Questions from the Trenches

by The Good Life on May 1, 2012

in Snowboarding, The Good Stuff

So I received this mail via facebook last week, from a stoked young snowboarder and thought it warranted a public response.  He knows its up here, and so its all good.  I just thought it would be good for other kids to read, as maybe it might offer insight for others.  Anyone with any other questions feel free to facebook me…. (I wanted to use this picture on here for a while.  Not sure the photographer, but thank you.  One of the most iconic images in snowboarding)

Scotty Witlake.  The man aswell.  Definitely no coach or airbag, no triple.  Neck tattoo yes.

Yo Jon I have to ask you something. I’ll start of by saying I’m 15 years old and live in the small short winter province in canada . I f*cking love snowboarding and can honestly say there is nothing I want to do with my life but to dedicate myself to my passion and love for the rest of my life. The thing is, I’m going on 16 and since I can’t huck doubles and shit I’m getting the feeling that of me ‘making it’ is unlikely. Not saying I wouldn’t be down for learning them, but we have no facilities, coaches, or the park features here to learn it. So here’s what my question comes down to, how would I go about getting a job like yours? Dedicating myself to a sick company snowboarding filming, and chilling with some of the sickest bros and best riders in the world. If I can’t make it as a pro, I definetly want to do what your doing for my living, I don’t want to waste my life on some lousy job, I want to do what I love! Thanks jon

Me, Sani (Burton) and Beckna (Vans) pointing out the way through wangl tangl.  Greenshields (Quiksilver) was missing for this shot as he had some other shots the night before until late on.  Thanks to Claudio for the picture.

Hey! Good to hear from you. So then, thanks a lot for the mail, and for being honest. Well sounds like your story sounds a lot like mine. I am from England, and so we dont get any snow, just riding dryslopes and some indoor business. But yeah I started riding at 18, and couldnt do anything till I was like 20, so, at 15 time is on your side. I wasnt the next shaun white, but i travelled a bunch, rode with good friends, and had the best years ever. But yeah at 26, my sponsor Forum said they didnt want me to ride, but instead work. I was like damn, i wanna ride forerever but yeah it was the best thing ever that I did. I worked there for 5 years before moving to Nike, which has been amazing.

So thats just a back story so you can know where i come from.

The thing with “making it” well, firstly dont stress about making it or not, just enjoy snowboarding with your boys as much as you can, as damn when your old and broken like the rest of us you will look back with amazing memories, if you get hooked up etc, then that shit will be a bonus.

As for having to learn crazy tricks like doubles and stuff, well yeah i mean decent jumps is the only thing you need i guess. I think airbags, coaches and all that can get way over hyped. All you need is 1 good jump and a passion for it. Halldor never had a coach nor an airbag, gjermund no airbags, ethan left his coach at 16, jamie rode dryslope till he was 15, i mean damn even look at danny kass and those kids, they all come from east coast where its shitty most the time, and it just shows, the kids who have coaches, airbags, perfect conditions, everything on a plate, can become slack and its the kids who work hard, and enjoy snowboarding are the guys killing it.

Danny Larsen.  No coach.  No airbag.  The man.  Photographed by the man Frode Sandbech.

With that aswell, like even if you dont learn crazy shit, like think about all the riders who have amazing careers because they have an individual style which is marketable. I’m talking about Danny Larsen, LNP, Jed Anderson even Corey Smith back in the day and Scotty Witlake. You think any of those guys can do doubles?Hell no, they just do whatever they want, work hard as hell with photographers and filmers, and just have an image.

Jed Anderson.  Killing everything in his path 24/7.

Look at so many of these contest riders nowadays with the crappy sponsors, and crappy style grabbing their boots doing spins urghhhhh. Style always wins, and as Frode Sandbech said to me this week “hard work beats talent EVERY time”

With the whole contest part of it though, I mean for sure, if you want to be the next guy at the contest world, then learning all doubles and triples is needed, but the main part of this, is just that if you ride enough, have a good board control, that stuff will come naturally anyways.

One of the things which airbags, coaches and all this side of snowboarding has bred in the last five years is kids who can do 10s, and crazy tricks, but dont have any board control.  If you put a hip or a pipe in a park, and ask some of these kids who are spinning like wildthings to send a huge backside air, and pop it off the lip, or do some tricks in the pipe, the brutal truth is a lot who learnt tricks before they could really ride will have a tough time doing either.

So for the working side of things If your in a crew, and you think that you could imagine to have a long career in the industry but not as a rider, then think what you wanna do? You guys at film a bunch right? and take pictures? what about being either of those? Learn all the basics with the crew and then branch out…

Joe Carlino, a man who is making it.  Killing it behind the lens.

Another thing you can do, is start holding small events to build your local scene. That way, if your the guy organising the stuff, the people in the industry will know you as the active kid who is making it happen. Make a video or something, even if your not the one filming or riding, be the guy producing it, sourcing cash or stuff from sponsors is a great way to meet people.

Thats how I did it, and honestly being a good open, hard working person will do you so much good, more than studying for years aswell.

Previous post:

Next post: