It takes a lot to get a trick dialed backwards. It's like trying to brush your teeth left-handed (if you're a righty); there's always unwanted dribble on your shirt, and it just doesn't look pretty. And while most pros pride themselves on a few switch moves, or even having all four 7s and 9s on lock in all directions, no one's ever gone full-monte with a fully switch part.
JP Walker has been in the video-part game for longer than most, and has always clocked in with progressive rail and backcountry bangers. Never settling for stock, for this season's 32/Stepchild's "This Video Sucks," JP decided to drop it all switch, or not at all. With his video part released for free viewing right here on ESPN.com, we caught up with JP to talk shop about going backwards -- to push snowboarding forward.
What was the inspiration for an all-switch part?
No one's ever done it.
You mention in the vid that you can take things bigger, or spin more, but this was a chance to really mix things up. Were you stoked with the outcome? Did it keep things fresh?
Yeah I was hyped to just pull it off. It definitely kept things fresh. I was stoked on the final part. It was just cool to see it all put together with a cool story.
As far as I can tell this is pretty much the first all-switch part. Do you agree? Why do you think no one has tried this before?
Yeah it's the first. You got to have a deep bag of tricks, son. Not many people got that big of a variety of tricks switch. Maybe no one ever thought of it.
Was it a big risk to commit to trying everything backwards?
I wanted to do it but I told myself that it wasn't the end of the world if I couldn't pull it. I just started the year off riding switch from day one and took it day by day. I hit a few things regular but in the end I had enough footy to have a full section with all switch riding.
Was it a hard thing to keep up all winter? Were you ever tempted to drop in regular?
It was hard sometimes; I would warm up on a rail regular for a few 50-50s or something before putting up something switch. In a way it was easier because I only had half as many tricks that I needed to focus on.
Was there a turning point in the winter when you were sure it'd not only be possible, but that you could produce a rad part, too?
From day one it was all switch riding. Even at the resorts and pre-season. That was kinda like the first test to myself.
After I got through all my handrail filming I was pretty sure it was going to be sick. With all the rail footy switch I couldn't really turn back. I don't think I hit anything regular in the backcountry at all, even to warm up.
Did you find you actually got better at riding backwards as the season went on?
Yeah for sure. Now it definitely feels more natural. It's pretty crazy.
Did you bone up by shredding around backwards in the pre-season? Or find yourself riding backwards if you were cruising laps at Brighton?
Yeah from day one it was all switch riding. Even at the resorts and pre-season. That was kinda like the first test to myself. I told myself if I could get through the first part of the year before filming started all switch it would be more doable to go the whole season.
What was the toughest spot to drop switch? The BC road gap comes to mind...
That was a beast for sure just because I was landing switch too. The big green double kink in Helsinki was pretty gnar. No warm up or anything just first try put it up and locked it somehow. The switch front board on the goal post was a little awkward to commit to.
Who are your top five pros that drop hammers backwards? Any video highlights?
Darrell Mathes has a one of the best switch back lips. Seth Huot has a good switch nose press. I saw this dude Frank April's part in something and he had a bunch of switch rail stuff. Back in the day I would say Stevie Alters or Peter Line had a good amount of switch riding.
Does a double cork trump a switch move? Or is there room for every type of rider to make their mark now?
I don't know it just depends. Some switch stuff isn't that hard especially if you land forward. Anyone can make their mark if they give it 100 per.
How many parts for you does this new 32/Stepchild part make?
I can't count that high man! Nah, something like 15-ish.
You've been in the game at such a high level for quite a while now. What keeps you inspired and stoked to keep pushing it, year after year? Was banging a switch video section part of that?
Just different ideas for tricks or video parts get me stoked to keep producing. The switch part this year was a big motivator for sure. It just changed the whole perspective on filming a video part. It gave filming a new feeling and I started to look at the whole season in a way I never have before.
Do you feel the pressure to come up with something new each year? If so, how do you channel that into creative shredding as opposed to stress?
I do feel pressure a lot. I kinda painted myself in a corner so it's my fault, but sometimes I feel like I have un-meetable expectations from people. I just try and stay positive and do my thing.
Any hint as to what's next?
I don't even know myself so I couldn't tell you even if I wanted to. I will be filming a new part with People Creative with Joe Sexton and Simon Chamberlain again though. I'll come up with something.