Top 5 Most Influential Parts of All-Time With…Jared Elston
November 16th, 2020
I’ll preface this by saying that I was born in 1999 and lived in Montana for the first 13 years of my life, in a small town with little to no snowboard culture. Because of this I didn’t know a lot of snowboard videos that many consider to be the most iconic videos of all time (I hadn’t even heard of Robot Food until I was probably 15). The videos I am going to mention here are not the cult classics that you maybe expect. These are not necessarily the most groundbreaking video parts ever, or even what I consider to be the best. These were the videos I’d watch growing up and these 5 parts had the biggest impact on me as a snowboarder. – Jared
Kazu Kokubo – The Storming (2010)
I believe this was the first video part of Kazu’s that I had ever seen. Kind of a random one but it was amazing to me. My parents had a DVD player in the back of the truck and I would watch this whole video on the way to the mountain on the weekends. The front 10 at the end had me fucked up for a long time. It was also filmed during an Olympic year for Kazu, specifically the one where he was being criticized by the Japanese media for sagging his pants.
Jake Blauvelt – Naturally (2012)
The approach that Jake takes to this part is game changing for me. No massive cheese wedges, no clapped out features. He spends more time strapped into his snowboard than most backcountry riders. He isn’t spending his days looking for the most picturesque jump spot he can find, and he sure as shit ain’t spending them building wedges. His approach is pure and (for me at least) much more impressive than the biggest trick on the biggest jump. I wish could see what Jake sees.
Keegan Valaika – Eversince (2015)
My favorite example of a well-rounded video part. Normally, with a part that has it all, there is a sacrifice in the riding somewhere, but not with Keegan. Street footage was progressive, backcountry footage was timeless, and the kits were on point. This part made me want to go snowboard.
Gigi Ruf – 9191 (2010)
I had a hardcopy of this video when I was younger, I watched it several times, but really overlooked it until I was probably 16 or so. Then it really hit me. Not only is the riding unbelievable, but the volume of it as well. A true classic in my eyes, this video gives you that feeling that I think everyone wants their video to have.
Travis Rice – Thats It Thats All (2008)
Maybe I’ll catch flack for this one but I don’t give a damn. I was 9 years old when it came out and I’ve had to have watched it over 100 times since. Travis’ footage in it is pretty much untouchable to this day. I’m convinced that no one has worked harder on a project than him. This movie honestly changed everything for me, and after watching it is when I decided I wanted to be a pro snowboarder. Thanks Travis.
This was at a time when I wasn’t that into street snowboarding, but I was really into skateboarding. His spot and trick selection was reminiscent of the skating I was into in the best possible way. The song too, it was perfect, really fired my ass up.
Forest Bailey’s Quiet
Nov 8, 2020
November 10th, 2020
Forest’s rampage on snowboarding has now far exceeded a decade. Quiet is the newest chapter into his long tenured story as a creative and unique boarder who provides us with a vision that stimulates the “I want to go snowboarding” part of our brains. Partnering up with Brendan Hupp this past winter, these two sought to round out their project both in the mountains and streets of North America; filmed in Bellingham, Mt. Baker, Montreal, Quebec City, Government Camp, Hood River, and Denver. This is not only a must watch, but a re-watch.
Top 5 with Blake Paul
Nov 1, 2020
Top 5 Most Influential Parts of All-Time With… Blake Paul
November 2nd, 2020
There’s no better insight into ones own snowboard filming ideologies than hearing what their influences are. Blake’s picks include historical and modern day examples of different shades of Blake’s own boarding. His Top 5 proves we are products of our own influences.
David Benedek – Robotfood’s Lame (2003)
I wanted to do this list without diving too deep into what incapsulates the “best” video part, but more based off what came to mind the quickest and what influenced me growing up. Lame was my first video, I got the VHS in the metal case for Christmas from my brother. He got The Shakedown from my Mom. We watched them endlessly that winter, and I continued on the Robot Food craze when Afterlame came out the following season. The rest is history, I was so hooked on the vibe. When I think about this point in my life, I remember being in awe of David Benedek’s riding, kits, deeper thought process, and unique tricks. He had a solid perfected style that was so smooth and effortless, even when he was riding big shit. One of those guys that looks like he’s meant to be on a snowboard.
Dave Downing – Standard Films TB4 (1994)
I picked this one because it hits home regarding the 2020 winter season spent mostly at Brighton UT. I’ve always respected how fluid Dave rode and how he created his own lane in backcountry snowboarding. Most of this part was shot at Brighton and we were on the hunt to figure out where everything was filmed. The first half of the season seemed to have endless pow day after pow day. This was my first winter really spending time riding and getting to know the zones there. I was living with Griffin Siebert and we were checking off all the old TB videos. I think it was Tonino who told us to watch Dave’s part in TB4. We studied those movies, putting them on every morning to get hyped to ride.
The Community Project (2006)
I get to cop out on choosing a part from this one because it’s not a part video, but I can’t leave it out. The Jackson location section, Tyler Lepore footage, and O.G. Travis Rice gnarly shit really influenced me as a young kid living in Jackson. The intro with the paper boy was filmed in the neighborhood next to the one I grew up in, and a bunch of local snowboarders/older friends I knew were a part of the movie. It was my introduction to the scene at the time. I’ll still go back for a re-watch today, but you need the dvd because it doesn’t exist online.
Keegan Valaika – In Color (2010)
I’ve always looked up to Keegan and been fan of his snowboarding. I think this part just came out at a pivotal time for me. I was still in high school, but was riding more than ever and burying myself in everything snowboarding had to offer. It was right before the decline of full-length movies and a year prior to Instagram. I still remember the anticipation for videos and rewatching a certain part over and over. I was so hyped on the song and the teaser for this video. Also looking back, the ollie and front 180 over the the rail to bank then duck clips are still so fresh.
Sam Taxwood – Landline (2018)
I’m biased, but it can’t go without mention of Sam’s opener in the Vans video. Being close to the situation I just saw how hard Sam worked for this one. He puts his whole life and heart into snowboarding and filming. Lots of injury, heartbreak, hard work, all leading to major success. Sam’s become the people’s champ—everyone knows he does it for all the right reasons. He’s the modern day A.T.V. and continues to impress and inspire me daily on and off the board. This felt like his first big part even though he’s been killing it forever. It’s just awesome to watch it all come together. 🙂
Oct 18, 2020
Seb Picard’s Toonies
What can we say about this video that you already didn’t know. The filming, the riding, the spots, all absolutely dialed. Take notes young ones this is how you make a video. Even with their winter cut short, these dudes did their part. Congrats guys, the beers on us next time we see you. 🙂
Video by Anthony Drolet
Photos by Jon Stark
Tanner Pendleton’s Pride Interview
Jun 25, 2020
Tanner Pendleton’s Pride Interview
Interview by Java Fernandez
June 25th, 2020
It would be hard to mention Tanner Pendleton without acknowledging the influence his work has had on snowboarding. With his signature style and commitment to promoting core snowboarding, Tanner’s films have rocketed brands into their glory days and shaped many of the best riders of this generation, and the next. With titles such as Crazy Loco, Landline, and Together Forever in his catalog, Tanner’s work has undoubtedly changed the landscape of modern day snowboarding—a view shared by many in his orbit.
Being one of my closest friends, I assumed I knew just about everything there was to know about Tanner until about a year ago, when I discovered there’d always been a part of him I never knew about. Tanner told me that he’s gay. He was the first of his peers in snowboarding to have come out. In fact, he may very well be the first male in the snowboard industry to come out.
We spoke about his experience being gay in this community. Like anything else for Tanner, he navigates it all with thoughtfulness and style.
So you’re just about the first person, at least that I know from the snowboard industry, who’s come out as gay. How old were you when you first knew?
I first knew when I was really young. I can think back really far and remember being like, “Oh shit, I think I’m gay.” To be honest, it was a confusing road, and not everything is black and white, in my opinion. I also think there’s a difference between knowing that you’re gay and accepting that you’re gay. For me, ever since I was really young, I knew. But it was something that the world told me was bad—so I kept it bottled up in a way, you know? It honestly wasn’t until maybe five years ago that I was like, “Okay, yeah, this is me and I’m gay.” Almost as if I needed to come out to myself first and foremost.
Was there a specific moment or something that enabledyou to reconcile that with yourself? Or did you just get exhausted with bottling it up?
It was kind of a mix of a lot of things. It became something that was increasingly hard to deny. I had all these feelings, and it just came to a point where I was like, “I can’t ignore these anymore.” I was really aware that I was doing myself a huge disservice and harming myself mentally, to be honest. So internally it became more and more vital that I do something about it. But also, around this same time, the world in general, especially our little bubble, was beginning to get a little more open minded. Brian Anderson coming out was really awesome, and even more so, seeing my friend’s positive reaction to it was something that I took note of. I’d look at his Instagram posts, scroll through his likes and be like, “Oh shit, this friend liked it, that friend liked it!” Also, the world around this time became more politically charged—I noticed a lot of my friends calling out the injustices of our leaders and taking a firm stance on things like gay rights, among so many other things. So, in a weird way, seeing my friends’ reactions to our fucked up president gave me confidence that things might be okay for me. It all sort of bottlenecked into me just being like, “I’m gonna do this.”
That’s cool. Speaking of Brian Anderson, I talked to him this morning and asked if he had things he’d like to ask or contribute to this interview.
That’s insane you got a question from Brian Anderson. That’s amazing.
He said he’s really proud of you and that you should hit him up when we’re all back in New York. One question he asked is, “Now that you have come out, do you not have quite as much to worry about when you wake up every day? Do you feel you don’t have to ‘do the straight guy thing’ again?”
I think if you’re hiding a piece of yourself, then yeah, you have to put on an act to some extent and it’s something that you get really good at. I sort of stopped doing that for the most part about a year or so before I came out. I just made a promise to myself and I was like, “Alright, I’m not going to be in a conversation with a bunch of bros and chime in with some shit that I don’t really feel.” You know what I mean? But yeah, overall it was such a big weight lifted off my shoulders. And it’s definitely not an immediate fix, but I feel like things get better every day. I feel less and less like I’m putting on an act and being more true to myself.
So, when did you first tell someone, and who was it?
The first person I told was my mom. It’s actually kind of a funny story because it very much relates to snowboarding. I made this promise to myself that I would come out as soon as I finished Landline. I was worried that my whole world would fall apart after coming out and that things might unravel in such a way that might not allow me to finish the video. And I really wanted to finish that video! So, in my head I was like, “Alright, as soon as I’m done I’m going to tell some people.” It was funny because while I was editing the video I was really stressed. I think people around me were probably like, “Damn, Tanner’s really stressing about this video shit.” But I was mainly just tripping on this promise I had made to myself. So anyway, I finished the video, drove to my parents’ house, and had dinner. I stuck around all awkwardly, and my mom was eventually like, “What’s up?” And I just told her.
You talked about having some fears or anxieties after having made a promise to come out after you finished Landline. What do you think you were most worried about?
I think skateboarders and snowboarders in general are very perceptive, and I feel like I’ve always been really observant of the world around me. Ever since I was really young, it was very clear to me that being gay was not acceptable. Not just amongst snowboarders and skateboarders, but just in general. So I think a lot of my fears and anxieties about coming out were rooted in years and years of observing a world that’s inherently homophobic. When these thoughts are introduced in a young person’s mind it can really take over and grow like an uncontrollable weed. To be honest, I had fully convinced myself that I would lose my friends, my family, my job. I was tripping on everything (laughs).
You were tripping…
Yeah, I’ve been met with nothing but kindness and love since coming out. It’s even brought me so much closer to a lot of my friends. I think I’m really lucky to have such an awesome family and group of friends. But also over the years, I’ve sort of gravitated towards a group of people that are more progressive and would be accepting of that. I think it’s really important in someone’s journey to coming out to separate yourself physically and mentally from people that may not accept you or want to harm you. A lot of people don’t have a supportive family or may feel stuck in unhealthy social circles so it’s tough—I feel really lucky.
Was there anyone in particular that you thought wasn’t going to be okay with it, but they were?
There are definitely some friends that, over the years, I would hear them say negative things about gay people. But you know, at their core I knew that they were really sweet people—otherwise I think I would have distanced myself from them. It’s almost like I knew that their comments were coming from a place of personal insecurity or something, so I let them slide. But nonetheless, coming out to a person like that is definitely scary. But to be honest with you, I didn’t really make a point of telling that many people. I kind of just told a handful of people, and I told them, “You don’t need to keep this secret.”
I reached out to some people you’re close with in case there’s anything I wouldn’t think to ask or don’t even know to. Jake Kuzyk wanted to ask, “Did burying yourself in your work help you get through any hard times you had with all this? Do you think that you might have used it as a way to prove your own self-worth in some ways?”
Yeah. This is terrible, but my whole life I sort of felt like being gay was a problem. Like it was a defect of mine. To compensate for that, I always felt like I needed to go the extra mile in everything. If I’m snowboarding, I need to be going bigger or faster. And if I’m creating something like a video or whatever, I just need to be so on point that nobody could ever say that I didn’t go above and beyond and make the best thing possible. It’s kind of a blessing and a curse, really. It even extends to funny scenarios… Like I’d be dead-tired driving the van full of people on a trip, and I’d be like, “I can’t stop driving because I can’t be the gay guy that can’t drive.” So I would try to prove my self-worth in little ways like that. And I would think to myself, “When I come out, these guys are going to remember, I drove the van the whole way!” So silly looking back on moments like that (laughs). In a way I’m kind of grateful though, because it pushed me to work super hard and receive some forms of validation—which I used to protect myself. For example, I’d be like, “Well, yeah, maybe I’m gay, but I’m a good snowboarder.” And then as I started making videos, I was like “Yeah, maybe I’m gay, but I’m a good filmmaker.” It’s sort of like a shield in a sense. I’m slowly learning that I don’t need those shields to be a good person.
Another question from Brian Anderson: Did you hear the word ‘faggot’ a lot before you came out? Or would you just hear the normal ignorant amount? For me, it was like an alarm going off—you know, things like that and little micro-aggressions.
Yeah, totally–I think as the years went on, and I came to accept myself, it became harder and harder to hear things like that. Even after coming out, I still see and hear things every day that are rooted in homophobia—even from my friends. 99% of the time they mean no harm, and it’s things they don’t even realize are hurtful. I get this crazy feeling in my stomach when that happens. It’s really scary how ingrained micro-aggressions are in our society.
What exactly are micro-aggressions, for those that may not know?
Yeah, so a micro-aggression is basically a low-key jab, whether intentional or not, at marginalized groups. An obvious example would be calling something you don’t like “gay.” Or saying something along the lines of, “This spot sucks dick.” Even something as simple as asking a guy, “Do you have a girlfriend?”—assuming their sexuality is considered a micro-aggression. I know some people might think that’s overboard, but if you really think about it, what message does that tell that guy if he is gay? It tells them they are not “normal.” It may not seem like a big deal, but repeated micro-aggressions are actually really harmful and proven to be a leading cause of suicide in LGBTQ people. Also, this idea extends way beyond the LGBTQ community to women, people of color, etc. So I think micro-aggressions are really important to key in on, especially with the audience reading this interview, because they are cultural issues that you can address and make a change for the better now. I think it’s important to educate yourself on the matter and be mindful of what you are putting out in the world.
What might you say to somebody who’s scared to come out? It sounds like everyone’s situation is really different. Some people don’t have the awesome friend network or a really supportive family. What would you say to somebody that is scared to cross that bridge?
I don’t think it’s possible to understand what a closeted person is going through unless you’ve been through it yourself. So, first and foremost, I would say, “Your struggle is valid, and I’m here for you.” And if they feel like they are in a safe environment I would really encourage them to make steps in that direction. It’s so hard and scary to do, believe me. But there’s a good chance that your friends and family will greet you with open arms. And even if that isn’t the case, as heartbreaking as that would be, you will find a community of people that will love and accept you for who you are. It might even come from somewhere super unexpected, you know? That’s super hard to imagine, but it’s the truth. My DMs are open, by the way, if anyone is reading this and wants to reach out!
Can you share any difficulties you may have faced as a closeted person?
Yeah… I think a lot of it stems from feeling really ashamed or scared and not having anyone to talk about it with. And the anxiety that comes along with that presents iteself in all sorts of crazy ways. I’ve sort of managed all these things throughout my life—panic attacks, crazy stomach issues, heart palpitations, and so on…Basically if you google ways that anxiety can manifest in your body I’ve experienced every one. Dude actually, even just getting sick all the time, like a lot of my friends call me bubble boy (laughs), but anxiety really messes with your immune system. Your body can’t keep up when you’re constantly putting yourself through the wringer. But really, the thing that’s super wack about being closeted is the fact that you’re not really living. It’s super hard to really connect with people, especially your family and closest friends, if you’re constantly trying to hide a piece of yourself a way. Every move you make is super calculated in an effort not to out yourself. It’s exhausting.
Tell me something that’s awesome about being gay.
Just being more and more myself everyday is awesome. I spent my whole life fighting this thing—and now I wouldn’t want it any other way. I don’t know, there’s a lot of awesome stuff, really.
Tell me a little bit about gay culture in your experience.
It’s so sick. If you look at the history of music, fashion and art, a lot of it is rooted in gay artists and culture. That’s something that I think is really amazing. Prior to coming out, I would look into musicians and artists who were gay and be like, “Damn, this is sick. All of these people are gay, and they’re pioneers of the coolest shit that I really like.” They undeniably led the charge for so many amazing things. That really inspired me and gave me confidence. Not to mention the courage they had to be themselves back then.
Does being around other gay people allow you to be more expressive or open than you are when you’re around a bunch of snowboarders?
I feel like I’m the same Tanner, regardless of who I’m with. It’s hard to say whether or not that has to do with 30-plus years of suppressing things… I don’t know. But I will say that no matter what kind of environment you’re in, whether it’s snowboarding, or the neighborhood you grew up in, or the school you attend, society is going to try to put you into a box. If you’re a jock, you dress and act a certain way. If you’re a snowboarder, you dress and act a certain way. It’s just that way the world works. Snowboarding’s box is traditionally quite small—it doesn’t leave much room for true individuality. I think that gay people tend to reject that notion because it’s like, “Fuck that. I’ve been in that box and I don’t want to be there anymore. I’m just going to be whatever I want to be.”
Your life when you’re out snowboarding is so different than your life in New York. Do you feel like you have to juggle different lives? Do you think those lives will converge at some point, or do you enjoy having multiple worlds that you can bounce around in?
I guess sometimes it can feel a little bit like culture shock going back and forth between the two. I really love both of those worlds for different reasons. New York is just the sickest place. I like being a part of this bigger picture that’s so much more inclusive and well-rounded compared to a lot of other places. I love the fact that you can become anonymous despite the fact that you are surrounded by so many people. But I’ve never really felt like I’ve lived two lives. Once I started dating guys, I pretty much told my immediate friend group right away. I was only really running around in secrecy for a month or so, and it was really stressful (laughs). The opening party for Being Green was really cool because it was the first time all these worlds really collided for me. My boyfriend was there, my New York friends were there, my family was there, and some of my closest friends from snowboarding were there! It was really special.
Why do you think there are no out male pro snowboarders?
I think it comes down to the fact that if you’re closeted, that shit’s scary. Like I told you, I was convinced that when I came out my whole world would fall apart. So, if you’re a pro snowboarder, and that’s your passion, your livelihood—of course you are going to hide something like that away. Especially when it has never been a part of the dialogue in our little world. I think that’s all going to change really soon. This week should be exciting! There is a budding community of queer people in snowboarding…
What could change in the snowboard industry that might make it a more inviting and safer place for LGBTQ people?
To me, that’s the main reason why I wanted to do this. I think every coming out story is valid and pushes things in the right direction. So far in “extreme sports” the narrative tends to be, “It’s okay to be queer as long as you rip and present as masculine.” I think the more stories we hear, the closer that narrative moves to, “It’s okay to be queer, because it’s okay to be queer!”. We’re seeing this more and more in skating and it’s amazing. So personally, I feel propelled to do something because I feel like it’s a step in the right direction for our little community. If this was a part of the conversation when I was a kid, it would have changed my life. I think the snowboarding community as a whole should really take a step back and ask themselves, “What is it about our community that’s keeping people from being themselves? Are we really encouraging and uplifting people’s differences?” This extends beyond LGBTQ+ people and should also include women, people of color, or any marginalized group. Snowboarding needs these people! It’s so stale. Snowboarding also needs an older generation that they can look up to. Bryan Iguchi is someone I really look up to and is a shining example of that! But then you have someone like Terje Haakonsen who consistently says wack shit about gay people, yet the snowboard community at large—specifically his sponsors—doesn’t hold him accountable. This sends a heartbreaking message to gay people in snowboarding, especially those that might be closeted. Just because someone is good at snowboarding, it doesn’t make them a good role model. This aspect has gone largely unconsidered in snowboarding, and it shows. But I think change starts in very small pockets and grows from there. Anyone who has made it this far in the interview likely wants to support this change. So, take some time and educate yourself on the matter, implement change in your local crew or community, and good things will come!
Just want to say thanks to anyone reading. I’m so appreciative for the friends and experiences I’ve had through snowboarding—love you all ☺
TOMMY ON THE ROPES
May 29, 2020
Tommy Gesme and friends take to the hills of Trollhaugen after a surprise party announcing his pro status. An all time crew including Chris Grenier, Louif Paradis, Riley Nickerson, filmer Colton Feldman and many more making for an unforgettable week. This edit has got us all wishin’ for a little more rope tug in our lives.
Video by Colton Feldman
“The Cyclical story of this and that. Times of togetherness and times of distraction. When beauty isn’t shared, the delicate spiral is broken, dimming the once shining light.”
“ECKLESPARKLE” is a short film starring Mike Rav. It tells the story of his characters, the “Starpeople”, who frequently appear in his drawings and in his mind.
Supported by: Vans and Volcom
Directed, Filmed, and Edited by: Skylar Brent
Story by: Mike Rav and Skylar Brent
Illustration by: Mike Rav
3d Animation and Compositing by: Skylar Brent
The Bruners “Overtime”
Filmed and edited by: Julien Choiniere
Additional filming by: Ulysse Dubé Burelle, Gab Larivière, Anthony Drolet and Jordan Bell
Riders: Axel Stall, Chris Fellner, Dominic Tessier, Emile Veilleux, Mas Séguin, Nic Roy, Niels Schack and Russell Beardsley
Thanks to: Dillon Ojo Lifeline Foundation, Avendre Boutique, Vans, K2, Fix Bindings and Torment mag.