Interview by Stan Leveille
ONE OF THE MOST EXCITING PARTS of any group chat is its spontaneity. With so many people adding their commentary, it’s hard to predict just where the conversation will go. Our version of a group chat is no different, and for this edition we sat down with three generations of snowboard filmer royalty. Bunkered down with some cold ones around Bob Plumb’s kitchen table, I sat with Shane Charlebois, Justin Meyer, and Harry Hagan under the very loose pretense of chatting on “filming through the ages.” While the discussion wandered between Shane’s work at Absinthe, Meyer’s at Videograss, and Hagan with Vans, ultimately the conversation started with an off-hand comment made about filming in Salt Lake. We were, after all, sitting in one of the single “most filmed” cities in America and it was only natural to begin chatting on Rail Gardens.
Shane (SC): Just recently it has become illegal to snowboard at Rail Gardens. You know how many times cops are like, “Why don’t you guys go up to Brighton?” Meanwhile they don’t realize half the people snowboarding in Salt Lake are going to Rail Gardens.
Justin (JM): Well that stemmed from one complaint from one person. It’s in my neighborhood. In the summer some kids built a little mountain bike jump, and someone had been throwing nails in the runway. I’d clean them out and the next day, bunch more nails. Then finally, like a week later, there’s these massive boulders that the city put in front of it. Whoever that rat is has the connection to get shit done there.
Harry (HH): You could turn that place into such a cool thing for the city. It can still be a dog park. It doesn’t need to be taken over by snowboarding.
JM: The main issue was the big blue rail.
SC: What was the story? The lady fell off the rail, right?
JM: That rail fell over while she was walking and she broke her leg? I don’t know if I believe it but that’s the story.
Slush: Are Salt Lake City officials catching up to understanding what’s being filmed here and hence trying to crack down on it since earlier days?
SC: Like everything, there’s more people doing it. I feel like back in the day you were stoked if you did it and got away with it and no one knew what happened. Nowadays, people are just kind of arrogant and leave everything set up or don’t even try. I feel like that’s the biggest thing, having those little values and morals that I feel like we all started with.
Slush: Instagram is also probably not helping. A platform to just flex what you’re doing at all times.
SC: Well also I remember helping with the X Games Real Snow projects, and the cops were still like, “What are you doing here?” and we’re like, “X Games,” and they’re like, “Yeah right.” You] could look it up on your phone right now and just see this person. Then they’re like, “We’re not going there,” and it’s like okay, well I’m just saying, solution. Right here. And they still don’t even want to hear it. But that’s why Rail Gardens is huge because there needs to be a place, and it isn’t just a resort.
HH: And they use the excuse of saying, “Go up to Brighton,” so you’re going to kick this kid out and say the only place you can go is $100 plus? That doesn’t make any sense. Where’s the solution? That’s more of a problem.
SC: You know the amphitheater rail going up to Brighton? Storm Mountain or whatever. Butters and those guys got crazy tickets for going there. One day I was at Milo and I was just looking at that picture of Josh or someone hitting it, and it’s like 27 years ago. I got to thinking, how long does it take for something to be respected as historical value? 27 years ago this shit was going down, and now people are getting tickets, like federal tickets. It’s the dumbest shit ever.
JM: Rail Gardens in particular, I think it’s just people took too much advantage of being allowed to snowboard there so they put in that rail. Or you go look at the roof on that thing, it’s mangled. It became so many people saying, “I want to get a trick at the Rail Gardens,” that you gotta do something new, now it’s like you can do whatever you want, you can put in a rail. There needed to be some sort of reality check on that.
Slush: Do you think people are more agitated now? Is that a general consensus? Or were you guys just more secretive before?
JM: I think it was probably just less visible. But mostly I think it’s just a general American attitude. If you don’t understand it, you hate it. Even in Canada or any other country, Finland, they’re so hyped. They don’t understand it but they love it. Our culture here? No.
SC: Yeah, I’ve always thought about the Europe vibe. They’re like, “HOLD ON! HOLD ON!” and you’re like, what? And they’re like, “We have to get the children!”
Slush: Speaking of children, as filmers do you feel like you inevitably take the role of parent?
HH: 100 percent.
Slush: And is it something you’re ever rightfully respected for?
HH: It goes unnoticed. Depends who you’re with. Sometimes you’re with people where you can take the backseat, like for example, the French Canadians. When I got involved with them, I just sat back and they just brought me wherever and had all the tools whereas before it was like, alright we need a hammer, I’ll go to the store. But with these guys, whatever you need, it’s in the back of their truck. They’re already on top of it. It’s very nice and refreshing to be with people like that. But you know, there’s magic in people who aren’t like that too.
SC: I always wish that I could get taken around everywhere.
Slush: I mean, I think that’s kind of the plight of the filmer in a lot of ways. The unsung hero.
HH: But also you have to take that responsibility on.
SC: I think we’re the brother, not the mother. And being clear about that. Like, “Yo, I’ll help you out, but not that much. We’re not changing your diapers.” Bob [Plumb] and I were designated Cale [Zima]’s guardians for that first trip.
Slush: Do you all feel an obligation to educate the youth? Especially those who don’t have a lot of historical context?
SC: 100 percent. Being blessed to be able to live this for 30 years has been insane. You get to a point where once again, skating and surfing keep the stories intact. If Lance Mountain shows up, everyone is like, damn, Lance is here. I mentioned Andy Hetzel to Nils Mindich a few years back and he asked who that was. I was like, “Holy shit, that isn’t even obscure.” The Farmers, Damian Sanders, these people who did all this crazy shit—I don’t like to reflect on the past as the focal point but it’s the foundation you’re standing on. Right now, people don’t even know what they’re standing on. And it’s up to us to tell those stories.
Slush: All of you have been involved with projects that in their own regard have changed the game. Do you ever allow a moment to appreciate that and feel that, or is it like sand slipping through your fingers?
JM: I feel like when you’re in it, it’s so quick and by the time you’re done with one, you’re on to the next. There’s never really time to breathe and think about what you’re doing. That’s how movies can end up, year after year, kind of similar. I guess if you’re just a filmer and you’re not editing, you probably have time to think about some shit, but when you’re involved from concept to everything, they just bleed into the next.
HH: Especially when you work on something so much. It doesn’t matter if it’s a snowboard video, music, painting, whatever. By the time you’re done with it, you’re like, I hate this. At least everything by the point of completion for me, it’s like, I don’t even want to watch this anymore.
JM: And maybe even before you’re done, you’re having to think about the next one. There’s never a time to really reflect.
SC: I think the biggest motivator too, probably for all of us, is when you’re never content. But you know that old saying that art is never finished, it’s just abandoned. That’s what we have to do.
JM: I feel like I still haven’t made that one movie, you know? So that’s kind of the drive. Still chasing what is in your head that you haven’t put out.
Slush: It’s funny to hear you say that because to many, Videograss hit a note that defined a whole culture.
HH: It’s what we all needed. What year did the first VG come out?
HH: At that point in time, I was still in Plymouth. Going to school, working at Loon, snowboarding 100 days, going to class, watching every movie I could. There were movies that I loved, but once that shit came out, it was like, this is what I’ve been missing. No disrespect to any other ones of the time but that was the one.
Slush: Meyer, you could be single handedly responsible for tight pants being popular.
JM: No you’ve got Neoproto, Love/Hate.
SC: I like those guys but when we were doing KingPin, I always cracked up when they were like, “We’re just going to come out with you guys and watch,” and then the next year we saw they filmed at every single spot we showed them. Like, “Huh… Okay, that’s how that works.”
Slush: I feel like that’s something you must experience all the time.
"I don’t like to reflect on the past as the focal point but it’s the foundation you’re standing on. Right now, people don’t even know what they’re standing on. And it’s up to us to tell those stories."
SC: Honestly I’ve always liked the game of it, because some people are so serious. People could be like, “Well we de-knobbed this rail so no one else should ever hit this,” and it’s like, “What? That’s so stupid.” We would de-knob shit all the time and hope people did stuff before it got knobbed again.
JM: When we were first making videos in Utah, Cole and the Technine guys were locking shit up. Up in Ogden, Jonah Owen put a bunch of bolts all over this rail and we had to grind it off. And it was a spot that we found and hit the day before.
HH: But that was at peak Salt Lake crew time. I don’t know what website it was on, but I was still back East in school and I remember reading an article saying there were ten different crews in Salt Lake and there was a six man line-up at the drop in of any given spot. Crazy shit. I was like, “Damn, Salt Lake is going off.”
SC: That makes me think of the trend that I’ve noticed from all these years. Before when someone went and did something at a spot, it was like, “Damn they got that spot, we’re going to get a different spot.” But now it’s like “Oh they got that spot, we’re all going to that spot,” like every single crew. That’s the biggest difference.
JM: Well the problem right now is everyone gets to a city and they’re like, let’s watch all the videos that came out last year and then they go to the same exact spots.
HH: You know what though? Going on trips with people like Kuzyk for example, I think it was the year we had all the snow on the East in 2015 and he showed up with like 35 screen grabs from all the videos he had watched. To me, that’s dope because you did your homework. Also, it doesn’t mean we’re not going to find new shit. Certain people are so particular and actually write out their video part in the summer. They’re searching for these spots that would be perfect for the trick so they want to go there. I think that’s cool too. Like why would I not hit this because five other people already did? This spot is sick as fuck.
SC: I don’t really try to impose what I think anymore at all, because times have changed so much at this stage that if you want to see the future, listen to the kids. They show you the future. Instead of being that old guy that is like well, back in my day what would happen here, like no, we’re not here to do that. Like once again I’m just saying, mentioning that isn’t judging it, it’s just saying back in the day you would be like, “Damn, they got that shit and we’re going to have to find other shit like that in this town.”
JM: But that’s the little bits of etiquette that I kind of think is the filmer’s duty to pass that down. If you’re going from one crew of one generation and then you’re still in the game and working with the younger generation, you need to pass down that etiquette because they aren’t picking it up from anywhere else. It’s like backcountry jumps like building blocks. People before that were probably just building up a bunch of powder and trying to harden it, and then someone carried down the knowledge of the snow block.
SC: I wonder who would claim they built the first block.
JM: There’s a lot of that stuff in street stuff too, like JP and Jeremy, like the torch and that shit, which I don’t think the torch does anything but…
SC: I would almost disagree. It’s the old Otterstrom thing in Denver when you’d get those huge dumps back in the day. You’d torch cement so it heats up and then it melts it so it kind of makes the thing fuse. It’s not about the snow, it’s about the oven underneath.
Slush: Harry, what are your thoughts on when filmers suggest tricks to try?
HH: It depends on the person, but I suggest tricks all the time. Let’s say there is a rail that is pinned against the wall and the only way you can film it is from the bottom. I will tell the riders that because certain tricks are just going to look better from that angle. I think if you don’t listen to a film or at least take some of their advice, you’re tripping. They’re the ones sitting there with the camera every time.
JM: A good filmer can make a mediocre snowboarder look great. A shitty filmer can make a great snowboarder look like shit.
SC: I used to refer to this a lot—the incredible talent of making huge stuff look small. It’s like wow, that person just went enormous in the streets or in the backcountry and at no point were they any bigger than ten feet away from the frame. Going back to telling people what to do, I think the toughest thing for me over all these years is wrestling with whether or not someone is milking it. The stuff we’ve witnessed for so long, we all know, and it’s like, holy shit we wouldn’t have even looked at this spot 20 years ago. Just different perspectives. Now street spots, there’s a lot more fun happening than before. It used to be a perpetual bigger, bigger, bigger. Because it hits a wall at one point where you’re like, well how much bigger are we going to go?
JM: It hits a wall a lot of the time. Most literally.
HH: I think for me and a lot of people, it’s not what you’re doing, it’s how you’re doing it. It’s definitely changed. It got to a point for me where if I never saw a splat into a wall again, I’d die a happy man. I don’t care. But then also I’ll see people who just want to do night lines and be a skateboarder and I’m like, yo I could do all that. It’s cool, but is it really that cool? I think as a filmer too, I’ve had people be like, “You should film over here,” and you need to take that seriously because at the end of the day, it’s them trying to film a video part and you need to take their opinion seriously. Not that I think everybody knows where to film stuff, but at least entertain it. If in their head they’re at least conscious enough to be like, “Hey I think it would look cool from over there,” go try. Even if it doesn’t look good, they might be more stoked for the next half hour while they’re battling that you went and tried that idea. It takes two to tango.
SC: It’s so true. It helps them tap into where their mental state is. Some people you can be like, “That was good,” and they’ll be like, “Don’t talk to me.” I remember back in the day with Romain for example I’d see him and Hostynek, just when I first started filming with them, and it would be like, “Romain I think you could go a little bit bigger,” or something and he’s like, “Oh yeah? Fuck you!” Then he’d go up there and go way to the moon and stomp it. But if you did that to other people, they’d never want to talk to you again. So it’s weird to know the different people you’re working with.
JM: It’s like Stevens. He’ll have an entire conversation with you the whole time he’s filming but never once listening to what you’re actually saying. He’s just talking. Or like [Jon] Kooley. You’re like, “You got it right here!” and he’s like, “No I don’t!”
HH: But at what point is it not genuine? If someone is trying something 100 times, am I really going to say, “You got it right here”? I feel like such a weirdo. Like I didn’t mean that at all. That was literally a lie.
JM: “I actually don’t think you’re ever going to land this,” hahaha
HH: But also, I never know what to say because if someone is in their own head, do I say nothing at all? Do I try to give them some pump up vibes or do I just shut up and film the clip?
SC: Meyer, when you guys did that long rail with Sexton that was on the cover of SNOWBOARDER. How many times was that?
JM: 500. At least.
HH: What’s crazy about that shit too, and I’m sure we’ve all fucked up clips, but as a filmer—and you know who told me this and it really made my head explode was Kuzyk—they’ll try something 100 times, and you’re expected to film it perfectly all 100 tries. So the one they make, it’s like if you didn’t film it perfectly, it’s a catastrophic event. Like dude, I had to try to film that 150 times.
JM: And if you’re not on a tripod and it requires deep precision it gets harder. Jed and I got into that one time. We were in Finland filming for his Adidas coming back thing, and I had to bring the lens from low and go over this little wooden fence and the rails clipped on one of them where he kind of did okay, and he was like, “What the fuck?! Is this going to be a problem?” I’m like dude, I don’t expect you to land this every time, but you expect me to land this every time.
Slush: What’s your go-to excuse if you don’t film it the way you want? Do you feel comfortable asking them?
JM: “Your style is a little shitty, you kind of came off a little early.”
SC: “I think it’s not exactly the one you want.”
HH: It’s different every time. You gotta keep them on their toes. There was like a three-year period where my camera just kept shutting off. It was like two different cameras from corrosion or something and there literally would be someone about to hop on something and then boom, goes black. I’m like oh fuck. Watch it with my eyes and it was Ojo’s ender in Landline I want to say that happened. Luckily there were like three of us there but like I was standing on the roof of the van. My shit shut off as soon as he dropped in. I was like, spiking my camera and shit, I was so mad. I was stomping on the roof.
JM: Those are the times you root for them to not land it.
HH: And two seconds seems like an eternity. Or when you’re peeping the clip in VCR mode and all the sudden they’re dropping in and you’re trying to switch it back real quick. By the time it clicks back over, they’re like already on the rail.
Slush: I feel like there was a time in snowboarding where the photo was king. Video was less important. Now that has switched completely. Do you think that’s a fair statement, Shane?
SC: I feel like photos have always been amazing but in reality, I think filming is making the person’s whole season. It’s capturing this whole thing. Like for example, The Garden, amazing movie, any of those photos were dope but they’re not what you talk about. It’s the movie. I feel like at the end of the day, photos are like the fish that follow the shark. It’s just the role that it is. Some people have had a great career in getting photos and stuff, as far as a rider who is more known for the photos they’ve been in, but I think all the biggest legends have had video parts that were timeless.
JM: Yeah, I think there’s that whole dynamic of working with a photographer and filmer at the same time. Some of them just don’t get it, and they don’t go on trips anymore. But someone like Oli or Bob, it’s like you can both be in the middle of the stair set fisheye and it’s like this little dance that just works, and you don’t really have to bitch at anyone or complain. It just works.
SC: That’s how I think about Andy, E-Stone, Bob. You can see the ones who are excelling are typically the ones who work with the filmer and are good at the dance.
Slush: One thing I wanted to ask, is there a specific style of snowboard filming that is too antiquated?
JM: I mean, that’s every movie that’s coming out right now. They all look the same.
HH: But you could say the same thing about people who film on VX 1000 in skating. All the follow cams with the VX 1000 look the same. Obviously the inspiration came from that shit and how people use the lens. I feel like we criticize it more in snowboarding than we do in skateboarding and maybe because there’s less shit going on. But I’ve never heard someone complain in skating like, “Yo your fisheye with the VX looks like mine,” it’s always just been like, well that’s the proper way to use a VX 1000, and it looks good. So I think to a certain degree with certain lenses, especially the big one, you gotta get up close.
JM: Yeah I mean there’s styles and trends that come and go in filming just as there is in snowboarding.
SC: I think the biggest trend is now that more people have phones, whether it’s their phone camera or whatever but back in the day when you’re actually doing the wide and shooting the static long running back and forth by yourself, now everyone is just standing there with their phone like fuck, I got this angle too. That’s changed so much.
Slush: What’s your guys vibe on people busting out iPhones while you’re trying to make movies?
"It may be 50,000 views but it was immediately followed by a thumb swipe. It was 50,000 who-gives-a-fucks."
JM: It’s annoying. You get this clip and they’re just so horny for content. Everybody who is in the background wants to post that so bad that they don’t give a fuck. They’re going to fuck your shit up but they don’t care because they’re gonna get a couple likes.
HH: You go to a spot with a 20-year-old kid and sometimes I think we couldn’t be more opposite. They’re from a completely different generation of instant gratification which we could talk shit about all day, but they’re just a product of their environment. There’s got to be a balance. You can post shit and you can get your fix, but don’t fuck our whole project. I don’t know.
SC: Yeah, people don’t want to anticipate shit. They just want it right now.
JM: But then is that the death of the video part?
HH: I don’t know. Let’s say we’re trying to make a video and be secretive about it. We put it online and it’s going to get 20,000 views. Then you put something on Instagram and it gets 55,000 views. Not that everything is about views but it’s like, where do our priorities lie? Is it really bad? He’s putting his clip out there and it’s getting three times the amount of eyes than this thing that we’re working on for six months. I’m not saying one side is right or wrong.
SC: I agree with you. That ‘too serious’ thing is antiquated. When we talk about what’s antiquated, I feel like being too serious. Just losing the whole touch of what we’re doing. I’ve talked about it for a while because snowboarding, in the history of the world, is one of the dumbest things ever. Literally. In the history of the world if you explain to anyone in any of the time periods about any of what we’re doing, they’d like, what? You take that seriously? I feel like that’s what’s antiquated. Some people, if they want to do that super serious movie, don’t leak anything whatever, well I mean, good luck with that.
JM: There’s a balance though because it’s kind of our job to make sure that shit stays special. If we just let everything through the floodgates, nobody gives a fuck anymore. They’re just swiping right through it. It may be 50,000 views but it was immediately followed by a thumb swipe. It was 50,000 who-gives-a-fucks.
Slush: So talking on this subject of modern media and social media and everything, how has that affected you guys and your careers and these film companies that you’ve been a part of ffor so long?
JM: In a sea of noise, the good things will still shine. There can be every kid out there making their own content and becoming a professional snowboarder from their phone. Never filmed a video part, never done anything, getting free shit. There’s a lot and there’s going to be a lot more but all that’s going to do is make the people who look good just look better.
SC: I filmed a video of my ex’s kid a couple years ago just snowboarding foothills and she scorped so bad and came up laughing. Put that up online and I think it was posted by like Jerry of the Day and it ended up getting like 600,000 views. A kid just eating shit. More views than any of the videos that we try so hard to make. I just remember thinking, “Holy shit, this is where we’re at.”
JM: That video clip might have 600,000 views but it’s not selling a product whereas what we’re doing is trying to create a culture and create something special. That’s what sells the product.
SC: Which comes back to the people, though, and that’s where the stories come in heavily. It’s not to be like, “I want to know more about this person;” it’s what allows you to feel them. It’s why we liked the Bones Brigade as kids, there’s something about when Lance is doing his dumb ass shit. You could feel who this person was. It wasn’t just a random bunch of action. I feel like that’s what’s evolving. It’s like we’re rooting for this dude, all-American hero kind of shit. I feel like snowboarding, even when I see videos now and there’s not a personality of the person in there, I feel like whoa, there’s like a whole component missing.
HH: That’s why I feel like putting a personality into a video part, especially some of the VG ones, like oh my god. That’s what I definitely look for now. If I watch a part and there’s no personality or you don’t hear the person speaking or something, I’m just like ah, I don’t really care. I want to see some funny shit. I feel like the lifey is almost like a lost art form. I mean think about Mikey on the toboggan. As a kid like 16 or 17, it was like the sickest shit of all time. To the Christmas beat. I was like, this is unbelievable. I don’t give a fuck about the serious shit. I mean I do, but give me a ten minute video of Mikey on the toboggan.
SC: When we made Happy Hour and then Afterhours, the Kingpin movie, I remember that was the year of as much antics.
JM: That was right around Jackass time, too.
SC: Yeah there was all kinds of stuff going down. It was on that level. I will always love the minute after the credits, like what is this bonus montage mashup right now? Just insane. No music, just footage.
Slush: Has there ever been an instance where you’ve felt guilty? Like you’re filming some shit where you’re like this person is out of hand but I know it’s going to be gold.
JM: No. Never.
HH: Even if you don’t put it out, you still want it.
JM: I encourage it.
SC: Push them over the edge, hit record. We definitely never threw in the stuff that wasn’t supposed to be seen.
Slush: You guys have to be that person who everyone can be comfortable around.
HH: So you talk about comfortability, that’s when this comes into play. We’ve started to do more handycam stuff or telling everyone in the crew to film horizontal iPhone because when you stick a big camera in someone’s face, people get a little weird.
SC: Like Jerome. We would be wasted in Italy every night just passing the camera around. I remember being like, how much footage is he going to go through? I mean just night after night. But when you see the gold, it makes sense. The most non-threatening camera ever.
HH: Right. And he couldn’t have done that with a big camera. What a work of art that was. I was on a trip with him. It was me, Hayden, and he came like halfway through the trip. We pick him up at the airport in Tokyo and he’s just got one of those Kendama things. He’s whistling, walking out with no bags. We’re like, “Dude, where’s your shit?” He’s like, “It all got lost. I checked it under the plane.” So he’s got no cameras, and Hayden had just bought an M6 in Tokyo. So he comes knocking on our door in the hotel and is like, “Does anyone have a camera I could use?” Hayden has this brand new camera, ends up letting him use it. Within ten minutes, the handycam is just attached to the shoe mount on the top. I remember we crashed the car and we were at the rental place trying to figure it all out and he has the thing in our faces. We’re like dude, get the fuck outta here, what are you filming this for? And then the shit came out and it was like, “Oh my, this is unbelievable.” Point being it’s a blessing and a curse having a camera in your pocket all the time.
Slush: It’s an interesting thing we’ve kind of gotten into of people not really understanding where things came from and snowboarding being in a position where the eldest generation is still pretty young—I think already there’s a lot of people that look at it like it’s too much of a science. Like they expect it to be. If I do this this and this, then I’m good. I think the result is you get a lot of people filming all sorts of shit and nobody gives a fuck. In the VG days or Absinthe days, do you feel like there were crews filming that just weren’t going anywhere? That no one gave a shit about? Or is that more of a modern day problem?
JM: I feel like it was harder back then to actually go out and film and make a movie. Not everyone knew how to operate a camera. Nowadays information is so easily accessible it’s like every kid can watch a movie that just came out and hit you with the DM about what camera you used. Then you tell them, and the next thing you know that kids got that same exact camera and all that shit. He’s making the same product.
SC: But there is a weird shift where people think it’s all about the gear, but I believe you could use any gear—if you were actually talented—to make something dope. Like straight up. There’s a lot of people who are just like, “I thought I was going to get into filming so I got three REDs and this whole new editing system.” It’s like, when you see people who were Hollywood trained, and then when you see them in a film, you’re like, “Wow, that person has amazing talent in that commercial world or something, but it doesn’t represent what is going on here.” It reminds me of anything nowadays. You go to a kid, “Hey you want to carve a pumpkin?” They look on their phone and there’s 1200 images of what to carve. When we were all starting, it was like there was not much comparison going on. You just had to come up with what’s in your own head. That’s huge, I think, no matter what gear you’re in.
Slush: Professional snowboarders, in my opinion nowadays, almost act as though there is some sort of judge that is like, “Yup, you’re the best at this and no one can deny this!” What people like is so nuanced. What sells product is nuanced. There is actually no guarantee of anything and some riders just struggle with that. It’s out of their control in some ways. Does anyone stand out to you as getting the short end of the stick?
JM: I think Jake OE got pretty shit on. I feel like he just could’ve kept going and kept filming video parts. No one else is going to pick him up. He’s a Signal guy. No one wanted to carry that into their brand.
SC: When you say that, it just made me think of Frank Bourgeois. Frank is awesome. He is all time gnarly and all the sudden nobody wants to help him out. How weird is that? He’s so freaking good and he’s such a rad guy.
HH: It goes to who you’re rolling with, you know what I mean? It sucks because everyone gets lumped in together.
Slush: You guys don’t get nearly as much recognition, fame, hype, rockstar type bullshit, but a lot of these guys owe you kind of everything. Is that bothersome?
SC: I think for a lot of us, we start with that Peter Pan kind of thing. We’re doing our thing. We’re learning to fly, all that stuff. But I’ve always thought if you get to live long enough, Peter Pan kind of turns into the Wizard Of Oz. The movie is called Wizard Of Oz, but it’s about Dorothy and her friends. In our own ways, I believe we do become the Wizard Of Oz. I’m just the guy behind the curtain. Watch the show. I feel like people who don’t have a mentality of being able to understand that, they’re going to struggle a little more. The more that you accept that Wizard Of Oz is just a dude trying to figure out his shit but happens to give people what they want.
Slush: That was pretty deep! This conversation has taken us to some interesting places. Two more questions. First, who has each of your favorite people been to film with?
HH: Those Deja Vu years it was Louif, Frank, and Will. Any time you went out with those guys, it was like nothing would get in the way. Especially Frank. Alcohol, police, nothing is too big to overcome. Some people just have it. Some people just have that psycho-ness. It's hard to acknowledge it when it's happening sometimes.
JM: I had a few seasons filming with Jed, where it's December and he has a part, and he literally is done filming his part January 1st. He's off, he's back home skating, he's done. You go on a trip with him and he’s got literally 25 clips in a week. Someone else is hyped if they got two or three. I think that’s just him, though. Anybody could’ve been pointing a camera at him, he’s going to get those clips.
SC: When you say that, it reminds me of Bode. Someone who was the team manager of Nitro at the time told Bode he was going nowhere, and I remember he was always just there. It was always like, what the fuck, this Bode dude is insane. Then literally when we started, it was like that first year where it’s December and he had like, minutes of footage. It was just insane. And we went to Alaska that first year—I’ve never seen anyone do this—he fell on the first run and we got to the second run and we’re all getting ready on the peak and we look over and there’s Bode just taking a nap. We’re like, what the hell? After that, he woke up and landed everything. It was the weirdest shit I’ve ever seen. Those people are just special. They bring you with their energy.
Slush: Finally, what was one shot you missed that stands out above the rest?
HH: For me I feel like there are honestly too many. There hasn’t been that one catastrophic one, but every time it has really fucked up, I’ve been lucky enough where someone else is there fi lming. One shot I missed was Kuzyk’s ender in Encore and he boardslides this big huge rail and drops 20 feet to a rock and then another 20 feet to a parking lot. He landed in a parking spot basically and it was at a grocery store and we were supposed to go there first thing in the morning, but certain selfish people had to go to their spot first. So we end up at the grocery store at like 2 PM—the busiest time for a grocery store. So we show up, madness, cars everywhere. We finally got our landing going, kind of calling off these two spots. I’m filming and I’m at my angle, looking through the camera between tries, and I see a car come in and park in the space. So I started yelling at Laurent and Nick and they’re like sitting there kicking rocks or something and I’m like, “Yo, what the fuck!” The car wasn’t in the landing, it was just in my view. So he could still hit the spot with the car there. So he didn’t even realize. So I’m screaming across the parking lot and I look up and Kuzyk is on the rail and just landed it perfectly and rode away. I’m just sitting there and I was just yelling at everyone. Luckily Colt Morgan was there and had a different angle, but I was definitely on the angle. It was like fuck, man. All because we were dicking off.
JM: I don’t know. I can’t really think of any off the top of my head. That’s the thing, there’s also been 100 more tries. There’s probably been a couple that have been like mid-session but there was never one that was like, I fucked up.
SC: I don’t know if people know the story of Brandon Ruff and the Ruffinator. It’s the legendary cliff at Brighton. It’s this double shelf outback. You get out from the Crest lift. I’ll just never forget it because the year Brandon Ruff did it, no one ever got the footage. So some time in the early 2000s Brandon is like, “I’ll go do it again.” I posted up across, I was shooting 16, and I just heard it jam up right as he was dropping. And he does it perfect. It was like, “Are you kidding me right now?!” You hear the legend of Moby Dick and then you see Moby Dick. Sasquatch just came out and your camera jams for the first time in six months. That will always haunt me.