The Creation and Evolution of Backyard Skateboards
The year is 2019, our watches are smarter than ever and cellphone addiction is an epidemic. Amidst all these distractions, I received quality one on one time to ask some questions about the company and got back as much as they can give.
Let's find out what's up with Backyard Skateboards.
As of right now, Google cannot tell us the owner of Backyard Skateboards and why that is. Would you care to elaborate, stranger?
- “Foremost, my name is Angelo Hernandez and I am the owner of Backyard Skateboards. The past five years finding my identity and style within ownership have not been as straightforward as many others.”
- “When it comes to this company, I’ve built a mechanism and disconnected myself based on keeping a disguise so people don’t treat me any different than they would not knowing I’m an owner. Reflecting on this, I realize that I am prone to missing out on new relationships and advancing our movement.”
- "Apart from how others view me, I refuse to let this status affect me in various ways. At this point in time, I still buy all of my boards (albeit at a generous discount) and continue to fund the business."
- “Simply, I don’t want my name and face to represent this company. I believe the face of this brand is the brand itself, and everyone who has contributed to conveying the message Backyard has to bring.”
Let’s hop in the Delorean, go back to your past and dive deep. How and when did you first become exposed to skateboarding?
- “Believe it or not, my first exposure to skateboarding was the thick CCS catalogs back in the 10th grade. Those catalogs became the perfect item to pass the time in class with my good friend, Brandon Waugh. I then decided to trade my childhood Pokemon Card collection for a waterlogged World Industries Slick deck with Grind King trucks and flat-spotted black wheels to start skating.”
- “My earliest memories bring me back to the first real skate session I had with a friend, being Brandon at the time. On a whim, we jipped class and went to go skate a local 4-stair. This was monumental because we were not going to leave until I landed a kickflip down it. That same night I learned heelflips, so I hold this session very close to my heart.”
Having local homies to skate with is always a blast, but what about the pros that caught your attention at the time?
- “Some of the biggest names to float around were definitely Chad Muska, Mark Appleyard and Tony Hawk. Even though these guys had the fame, I gained inspiration from skaters like Daniel Shimizu, Justin Roy, and Geoff Rowley.”
What other instances within skateboarding have you held onto and allowed to fuel the production of Backyard?
- “All the moments I networked with different types of skateboarders rippled into the future. I remember having this sense of genuine fun when I was with familiar or new skaters. You surround yourself with bright and wholesome energy, and you feel as if you truly can do no wrong in the company of these people. This is where I believe the sense to give back started to become greater than oneself and I wanted to show my appreciation through Backyard.”
Outside of skateboarding, are there moments in your life you attribute to the inception of Backyard?
- “I’ve swam in different pools when it comes to starting a business and creating something for others to experience. I found that this pursuit of creation makes an impact worthwhile, and provides a sense of fulfillment like none other.”
- “Some of the impacts I’ve also made were attributed to the absence of privilege and fortune in my life, so I can only hope to continue to share moments like these with others who may have never gotten them.”
Tell us about the points in your personal development that encouraged you to engage in the skateboard community and create Backyard Skateboards.
- “The act of giving back has been the most instrumental lesson in my development. I have been able to continuously learn all about different types of people in and out of skating through giving back. Developing others in the process is the key to success.”
Any homage you want to pay towards the people you appreciate in the developmental stages and progression of Backyard Skateboards?
“These last handful of years have been furnished with support by many in the process of creating the brand.”
- “ Michael Lash and Spike Lamy; our earliest and most clever minds on the board were a generous amount of our early success.”
- “Sean Souders, Gordon Durlin, Tanner Ballengee, Andy Wagner and Steven Salazar; devoted riders who have been involved from the start.”
- “Randy Yang; a long-term faithful fan who has joined the ranks as our most recent recruit.”
- “Anthony Richardson, Benny Van Cleve, Caleb Grant, Corey Kohler, Rachel Richardson, Zach Bird and of course, the 940 Crew in Topeka; a pivotal group of individuals who have been responsible for providing inspirational feedback over this time.”
- “Artist Richard Pool; a longtime friend who’s been imaginative with his art before a team existed.”
- “Artist Gabi Costello; our newest addition to our artistic element whose unique flavor will flare in future projects.”
- "Artist Shane Saunders; a key component when it came to our transitional growth into our first original artwork following the spoof series. His whimsical approach to art made this possible."
Once you identified as someone who is engaged in this community, what were some of the challenges you and your colleagues faced?
- “Moving from Kansas to Arizona gave us a geographical challenge when it came to finding our starting point. This challenge also included the task of articulating Backyard’s message in different locations. Our approach with roots growing outwards of the Midwest has been to strategically choose our riders and brand representatives in different areas.”
We all love the stoke and smiles skateboarding brings, so let us deeper into the emotional side humans combat when bringing an idea to life (frustrations, worries, anxiety, stress.)
- “Wanting to be the best you can possibly be brings the pressure of letting oneself and others down. One must be open to different perspectives in order to succeed.”
- “Tanner Ballengee is an important partner in the creation of Backyard, so from a design standpoint for instance, a lot of anxiety is accompanied with decision making when discussing artwork among partners. Having the idea, creating it but not having the assumed support from others is also worrying.”
- “Raw experience with the ‘board of directors at Backyard’ helps one utilize feedback from unique perspectives when presenting new ideas. This experience truly helps me combat the anxiety of failure by forcing myself into situations where I grow from critique.”
With all these obstacles and day to day psyche battles, what knowledge previously obtained guided you onto a path of success and willingness to persevere?
- “Seeing the growth of small scale, local companies and their progression through persistence and perseverance. When you pair this visual guide with self motivated action, it encourages one to create new, present and self aware content."
We touched on the past, let’s chop up what's going on in the present.
If social media users do some Instagram stalking, they will see an absence from June 9th 2017 to June 7th 2019. Why is the present day is the best day to be action orientated?
- “I went through a painful and emotional journey moving past some relationships in life. Within this, I developed a fear to move forward. This fear tied into my fear of failure and put me in a very dark place. It took me two years to climb out of this hole, but the action I had already taken with Backyard rekindled a fire within me. This fire has inspired me to continue doing more work with our riders, artists and push what Backyard stands for at community events and skate contests.”
The Omaha skate scene was given the opportunity to experience a genuine and benevolent community event on September 28th, 2019 at the Lynch DIY skatepark.
Tell us about the importance of foreseen and unforeseen consequences these community outreach missions produce across the United States.
- “In regards to the unforeseen consequences, you never can account for what the need is. That’s why we always are on board with supporting these community events, you never know who wants to get their first set up to skate, or who needs completely new parts/hardware.”
- “On this same note, there’s a risk of losing people’s interest in skateboarding if the moments at these events aren’t positive. You never know how many kids who have never dropped-in or landed their first ollie yet are going to show up, so knowing how to properly educate the future in skateboarding is key.”
What is it like to partner with different kinds of organizations that support creative and united communities?
- “It is such a unique sensation to feel the spread of joy, love, and stoke skateboarding has regardless of the geographical location. Community events also contain wide-reaching networks that function to create these moments for one another.”
- “The best part? You’re hearing and seeing, ultimately having the most unique experience at community events. Skaters of all different skill levels, participating and living in the moment.”
When Backyard Skateboards puts on for events like these, what message do you want to install to skaters of all different skill levels and members of their respective, larger communities?
- “Backyard wants to be open and accepting to others. It's about what you do when you’re on the skateboard, not what you can do on a skateboard.”
- “We also want to make it cut clear that at Backyard, it’s a judgement-free zone. We stand for the bigger picture in skateboarding that puts on for human interaction. Peace and support among one another.”
Backyard seems to have one hell of a come-up and comeback story in 2019, so let’s crush the crystal ball and declare what’s in store for the future.
- “People are either well aware or blind to the power social media has in our day and age. We’re tapping back into our consistency with content on Instagram and revamping the Backyard Blog to give our supporters a ‘behind the scenes’ look into the company.”
- “In regards to feature films, our riders are active in assembling individual footage for a new project.”
What does the team at Backyard have in mind to continue their growth on and off the board?
- “We’re full steam ahead on more community events and contests. We want to continue our outreach and do more skateboarding lessons with riders of all skill levels through the brand.”
- “We are also stoked on growing our team and focusing on our strengths to build upon one another.”
As much as you can divulge, what changes are coming to Backyard for us to look forward to?
- “We’re excited to release our line-up of newly shaped boards. After countless hours of experimenting and hearing feedback, it’s ready for the public.”
- “We also have a relaunch of Backyard apparel and guest artist appearances. As for the team, we’re expected to bring along several new designers along with two to three new riders by the end of 2019.”
Whether it is the personal connection between skateboarders or the industry side of maintaining a board company, what do you want to learn more about?
- “All of it, on both sides. It truly is an ongoing process learning about skateboarding through other skaters. Each person holds a unique perspective, everyone is different.”
A beautiful and multidimensional aspect of skateboarding is most certainly the artwork. What does the future of Backyard graphics have in store?
- “We want to extract as much artistic expression as possible with our pieces. Staying ahead of the curve and having options for our supporters is our focus in regards to graphics.”
- “Our future will also embrace our past with spoofs and parodies that are recognizable to the sea that is the skateboarding community.”
- “As we catch up and push out our 2019 graphic ideas, the following year will have much more room for new and recognized self expression.”
One thing that is still alive and well in skateboarding is the purposeful exclusion of people who simply don’t skate, whether it be from the brand or those who support it. Where do you feel Backyard could stand in this array of exclusive movements going on?
- “Everyone has a home here at Backyard who loves skateboarding, period. We are exclusive to skateboarding, but not the type of skateboarder.”
- “In all transparency, anyone who has an interest, passion or curiosity for skateboarding is our target demographic.”
This has been a joy ride nonetheless, any last words for the readers out there?
- “Stay tuned, cause we’re just warming up.”