Be Somebody 2023
Woodward Halfpipe, Park City, UT
Story by Norm Schoff
This story begins in a diner – a booth near the back if we’re talking specifics. Squid and Derek are sitting across from me. The talk is strictly brass tacks: a classic Sunday morning debrief of Saturday’s shenanigans, the guy who broke into my car the night before and passed up the snowboards to only take Squid’s hat (if you see a homeless guy in that new Batwing skully you know who to call), but most importantly we were talking Woodies. Since specificity has already set the precedent, I’ll say it: The Dustbox. We were talking about the second annual Be Somebody event at Woodward Park City.
I had heard rumors, we all had. Oh, I think The Box is having a contest at Woodies this year. No way. They say it’ll be a pipe event for Be Somebody round two. It couldn’t be. I heard they’re putting jibs on the pipe. Blasphemy. But they were, and it was, and they did.
Some Instagram snooping that morning confirmed the third, and obviously most exciting rumor, that there would be jibs on the pipe. We drank our coffee and smiled. Jibs on a 22-foot pipe would be anarchy. It would be like Saigon or the Apple store on Black Friday. There would be no order, no reason, just chaos.
We paid our check and left.
I think I’ll take an artistic liberty here and spare you the intricate and no doubt boring details of our Woodies pull-up. Boots in the parking lot, filling up water bottles, yada yada yada. You get it. We’ve all been there. I don’t want this to be some jib (or pipe) centric Truman Show rip off. Not everything is interesting.
Alright, let’s say you did some laundry or made an English muffin or did whatever it is you do when you’re not watching TV. But now you’re back, and, oh my god, just in time! It’s The Box, and they’re not in the pipe. Nobody’s in the pipe yet. No. They’re all coming down through the big jump line. It’s warm, sunny, and there’s something strangely satisfying about watching jibbers jump. It was almost 11, the day was good.
Well, the day was mostly good. People started filtering in and out of the pipe, flirting with it. But, as the temperature rose, Derek and I came to the realization that we came to (mostly) spectate Be Somebody II on one of the most beautiful beach days of the year, all while forgetting beer. Thankfully, because of my journalistic (eh why not, I’ll take that liberty too) duties, I had been out of the house before Dylan and Eli were up. I called Dyl and had him make a stop for us. It was good timing too. The flirtation was evolving.
People were stepping to it. There were a surprising number of young kids out there, wide eyed and bibbed up in USASA gear courtesy of E-Ric, and only for the small fee of Cody’s childhood. Oh, to be like those kids again—to not yet be jaded by the sadistically bureaucratic, the insidiously irreverent world of childhood competitive snowboarding. But I digress. We’re here, most of us are anyway, because we’ve escaped that world. We’ve found our own. We’ve created our own all while bridging cultural and linguistic barriers in the process. Que Dobunezumi.
Look, I don’t know Dobunezumi. I don’t know what it means (brown rat if you put it into google translate, but that honestly just leaves more questions than answers). I don’t know if it’s more than just Aito and Kaishu. I don’t know, and I don’t care because I love it. Watching Kaishu and Aito ride Woodies would be like watching Paul McCartney and John Lennon bust down on an open mic: inspiring, magical, and albeit, a bit confusing. I had hoped to get some clarification on the whole Dobunezumi matter at the event, but, like I said, that didn’t happen. All I know is I’m glad I saw their second American debut, and I’m glad it was with the Dustbox. They have a symmetry that’s hard to put into words. They’re perfect together. Perhaps they’re the coffee and cigarettes of this glorious little fucked up world we’ve made.
It's also important to note the level of pure… I don’t know. There is no word to describe how Kaishu was riding. Front handplant pretzel on the box, – no, not The Box. I’m talking about the actual box on top of the pipe – massive backside airs, front lip the rail then drop down to coping, and, oh yea, a front double that left me speechless. I don’t want to speak for anyone else here, but I’d be willing to put money on the fact that it left everybody else speechless too.
In the morning I believed I’d be seeing chaos. That didn’t happen. Instead, the day performed like a meticulously orchestrated play. Everybody knew their spot, knew what to do. Every action was swift in the face of consequences that could be no less than unforgiving. Nobody was landing on anybody. Handplants, disasters, and airs were interweaving with an ease that may be hard to ever replicate again. However, in any play there is at least one tragedy. Krugs paid the price on an alley-oop backside air in which he landed flat. I’d be doing you a disservice if I didn’t mention how every run, up until then, he was blasting and spinning out of the pipe in a manner that genuinely surprised me in the best possible way. Here’s to a speedy recovery!
The “whole ocean”, i.e., top to bottom section continued. Hunter Goulet led the charge for the Good Samaritan homies with tweaked nosegrabs reminiscent of the skate world. Keegan Hosefros planted, slashed, and aired with a style that was only made more beautiful by the fact that he was wearing a Cawley original stitched battery graphic shirt. It’s nice to see that Keenan was able to make it out this year, even if it was only in spirit.
Aside from Kaishu, the highest airs of the day were going to Justin Phipps and Denver Orr. Phipps was hitting the classic skate style indy poke while Denver put down back-to-back 7’s that quieted any unwarranted cries of collusion when the sometimes-Box-affiliate took home the top prize. Congrats Door, sorry about that pow surf.
Intermission time. A little pipe slip, some pizza, and the smooth sounds of DJ Gothmist to fill the air, then we’re back. Time for the one hit wonder.
It was getting late in the day. People were starting to get tired. However, this didn’t deter the wanna-be-somebody's from stepping to it. Tommy Towns was back on board, too, trying to blast air to fakies on the last hit. We love to see it. Phipps ended up taking home the one hit wonder prize not for his front board pretzel off the rail into transition – which was extremely fucked I might add – but for his back handplant pretzel. Jesus Phipps, I honestly didn’t even know that trick existed.
And with that we gathered at the bottom of the pipe. Skullcandy provided some headphones for The Box to toss for the children. Tokes gave me a shirt to toss. It was wholesome. After that the kids raced up the pipe, and that was wholesome too. I guess Dustbox is for the children. Who would’ve thought.
Aside from Door with the win and Phipps with the best hit there were a few other awards. TJ Homan took home the pizza box award and Aiden Hascall walked away with the Dobunezumi award. As Cody said, “Aito and Kaishu fuck with you,” that’s pretty cool.
Halfpipe holds a strange place in snowboarding. Its presence is dwindling. It’s sometimes hard to find a single pipe in a whole region. It’s also one of the few ultra-competitive sectors of the sport that so often rejects that sort of thing. But The Box changed that, even if it was just for a moment. Yea it was a contest, but who are we kidding that was for all the homies. I said Dustbox was for the children, but I might’ve been wrong. I think it's for everyone.
Photography by: Ian Boll