Portrait: Andrew Peters.
Rest in peace Dylan Rieder
1988 ~ 2016
We remember one of the smoothest skateboarders ever to roll.
Dylan Joseph Rieder has passed away due to complications from leukaemia. His power, prowess and inimitable smooth style influenced an immeasurable amount of skateboarders over the past decade. Our thoughts are with his family and his many friends.
Below is our interview with Dylan from back in 2011, plus a collection of his video parts.
Back Smith. Photo: Anthony Acosta.
Words by Andrew Peters
Where do you even start with a guy like Dylan? It’s a pretty obvious observation that the world embraces Dylan for his natural abilities and talents as much as he embraces the world himself. It’s hard to write just a few words about a friend, especially someone that you look up to for having their life sorted out so effortlessly. Dylan and I are so close in age and interests, it’s hard to get perspective. He really does just always appear that one step ahead of the game.
Dylan is only 22, which seems ridiculous for what he’s accomplished and for the level of maturity he shows. Truly blessed, he has been given a hell of a lot of opportunities in his life and thank god he’s taken them and run with them, as well as any young man possibly could. With an envious nod I take my hat off to Dylan, and, like everyone, I look forward to seeing what this inspiring skateboarder has in store for the future. I managed to wake Dylan up early, before a relaxing day at a cliff jump, to talk about exactly what that future holds, details of his past and everything in between.
Frontside tailslide kickflip out. Sequence: Anthony Acosta.
G’day, Dylan. How are you?
You’re in Australia right now ... what’s your reason for being out here?
Trying to ride a skateboard. Attempting.
You’ve spent the majority of your adult life travelling. Do you enjoy being on the road the whole time, or would you rather be at home for a prolonged period of time?
Am I supposed to answer this question seriously?
Yeah. Why, is it a bad question?
No, it’s a good question. It’s just funny ’cause you’re interviewing me.
Oh well. I mean, I probably know these answers, but just pretend I don’t know...
(Laughs) I don’t know. I like it both ways. I like travelling, but I like being at home. I just moved into this place, which I can call my own, so it’s been nice to be there to set up shop, doing things around the house. And I like skating around my neck of the woods, Los Angeles, but yeah, Australia, I love being here too. It’s like my favourite place. I could live here too.
You just bought your house. What does that feel like? Obviously exciting, but it’s a lot of responsibility at 22.
Yeah, I’m super psyched. It’s just a good investment. It’s nice to have your own spot that’s actually yours and you’re not pissing money away. And you can do whatever you want to your home, not like an apartment. Eventually put a pool in, hopefully. Paint some shit, put some nice furniture in there.
You started early, so do you think you’ll try have residences all over the world or just keep it local in Cali?
I mean, that’s the idea, but you have to be pretty fuckin’ balling for that. Have to get a new side job for that.
Not too bad at 22.
Yeah, I think I got ahead of the game a little bit … hopefully. But it’s definitely a responsibility, man. As soon as I moved in, the plumbing burst. Had to rip out my whole front lawn. That was a nice little welcome to home-owning.
I guess a whole lot of things change in one go for you with sponsor stuff, from Rasa Libre and Nike, to Vans, Quik, Analog, Gravis and Workshop.
Rasa went under and I was still on Nike. Then I switched over to Vans, and that’s right when AVE (Anthony Van Engelen) and (Jason) Dill asked me to ride for the Workshop.
Had you always really wanted to ride for Workshop?
Yeah, fuck yeah. They’ve been like my favourite company since I was a kid. Workshop videos, Photosynthesis, it's my favourite video. Dill skating to Radiohead, AVE’s part is sick. All their art direction. Pretty much they are the best board company I think.
Back tail. Photo: Anthony Acosta.
In your Epicly Later’d they talk about your Workshop part as being a let-down, to you... I actually thought it was a really solid part.
Yeah, I liked it too, man.
Everyone kinda says you did the Gravis thing ’cause you wanted to like make up for it or something.
It’s funny that people think that, but it has nothing to do with that whatsoever, it has to do with the fact that I was just skating a lot more than I was during the Workshop video period and I was just in a different head space then, and I don’t know, Greg (Hunt) started filming with us at Analog and Gravis and it was just like, fuck. I was just super motivated to skate at that time. Some things fell through with, umm… I don’t know how to put this. I was just skating every day with Greg or go out with Russell and Cody and this turned to that and I had a solid foundation of footage with those dudes and threw out the idea of just doing like a little video part promo thing.
So it wasn’t like they put a bunch of pressure on you, like we’re gonna do this for you, but you’re gonna have to get seven minutes of footage.
No, no. There was no deadline, there was no anything. It was just like, film for as long as you want and as soon as you feel like you have enough footage and would be comfortable to put it out. I did it all in a little over a year.
They obviously push you as one of, or the, star rider at Analog and Gravis.
Yeah, I’m pretty much under the whole Burton umbrella. I just wanted to do it. I wanted it to be good just ’cause Gravis is such a new company in the skate world. It’s only been around for like three years or something with our team. Fuck, you want kids to see what’s going on over here and a video part just seemed like the right way to promote it. I liked it as well ’cause like nobody had really done a solo video part like that. There was the (Josh) Kalis Mono and I think Leo (Romero) had something, but I feel like it was kinda the first one that got really blown up, and now Paul’s (Rodriguez) done his thing. Who else? Nugget (Shane O’Neill) had one. I’m not promoting the whole Internet video parts at all. I tried really hard to have them put it on DVD and it got sent out with The Skateboard Mag. It just happened to work to be on the Internet as well. I’m still all for the "filming three years for a video part" with a company.
It’s kinda an obvious question, but you’ve been given the opportunity to have a lot of different styles of shoes with your name on it. A boat shoe, a lofa, skate high top and obviously…
The fancy shoes. The most controversial shoe in skateboarding...
After the D3...
After the D3, pretty much. We just wanted to do something different. Me and Mark (Oblow) wanted to try to do a dress shoe that you could skate in ’cause, fuck, I like my hanging-out shoes just as much as I like my skate shoes, so we tried something different. You can only rip off a Vans so many times... I think skateboarding needed a different direction with that style of thing.
Oblow has obviously been a fair influence on your career to date. How did the relationship start there?
I’ve known Oblow for like 10 years now. I met him at Quiksilver. He was the team manager, and I met this dude at the skatepark that I used to skate at and he was like, “You wanna do some P-O-P stuff for Quiksilver?” and make money or whatever, just doing like little look-book stuff. I was skating a lot at the time and I did a couple of photoshoots with them. Atiba (Jefferson) told Oblow, you should check out this kid, and at the time he didn’t want anything to do with me ’cause I was like 13 or something, but then they took me on a skate trip and that was kinda it. Me and Oblow have kinda been together since then. From Quiksilver, to Analog and Gravis now. He’s like my best friend and my life coach (laughs). He’s helped me out a lot and I pretty much owe everything to that dude.
Oblow is from Hawaii and you always talk about Hawaii as like a second home/holiday, is that through surfing or...?
Oblow goes out there a couple of times a year and pretty much since years and years ago I’ve gone out there and stayed on the island with him. It’s like a routine thing. I’ve been to Hawaii like four times this year or something ... last year. It’s like the greatest place; warm water, the weather is beautiful, good food, surfing out there is great, bodysurfing, it’s just a good environment.
Did you start surfing before you skated in Orange County?
Yeah, I surfed before I skated for sure. I grew up in the water.
You still surf?
Not as much as I’d like to. I try to.
What’s the beach culture like in the States? Very different from Australia?
Um, it depends where you’re at. Orange County is very bro brah, surf city USA. It’s not that much different out there. Beaches are definitely nicer out here. The water is warm here, that’s why I hate surfing in Cali ’cause the water’s so goddamn cold. It’s hard to get motivated, but, I mean, surf culture is pretty much the same everywhere.
Portrait: Anthony Acosta.
When it comes to team stuff for Gravis and Analog, do you get a lot of say on who’s on, or is it all discussed between the team?
Yeah, I mean, Arto (Saari) was at Gravis first and they wanted me to ride for it. The whole plan was to keep the team as small as possible, so when I got on I thought right away we need to put Jake (Johnson) on, ’cause he rips. As you can clearly see in his Workshop part, and we went on a trip out here and I saw Sammy (Winter) skate and he was ripping. I just watched him skate flatground and was like, fuck, this dude’s so sick, good style, so yeah, we put him on and that’s pretty much our four dots, and then there’s Steve (Forstner) and Javi (Mendizabal) on the Europe side, and Luke’s (Croker) like the Aussie side. We advertise everybody in all the magazines and we all travel together.
You, Luke and Sammy have become quite good friends and they seem to stay with you quite a bit in the States. How did you meet Luke and become friends?
I met Luke ’cause he was out in the States and he’s been on Analog forever and he would just come stay at my spot. I think the first time he came out I wasn’t even there and he just stayed at my house, but yeah, they’re just homies. Last year they were at my house like half the year pretty much. Sammy stayed for like six months or something. We were pretty much connected at the hip for a while, got pretty funny. But we had some good times.
What’s the plan for the rest of the year? Have you got a bunch more travelling coming up or are you trying to stick around home base a bit more?
I’d like to stay in Oz as long as I possibly can, but there will probably be a trip coming up pretty soon. I’m just trying to film in LA, do my usual routine, travel a bit here and there, but I like skating at home.
Yeah, what was the inspiration to do the “mile radius” thing? Obviously you travel quite a lot, but most of your Gravis part was filmed within a couple of blocks of your house in LA. Was that a specifically thought-out plan of attack?
No, I just wanted to keep it local. I just like the idea of trying to skate spots that nobody really skates. Especially in LA where it seems so blown out and everything has been skated, just tryna have new shit in LA that hasn’t been done. When you’re driving down the side of the road and you see that spot that’s always been there but nobody has ever been able to skate it. If somebody does skate it, the people in LA are like, “Holy shit, I never would have thought of skating that spot” or you know, just mix it up.
When does the Analog video come out? When are you guys working towards?
That’s a good question. I have no idea... People put deadlines on it, but realistically nobody ever knows.