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Danny Larsen is a pro shred hailing from the land of black metal, subtle humor and winter nights that last for days. (Watch his full "Hooked" part here if you're not yet acquainted with this particular Pirate.) We noticed the sassy viking-blood throwing counterpoint comments into the triple cork hype-a-thon taking place in the Twitter-sphere, and asked him if he would elaborate on those opinions in a guest column. He kindly obliged us. Here it is.
My coffee cup has a painting by Jamie Lynn on it -- the legend, not Britney's sister. It's of a man enjoying a cup of coffee while the steam from his brew rises through the air in spiraling yellow obscure patterns.
My mug doesn't do that. It only does two things: holds the coffee and pleases my eyes before I turn my laptop on. It's my morning ritual. I wake up, make a cup of coffee and then check the web for entertainment -- some call it news of various origin, I call it entertainment.
I get my fair share of news, more specifically snowboard-related news, before I reach the bottom of my Jamie cup. I used to enjoy that, running out of coffee and then smoothly slipping into a snowboard-related brain-feed while the caffeine is doing it's wonder. Lately it hasn't been the same, though. Like switching to a light product after years of enjoying the full fat of the real thing, it's just not as satisfying as it used to be.
It's the focus on triple and double corks that is ruining it for me. The continuous twitter feeds telling me who landed which triple cork. The blog videos showing me all the double corks that were landed that day. Contest stories that discuss whether you need three or four double corks to win, or if a triple cork will push you to the top of the podium.
Don't get me wrong, these tricks are amazing. The few that are able to land them are extremely talented riders and it's very impressive to watch.
What bores me is everyone's focus on the contest aspect of it all, and the search for what or who is "best." Snowboarding is like art -- or to be more precise, like music. There are all kinds of genres, each offering things that are completely unique. It doesn't make sense to focus on one kind like it's better than the others.
Unfortunately, pop is mostly what is being presented to us: catchy shredding where 1080 is better than 900. It's riding that doesn't take much understanding to understand, in other words.
Snowboarding is on the express lane to become just like any other sport out there: a spectator sport where winning is the ultimate goal. We are setting the standard for what needs to be done to be the best; which magical move that, if executed perfectly, will send you to the top.
Slopestyle contests are looking more and more like figure skating's trendy cousin. The similarities in pipe are even more striking. We all know which tricks are so-called "set-up tricks," what trick is coming next and that a triple axel is better than a double -- oops, sorry, I meant cork.
When getting the highest score point is the main goal, creativity suffers. Who wants to risk losing points doing something new when what's "best" has already been established?
I'm not saying I want contests and that line of progression to stop. It's awesome that these guys are pushing it so hard and landing stuff most people thought to be impossible only few years ago. What I want is a bigger variety in what is being presented, so that snowboarding still has room for the people who push their riding in different directions, who put together video edits and figure out new fun ways to ride their boards. That's where the real progression happens.
Who cares about which guitar player knows the most chords or which painter can copy the Mona Lisa best? It's the ones who come up with new ideas, something that no one had thought about before that keeps it all alive. It's about time we start bringing the attention back to that. Instead of forcing snowboarding into the established sports mold, we would all gain more from letting snowboard live its own life.
Let snowboarding stay confusing for those who don't understand activities that let everyone be a winner.