Hawaii produces a ton of talented surfers that make it to the pinnacle of the sport, but skateboarding is an entirely different story. Heimana Reynolds is trying to change that, and he'll have a chance to win the gold medal when the 2017 Summer X Games begin Thursday in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
"When I'm dropping into my final round, I'm thinking 'wow this is it, I could be in the X Games if I land this whole run'," Reynolds said of his road to the sports biggest stage.
It was a run he has worked nearly his entire life for. From the time he could walk, he had a skateboard under his feet.
"I was an avid skateboarder growing up, surfing," said Heimana's dad Matt, a former North Shore lifeguard. "I was very excited to teach my son how to do it."
Heimana began competing locally at seven years old. At eight he was onto the national scene, and when he was 11 he told Hawaii News Now his dream was to be a pro and skate at the X Games.
"I was addicted," he said. "Everyday I was like 'dad when are we going to the skate park? When are we going to the skate park? Can we go to the skate park now?"
The Reynolds family turned their lives into skateboarding. Matt opened up Proper Rideshop and started Skate Care Hawaii. Heimana spent every second he could in the street, bowl or park honing his craft until he got the opportunity of a lifetime following his high school graduation.
"I get the call and he's like, 'hey Heimana do you want to come to X Games? You're the first alternate.' I was like, 'yeah for sure I'll come.' Twenty minutes later he calls me again and says somebody just dropped out again, you're in. I'm like alright!"
Last minute he boarded a plane from Southern California to Boise, Idaho to compete at the Road to X Games two day qualifier. Not much was expected of the late call-up from Hawaii against 20 of the best skateboarders in the world, but Heimana had other ideas. He took third and earned a coveted invite to the X Games in Minneapolis.
"I can't even explain how happy I was," Heimana said. "I got that license plate in my hand and I was just looking at it in awe. It's just always been a dream of mine since I was a kid. Being able to make that dream come true is incredible."
Now he'll compete alongside some of his childhood idols in the men's skateboard park division.
"Of course I want to be on the podium, but it's going to be tough," he said. "There are so many good guys. Definitely my main goal is to get that gold medal, that would be crazy."
The X Games will be televised on ESPN Thursday through Sunday.
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