Age is a state of mind
19 Oct 2016
Words and photos By Kevin Conners
The first time Johnny Raekes caught my eyes was on social media through his absurd level of riding and style he was putting out. That’s often a tough one to judge some one on, as almost every up and comer is putting out crazy shit from there local park on social media, not to mention it’s the true person and their attitude behind the tricks that really matters. I’ve seen numerous riders ruin every chance they had purely based on attitude alone so I was looking forward to seeing just what Johnny was all about other than the ridiculous bike control, kick flips and dreads.
Fast forward a few months and Johnny made his way to San Diego to kick it with the Fiend crew to see just how well we all jived together. At first, I have to admit, he made me feel old. Here I am at 34 shooting photos and sharing a smoke with a 17 year old. As a wise man once said “age is a state of mind” and he certainly proved that. At first he came off a bit shy and almost timid in a way. To a point at first was often hard to tell what he might want to ride or if he was even hungry or not. But that we were sure to break with time and I’m sure it was a bit weird for him for him at first to be driving around in a 34 year old's car all day riding spots.
After just a couple days of riding some spots his personality started to show through and he started speaking up. I quickly realized Johhny is far from your typical 17 year old that’s barely been riding for five years. Luckily when his personality did come out it just added to all his riding and the social media onslaught of tricks that arguably had the BMX community talking. After riding with him I was quick to realize that he rides that hard every day, constantly pushing himself even when he's not filming.
One of the first things that caught my mind was when talking to him about riding, he had a deep education about what was done and who had done what before him. Maybe that’s where the somewhat “throwback” tricks like the one handed X-up came from. He also shocked me with just how easy going he is with everything. He seems to just go with the flow of things, speaking just enough to share a few opinions or give input when thinking of the next type of spot to ride but never speaking out or acting as you’d expect most kids his age would. Instead having more respect and manners than myself.
"I spent just a little over a week with Johnny it was hugely refreshing for me to see a kid his age have such a good attitude and the knowledge to back up his style on the bike."
I spent just a little over a week with Johnny it was hugely refreshing for me to see a kid his age have such a good attitude and the knowledge to back up his style on the bike. By the end of his time in SD I was bummed he was headed back up north for school. Luckily I know there will be more good times, shooting and having fun in the future as he definitely solidified his spot within the crew. - KC
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