Bode Merrill's name is everywhere right now. The 24-year-old is already 6-foot-2 and only getting bigger with a double part in the new Absinthe film, "twel2ve," and an entire industry excited about his riding. We hit up a few of his closest friends to see what all the fuss is about.
Scott Stevens says, "I've never seen anyone who can adapt and ride absolutely anything in their path [like Bode]. So many kids can jump but no rails and can rail and no jumps -- Bode can do both. The switch to throw down was broken off a long time ago. It's stuck on full throttle at all times."
"What other rider pushes everyone else in the streets, the parks, backcountry and Alaska?" says Absinthe filmer Shane Charlebois, who plays "Get The Shot" with Bode on the regular. "Not just one of those categories, but all of them? Bode is the most well-rounded rider right now in snowboarding."
Roomie Chris Grenier doesn't hold back, either: "Bode is the best snowboarder I know. He also has a horrible dry sense of humor that nobody thinks is funny. You are usually laughing at his jokes out of second-hand embarrassment."
We gave Merrill a chance to defend himself below:
ESPN.com: A number of your so-called friends implied you have a pretty dry sense of humor. We talking Larry David dry here?
Bode Merrill: Probably not Larry David dry, but I push some limits probably. I definitely laugh at my jokes more than anyone else does. I don't know if that's a good thing but I'm usually amused, so it counts for something, right? I enjoy laughs for sure, but sometimes I'll get some pretty awkward silences and that's cool, too. Just gotta roll with the punches, ya know?
Everyone always points to your well-roundedness as a shredder.
I find joy in every part of snowboarding. I can't believe kids don't get bored just looking for the down rail or practicing the same run in the pipe all year. It makes no sense to me.
Any kind of snowboarding you suck at?
I suck in the halfpipe. It's so fun, though. Just a nice frontside air in the pipe is one of the best feelings. I'm not very good at tech rail tricks, either. I'm not the 360 on/360 off dude. I think I'm built too big to do those maneuvers.
What are the highlights of your Absinthe video part -- two parts?!
Well, it was my first time going to [British Columbia]. I went to Nelson a few times and got to ride Whitewater Resort. That's where the zones are with all the snow-covered trees that Wolle Nyvelt rode in "Optimistic"? That place was really cool. I went to Sweden for the first time, too, to hit rails. That place is unbelievable for rail riding, and no one gives a s--- what you do, so it's a free-for-all, pretty much. And, of course, Alaska was a highlight.
Describe, for the uninitiated, going up in a heli in Alaska.
It's like the best amusement park ride ever. Those things can whip around like crazy; it's so fun. The scary part is getting out, though -- especially "toe-ins," which is when you bring your gear into the heli and drop everyone else off, then go get dropped off on top of something that a helicopter can't land on. They basically hover over a spot -- usually a knife ridge with death on either side -- and you just jump out and cling to the top of the mountain, and then they take off [once] you're out. Then billy-goating around on top is crazy. If you take a wrong step, you can fall off the whole mountain. But, once you have your board on, you can kind of get comfortable and figure your line out.
Tell us a bit about The Man's Board.
There is so much wussy technology going into snowboards these days to make it easier for someone to get down the mountain. The problem is it's teaching everyone how to snowboard the wrong way. You can slip and slide your way around the mountain or you can learn how to do a carve and actually generate speed from turning.
There is so much wussy technology going into snowboards these days to make it easier for someone to get down the mountain. The problem is it's teaching everyone how to snowboard the wrong way.
So The Man's Board is an attempt to get people to realize that if we don't promote real snowboards that they will die. I made The Man's Board cambered, responsive, light and powerful so you can point it down anything you want and not worry that if you hit a little bit of chop you're gonna rag-doll into oblivion.
You on a campaign to get everyone back on cambered boards again?
Yes. I am. Reverse camber is cool if you don't like to turn.
What was your experience at Snowboarder Mag's America's Next Top Pro Model contest/gathering like? You won, right?
I never do contests -- I hate them. But ANTPM was different. It was all homies just messing around having a good time and partying for a week. I don't think anyone took it too seriously, and it ended up being the best contest I've ever done. Plus, they have original events like the Chinese Downhill, High Ollie and Straight Air in the pipe. It's a competition of the basics, which can be the hardest part of snowboarding sometimes.
Do you ever wish you were a little 5-4 pipe guy on a 153 who could do a cork just by smelling his armpit?
I used to, but now I'm content with being "the big guy." It's working for me at this point.
How do you reckon where you grew up has influenced your attitude toward terrain?
I grew up skateboarding in Santa Cruz, Calif., and then moved to Park City, Utah, when I was 12 and started snowboarding. Being in that atmosphere naturally made me want to ride those bigger mountains, and [when] I got a taste for some steep lines with deep snow, I was hooked. So I would go ride Jupiter Peak at P.C. every time it snowed or go to Brighton and Snowbird when I could so I could learn the ins and outs of these bigger mountains. But having that skateboard background, I never gave up the skate-style side of snowboarding. I loved skating rails and ledges so I also wanted to do that on my snowboard.
How did it feel to see Peter Line retweeting your part in that Hood video, with the offer to see Bode change snowboarding? Pete usually tweets about dogs and smokes and taxis.
I didn't know he said that. ... That's awesome to hear, though. Wow. Peter is definitely one of my heroes. The first snowboard movie I owned was "Decade," and he had last part ... doing the sickest back rodeos and cab 9s. It always made me want to go chuck my hardest off everything. That's pretty cool to hear for sure. Should I start twittering?
What can we expect out of Bode for the upcoming season?
I'll be still snowboarding and filming every day. Salomon is doing a worldwide team RV and resort tour, so I'll be on that from time to time, too. We will most likely be coming to your home resort or shop so check it out.