that skateboarders are never going to make it. All they do is vandalize the parks, smoke weed and don’t give a shit. Having skateboarding being recognized as the gnarly, crazy sport that it is, on the highest level at the Olympics, it’s beautiful. It’s going to open the eyes of so many people that look down on skateboarding. They are going to have their eyes opened to how beautiful the sport really is. I think it’s going to expand the horizons for a lot of people. A lot of parents are letting their kids skateboard or wanting their kids to skateboard now.

JEFF: Right. Who are the other skateboarders on Team USA going to the Olympics besides yourself?

HEIMANA: The skateboarders going to the Olympics for Team USA Skateboarding Olympic Men’s Park are me, Zion Wright and Cory Juneau, and for Team USA Skateboarding Olympic Women’s Park, it’s Bryce Wettstein, Jordyn Barratt and Brighton Zeuner. For Team USA Skateboarding Olympic Women’s Street, it’s Mariah Duran, Alexis Sablone and Alana Smith, and, for Team USA Skateboarding Olympic Men’s Street, it’s Jagger Eaton, Jake Ilardi and Nyjah Huston.

Heimana Reynolds at the Vans Pools Party 2016. Photo by Dan Levy

JEFF: Cool. Here is another question. Are there certain types of tricks that you like to do?

HEIMANA: My favorite trick in the world is a frontside invert. I love that trick. I learned it years ago and then, a couple of years ago, I started really tweaking it out and learning how to bring it in differently, taking a foot off and taking both feet off and flipping my board. That trick is so much fun.

JEFF: What is the most challenging part of the journey towards the Olympics?

HEIMANA: All of it is challenging because it’s the Olympics. If anyone could get there, it wouldn’t be so top-notch. Everything is challenging, from putting my head down and training every day to learning tricks to getting back up and not just giving up to making it to the contests and landing my runs and keeping my head space right and not beating myself up for not doing something. There are all of these factors that are telling me that I cannot make it, but then it’s just me pushing back and saying, “I can do this. I want to be here. I deserve it. I want this so badly, so I’m going to do this.”

JEFF: Cool! I had a team in the ‘70s, the Zephyr competition team, and I had them skate in a uniform. When you’re skating for Team USA in the Olympics, they have uniforms. How do you feel about that?

HEIMANA: Well, a lot of people are thinking that it’s goofy and silly to see skateboarding like that, but, personally, I think it’s so sick and super cool. Being able to wear these jackets that say Team USA on one side and USA Skateboarding on the other side, I genuinely think that’s amazing. Since we are on the National Team, we are getting funding and health insurance from the U.S., and they gave us jackets and sweatpants and a hat and I wear it proudly. I love this stuff. It looks good.

JEFF: Represent! Do you think it’s going to bring unity to skateboarding, by having this Team USA, and skateboarding in the Olympics?

HEIMANA: I definitely think it will. For me, skateboarding has always been a thing that people can do together, especially since the Olympics qualifying events and seeing all of the different countries coming together. You’re seeing that you don’t even have to speak the same language. You share the language of skateboarding and you’re having a blast laughing with a kid who is fluid in Chinese, but doesn’t speak English. I don’t speak Chinese, but I’m laughing and having fun sharing skateboarding with him. That’s the beauty of skateboarding. Back to your question of unity, having this team of just USA skateboarders, I think it’s super cool. When a competition starts, you gotta be selfish. You gotta be like, “You’re my close friend outside of contests, but right now, I want to beat you.” That’s how contests are. You want to win. Having this USA team, which skateboarding has never had, it’s a team of skateboarders competing with each other instead of against each other. It’s definitely going to change things and be an eye-opener for a lot of people. I think it’s going to be super cool.

Heimana Reynolds at the X Games 2017 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Photo by Lee Leal

JEFF: I think it’s going to be super cool too. I know you are riding The Heart Supply Boards now. Did you have someone make special boards for you?

HEIMANA: Yes. I was sponsored by Pocket Pistols Skateboards and, for a little while, they were making different shaped boards with the same graphic. It was hard for me to skate a contest and switch out my board two days before an event and have to get used to that board because I broke my other one, so I went to Professor Schmitt who shapes boards and I was like, “This is what my magic board is like and I need to get a bunch of these.” He said, “Okay.” So I went in and he showed me the degrees of the tail and the nose and the concave and everything and we shaped my board with the specifications that work for me and having the tail hit right at this point and having the nose flip out at this point for my tre flips and this and that. It all came together into me making my own shape that works best for me.

JEFF: Insane! You’ve got it down. You need the same kind of board that hits every time. If something happens to the one that you’re riding, you’ve got to have one that feels the same. Is there a type of truck or wheel that you like?

HEIMANA: For park, I have an 8.5 deck and 149 Independent trucks. I just run the regular forged ones. I ride 56mm conical full Spitfire wheels.

Heimana Reynolds at Bowl-A-Rama 2018 in Bondi Beach, Australia. Photo by Lee Leal

JEFF: Do you like the weight in those Indys?

HEIMANA: Yeah. I’ve broken trucks in contests before with the hollow ones. I don’t think that it was because they were hollow. It just so happened that I was riding hollows, but, after that, I was like, “I’m going to stick to the regular ones. Those are the ones I like, so I’m going to stick with them.”

JEFF: What type of bushings are you using?

HEIMANA: This might surprise people, but I use the generic ones that come with the trucks. I have always done that. I’ve never switched them out.

JEFF: I deal with the trucks and bushings and board weight and shape and all that stuff, so I love it. You’ve got a formula and I’m stoked for you. So you’ve been all over the world skateboarding. What was the best place you skated so far?

I love going to Sao Paulo, Brazil. That place is amazing. Everyone is so addicted to skateboarding there. It’s such a beautiful feeling. Everyone is so psyched and so stoked and happy to meet you and take pictures with you. Aside from the people, I love the vibe there. It reminds me of back home with all the good people and fun spots, and the food is amazing. One of my favorite bowls to skate is in Sao Paulo, Brazil. It’s called the Cave Pool. That place is so sick. It’s got a bar and a grill and live music. They even do tattoos in the corner, and they have this perfect flow bowl with a four-foot shallow end and a seven-foot deep end and it’s built so smooth. It’s not perfect, which makes it perfect. I love going there. We’ll skate there every night during the week before the contest. I love that place.

Heimana Reynolds with a Frontside Air at the Vans Park Series 2019 in China.
Photo by Anthony Acosta courtesy Vans Park Series.

JEFF: Nice. For you, what is the best thing about skateboarding?

HEIMANA: Well, what I love the most about skateboarding is the freedom that I have to express myself and the feeling of learning new tricks. It’s like a painter. They have a paintbrush, which is my skateboard and they have a canvas, which for me, is like a skatepark. I have the freedom to do whatever I want. I can hit it the way I want to hit it and do whatever I want and there is not a single person that’s going to tell me I can’t. There is not a single person that’s going to tell me, “No. You have to do it this way. This is how it’s supposed to be done.” For me, growing up and going to private school, that’s always how it’s been. It was like, “You have to put this there and you have to do this here.” With skateboarding, I’m going to do what I want to do and that is why I love skateboarding.

JEFF: Who are your other sponsors besides The Heart Supply, Axion Footwear and S1 Helmets?

HEIMANA: I’m flowed from Independent Trucks, Spitfire Wheels, Bones Bearings and Jessup Griptape. I got on Vitamin Water, so that’s my drink sponsor now and I’m really stoked about that. I signed on with Ralph Lauren too. Of course, I’m also sponsored by Proper RideShop.

JEFF: Perfect. What is your favorite DIY park or spot?

HEIMANA: My favorite DIY is definitely Sheepside. Sheepside is beautiful. It’s got the looped cradles and everything. I love that it is in my home, built by my friends and I helped with a little bit of it. I love skating that place.

JEFF: Cool. What do you think is in the future for skateboarding and how it’s evolving?

HEIMANA: That’s one of the hardest questions that I’ve ever been asked. If you think back to five or ten years ago, you’d never think skateboarding would be where it’s at right now. To think ahead, from where it’s at now, it’s hard to think about that because it’s so crazy right now. Five years ago, it was already crazy, so you never really expected anything more. All I hope for in skateboarding is for the love and the beauty in skateboarding to continue, and, for all of us that love skateboarding to continue to love it and have fun.

Heimana Reynolds at Vans Park Series 2018 in Huntington Beach, California.
Photo by Lee Leal

JEFF: Cool! Do you have anything that you would like to say to encourage the younger generations that are coming up?

HEIMANA: What I have to tell the next generations of kids out there that want to skateboard is don’t listen to anybody that tells you can’t do it. All I heard growing up and going to private schools is, “When are you going to get a real job? When are you going to start growing up?” I’m like, “I want to skateboard. That’s what I want to do and that is what I’m going to run with.” Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do what you love, because if you love skateboarding as much as we all do, it will show you the most incredible adventures that you will ever see in your lifetime.

Heimana Reynolds at the X Games at Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Photo by Lee Leal

JEFF: I love it. You don’t know how much that means to me. I love skateboarding too. Is there anyone you’d like to thank?

HEIMANA: I’d love to say a big thank you to my family who have been there for me through everything. I love my mom, my dad, my sister, my grandma and everyone. They have always helped me and supported me and they have never told me that I couldn’t do what I wanted to do. I’m so thankful for that. I’m so thankful for my dad who has been with me, through thick and thin, through every contest, every loss and every win. Every time I didn’t want to get back up and try a trick again, he was there pushing me and telling me that I can do it. I’m so appreciative and grateful and blessed to have people like my family in my life. I just want to say thank you to them.

JEFF: Do you ever surf down in San Diego?

HEIMANA: Yeah. I’ve got my full suit and a couple of shortboards and a longboard here and I try to surf as much as I can. It’s freezing, but the waves have been super fun lately.

JEFF: Thank you so much. I really appreciate you talking to me and giving me the time.

HEIMANA: Of course. Thank you for letting me a part of all of this!

JEFF: We’re rooting for you, Heimana!

HEIMANA: I appreciate it so much.

Heimana Reynolds skating barefoot at the 420 Games in Venice Beach, California at the Venice Skatepark. Photo by Chris Hooten

As USA Skateboarding introduced the USA Olympic Skateboarding Team, on June 21, 2021, Heimana was asked what he loves about skateboarding. He answered, “It’s crazy to think about where we are right now. Who would have thought that skateboarding would be in the Olympics? It’s so much hard work and so much dedication and I’m hyped to be here. I love skateboarding and I always will. Thank you to everyone who made this possible.” Heimana added, “Words cannot describe my emotions right now, but I will try my best! I am extremely honored to stand amongst these amazing individuals to be the very first skateboarders to represent Team USA at the Tokyo Olympics. I am humbled to represent my country (and my island home) on the biggest athletic stage in the world and I am very excited to share real skateboarding and my passion, creativity and athleticism for skateboarding to the masses! I am forever thankful for the life lessons and everything skateboarding has taught me! I am also truly grateful for God, my family, friends, sponsors, skate community and support group who believed in me, pushed me since the beginning and never gave up on me! I will never forget my roots and I will always remember who had my back since day one. Much love and Aloha! Mahalo ke akua. Imua! Let’s get this!”

The Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 take place July 23, 2021 to August 8, 2021, with the Park Skateboarding Competition set for August 3rd-4th in Tokyo, Japan.

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