This is the teaser for Nice!Gordon. It features Chris Brewster as the little shredder. The teaser is from 2004 and marks the last movie I made for Boarderline. I love how this reminds people of the roots of snow/skate. It’s raw and its about doing what you love no matter what anybody else has to say about it. Please share, like, download, and tag anyone you know from the video or from that period.
After my snowboard career came to an end I played poker for a living. I stumbled onto poker in Reno and fell in love with the game. So it might be strange to know I’ve never been a gambler. I am, however, a sucker for the romance of the history, colorful characters, and lifestyle of people that made a living playing poker and gambling. The mantra of many early poker players was that if something is worth arguing about then its worth betting on. This mantra has led to many a wager on just about everything from human feats of endurance to which sugar cube a fly will land on.
This summer I spent three weeks playing poker in Vegas. I was there to play at the World Series of Poker which originally was a gathering of the traveling poker professionals. While I was in Vegas I was watching the final table of an event which was won by Ted Forrest. When i first started playing poker, about ten years ago, Ted was among a handful of known names in the poker community. Ten years ago poker really hit the mainstream huge. The known players were on tv every other day. Books about the poker’s history and personalities were being churned out as fast as a hand of hold’em could be dealt. I was brand new to the game and devoured all I could on the subject; my favorite being the books about gamblers and the crazy bets they made. Perhaps it’s because I never really felt comfortable gambling that I got a thrill reading about others doing it.
One of those stories that always stuck with me was about Ted Forrest running a marathon. He bet $7000 that he could just go out and run a marathon with no training. As i sat in the Rio this summer that story crept back into my thoughts and I started to wonder if I could do it. Could I run a marathon? I hate running. I ran everyday in high school but that was 21 years ago. I’m in decent shape but I’m also 39 and again; hate running. Perhaps it’s the fact that I’m 39 and hate running that the idea wouldn’t vacate my thoughts. Perhaps this is the point in life where an aging, former pro athlete has something to prove.
I started passing the idea around with friends and they predictably thought I was crazy. Crazy or not I knew the seed was firmly planted. I also knew that I wanted money on the line or it would be too easy to give up. The word “Marathon” held a grandness in my mind that commanded reverence. What I’m trying to say is that I didn’t take this lightly. I didn’t think it would be easy. Evidently my friend Brandon didn’t think it would be easy either. After a skate session in Girdwood, we were all sitting around talking and I brought up the idea of the bet. The terms would be that I had to finish the marathon in 5.5 hrs or less and prior to the marathon I couldn’t run or go to the gym. I couldn’t train for the marathon. Basically all i could do is what I would normally do and I don’t normally run or go to the gym. I could walk, I could hike occasionally with my girlfriend, and I could eat right. Eating right would be tough considering pizza was part of my diet about twice a week and I love pepsi. So Brandon said he had a friend that ran marathons and he was going to ask him about the bet. The next day I got a text, from Brandon, saying that he would take the bet at 3 to 1 odds. I laughed and said he must have talked to his friend. He said he had and we agreed to put up $1000 at 3 to 1. That means if I win then I get $3000 and if i lose Brandon gets $1000.
As the time leading up to the marathon passed, I began to really cut out the sugar in my diet and cut back on the fats. I basically got healthy fast and shed some pounds. Kelly and I have taken walks all the time but I tried to walk a lot. I hiked maybe a total of 3 hours in the month leading up to the race. I wanted to run soooo bad. I wanted to run a mile to see how fast I could do it. I wanted to run on the downhills of the hiking. I just wanted to find out what i was capable of but a bet is a bet and my word only means something if I stay true to it.
The day of the race it was rainy which was a big advantage for me, or so I thought. I figured it was better that it was cooler but with the first steps of the race my legs never felt so tight and heavy but more about that in a minute. As the race was about to begin I was decked out and ready to run. I had a self made wrist band with the time I need to hit at each mile to finish on time. I had my interval timer (I read about a technique where runners run for an amount of time then walk an amount of time. In my case I would run 1 minute then walk 1 minute. The idea is to keep that up the entire race and the body will erase the fatigue during the walking portions). I had my gel packets for energy and my beats to keep me moving fast.
I got dropped off, near the starting line, about 10 minutes before the race started. I felt pretty excited and nervous. I was also anxious about not getting to see Kelly and my mom before the gun went off. As the announcer counted down the final seconds I resigned myself to not seeing my ladies until later in the race. Bang! And we’re off. I was warned to start slowly but all i wanted to do was run. I even missed the first two beeps on the interval timer because I was just soaking it in and feeling the run. Then, just as I started to get ready to turn the first corner, I spotted Kelly. She was holding a sign and it said, “I get 2 marry bib 141.” The strange part was that I was big 249. Haha just kidding. The truth is that tears welled up as I saw the sign. There are moments in life when you feel overwhelming love, when you really understand how special what you have is. This race brought me a couple of those moments.
Like I said before, my legs never felt so tight and heavy as when I first started running. Since I haven’t run in a couple decades I couldn’t tell if it was from the cold, damp weather or just nerves from the enormity of what I was embarking on. I also had to pull the reigns back a bit because I wanted to run too fast. I felt good though. I felt strong and light and excited about it.
The first thing I noticed was the different types of runners and different paces. Oh wait, rewind a bit. So the race starts downtown, with lots of spectators around the town square area, and wraps around a few blocks. When I got my nerves under control and decided I better heed the advice I was given, I got onto the interval program and began to walk for a minute. The problem was that the first minute I walked just happened to fall right as the course wrapped around in front of the big town square crowd. Great, now I look like the guy that’s winded after running one block. Haha, not an ego boost.
Back to the runners. As i ran then walked, I would notice that pace kept me even with a number of people and actually passing others. I even had one guy tell me that I walked faster than he ran. I noticed people pouring sweat after 3 miles and I noticed people pretty much out for a sunday stroll. I don’t really remember what mile marks I saw my friends at but i do remember that I began to feel my right knee hurting somewhere between mile 3 and mile 5. The pain in my knee was on the outside and felt like it was on the bone rather than the joint itself. Also around mile 5 my right arch started to hurt too.
The interesting part about a run like this is having nothing but time to think about everything. The time can be great if it’s used to work out social issues or a new tax platform that balances the needs of businesses and individuals. The time can be a little less constructive when every second is used to dwell on the pain shooting through a knee. My thoughts, at least in the first half of the marathon, weren’t completely dominated by what hurt. It’s funny to think about how much my thoughts changed as the run went on. In the early miles I felt like a pit bull on a short chain; I just wanted to break free and attack the course. I thought about how I would cross the finish line like Steve Prefontaine. I thought about what mile I would just break free and run the rest of the way; mile 22 seemed like the time I would strike. Needless to say my thoughts changed a little further down the course.
Around mile 10 I started to notice how much of a cushion I had built up. By mile 13 I was about half an hour ahead of schedule. I was having little dreams of breaking 4.5 hours and might even have entertained breaking 4 hours for a split second. Obviously these dreams of grandeur were crowding my mind on the intervals when I was walking because the pain was getting a lot worse when I was running. For a long time I felt no pain when I would walk and a lot when I would run. When my knee hurt I would just think about Danny Way (because I’m a skate nerd) and how when something hurts you just have to keep going because the real pain sets in once you stop. I also brushed a lot of the pain off, telling myself “It’s just pain, it’s just another feeling that’s part of the experience.” After a while the sharp pains were also joined by a weak, light feeling in the knee; almost a wobbliness. It was the feeling when something feels like it might give out.
I’m not sure what mile markers it happened at but my friend Christian was there, rooting me on, holding gear I might need, and just being positive at a number of spots along the course. About the third time I saw him I was super excited about how far ahead of schedule I was and he was telling me to slow it down. I thought that was odd. It wasn’t odd because I didn’t understand the logic or strategy behind it, it was odd because I don’t process the idea of not pushing myself very well. If I grasped that concept then I certainly wouldn’t be doing this in the first place. Prior to the race I approached things in a very logical and analytical fashion by breaking down my time/pace, planning my nutrition, planning my markers for hydration and refueling, and my gear. Once the race started and I felt the road under my feet, the dreamer took over. Once I got on the course the part of me that dreamed of being a pro snowboarder took over. I saw big things in my future even if that future was only 4.5 to 5.5 hours away. Christian saw the face of the dreamer up to this point. Around mile 20 he saw a completely different face. Through it all I’m just really grateful that he was there as a calming positive friend.
As I ran the early stages of the race I noticed that the 1 minute intervals passed so quickly. The longer the race went on the shorter the walking intervals seemed to get while the running intervals appeared to have stretched into half hour blocks. That was purely due to the knee pain but yet another interesting piece of data to analyze in this 5 hour study of my physical and mental resolve.
Mile 18. That was the point where I knew that if I ran any further that I would most likely not be able to finish the race. Both my knees were in excruciating pain. My legs weren’t heavy and my cardio was just fine. I had simply encountered a wall of pain that I couldn’t climb over. Mile 18 marked the beginning of the mind games. Mile 18 was when I knew I couldn’t run any further so I knew I wouldn’t gain any more ground on a faster time. I knew I was just in a race to finish rather than improve and for me that was gut wrenching.
Every mile slowed down considerably. I would come around a corner and expect to see a mile marker and it was not there. Mile 20 was the second turn around and as I got there I saw my mom and Kelly waiting for me. Suddenly my eyes welled up again. I was starting to get really emotional about it all. It was all happy emotion but none the less the tears came close to spilling a couple times. As I crossed the bridge I turned off my music and heard a number of people clapping and saying, “Come on Jason, you can do it!” I didn’t know most of them but they knew who I was because of Kelly’s sign that said, “Jason, you’re kind of a big deal.” Something that struck me was how positive everyone was during every part of the run. This experience gave me a peak into a world that I am not a part of and I was really impressed with the positivity. Everyone rooted everyone on. Kids from the high school x-country running and ski programs posted up all along the course and cheered just for the sake of being supportive (and they probably got some extra credit). There wasn’t any trash talking, no soccer/hockey moms, no negativity. It didn’t matter if you were first or hobbling in last, people were there to cheer you on. Perhaps there is so much positivity going on because people can sense how much darkness, doubt, struggle, and negativity can be going on inside the runners head. For anyone that pushes themselves a marathon will test you. There is simply too much time to think, too much time to question yourself, too much time alone with the truth. Most challenging events are over before you have time to realize if you left it all out there or held back, but not a marathon.
At the 20 mile turnaround I walked by and gave Kelly a kiss. She asked me if I was ok and I said no. I said no because of the pain and because I knew I couldn’t run anymore. Perhaps I should have given a more detailed description of my condition. A girlfriend (soon to be wife) doesn’t take the one word answer of “no” very well when her never running, no training guy is 20 miles into a marathon.
When I passed Christian again at mile 23 I still had half an hour cushion but my mind lingered on the pain. He was not seeing an excited energetic face. This was the point where I just wanted it to be over. I no longer had thoughts of dashing through the finish line with a thoroughbred’s stride. Now all I could think about was wanting to lay on the grass at the finish line. I just wanted to stop moving my legs, stop hammering nails into my knees. The thought of my legs just giving out became a serious fear. I started to plan out what I would do if that happened. I figured I had that half an hour to rest and try to work it out or I even thought that I could hop/limp in if I had to. One thing I never planned for was quitting. That was never an option.
As I came to the last uphill, about a quarter of a mile to go, I heard someone say, “that doesn’t look like running.” It was Beki Kelly and she was with Paul Kelly. Also along for the final push were Jason Moore and his daughter Lucy. Some of my snowboard friends had come to root the old guy on. They walked me to the corner of 6th ave and gave me the final push of encouragement to the finish line. I wanted to run the last block and a half straightaway and that’s what I attempted to do. I’m not sure you could call it running; more of a wounded shuffle. I started to feel and see my calves dimple in. The muscles were trying their best to cramp and lock up. I started to worry that I would be one of those people that collapses right before the finish line (only hours slower). I shuffled across the finish, standing up, and stopped the second my foot crossed the line. I walked a few steps and had to grab the rail to stretch out my calves so that I could keep moving. Then it was straight over to the grass in all its glorious refreshing coolness.
I did it! I finished with a time of 5:03:46. I won the bet and I proved to myself that I could do it. I know this blog is about riding boards in Alaska and you might think betting on running a marathon has nothing to do with that. You might even think it was kind of jock-ish. Well let me tell you how I think the event relates. Skating and snowboarding are activities that I am passionate about. They are also activities that push me. Every day I spend on a board I am faced with something I shouldn’t be able to do. Either I’m told I can’t do it or I question myself. I try and fail and fail and fail and fail. But I still get up and try again. I risk looking stupid and embarrassing myself. I deal with social stigmas. The point is that I DONT GIVE A FUCK about any of that stuff. The battle I face is within myself. The same way I pushed through the pain of this marathon is the same way I hang myself over a rail and push through to get a shot. The same way I want to quit running but won’t is the same way I want to quit trying a trick after the 100th try but I won’t. The same way people thought I was crazy for trying this run is the same way people (and sometimes myself) thought I was for trying to be a pro snowboarder. Everyday on a board is a test, a battle within yourself. Everyday on a board is a chance to quit. The choice is yours.
I just want to say thanks to all of those people that were so supportive. I really appreciate it. I’m really happy my mom was there to see this and I’m grateful that she has made sure to be there for so many of my events through the years. If I didn’t have such a great mom and family pushing me to follow my dreams then I never would have made it. Thanks to my wonderful bride to be for showing me every bit of how much love you have to give.
It’s taken me so long to upload this for a number of reasons. I guess I really dragged my feet because this video, while one of my favorites, carries a lot of pain with it. Steezin For No Reason is the 7th and final movie made as a collaboration between Jesse Burtner and myself. Just after the movie premier in September I was informed that the partnership was being dissolved. More about that later.
I really feel Steezin hit a spot in snowboarding, and skateboarding to a lesser extent, where it became fun to break out of the mold of accepted fashion. You might say that is what skating and snowboarding have always been about but you would be fooling yourselves. Skating and snowboarding started that way and tends to recreate itself every so often but there are armies of kids out there closely adhering to the dress codes of their peer group. Just watch most snowboard edits on TWSnow or Snowboarder Mag and you’ll see the clone wars are in full effect. First off I’m not saying because a kid clones out that they aren’t talented. Most kids these days are waging a full assault on anything the mind can imagine. Second, I’m also not saying that my time period was free of the flock mentality. In my time it was the JP/Jeremy look and I was certainly influenced by it. All I am trying to say is that I feel Steezin played a small part in saying, “Fuck it, flare out and wear what you want.” Every so often the reset button needs to be pushed so people can express themselves how ever they see fit.
As usual I think we have one of the best “Dogs” (Friends) sections in the game. I also can’t get over how sick the skaters are. Micah always makes me want to get out and skate and always makes me disappointed that nothing i ever do will look that effortless. Jerry just crushes and has such a unique bag of tricks. He really is all terrain when it comes to skating. I also think the viewer can see how far ahead of the game Kooley was as he just toyed with the rails with a bag of tricks that today’s pros would give up smoking for. Steinbaugh crushed… really crushed it. I want to say Mark Thompson could be the Jamie Lynn of Alaska in that both are sooo talented yet I get the feeling I never got to witness their full potential. It’s just a gut feeling but I really don’t think the world got to see Mark in his full glory. What the world did get to see was pretty amazing though and I’m thankful for that. And let’s not forget that Spoon Man goes hard in the paint. Andre Spinelli was always exciting to ride with. I never knew if I would see a sick corked 9 or the craziest flying fish impression. B.A.D. (big air Dre) didn’t get his nickname by coming up short on jumps so when Dre was in the line up riders had to be ready to give’r.
I will tell you some interesting notes on the filming done at Arctic Valley. I contacted the guys at Arctic and they were super helpful and friendly. They agreed to let us film up there when the place was closed, to let us bring our rails up, to move snow around for us, and to allow us to ride the back deck. Riding the back deck was a huge deal because they found and attached angle iron to the top rail for us. They didn’t so much as wince when the perpendicular section of the rail was run into and broken. Those guys just cheered us on and smiled. That attitude, that support, that approach is the same spirit exhibited by the early (late 80’s/early 90’s) Arctic Valley, both on the civilian side, run by the Hodges family, and the military side, run by Jeff Barnhart. Arctic Valley has supported snowboarding as long as it has been around in AK and their support during Steezin contributed heavily to the movie. Thank you to everyone involved in the glory years of Arctic Valley.
I got off on a “thank you” tangent there. That’s the problem with aging, I get so nostalgic and emo over it all. Let me get back on track. So in the hopes of promoting our movie and gaining some media hype we found someone at the Anchorage Daily News that was willing to go with us on some filming missions and write an article about it. In the sense that an article was written about us it was a success. In the sense of portraying the truth and giving a real sense of what it was like to be filming our movie, it was an epic fail. The reporter basically painted us as barely being able to strap into our boards or hold a video camera because our middle fingers were constantly pointed straight at society as we brashly stormed our way into any area we wanted while giving zero fucks. When I read the article I was surprised there wasn’t a quote from an old lady saying that we pushed her over and dug up her rose garden.
During our filming we decided to go up the opposite side of AV and see if the old abandoned (and yes that is a very key fact here) bunkers held anything for us to ride. The area at the top of the hill is fenced off as it is part of the military site. I know there is some sort of missile site further up there hill but I have no idea the condition or if it’s still in use. What I do know is the area we were trying to check out could have been a set location for “Chernobyl Diaries.” The fencing was falling apart with huge holes in it and gates that were open so we walked in and checked out the area. We found some cool spots to ride and there are shots in the movie from there. After getting our shots we packed up and left. The article came out shortly after that while Jesse was back in Washington and I was back in Tahoe. The season came to an end and I returned to AK for the summer to find out that the JAG (basically the legal branch of the military) had visited my mom’s house a few times requesting to talk to me. One morning there is a knock on the door and I am greeted with a subpoena to appear in court. It’s been a long time so i may have some of my jargon/facts a little bit off but the important part is that the JAG unit told me to be in court and I was in trouble. Turns out the military does not like articles in the news paper that say people can freely walk in and out of their sites. Also turns out that I wasn’t in that much trouble. When I got in front of the judge and explained what we were doing, why were were doing it, and that we didn’t have malicious intent (other than shredding) he let me go and said not to go back. I might have had to pay a fine but it was no more than $75 bucks. I think they just wanted to make make an example of me to let people know they can’t just run all over the military grounds and flaunt it in the paper. Of course that is not what we were doing but that is certainly how we were portrayed by the ADN reporter, Josh Niva. Thanks Josh. I guess any press is good press.
I mentioned in the beginning that this video carries a lot of pain for me. What i’m referring to is the break up of JB Deuce. After the Anchorage premier, outside the 4th Ave theatre, I mentioned to Jesse that we need to start talking about next years movie and I dont remember the exact response but it was not overwhelming enthusiasm. A little while later he told me he was going to do his own thing for the upcoming season and that JB Deuce was not going to continue. This blindsided me, although in hindsight there were signs, and really knocked me on my ass. As I pushed Jesse for answers I got an email breaking it down for me. Basically the email said that i didn’t contribute to the movie; in filming, in cultivating the next generation of riders, etc. This isn’t something I need to argue about through this blog. I am secure and confident in what I brought to the table over a 7 year period and, just like at the time it happened, arguing about it won’t change the other persons mind. It was very much like a break up where one person has their mind made up and the other wants to keep it going.
Jesse and I always saw things a bit differently and sometimes a lot differently. We shared a common love of snowboarding, skateboarding, alaska, and movie making. But if the parts of the movies done solely are compared there is a stark difference. I saw that difference and honestly appreciated it. I felt the movie needed it to balance out and better represent the range of people we were making the movies for. As time went on I could see that there were inevitabilities that I was fighting such as consumer buying trends. Our movies did really well in AK but only really sold outside of that because of the names we could get on the box or personal relationships with shop owners. We were told that consumers didn’t want a video that had skating and snowboarding together. These are ideas I knew were true but fought because I held close to the idea of why we started to make these movies; to showcase Alaskan snowboarders and skateboarders the way we wanted to see them (meaning more creative editing, etc.).
Jesse had gotten hurt and I think that reality set in that he needed to get this video thing to another level if it was going to support him. I on the other hand still held onto the idealism of it all. Don’t get me wrong; I am not pitting money vs ideals but it played a role and that is undeniable. And I certainly don’t speak for Jesse on this. I am just speculating and telling you my thoughts and feelings on the topic.
Jesse was always far more of an art person than I was and as Steezin came along he was spending a ton of time with Genovese whom is a very accomplished artist. I think some of Jesse’s artsy ideas ran into resistance from me and were nurtured by Geno and his other NW buddies like McCarthy that he was around all the time. Like I said, i dont have an issue with Jesse’s different view of snowboard movie making and I was happy those ideas gave the movies variety. And I don’t have an issue with Jesse wanting to hit the reset button on movie making and follow his own path. My issue is with how the break up happened. After being really close to someone for 7 years, not just close but really vested with that person on a number of levels, it truly broke my heart with the way it was all handled.
During my snowboard years I may have had an intimidating presence (not a tough guy obviously) and Jesse was definitely very non confrontational. I can only imagine that is why things went the way they did. By that I mean with no real communication of the issues he had with me. I was never approached with any of it. I never got an email or a second hand word or anything that let me know he didn’t like the path we were going down or that he wanted to make a change. I was never approached with the idea of changing any format or line ups or making it a snowboard only movie. I really feel that stems from his non confrontational nature facing squarely against my stubborness and knowing I was pretty set on the videos featuring Alaskans as well as both sports. Regardless of how uncomfortable it might of felt I believe he owed it to me to at least bring it up at some point rather than just walking without a word.
When the AV stuff went down with the JAG people and going to court Jesse didn’t seem to be involved. When I asked him about it,. it turned out he had a lawyer and talked to them independently, never mentioning it to me. That was pretty weird. When the crew came to tahoe to film they went on a mission to film a rock jib. I was told that half of us couldn’t go. I see this happen in big time movie crews but with us it was always more family style and we just let the shot quality dictate what got in the movie. When we were at Mt. Hood and the opening scene was shot, with the kids wearing different clothes, I wasn’t consulted about it and wasn’t even told the shoot was going on. Another rider came to the house I was at and asked why I wasn’t down there when they were shooting. Usually both creators of a movie come together to decide something important like the opening skit. Jesse decided that on his own and decided not to tell me he was shooting it. When the movie premiered he waited until the end of September/start of October to tell me he was out and I was on my own. If you’re familiar with making movies this doesn’t give me much time to pick myself up and figure out what to do and how I was going to do it. Jesse already had his movie plans in motion. I felt like someone challenged me to a race and fired the starter pistol while i was tying my shoes. When I got the email about how I was not contributing anything to the movie, after realizing arguing with that would get me nowhere, I offered up some alternatives but it was clear that nothing was going to happen. One of the alternatives was that JB Deuce could be the umbrella company and I would make the AK movie while he made a snowboard only movie with fresh faces. Jesse was not interested in being partners with me at all and told me that I could work for him and he would pay me for clips i submitted. That was a bit of a slap in the face.
All of these things hurt, the dissolution of the company hurt, the idea that the era of Boarderline movies had just ended hurt, but what hurt me the most was that I felt that friends don’t handle situations like that. I don’t mean friends don’t go different directions and it was clear that Jesse needed to go in a different direction. What I mean is that friends, and I truly thought Jesse was a close friend, don’t go about things in that fashion. I felt that after 7 years I was owed more than that. Maybe I’m wrong and really it doesn’t matter to anyone but me. I am just expressing where the broken heart came from. I know I can be hard to deal with and a pain in the ass but I also know that I went to bat for Jesse and a lot of people because I cared about everything we were doing and everyone involved. I know that if the shoe was on the other foot that I would have handled it differently. It’s been almost 11 years since this happened and it is something that saddens me to this day. Our movies were a unifying force in the Alaskan community and when we split things changed a lot. Couple that with Boarderline’s decline and closing two years later and our scene took a big hit and hasn’t been the same since. Changes happen in life and people go different directions. I don’t know that I’ll ever fully get over this because what we did together meant the world to me. Many people will just consider it a few videos but for me, it was so much more. We helped develop a community, give kids something positive to strive for and be a part of (and not just sponsored kids, any kid that could get in front of a camera), promote Alaska and Alaskans, and create something that represented everyone in our lifestyle. We used to pack the theatre with well over a thousand people because what we created touched skaters, snowboarders, their friends, their families, and maybe even two skiers.
We did great things with those movies and every bit of my heart is in them. And please understand that they wouldn’t have been what they are without Jesse. My pain comes from how Jesse dealt with our relationship, not with his artistic talent or choice of direction. Jesse is a great dude and has done so much for snowboarding. He has taken the idea of inclusion from our videos and presented it to the world with his continued works. He has made snowboarding accessible to the masses rather than just trying to shock the audience like the big budget movies do. And I want to congratulate him and Pika on their new child. They will be great parents.
I’m sorry if my venting of this rubs some people the wrong way but feel free to talk to me about it. On that note, I hope you enjoyed the video and again i’m sorry it took so long to put up. See you next time when I put “Nice!Gordon” up.
“In For Life” is the 6th video I did with Jesse Burtner as the JB Deuce team. The video was released in the fall of 2002. I don’t think any title represents snowboarding and skateboarding better than this one. Any true skater or snowboarder is in for life. I first stepped on a skateboard around 30 years ago and my first run on a snowboard was about 25 years ago. To this day I still can’t put either of them down and I know a lot of the guys in this movie are the same way. These useless wooden toys have embedded themselves in our lives, becoming a necessity, as important as air or water in maintaining life. And what better use of life than to have and follow a passion relentlessly?
“In For Life” was our first experimentation with holding a consistent theme throughout the movie. The titles, the music, the voice-overs, the interviews, the chalk bodies and blood were all symbolism referencing the commitment to riding a board. It’s not just the commitment to riding a board, it’s the commitment to the lifestyle, to the ups and downs, the good and bad that come with riding the board. This movie also marked a more experimental approach to the construction of the parts. The abstract can be seen when you look closely, such as switching songs in the middle of a part, but were put together in a way to only be noticeable subconsciously. We’re not talking about groundbreaking “walking on the moon” type stuff but it was new for us and we put it together in a way that was different than what was being put out at the time. I’m really proud of it.
Let’s talk about some serious standouts. I feel as though I almost don’t need to mention Adrian Williams because it is just a given, like the sun rising tomorrow morning, that he will put out a beautiful part that makes me feel like a hack when I’m on a skateboard. The skating in this movie really surpasses expectations. I know I say that every video but that is a testament to the heart that Alaska skaters have. The skaters keep up with the industry standard and keep crushing when it would be so easy to fall back on all the excuses Alaska provides to not be able to skate at the best of their abilities. Brandon Chenault tightens up the manual game straight out of the mean streets of Nikiski. Mitch Edmondson throws down a ledge to flip out onslaught that would be bangers today and he does them on areas that people aren’t hitting now. Mitch did such a phenomenal job of mixing raw and smooth together. Anthony Black’s style and tricks were getting tightened up right along with his pants. They say that a goldfish is the type of fish that will grow larger if you give it a larger surrounding. If you take it out of the glass bowl and throw it in a pond then it will grow much larger. Jerry Smyth ventured out of the Alaskan glass bowl and into the big California pond and damn did his skating grow to the size of his surroundings.
Jon Kooley learned frontside board slides. Haha. I think it’s safe to say he put them on lockdown. At the time we teased him a little because of how many he had when the footage all came together. It was only two years before that, when he lived with me in tahoe, that he barely knew how to do them. Fast forward a bit and he was at the front of the street-cred line. But don’t let the fs boards cloud your view of the well rounded part Kooley puts out. It’s no doubt why he went on to film parts with Mack Dawg and other big film companies after parts like this one.
I really love the idea that the guys that would normally be stereotyped as pow riders would be out in the streets, on rail missions with us, at any given session. Spinelli, Ashley Call, and Draper all kill the backcountry and are most known for their free-riding skills yet each of them can be seen in the movie on pure rail missions. Riding everything was a common factor among our crew. We didn’t really have any single terrain riders and i think that really speaks to the heart of our crew and to the fact of being from Alaska.
Brady Farr and Brent Tumbleson really started to show what they where capable of. James Reeves stepped on the scene from Fairbanks and started the procession of Fairbanks military dudes that rip. All three feet of Jorge Comelli came out firing and left everyone yelling, “OH MY GOSS!” I have to say one of the most impressive parts came from Angel Williams. When Angel focused on his skating and not on telling us how buttery he was he could destroy any spot. Angel was a good guy with just a little too much Wu Tang in him. Haha. I hope this isn’t coming off wrong because I love him and think he had a lot of skill. One of my favorite tricks in the video, and perhaps one of the most underrated, is when he front side 180’d up the second step at Hanshew and switch flipped off. He had a style that was really light footed with just enough wild in it to make it interesting to watch. I’m really grateful he was a part of our scene for so many years.
Ami delivers pure butter in the style department. It’s rare to find such a tall rider that looks so smooth and polished on a backcountry jump as well as rails. Kirk Stinebaugh was another guy that rode with us for years and I think I just took for granted that he was pretty good and left it at that. The beautiful thing about watching these videos years later is that they can be looked at through fresh eyes. Twelve years later I’m a much different person than I was when we made this movie. I am in a different spot in life. I have had a so many life altering experiences that even though this is the same video, it is completely different and means different things to me. I love Kirk’s style and I love that I can now appreciate his talent so much more. The thing we always tried to do with the videos, and given a thousand tries we would still come up short on, is to convey the personality and attitudes of the riders. Kirk was a glowing light shining on any session we were in. “WHAAAAAT UUUUUUP?” in a baritone voice would belt out from where ever he was. The only time I didn’t see that from Kirk was during a shoot for this movie. Sullivan arena has a double kinked rail that is pretty harsh. That rail sits right across from the old Ben Boke skate park and has just stared snowboarders in the face for a long time. There are security guards there a lot of the time as well as constant events, making it tough to set up and hit. My grand plan was to go there on New Year’s Eve, hoping that the security would have the night off. I was correct and we got the rail set up and started to hit it. The time got close to midnight and Kirk started talking about how he wanted to go and party. Haha, YEAH RIGHT! I was so anti party and so aggro snowboard that I couldn’t get on track with that. To me there was no better way to celebrate the new year than with a shot snowboarding something I’ve wanted to hit for years. Well I think I should have taken Kirk’s advice and packed it in earlier because I ended up separating my shoulder that night. The crash is in the slam section where I come into the kink at a 45 degree angle and eject from the kink to the concrete on my shoulder. Kirk was about the fun and that night I’m sure it seemed more fun to celebrate new years than to dodge security guards and get wrecked. Love ya Kirk. IN FOR LIFE!!!
I filmed a lot of Micah for this video and that will always be a cherished memory. I have to say that really rings true for the entire crew. Each guy had their own style and their own plan of attack that really complimented each other in the overall stranglehold they put on the AK skate scene. Sometimes you just end up spending more time with certain riders and micah was one of those guys I spent a lot of time around. For this video we took a trip to Fairbanks and searched for new spots. I think we found some stuff that really let Micah shine and I was happy to do the filming rather than having another part delivered to us. The one wheeled manual to ollie to manual and the shuvit to left wheeled manual at Hanshew are a couple of creative gems from the Maestro. The brilliance of Micah’s “creative” skating was that it didn’t come off as forced for the sake of being different. Micah’s creative side always seemed to come from the pureness of a skate rat; a kid that lived and died for skating and just wanted to let it pour out of him.
I wanted to come up with a bunch to say about Lando but really, after watching his part, all i can do is smile. It’s been great to watch how much he stepped up his game from each video to the next. It’s amazing to watch as he catapulted himself from another kid riding jumps to the top of snowboard royalty and most of that leap happened in front of our cameras. Just sit back and enjoy the craftsman at work.
As for my part, well the intro was a little throwback to a reality show I was on and my fleeting career. If you think some of those dance scenes were sketchy then you should have seen what they looked like without the filter on them. We’re talking Chris Hanson creepy. I was a little embarrassed as I shopped the thrift stores of Seattle for the stripper costume; luckily I already had the shorts. Haha. One funny story concerns the one cliff shot I have from a day filming with Robbie Sell in the backcountry about an hour outside of Mammoth. I took my sled back and turned it off after one of our first stops. When I went to start the sled back up the pull chord pulled out. The sled started but the chord was dangling loose in my hands and no longer connected to the sled. Back then this was a fairly common occurrence but it meant either a lengthy ordeal to fix or a fairly lengthy half assed ghetto fix each time I pulled it. So the rest of the day my sled never got turned off. I would shuttle myself up to a spot and leave it running while I hit the drop then get shuttled back up to it later. Luckily I had a full tank of gas to keep the sled going all day.
Hope you liked the video and stay tuned for “Steezin for no Reason” next.
Here we go with the 4th video from JB Deuce Productions. SOTT was a really special movie because it marked the taking of the reigns. Up to this point our first three videos were made with us directing someone else (an editor) on what we wanted. The first movie was edited by us but had no real effects or edits to speak of. I was personally influenced a great deal by skate videos of the time and Transworld was really setting the benchmark. TWS vids were so progressive in their edits and film angles. I was just as impressed to watch the editing as I was to watch the skating. So when our editor gave us resistance on trying new things we decided it was time to pull up stake and set out to make our own future. It was understandable that Karl resisted our inundation of requests because each one just meant a lot more time, resources, learning, and effort for not much more money. We were young and progressive and wanted to explore and create so we new it was a change that had to be made.
I went out and bought a laptop (my first computer that was all mine), final cut pro, an external hard drive along with Jesse and I both investing in new cameras (the vx2000 that I bought is currently still capturing action in the capable hands of Brendon Hupp and you can see some of it at http://www.magichourmoves.com ). In the fall we both went down to southern California and planted ourselves in a hotel room, near newport beach, for a week and made a movie. In true JB Deuce fashion there are plenty of skate shots that came from breaks during the editing. Also we shot my skit in the hotel pool.
There is something really special about so-cal no matter how much everybody bags on it. I think thats the first time I had Wahoo’s Fish Tacos, i skated spots from videos with the homies, practically OD’d on Jamba Juice, and laughed a lot. We were just a few blocks away from Derek Liska’s short career at community college and he was always riding his beach cruiser to the motel trying to get spoilers for the vid. Leathard came out for a minute and dropped some skate magic.
we also spent a lot of time with Andy Simutis. I really can’t explain how important Andy was to the video. I met Andy years before at Mt. Hood. He took photos and shot video and was from the east coast. Eventually he moved out to Tahoe and also produced his own video magazine. Andy got a lot of pics of me published in mags and put me in his videos too. He was/is super cool and a tech nerd too. What i mean is he really knew his stuff when it came to everything we didn’t know about making a video. Like I said, I just bought my first computer and set up my first email just months before making this movie. Andy was our go-to guy when it came to anything we didn’t understand and let me tell you that editing programs and computers were so much more difficult to work with 14 years ago. Andy was our user manual and got frantic calls at all hours of the day and night about why something wouldn’t work and how many times we needed to hit the side of it before it would work. Andy lived in the Newport Beach area and that’s why we made our editing residence in that particular location. Thanks Andy, the vid would have never come together without you.
So you will see a lot of crazy edits; lots of rewinds, chops, and screws. I’m proud of these, not because they were ground breaking but because we figured out how to do them and by doing them we really stepped out of shackles. JBjango unchained! We also saw the quality of the riding and filming go way up. JB Deuce was gaining momentum. The crews in AK really started to take things seriously. We established something that the community knew was there for them and they worked hard to be a part of it. And by no means was that one sided. The relationship was symbiotic. I wanted to create a platform to showcase Alaskan talent. I wanted to represent the kids that busted their asses as best I could. All the kids that were in the movie made that possible. Without all the kids that had even one clip we would not have had a movie. Year after year the skaters and snowboarders of AK stepped up their game far above the expectations of anyone outside of Alaska.
So lets talk about the video. Here are some interesting things, at least I think, about the movie. Khris Bombeck, Jon Kooley, and I all lived together in Tahoe that year. We started the year living in a Motel 6 for three weeks while I was trying to buy a house in Truckee. Bombeck drove down from Montana with a rail he made. He figured out how to place the supports on the bumpers of the car and secure it with tie-downs. Bomber always had the spirit of making things happen, janky or not, against the odds or not. We would drive the rail up to tahoe, from our Reno Motel 6, ride it and then load it back on the car and head back to our cramped quarters. That rail is the rail you see coming out of the pond skim in some shots. This little pond forms in Truckee every year and as it melted I saw a little peninsula of ice left on it. I thought that we could build a jump on the ice where we would pond skim to the ice, ride up on it and hit the jump onto the rail and over the rest of the pond. So we placed the rail at the end of the pond and began to build the jump on the ice. As we built it the weight of the jump sunk the ice leaving us with a jump coming out of the water. This ended up being so much more cool than the original idea (although not much different). I had never seen anyone do this before but i did see some of the canadian guys do it a year or two later.
Oh and there was some fun being had at the pond. Mark Thompson stopped by for a session on the skim to rail and killed it as he usually does. The cops eventually busted up the party because they saw someone having fun. We also had another session on the pond skim without the rail. During that session a friend of Bombeck’s, Julian, came down to ride with us. On one of the skim runs Kooley stopped just short of the shore and Julian came in hot behind him laying down a carve that barreled Kooley like he was Rick Kane at the finals of the North Shore Pipeline Masters. As fans of Kooley know he can have a temper (usually displayed during a frustrating rail session) and he was PISSED! I’m sure matters were not helped by Julian talking shit and laughing the entire time too. That day also held one of the greatest wipeouts ever when Bombeck tried to half cab into the skim and did a full speed quarter cab to Scuba Steve impersonation. I hope I’m not mixing it up with a different trip but either way he came up with the pond’s version of sea weeds all over him.
There are some real standout parts for me. Lando’s style of big mountain domination shows it self more in each video. Mark really started taking his part to the back country yet at the same time he’s getting mixed in with some nasty kinked rails. He’s also doing tricks that rails kids of present would be stoked on. The best snowboarders have the foundational skills to be able to rip anything they come across and Mark is no exception. Another really special rider out of Juneau is Chris Currier. I feel like Chris epitomizes Juneau riding. Hard working, hard riding, no nonsense rippers with a lot of talent. Juneau always held the underdogs, the under appreciated riders. I’m sure i’ll miss someone but Lando, Firmbiz, Collard greens, Bubba, Chauncy, and just about anyone else that came out of there were really good. You could see what a difference it makes when people grow up free riding and learning how to ride their boards. When ever snowboard camp came around and the Juneau boys showed up they were a force to be reckoned with, on and off the hill.
The people’s champ also emerged in SOTT. “Double D”, Darien Draper came from Seward with a background in wrestling. After crushing kids on the mat he would crush the jumps with our crew. Darien rode with the stoke of a little kid and the power of a giant. Darien was the first person i ever saw do a double backside rodeo. I also believe that if he hadn’t gotten mixed up with a shady board company things could have really blown up for him. Darian is one of those guys that would give you the shirt off his back while breaking his back working hard for you.
Jerry Smyth also had a breakout part. Yet another skater that grew up with us from video one. He’s also in the list of guys that some how developed insane skills riding a skateboard in Alaska. Jerry always brought a laugh. The only thing that eclipsed his ability to have fun was his ability to backside tail huge ledges. Some of those ledges were practically chest high for Jerry.
Micah and Adrian continue to amaze. Micah’s skit really was as brilliant as his skating. If you know Micah then you know that he truly was in love with skateboarding. Everything revolved around skating and that was true rain or shine, good times or bad. Adrian started to blow up. This was the time that a lot of skaters that we first met when they were little started to get bigger and stronger. They grew into their frames and were able to use their talents to the fullest. When you watch Adrian’s part please remember that this was 14 years ago and that he skates almost fully in Alaska.
Pete Iversen….too smooth. This was the year that I got Pete in on some filming with Mack Dawg. So Pete and I got to go on some filming missions together and that was really rad. Everyone from AK knew Pete had the best style and serious skills and I was really stoked that the world got to see some of that. The funny thing is that Pete was in a frat at UW so I would come up to film and have to stay in the frat house with him. Im surprised he stayed friends with me over all the shit i gave him about secret handshakes and circle jerking initiations. Actually its not a surprise seeing as how Pete is one of the best people you could ever be friends with. I’ll tell you the truth about how I felt concerning Pete and I probably never told him this. We all wanted to do tricks like pros. People want to do a Chris Roach method or a Jamie Lynn cab 5. But at that time I was a pro and i just wanted to do tricks like Pete even though I knew I couldn’t. I would think about it at the top of jumps just before dropping in the same way any kid imagines themselves doing a trick like their favorite rider.
Also some other stand out moments; Jay Kuzma’s priceless commercial. Are those puka shells Jay? How about Mitch’s 180 nose grind on the round down rail at Mulcahy park? Did you know before Robi Gonzales was a famous drummer that he had snowboard skills like this? Before Andre Spinelli officially became the prince of Anchorage he was a rodeo master. And a big thanks to Kris Schutte for a solid box design.
As for my part…well I just wanted to usher in the year of the man capris the best I could. As for the skit, I have always been a fan of making myself the butt of the joke. If you can’t make fun of yourself then you have no place making fun of others and boy do I make fun of others. Back then TRL (total request live) was a video request show on MTV. I’m not talking about requesting internet videos, this was when they played music videos. You might have to check wikipedia to understand what a music video is if you’re under 20 years old. Anyway, I had fun doing the skit with the exception of having to buy that shirt and play that song loudly at the pool.
All in all this was a groundbreaking video for us but it felt like every year was groundbreaking in some way. I know that we finally started to feel a bit professional about it. I’ll wrap this up with a huge heartfelt thank you to everyone that was a part of the video, in front or behind the lens. You contributed to some of the greatest memories of my life. See you with the next video: The 49th Chamber.
100% is the third video effort between Jesse Burtner and myself. When I’m going to post these old vids, I like to watch them again and try to get reacquainted with them. When I share them I want to be able to share some of the insights or unique parts that people might not have known about the vids. At least thats the idea when I first pop in the video. What really tends to happen is I find myself smiling as the feelings of the moments captured, of that period of time and of my life wash over me. When we made the videos I think my mindset was pretty focused on delivering a package to the public. For me that package was a bundle of local talent, skilled tricks, fun, and camaraderie. What I didn’t realize until ten years later is that the importance of these videos was not in how sick a trick was or how gnarly a rail was, but rather in the feeling that was delivered when someone watched the video. The true gift comes in realizing the place in time, the place in peoples lives that the feeling will reside in. These videos will act as a bookmark in peoples lives. A dog eared page that they will hopefully turn back to, over and over, to remind themselves of what a great ride life can be. I’m really not trying to make these videos into something more than they are; please don’t think that. I know we never cured cancer or even a hangover. But i get a feeling when i watch them and that feeling is something special that I hope others feel too.
Ok, now that i’ve dried the tears, lets talk about this movie. This video marked Boarderline’s 10th year in business. I first walked into the shop just after they opened in 1989 and got my first hook-up two years later. I think thats another reason there were such deep feelings connected with the video. Many of us that were in the video, or around it, were part of the shop from it’s beginnings.
If you check out the pictures of the cover you can see that this was the first year we actually made a cover. Prior to 100%, the video covers were just a monotone cardboard cover. Jesse and I decided to go with the name “100%” because we felt that was what we gave to… well i was going to say to our riding but really it was so much more. We gave 100% of our lives to everything involved in the world you see in the video. Everything was about skating, snowboarding, making the video, being at the shop, putting on summer camp, doing demos, and hanging out with each other. If i wasn’t out skating or riding then i was at home watching videos or thinking of ideas for the movie, or driving around looking for spots. That feeling of being 100% involved didn’t just apply to me. I felt that coming from so many of the kids. Hell, even Liska was still around almost 24/7 at that time. But back to the cover. I came up with the idea to film the bloody 100% scene in the opener (We were so Dexter before Dexter) and I took that footage with me to a Burton catalog shoot in Chile. This catalog shoot was for the following season so Burton had a guy or two from their marketing company there to consult/oversee/understand the direction of the product for the catalog. One day, after getting off the hill, I showed the footage to the JDK Designs guy and he loved the concept and offered to help out. Shortly after returning from the trip I got an email with the 100% logo from Rich and Randy at JDK. I might be mistaken but I think the blood splatter was done by Chris Schutte (apologies if it was someone else). This was a huge step for us. We were starting to feel legit.
100% seemed to mark a time when some of the riders associated with the video really started to come into their own. A lot of guys really started to find themselves as riders and really let the talent bloom. Jon Kooley really shows some jumping skills. Jon is on a Burton board, which i believe means he was sponsorless. It was right after this that Jon came to live with me in tahoe and got sponsored by Atlantis. The point I’m trying to make is that he’s a super talented snowboarder and 100% was a glimpse of that just as it was starting to become really obvious to everyone that watched him. Mark Landvik was also getting on the scene quite a bit more. The free ride element that catapulted him into super star status was still a mystery to those outside of Juneau but the rest of us knew there was a style that we couldn’t turn away from.
This video also held parts from a couple close friends. Scott Leathard and I spent a lot of time riding and skating together since I was living in Tahoe and he was going to school a half an hour away in Reno. I’ve talked about Scott’s talent before but what really stoked me out and made me proud of him was that he put together a full part. Scott’s always been sick on a board but it was really impressive to see him get together a full part. I don’t know how he feels about it, I imagine he would tell you it all sucked, but there has to be some sort of satisfaction in knowing he was able to let so many different areas of his skateboarding shine.
Khristian Bombeck was one of my best friends during the last couple years of high school and for a number of years after that. After he graduated, he moved to Montana for college. I always loved riding with Khris. He was a frontside spinner while I was a backside spinner so I always got to see a different perspective when it came to attacking the hill. Khris also had a different idea of what type of tricks to do. I still cant figure out what the trick is that he does off a Montana jump, in his part, but my best guess is some sort of switch backside rodeo 7. I always rooted for Khris more than anyone. I wanted to see him make it in snowboarding because he was a good rider and an even greater person. A couple side notes about Khris and his part; Khris punctured a lung on a crash that is in the crash section, Khris had a little notoriety in snowboarding but moved on to become super successful with inventing a new type of coffee press ( http://alphadominche.com/steampunk/ ) , Khris had a hernia during one of our snowboard camps and would grunt super loud in the air when ever a trick went weird, causing a strain on the hernia, and I really miss riding with him.
Something pretty cool to think about is just how unreal the skating was back then. Maybe it’s because the park was better or maybe it’s because i’m not around it as much but Jerry, Mitch, Micah, Ant, and Adrian threw down stuff that I still don’t see being done at the rec center park 15 years later. Don’t get me wrong, I know there are a lot of really sick skaters in Anchorage. I’m just saying that I feel like i was privileged to be a part of something that was special. I got to be there, firsthand, to see some future pros and magazine cover holders really go hard in the paint. These guys were on the grind 24/7. I know Zak’s has some skaters that rip and I bet they approach it about the same as the old b-line crew (as evident in Ted Kim’s video “VX Days”) so I look forward to what comes from that camp. But I urge you to take a close look at what was really going down with the B-Line crew of old.
To be honest with you I was really blown away by the random radness I saw in the movie. There were so many people that had gems, even if only one or two, that are hard to believe now. I’m not saying every trick or line would have Jamie Thomas picking his jaw up off the floor. What I’m saying is that if you knew the person now then it might be hard to believe they once threw down that trick. For instance, Bill Preston has a 50-50 up the double kinked round bar at the skate park. If you know Bill you know he was much more known as a snowboarder and even though he skated, that trick was something rarely seen at a heavily populated skatepark. I just want to give some shout outs to some of the tricks along those lines. Burtner for one of the largest drops and funnest lines at what I think was Steven’s Pass. Deez for a sick free ride line. Randazzo for a huge blindside half cab at camp. Artie (don’t remember his last name) for a proper front flip, not one of those weak-ass nollies where the rider grabs behind their thighs like they’re a gymnast. The guy with the gold medal sun burn in the credits is also Artie. Blair Mitch’s one foot nose blunt slide on the pick nick table. There really are a lot of gems so I’m sorry if I didn’t mention them all.
I know this write up is long but I can’t shut it down without mentioning a few more people. Joe Hededus is now a loan originator but in 1999 he was another underrated Alaskan snowboarder. I really didn’t appreciate how rad he was until now. Ant came through like gang busters with the Miami Vice part. Isaac Abbott should have been called big smooth. Isaac is a stoutly built fellow that went huge on a skateboard and did it gracefully. Jason Chatfield came out of Eagle River Alaska along with Jon Kooley and myself. Chatty really got more graceful as time went by. Everything Adrian Williams skated turned to gold. Micah had the pound for pound biggest shoes of anyone and led the tech charge among anchorage skaters. Jerry crushing back tails and front blunts as well as two full moons.
I think thats about enough for now. I hope you enjoy the video and as always, please follow the blog and share it with as many people as you can. See you in a couple weeks with Survival of The Tightest.