On this, a weekend when all the best and brightest skaters gather in Tampa Bay, FL, to see who will arrive on top—one month since he left his fans and loved ones. We are honored to present this flashback of an 18-year-old Dylan at the top of his game, our 2006 Year's Best Am.
TEXT BY DAVE CARNIE PORTRAITS: GRANT BRITTAIN
The Year’s Best Am is, of course, the highest and most prestigious honor that can be awarded to an amateur skateboarder. To be named the Year’s Best Am is even better than turning pro. It is better than sex. That’s why so many people want to win this award. Even pro skaters want to be named the Year’s Best Am. Unfortunately they cannot because they have their names on the bottom of a skateboard and make money riding that skateboard. At least one pro this year quit all his sponsors so that he could compete for the Year’s Best Am title. I will not say his name because he did not win the Year’s Best Am title and now he feels very foolish. He even told his shoe sponsor to F off. They won’t take him back. He sent the team manager a very expensive bottle of Scotch with an apology letter, but they have yet to accept his apology. They were deeply wounded by his words. I understand the Scotch was of a very high quality. And the ex-pro is very sad. I submitted a formal letter to the magazine’s management and the judge’s panel asking if we couldn’t make some sort of an exception for the poor fella and give him a consolation prize of some sort. “Year’s Second-Best Am?” Otherwise he is nothing. He will probably die. I have yet to hear back from them. The judges. I take their silence as a “No.” But then again, they’re always silent, those Year’s Best Am judges. They rarely say anything. Heck, I don’t even know who they are. For all I know, it might just be one dude. One very wise dude. Who only speaks once a year. —DC
So you won an award.
Yeah, I got the bearing press. The bearing press is like the trophy and it said, “YBAM,” and I was thinking for a minute, “What does ‘YB’ stand for?”
Have you ever won anything before?
Yeah, in water polo I got a few trophies.
Yeah, I was like a real beachy, water kid. Ever since I was like four, my parents got me into swimming right when I could walk. I did swim club and all that stuff, and I played water polo from like nine until I was twelve. I don’t know, I was pretty good at it, but then I started skating and I was like, fuck that. Fuckin’ having to wake up all early and be on a schedule when you can not be on a schedule and just skate.
I think that appeals to everyone who skates. But seriously you were good at water polo, huh?
Yeah our team was like second in the nation or something. But the game that we played, I fucking blew it and missed the fucking goal like three times. Kinda sucked. We were all like little kids, bummed out and crying and shit.
Kind of the same thing happened to me. I played hockey, but then I got into skating and punk rock and skateboarding kind of conflicts with team sports. But now that I’m older I look back and go, that was kind of cool. Do you look back on water polo and wish you kept doing it?
Yeah, in a way it’s kind of like when you skate you’re not really on a program and you go by your own rules. And I think when you play a sport like that it keeps you on track and on a good schedule and it keeps you more motivated. I probably would have graduated high school if I kept playing water polo.
That’s what’s attractive and unattractive about skateboarding I guess: you don’t have to do anything.
Well, not really.
How not really?
Well, I got Year’s Best Am somehow.
I guess you do have to discipline yourself then, huh?
Yeah, when deadlines come down, you want to try and give yourself enough time to get good photos and tricks and stuff so you don’t have crappy stuff.
Bob Burnquist said that as a child in Sao Paulo it was his dream to 50-50 into the Grand Canyon. Are there any goals you’ve had since you were a child?
That was Bob Burnquist’s goal since he was a child?
That’s what he said, yeah. Apparently it was his dream since he was a child.
I kind of find that hard to believe, but if he did that’s pretty high standards.
So I’m just wondering what goals you’ve had?
Well, as a kid just surfing and skating, I always wanted to be a pro surfer and a pro skater. I was like, that would be awesome.
Were there any pro surfers you looked up to?
When I was a little kid of course Kelly Slater and Rob Machado, you know the big heads. We used to go to the Huntington Open and wait ’til they got out of the water to get shirts signed and stuff. I didn’t really know a whole lot about the surf world, I just liked to surf with my friends.
When you go to Islands restaurant do you order a bleu cheese hamburger like Rob Machado?
I hate Islands. Gross. I’d rather have a real McDonald’s burger or something better. Restaurant burgers kind of suck. It’s too thick of a patty I think. Fast food burgers just taste better.
What is your favorite dish that your mom made?
My mom didn’t really cook. We ate out a lot. We ordered in from Hong Kong Express—get some orange chicken, chow mein, and egg foo yung, that was my favorite.
If you had kids, would you cook for them, or would you order out every night?
No, I’d have my wife cook for them. That’s where my parents failed me. I never really learned how to cook. I have trouble just making scrambled eggs. My girlfriend always makes scrambled eggs and full breakfast and all that shit, and I tried to surprise her one morning by making her eggs and it seriously took me four tries. I tried to pour the milk and the eggs in the pan all at once, it was a total waste.
Okay let’s play our camping game. It’s called “What if?” It’s what we do when we’re drunk around the fire.
All right, I’ll stare at my light and pretend it’s a fire.
If you were a vegetable, what vegetable would you be?
Is an avocado a vegetable?
No, that’s a fruit. But good choice.
Okay, I’d be Syd Barrett.
Nice. You listening to Pink Floyd these days?
Yeah, I kind of get stuck on one band and listen to ’em for like five years.
That dude is still alive, huh?
No, he just died.
Oh, that’s what it was. When he died I was like, “I didn’t even know he was still alive.”
Well, he was pretty much dead to everybody. But he died. I was kind of bummed because I was kind of hoping that maybe he’d play a show just out of the blue, but it never happened.
If he was playing a random show in London, would you fly there to see it?
For sure. He’s like my favorite dude. My friend from London used to tell me stories about how he’d go to Cambridge and look for Syd Barrett.
If you were a car, what kind of car would you be?
It would be a black car. A Phantom Rolls Royce.
If you were a god, which god would you be?
The god of fire. Is King Trident a god? Isn’t he like the water god?
No, that’s Neptune. But he carries a trident.
I’d like to be him.
If you were a fish or any marine animal, what would you be?
Probably a dolphin. They’re pretty chill.
Do you have a dolphin tattoo on your ankle?
No, right above my dick. You know where Bam has his little heartagram thing? Right there. It’s pretty sick. It’s not gay at all. Some people think that getting a tattoo there is gay, but it’s not.
No, totally not. And getting that tattoo after seeing someone else with it isn’t gay either.
Yeah, copying people is totally fine.
Totally fine. In fact it’s cool.
When I saw Bam’s HIM tattoo I thought he was so cool that I just got Bam’s name. He’s so cool that he got HIM that I just had to get BAM. Fuck it.
How many tattoos do you have?
I don’t have any. Actually after Syd died I was thinking it would be kind of cool to get like a silhouette of his fuckin’ head or something. I just bought this poster that’s like a memorial. I thought it would be kind of cool, but maybe down the road I’d be over it. Tattoos are hard to think about.
If you were a pro skater, what pro skater would you be?
If you were the singer for a metal band, what singer would you be?
Ozzy, I think.
Ah, nice choice. I think I would pick Lemmy. I don’t like Axl, but he would be fun.
Oh, Axl. Worst dude with the best voice ever.
The Doors weren’t really metal, but Jim Morrison would have been fun as well.
It would be really fucking weird to be those people if you think about it. They’re out of their fucking minds. I was thinking about that today. Have you heard about the documentary The Devil in Daniel Johnson? I bought that today and made me think about Syd Barrett and all those crazy fuckers. It must be awesome to be that crazy to write that kind of music. But then it wouldn’t because 40 years later you’re living with your parents and they’re taking care of you. So I guess it’s kind of a double-edged sword.
Gap backside 50/50.
If you were a flower, what kind of flower would you be?
A Venus flytrap.
That’s a good one. If you were a vessel to drink out of, what would you be?
Probably just straight-up beer bottle. Actually a cool mug.
If you were a season, what season would you be?
If you were a fast food restaurant, what would you be?
You’re not feeling it?
No. I hate Arby’s. But it’s your interview, you can say whatever you want.
Well if you don’t like it, I’m not gonna say it.
Did you just say Jesus Christ? You sounded like Mr. Slave on South Park. The Paris Hilton one is fucking hilarious.
Oh yeah, I love that one. Me and Duffy actually can’t really have a normal conversation anymore because we just talk in Mr. Slave voice.
Yeah, after I saw that one I said it for like a month.
But seriously, you eat at Arby’s?
I don’t really anymore. I’m trying to stay off the fast food, but yeah, Arby’s is kind of like a treat every once in awhile. I get a Big Montana, it’s like the biggest roast beef sandwich.
There’s a reason why on South Park there’s that joke, “I’m so hungry I could eat at Arby’s.” Because it’s gross.
They say that?
I don’t know. I might be making that up. But the fact is Arby’s is gross.
Yeah, the meat is definitely sketchy, but it’s good as fuck. It kind of glows if you look at it.
Yeah, it looks like oil in a puddle. And I don’t eat rainbow-colored meat.
Well all fast food is fucking gross, bad for you, so you may as well eat the worst one. And it tastes the best.
If you were a dog, what kind of dog would you be?
If you were a cat, what kind of cat would you be?
A Maine Coon.
Wow, you know your animals. If you were a flavor, what flavor would you be?
Vinaigrette? Soy sauce, actually. You know how when you’re waiting for your sushi and you’re so hungry you dip your chopsticks in the soy sauce and start licking it?
Yes, actually. Sushi sounds good right now. Wasn’t it you that had some problem with chicks and onions?
Yeah, onion breath. God.
Do you eat onions yourself?
No. And my girlfriend loves onions so it’s kind of a problem. She sleeps in the other room.
You and I will never make out either because I love onions.
Oh, bummed. Jesus Christ.
You’re dropping in on a vert ramp, first trick, do you go frontside or backside?
2006 Year's Best back lip. Dylan Rieder hits the bricks at San Pedro's best-the Channel Street Skatepark. | Photo: Anthony Acosta