Nice!Gordon is the final movie I made for Boarderline. The movie premiered, with Jesse Burtner’s movie, on September 25th, 2004. Over the past season I have been re-releasing all the old Boarderline movies leading up to this one. Because Nice!Gordon was my final movie and this is it’s 10 year anniversary, I wanted to revisit the movie in some depth. Leading up to this I have been posting all the dvd bonus sections. I haven’t watched most of those clips in years. As a matter of fact, I probably haven’t watched Nice!Gordon in many years. As I’ve gone over it again I realized something: I FUCKING LOVE THIS MOVIE!!!!!!
As you stop shaking your head and remove your face from you palm, I can tell you I don’t mean it how you think. What I realized, when I watch the movie, is how amazing it was being a part of what was happening during that period of time. I realized how amazing all the people were. I realized these things in a way that just isn’t possible when you’re living out those moments.
My hair was a tragic mess, the acting was bad, the plot is a rip off, along with a million other things that can be knit-picked about the movie. But I don’t care. What I care about is that when I watch it I smile. And I care that others smile when they watch it, remembering that part of their lives.
I usually write a book about each video but I’m going to save that for the next post. I will go over all my thoughts on the riders and the things that happened, hopefully attached to the director’s commentary version of the movie.
For now I just want to say thank you. Thank you to the kids that supported these movies. Thank you to people that broke themselves, day in and day out, to get shots for the movie. Thank you to all the talented skaters, snowboarders, and people that filmed and worked on the movie for sharing your individual gifts with me. Thank you for letting me be there as you showed hints of the people you would grow up to be. Thank you for letting me witness your talents as they blossomed. Thank you for carrying me when my talents couldn’t be found. Thank you for being calm and patient when I was a frantic mess. So many of you let me into your lives, some for only a day while some revealed the full spectrum of their passion and pain. Thanks to all of you for helping me turn my visions into reality. And finally, thank you all for making the Boarderline years of the Alaska snow/skate scene something that I will forever look upon fondly and with great honor to have been a part of. You all changed my life, you all made my life better, and I hope that one day I will be able to return the favor.
So here are the extra clips of Thompson Tuesdays and the Scrode. I already touched on this previously but Mark Thompson has such natural talent on a board. When you watch him you can see how at ease and comfortable he looks. I went back and found footage of a skateboard trip to Fairbanks which had to be from about 1995ish and Mark looks just as comfortable and natural on a skateboard back then. I wish we could have seen more of his skating over the years but I’m stoked for what I was able to be around. Also, after Nice!Gordon, a few of the guys like Mark, Gus, and Spinelli went on to film with Think Thank so you can check out those videos to see how their riding progressed after this point in time.
I have been around Cody, in some way or another, for most of his life. I worked at Boarderline when he was so small that Scott or Sharon would bring him in and he would make a pile of jackets to take a nap on. Since I never had brothers I adopted a brotherly role around some of the people in the shop and as you know, older brothers don’t always set the most appropriate examples. I remember when Ride snowboards sent out condoms as promotional items. We would just give them away but mostly they were just to catch people’s eye, get a chuckle, and get them talking about Ride snowboards. Well of course I would give them to Cody and tell him to go ask Sharon (his mom) what they were for. I’ve known that Cody, I’ve known the Cody you see in these clips, riding with power and grace, breaking through as a snowboarder, and I’ve known the Cody that found new interests other than snowboarding. Cody found more than the desire to couch surf and worked his way through a degree at UNR (journalism i think). Now Cody has moved back to Alaska and started a magazine. He has gone from Derek and Jake’s whipping boy (with all the love possible as older brothers pull underwear over a younger brother’s head) to a well rounded, ambitious, hard working individual with a voice and a drive to forge his own path and create his own legacy.
This is a section of clips from Boarderline’s “Indo” skatepark. Do you know why the park was called “Indo”? Because the park was Indo not outdo. Pretty funny when you hear Scott Liska tell you. I believe Trevor Tenge was responsible for this edit. I imagine a number of people held the camera. Please feel free to correct me or add to the credits in the comments section.
The park was created when Boarderline moved it’s location from the Dimond Center Mall to a warehouse in an industrial area near the Bush Co. The building allowed there to be retail space, storage, and enough space for a small skatepark. The park was pretty rad for what Anchorage had to offer. One of the toughest parts about skateparks is that skaters dont want to pay to skate. Another tough obstacle is if the park is too compact then it’s very intimidating for novice skaters to try and skate and those are the kids that will pay. But the fact remains that this was the second time in Boarderline’s history that they built a skatepark for the kids of Anchorage. Most likely it was the second time they built a park knowing it would not make money. Consider the fact that a private business owner, whom was not overwhelmed with reserves of cash he didn’t know what to do with, gave that to our skate community while the city of Anchorage only seems to allocate funds to skaters in the form of skate stoppers.
I hope you enjoy the sickness that went down in that little garage. I hope you see the creativity and talent that skaters exhibit when given even the smallest canvas.
I met Gary some time towards the middle of the season when working on Nice!Gordon. If I recall he said he had been working on film stuff for his degree at UNR and wanted to get involved in snowboard movies. I was taking on the task of making the movie solo and knew I needed help filming so I asked Gary if he would help film. I told him I really had no money to pay but I would try to teach him everything I knew about filming, editing, and making movies. I figured all of that should be worth about $137. Anyway, Gary came up to AK and filmed a bunch during the spring and again in the summer, as well as spring in Tahoe. Gary was able to handle my stressing out most of the time and my constant onslaught of bad jokes and we ended up with some pretty good footage when the dust settled.
When it came time to do the dvd extras Gary gave me this little gem of an edit. My eyes were wide, my head shook in disbelief, and my jaw hung open in awe. I expected nothing less. Gary is always into having a good time and being funny even if its at his own expense and that’s a trait we shared and bonded over. This video really captures the essence of the Gary I knew at the time. I look at the edit now and hope the viewer can see the importance of keeping that spirit alive as the commercialization of snow/skate sports threatens to create a new breed of self important board jocks. Dont forget that we ride boards for fun not for fame. Cause if you do then you can expect to hear Gary blow the whistle and cry “FOWL!!!!!”
Two bonus sections for you today. The first features Johnny Sellers, Preston Pollard, Trevor Tenge, Shaine Stanfill, and Ryan Walker. Pretty rad skate section for just bonus clips.
The next is basically an extra friends section. It has skate and snow footage. One thing I always loved about “Boarderline Videos” was that not everything had to be a after black banger. Sometimes it’s just fun to watch the different places and the different styles of your friends. The videos I made were always pretty heavy with that element. After all, it’s this great big group that makes the scene what it is.
The kids went hard for this video and when the dust settled I had enough slams for two slam sections. This is the slam section from the dvd bonus material.
I threw together some of the extras and funny stuff from the year of filming. And as evidenced by the last clip, I threw in some stuff that was obviously just me being a dork. Not much has changed in the dork department. The first clip of the rock in my hand was from a trip to Ohio/Pennsylvania. I jumped off the roof of a house, onto a little grass knoll, then rode it out into the street. On one of the attempts I crumpled at the bottom of the knoll, falling face first towards the street, and put my hands down to stop my fall. I had thick leather gloves on but noticed something about my palm felt strange. I took my glove off to find a small boulder wedged into my palm. The rock went right through the glove, barely leaving a trace, and was able to complete it’s task of creating stigmata.
While filming Nice!Gordon we headed out to Hatcher Pass a few times. On this occasion we set up a gap over the small creek that runs parallel to the road by the upper parking lot. The only problem is that the terrain is fairly flat leading up to the gap. This means a ridiculous amount of run-in to get the speed needed to clear the gap. The area didn’t have a ton of snow on it so tundra bumps littered the path. After forty days and forty nights of trying to pack down the run in and attempting to figure out the optimal speed pumping technique we gave it a shot. This is the story of one of those shots; the shot heard round the pass.
Basically Walt is the man and never afraid to charge.
Pretty sick crew in this section. In no particular order, this section features the prince of anchorage, Andre Spinelli. The spoon man has had a lot of names over the years but B.A.D. (Big Air Dre) is probably the most fitting. Dre has a ton of pop and no fear when it comes to hucking. I feel like its pretty much just his stoke coming through as he rides.
Jed Hoffman has always been able to find some of the most unique and crazy rails featured in the videos. He transplanted from Fairbanks to Reno. Now a days you can find him crushing live poker games and tournaments in Reno and all around the country.
Walter is the third Bombeck brother that I have had the pleasure to spend a lot of time snowboarding with. I grew up around Abe and Kris Bombeck as we went to high school together and did our best to cause as much mayhem as possible at Arctic Valley. As Nice!Gordon came around so did the next generation of Bombeck rippers in Walter Bombeck. As you can see I would pick Walt up from school then head out to hit a jump or rail. I think Walt was only about 17 when we made the video yet he tackled some huge rails around town and went nuts on the AV hip. The Bombeck’s have always had an abundance of heart, talent, and siblings. I can look back now and see what a privilege it was to share so much time with this awesome family.
Sunny was a part of our scene for far too short of a time. Sunny passed away a few years after the movie and it hit our crew pretty bad. Sunny came to the shredfest events to ride for kids, tirelessly worked on jumps and rails for the videos, was present at anything that resembled a Boarderline snow/skate function, and made people smile because he was there. Sunny lived and breathed snowboarding and boarderline and created friendships that reflected that. We will always miss and love you buddy.
This is an edit, put together by Matt, for the Nice!Gordon DVD extras. It’s pretty true to Matt’s style back then. You can see that these guys always had a camera with them and always had fun. Matt and Travis were kind of a dynamic duo back in the day. Along with giving me footage and going out filming with me a bunch they also put together movies under Matt’s company known as Buttery Fresh Productions. Travis and Matt were never hesitant when it came to getting up early, picking up a shovel, or just about anything it took to get a creative shot. These two guys have always been among the hardest working snowboarders in Anchorage and you can tell that it all stems from just loving to snowboard.
Now David on the other hand…. haha. Just kidding. Dave has been around the skate scene for a long time and as you can see from the footage, he has skills.
Today I thought it would be nice to throw out a 2fer and put up 2 Nice!Gordon DVD bonus sections.
One is a tutorial on how to sticker a board. The Boarderline skate team took the RV to Seward for the 4th of July and decided to help Preston and Deez sticker their boards.
The other video is an edit from the 2004 Boarderline Summer Camp. For around 7 years Boarderline put on a snowboard camp at Alyeska. The camp always took place a couple days after school let out for summer. Over the years the camp was visited by a pretty decent amount of pros as well as showcasing future stars. It was mostly a day camp but there were over night campers too and they stayed in RV’s, Military tents, and a year or two at Gus’s family cabin. The camp had hand dug half pipes, hand dug kickers placed around the natural features, and provided summer free-riding that couldn’t be found at any other camp. The more I think about it the more I feel like I should just save this stuff for a full post about camp. That being said I will get back to telling you about this edit. I tried to feature as many people as possible. I wanted the viewer to see how much fun camp was for everybody no matter a rider’s ability level. It was a time when we were still all there to root each other on and be fans of each other.
And DAMN that park was sick. I’m still blown away when I see the overview. How is it that 10 years ago, in the summer, Alyeska had a park that amazing? Compared to what the mountain gives us now I can see why kids leave the state to snowboard. Just look at the size of the crowds, look at how many people showed up to snowboard in the summer? Alaska is typically a place where people are done with the snow once May hits and yet the camp pulled that kind of crowd. It was because of how amazing the set up was. I wish the current management could see the forrest for the trees before they get too far behind the curve. By the time they realized that listening to park staff like Glenn and Tony about building real features it’s going to be too late. The kids are going to buy split boards or sleds and stop paying for sub par facilities. Ahhh there I go again on another tangent. Ok I’ll quit and just let you enjoy the videos.
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.
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.
Sorry about the lapse in posts over the last week. I’m in Colorado, visiting Kelly’s family and trying to snowboard a little bit. This is my first time back on the snow since slamming hard in the boardercross at Alyeska. The shoulder and ribs are holding up enough to allow me to ride but not enough to get busy.
Anyway, i thought I would share a picture from my first snowboard trip to Colorado. I have some others from the same trip that I will share later. The other shots carry other stories but lets explore this one for now. This Picture is of me at the 1993 USASA Nationals at Vail. I am on a Morrow race board with hard boots and plate bindings. Where to begin? Haha.
Let’s start with the race board. Most of the snowboarders out there probably don’t know what those are or can’t remember the last time they saw one. In 1993 the USASA events consisted of half pipe, slalom, and giant slalom. That’s right, two race events and one half pipe event. On top of that the Alaska region didn’t have as many competitors as other regions so riders had to qualify for an overall spot to nationals. That meant a rider’s points for half pipe and race events were totaled to determine who got the spot. I wanted to get that spot so I learned to ride a race board.
The problem with riding a race board was that it was 1993 and snowboarding was hitting its freestyle boon. It was jeans and flannels, chain wallets, nubbed boards ( sawing off the excess tip and tail to shorten the board), and it was jibbing. What is was not was hard boots and speed suits. Here in lies my personal struggle; being competitive, I wanted to win but i also wanted to keep it real and stick to my freestyle roots. The result is the outfit you see in the picture.
I wore blind jeans, Fishpaw mitts, a Plan B t-shirt that was a tall T before tall T’s existed, and my fresh Burton jacket. In my mind I was trying my best with a race board and hard boots while still keeping my street cred in the back pocket of my jeans next to my chain wallet. I remember how proud Bombeck and I felt as we patted each other on the back for not selling out like the seal skinned kooks in the speed suits. Naturally our fresh kits and street cred amounted to placings near the bottom of the results page. At the time we didn’t care much, we only cared about finding a rock to bonk or getting to the half pipe.
The next year I decided that if I was going to race then I better try to win so I found a speed suit and joined the ranks of the tighties. But for one year we kept it as real as we knew how to. Fast forward to present day USASA events and speed suits aren’t allowed any longer. I guess snowboarding imposed a speed suit prohibition in the name of all that is cool.
Just for your humor here is one more look at my kit that day.
This picture is of me, a very young 19 year old me. This is one of my first solo trips on my way to pro snowboardom. I just started riding for Burton that season and wanted to go to the US Open in Vermont. I had made friends with a couple of kids from New York state and they said I could stay with them for a bit and so the adventure began.
The kids were brothers named Jon and Matt Polhamus. I loved those guys. They were cool east coasters that were perceptive enough to know when people were getting out of line and savvy enough to dish up a serving of sarcastic comeuppance; just my type of guys. Anyway, when I went to visit them in Cornwall (Cornhole as they called it) NY, Matt was really into photography and took this picture. I thought we were just roaming the town so he could get some shots for school until the following summer when the picture was printed on a piece of poster board and sent to me as a postcard at Mt. Hood.
The thing I like so much about the photo is the focus on my eyes. I don’t like it because I have particularly beautiful eyes (unless you ask my mom), I like it because of the world that I saw through those eyes; those eyes at that moment in time.
Every so often I get a feeling of longing for those early days. I’m not talking about the days of being a pro, that’s fodder for another post completely. I’m talking about the tinge of sadness that clings to feelings of fondness, like the tail of a comet, when I think about the early years of snowboarding. Those early years of snowboarding, or anything pursued passionately in youth, are guided by blinders that deliver singular focus. I’m not even talking about when a goal is set forth like getting sponsored. I’m talking about the times when all that matters is getting on that board and making down the hill without falling. The times where if I were in the middle of a run then I wouldn’t notice a bomb going off next to the trail.
Those times on my board are invaluable because, like my first snowboard, they will never be made again. As I told Kelly, about the bit of sadness in my heart when thinking of those moments, she couldn’t understand how I could say that. “How can you not experience those moments again? You are always making new memories and having fun.” she said. It took a bit before I could explain it properly. I meant what i said but its not as bad as it sounds.
In those early years I would snowboard no matter what it was like outside. I was happy going off 3 foot high jumps and learning every possible grab I could figure out. The beauty was in the minutiae. But it wasn’t just the idea that my friends and I were new to the sport and had a lot to learn, it was that we didn’t know anything. I know those two things sound the same but they are worlds apart. I didn’t know what I was capable of, I didn’t know what the sport was capable of, I didn’t know what life had in store for me, I didn’t know how far I could take it. In things that I didn’t know laid a treasure; HOPE. In short, the whole world was possible simply because I didn’t know it wasn’t possible.
What I figured out is that those eyes saw hope through lenses clouded with innocence. The innocence came from not knowing anything about anything. The innocence came from not having a mortgage or electric bill. The innocence came from moving to Alaska and finding passion in something I had never seen or known about before leaving southern California. And the innocence was lost with each new step taken, each new barrier broken, and each new experience on the board.
I know it all sounds pretty dramatic but before you shake your head and put your face in your palm, let me try to clear it up a little more. I love snowboarding today. I love the abilities I’ve developed and the way I see and ride the mountain even if I do look like I need a lesson. I wouldn’t trade them for anything. But I also realize that the way I looked at a run at Alyeska the first time I went down it is completely different than the way I look at it and think about it 20 some years later. I can never get that back. I can never see it through the same eyes as I once did and I miss that from time to time. As I explained to Kelly, my grandma died about 10 years ago and we were very close. I don’t spend all day every day dwelling on her passing but when I do think about it then I miss her very much. The early innocence of snowboarding is a parallel to that. Snowboarding makes me happy and brings me a ton of smiles but when I think about the first years of doing it I fondly miss what I saw from behind those blue eyes.
This week Preston Pollard is featured in this photo taken by Brian Adams in Alaska and printed in The Skateboard Mag.
Preston Pollard is more than a fine dressed young man. He is also the reigning Alaska State Tanning Champion. But putting the titles and glory aside Preston maybe the hardest working skater the state has ever seen. I don’t mean to take anything away from all the other kids on the grind but Preston is hustlin’ 24/7.
Some people see that I’m talking about a skater and immediately think hustlin’ has a negative connotation. That’s ok because skating was better when they hated us but that’s not what i’m talking about with Preston. I’ve skated with preston for about ten years and he has always been hyped on it. Not the ordinary hype that just getting on a board gives you, rather you could see that Preston genuinely loved it and would fight for every minute he could be on his board.
Being a skater, meaning that is basically your job, and being from AK mix like oil and water. A few have done it but the odds are really stacked against them. That wasn’t acceptable to Preston. As you will read in the story, he is persistent and dedicated to following his dreams. Preston has carved out a niche for himself by being positive, upbeat, and talented. He has managed to do all of this while setting a great example for kids and sharing his faith.
Here’s what Preston had to say about the photo:
Magazine Mondays will be a new post every Monday featuring a picture of an Alaskan skater or snowboarder that has been published in print form. This means a real life, hold in your hands, tear it off and put it on a wall picture. There will also be a story or any interesting details about the circumstances of the picture as told by the rider. The idea is to show what Alaskans can and have accomplished in their struggles to live their dreams. I hope it also serves as a little inspiration to all the other kids that are trying to get sponsored, make it in the game, or just have something to show the girls so they can hook up.
This feature starts off with a bang. The first Magazine Monday is Jerry Smyth’s cover shot. “Lobster” is one of the funnest people I’ve ever skated with. He’s got a ton of energy, amazing skills, and a huge heart. Enjoy.
Photo by Tony Vitelo
Jerry Smyth: “This was shot by Tony Vitelo, Fausto Vitello’s son who owned thrasher at the time. He had not shot a cover up until then. Jake Phelps didn’t want to use it because I was some un heard of dude. Tony didn’t care and got it ran. Right place, right time, right person…rather be lucky then good any day.”