The Truth Behind JP’s 5 Heaviest
INTERVIEWS WITH: Mack Dawg Lauri Heiskari Pat Moore Sean Kearns Andy Wright Jeremy Jones Seth Huot and more…
RUMORS FLY: SNOWBOARD INDUSTRY IN SHAMBLES
“I CONTEMPLATED NEVER FILMING SNOWBOARDING AGAIN” - JP
THE INFAMOUS DOUBLE CORK FOOTAGE DRAMA Kearns told me if I missed the shot I was
“FUCKING FIRED” -Anthony Vitale
FALL/WINTER 2012-13 VOL 4 - ISSUE 2 WWW.BLUNTERMAG.XXX
JP Walker True Life 2003/Photo: Rob Mathis
"Of course JP opened the doors of progression. He built the house and put the door in then opened it for everyone else to come in." - Mack Dawg
Blunter: What in your life has changed since making snowboard videos? Mack Dawg: Well the main thing that has changed is that I am having a blast raising my daughter Taryn with my awesome wife Catherine. Also I am not relentlessly chasing the snow around the world like I was for many years. Other than that I actually get to snowboard, and surf way more than before. What
I have been shooting tons of different stuff since the snowboard days. For the most part I am a freelance Director of Photography now with a few big personal projects in the works. I have been the DOP on a bunch of national commercials for companies like Ford, Continental Tires, General Tires, Verizon, Billabong, and regional spots for Subaru, and Tempur Pedic to name a few. I was also DOP on a bunch of Red Bull Momentum shows including Ryan Scheckler, Parks Bonifay, and Zak Noyle as well as the F1 shoots for Red Bull in New York and Austin. I shot on Gymkhana 2, Gymkhana 3, X-Games 3d The Movie, The Mint 400, Red Bull New Years No Limits in Las Vegas and San Diego, The Baja 1000 etc etc… I also directed the Red Bull Rampage 3D show and Red Bull F1 Comes to Austin as well as co directed the “On The Pipe” moto series with Jay Schweitzer. Jay and I are currently editing our feature documentary on Daredevil motorcycle jumpers that we have been working on for 8 years or so. That movie is going to be absolutely amazing. Why
I stopped making snowboard movies because the landscape of snowboarding videos had changed dramatically. It was becoming a break even business at best in the end. It was a perfect storm of piracy, horrible distributers, an onslaught of terrible videos, and a major recession. The kids were posting our movies online the instant they came out and killing our sales. Take one kids link down and another bunch popped up. Bit stream also was almost impossible to stop. They were pedaling every pile of crap that anyone made. I think the last year I made a film there were over 350 other snowboarding videos that were getting distributed.
Maybe 30 of them were worth a look. The distributors convinced shops to order the crappy videos because they were so cheap. A shop would get a box of videos with 10 of our vids, 10 Absinthe vids, 10 Standard vids, and 200 assorted other vids that sucked. The shop would sell out of the good vids immediately but would be sitting on a ton of crappy ones. Instead of reordering the ones the sold out they would just not order any more vids for the season. So sales were down in the video world and I could also see the writing on the wall that our sponsors were suffering due to the recession and would be having a hard time supporting independent videos in the future. Then someone dropped a bomb and told me some of the other guys who were directing our current film were secretly trying to start their own deal and pull sponsors and riders from the MDP program. That was the final straw. I can understand wanting to do your own thing and fully support that but trying to undermine MDP while still on the payroll was lame. So with all that said I just pulled the plug on the whole deal and moved into a different direction. In your mind what was your favorite video you made and why? My favorite was “The Hard, The Hungry, and The Homeless”. The reason I love that movie the most was the general vibe in snowboarding at that time. Everyone was flat broke and sleeping on each other’s floors and just raging on and off the snow. The level of progression was at an all time high and the best snowboarders in the world were unknown up to that point. New tricks were being thrown down all the time and the people were just so stoked to be snowboarders. Are you happy with the impact that you left on snowboarding? I am happy to have worked on so many great snowboarding films with such good people. Everyone from my crew, to the riders, bands, sponsors, resorts and everyone in between really always gave it their all to make special films. I am very happy with that. Also there is a long line of MDP trained filmers who have contributed immensely to many other projects after leaving MDP. I am really proud of being able to get them on their way with more knowledge then they came to MDP with.
â€œ...I just rolled down the street out of frame. I felt like riding down the street forever after that one.â€? - JP
RED KINK RAIL BUFFALO, NY / 2000 / FORUM: TRUE LIFE / BOARDSLIDE RED KINK RAIL
I went to the New England area with Mack Dawg, Rob Mathis, Jeremy Jones, Nate Bozung and Brandon Bybee for one of the first east coast rail missions ever. We hit up some spots in Niagara and smaller surrounding towns but we ended up in Buffalo, New York for the majority of the stay. There wasn't much there to ride and we trolled downtown looking for the most obvious spots because we didn't have much knowledge yet when it came to sniffing out street spots. That big red kink stands out. If you are in Buffalo you will find it. At first I decided there was no way I was going to hit it. I got on top of it and the kink looked almost 90 degrees. We sessioned some other spots for a few day but ran through them all pretty quick. I kept thinking about that kink an how sick of a shot it would be. It reminded me of something Jeremy Jones would hit and I wanted to get a piece of it for my part. Near the end of our trip it snowed a lot and I went back to the kink to check it out. It had cheese grater stairs and a big drop with a short runway. The runway was cheese grater too but all the snow and ice had started to fill in in the holes. Almost like the rail had decided it wanted to be hit up. It seemed like a sign to me. We went there at night thinking that it was the best plan as the rail was in the heart of downtown and right on the side of a building. We started to set it up and I was ready to jump down it with minimal light just to get it over with. Someone must have noticed us and called the police because they showed up before I got a chance to put it up. We packed it up and decided to try again early the next morning.
“At first I decided there was no way I was going to hit it... the kink looked 90 degrees” I didn't sleep at all that night. It took a lot of gusto to decide to hit that rail and now I had to stew down and think about it all night so I could try it before breakfast the next morning. We went back and it was still set up so I was able to get at it pretty quick. No one troubled us in the daylight this time. Probably because people thought we were breaking into the building and downtown Buffalo at night peeps are on there toes. I put it up. I had it in my head to come off the drop side if i wasn't going to make the rail so I wouldn't chew my board on the stair side. Not very good option but really the only one. I came of the drop several times and was taking a beating but I was getting a feel for the kink and new I could do it. Brandon Bybee was on the drop in with me, yanking me into it. I got the right one, muscled through the kink and rode away. You can see I'm pissed when I ride away. I was pissed because I decided it was only a one or two try rail and that is what gave me the confidence to put it up. After going over my mental limit I got irritated. It took 11 tries. It's weird that 15 years later I can remember the amount of tries it took to get it. Rob got an amazing photo, one of my favorites ever taken. Mack Dawg filmed it amazing and I loved how I just rolled down the street out of frame. I felt like riding down the street forever after that one. It was the end of our trip and the shot was the ender in my True Life part.
“He knows what is relevant in Snowboarding and has pushed himself to stay at the top of his game since he started riding” - Mack Dawg Snowboarding would not be where it is today in popularity and progression if it wasn’t for Mack Dawg (MDP) and his 20+ years documenting snowboarders. Having worked with JP for many years we sat down to ask him a few questions about his experience filming with JP and how he feels JP helped progress snowboarding to what it is today. BLUNTER: When filming with JP or seeing him ride in the MDP films, did he often surprise you? MACK DAWG: The first time I saw JP ride I was really surprised. Peter Line and I went to check him out and film for a day with him recruiting for the Forum team. After that first session Peter and I were like HOLY F we need JP on Forum for sure. Luckily we got him on the team and starting shooting with him all the time. He also really surprised me when I got screwed out of Forum which I helped start. Forum was trying to make JP film for their team movie and not with MDP. JP told them no dice and continued to film with me. That was really a huge deal for me and showed his true character even when it was possible that he could lose his main sponsor. His part that year in Shakedown was all time. Thanks for that one JP. Another thing that is really surprising is that JP cares so much about snowboarding and will go to any extreme to help his friends land tricks. He does not have to do that but he wants to see them progress and see the sport progress. He is in it for the love. What standout
Some of my favorite shots of JP include when he back lipped the Mueller in “Decade” That shot in black and white Super 8 film had a lot of feeling. His front 3 in Simple Pleasures because that was our first time to AK and we pissed off the heli guides so much by hiking that jump and not doing pow runs.
The rock ride in True Life because that was so punk rock with all the trees in the run out. In Shakedown his switch front board down the kink rail which was the first shot and the double cork ender shot because… duh. I could go on and on but just watch his parts and get stoked.
“His motivation has been a huge part of the overall progression of the sport” What most
JP done differently you have worked
JP obviously is one of the greatest snowboarders to ever strap a board onto his feet. Talent aside the main thing that is different about JP is that he has been able to maintain his original integrity towards his progression in snowboarding and to the progression of the sport in general. It’s truly amazing that he has maintained that level of commitment for this long. He knows what is relevant in snowboarding and he has pushed himself to stay at the top of his game since he started riding. His motivation has been a huge part of the overall progression of the sport.
How in your opinion has JP opened the door for other snowboarders in the progress department? Of course JP opened the doors of progression. He built the house and put the door in then opened it for everyone else to come in. He has been at the forefront of so much pivotal stuff its unreal. You really have to go back and look at his video parts from day 1 to see what he has done for the sport. Start out with Whitey’s “Warriors” and then go into the MDP archive to begin with. My favorite thing about JP’s riding is how he stomps stuff down. Whether he is in the backcountry blasting cliffs and kickers or in the streets destroying whatever is in front of him he freaking stomps. That is the mark of a truly special talent. Lots of guys can land stuff if they try it enough times but check the look on their face when they land. Shock or surprise is what I usually see. JP on the other hand is so in tune with his riding that he knows he is going to stomp long before he has even started his trick. Just check out how hard he stomps. You don’t do that unless you have the talent and the mental game that he has. My second favorite thing about JP’s riding is that he can ride anything. He is a complete snowboarder who can rip Pipe, Park, Rails, Walls, Kickers, Pow, Cliffs etc… That is not easy to do and hopefully will be an inspiration to the younger generation. It would be great to see more all around snowboarders come up.
DOUBLE CORK UTAH BACKCOUNTRY / 2003 / MACK DAWG: SHAKEDOWN / DOUBLE CORK
I broke my jaw on the first day of pow filming for Shakedown back in 2003. Luckily I had a few shots already logged but they were mostly handrail clips so when I had to take 6 weeks off right in the middle of the pow season to heal up I was starting to stress out. Filming for Shakedown was a big deal not just because it was going to be another heavy line up of shreds for MDP lead by Sean Kearns but also because I sided with MDP in a difference of opinion with Forum snowboards about what was best for myself and the company in regards to a new movie project. I pulled out of the Video Gangs project to stay true to MDP and if I didn’t come through with a banger part who know what Forum would have done with me. The first day back on snow filming after my jaw incident was in the Utah backcountry with Jeremy Jones, Chris Brown, Seth Huot, Mitch Nelson and few others for a rare late season pow dump. I already knew how to double cork in my head as I tested the waters a few years back but never landed. I was under the gun to get good shots and the boys were chucking themselves to trying to finish up their sections. Without getting to into to detail I basically stomped the first double cork in three tries. It was a combination of desperation and long periods sitting on the couch mentally problem solving how to do it. As I rode out of the trick I could hear everyone screaming and I unstrapped and looked back at my filmer (Anthony Vitale) and photographer (Andy Wright) for their approval. Why where they the only ones not cheering and clapping I thought?
contemplated never this trick was going
filming to be
snowboarding again the biggest fish story
This was over 10 years ago and everything was film based. There was no such thing as playback or lcd screens to check footy. It turned out that Andy was unsure if he had got the photos because his camera started to auto rewind right when I landed. The landing and ride away frames being crucial to a sequence like this one needed to be there for proof. Andy was battling the flu and wasn’t at the top of his game and in the heat of everyone taking turns hitting the jump he possibly didn’t leave enough exposures on his roll to get the whole trick. Similarly, Anthony was a little unclear as to what was happening across the bowl from him and who was dropping next and whether or not I was even attempting something landable or just flailing. When you watch the film shot near the end before I land you can see a light leak which happens when the filmer pulls his eye off the eyepiece. Something as subtle as that could blow a shot completely. After corking the second time around Anthony almost pulled off the camera anticipating another bail. So after an unquestionable stomp it was anyones guess as to whether or not anyone got any documentation of it. It takes a few weeks to get movie film processed and I think the lab where Andy got his stuff developed was closed or it was a weekend or something so I basically gave myself an ulcer waiting to get word if there was anything there for weeks while I contemplated never filming snowboarding again and how this trick was going to be the biggest fish story ever about the one that got away. Thank god they both got it - JP.
Anothony Vitale has been filming snowboarding for close to 20 years now, from early Whiskey days Anthony has seen it all go down in snowboarding. We spoke with him about the infamous double cork footage drama and how filming has changed over time. BLUNTER: So Anthony, you were the one that filmed JP’s double cork in MDP’s Shakedown. JP said that after he landed the trick that the filmer and photographer were completely silent. Can you describe in a few words what happened that day? ANTHONY VITALE: We set up to shoot and I don’t remember who it was, but one or two of the riders decided not to hit the jump. This freed up some sleds to shuttle JP, Jeremy and another rider back up to the in run really fast. As soon as I was done winding my Bolex camera there was another rider ready to drop in. At this fast pace I was going to burn through a lot film and this would have made me hold everybody up to reload. I didn’t want to make these guys wait, so I started to shut my camera down as soon as I thought they were not going to land. I couldn’t hold up the session to keep reloading so I needed to save film. When JP tried his first couple attempts it looked to me that he was just feeling it out, so I was ready to shut down as fast as I could. Then, on his landed double cork, I was on my way to shutting down and in a split second he brought it around and landed it! I knew I had got the shot but I was worried that I eased up to reach for my trigger and didn’t frame the shot and ride out properly. That’s why I was so quiet. What
It might have come in from my eyepiece. When I reached for my trigger I think I pulled my eye from the eyepiece. If light enters your eyepiece when shooting with a 16mm camera you can get burns on your negative.
you understand while you
JP was filming
No. If I did I would have realized that he was actually pretty close on his first couple attempts. Looking through those old cameras was a challenge, they are dark and the viewfinder is tiny, so from my angle it looked like he wasn’t going to land it. It was pretty amazing to see him bring it around and stomp it. To this day, its probably one of the most monumental shots of my career.
I really didn’t miss the transfer on purpose, but it caused more stress. It was funny when the call came in that the shot was there. It was pretty funny watching Kearn’s face. Describe the old 16mm style filming of how you could never instantly see what you filmed compared to today’s digital age where you can see the shot as soon as you film it?
“it was pretty amazing to see him bring it around”
I think not being able to see the shot right after was worse for the riders than it was for the filmers. The riders would have nothing to look at, so they had to really trust that the filmer got it. Being able to see the shot right after is something that has really helped with the whole process.
So you weren’t sure if you had actually got the shot or not? Can you describe the stress you went through before the shot got developed and transfered?
Looking back at that day and that shot, do you feel that JP has got the recognition he has deserved for landing the first double cork?
I knew I got the shot. Kearns was the director of Shakedown so he was the one that was extremely stressed. He told me “If you missed that shot you are fucking fired”! In those days we would wait until we had a big batch of film and then transfer it all at once. There had been at least a few weeks gone by before we sent everything off. The filmers would have to box up their film and send it to San Francesco to get processed and transferred. For some reason I missed the cut off and my rolls of film didn’t make it in time. Kearns got even more stressed, as it was another month till we saw the shot. He thought I missed the transfer on purpose to buy some time before I got “fucking fired.”
That’s a tough question. He is a legend so I’d like to think so. You don’t get legend status with out being recognized. The thing with JP is that that double cork was one of many things that he did that was very important for the progression of the sport. He’s incredibly talented. How ing
has changed in
snowboard the last 10
For me, not so much. I still try and spend as much time as I can in the backcountry. There’s definitely way more people doing it now though as the equipment to shoot has become way more accessible.
BLUNTER: attempts at
seeing JP’s you understand what
first he was
JEREMY JONES: yes 100% we all used to chuck this exact trick off the 3 windlip at brighton and land on our backs, probably for 3 years in a row we were doing that. JP took it serious at the end of one of those sessions and said to me. “I think Im gonna try that on a bigger jump and try to land, its right there I can feel like” Do filmer
What are some of JP’s bangers that stand out in your mind and why? HardWay cab 270 on muller. It was bolts done perfect in a short time and on a classic rail. I know he pulled inspiration from me doing the back 270 to lip (a first) also, he upped it to add to (the firsts) in the streets that day. He again did this so quick. I wanna say it was 5 tries. That was stepping up the standard alot!! Hammer!
Any other comments tricks,your relationship
Yes, pissing their pants cause film was rewinding and the film roll in the 16 ran its length its flapping inside the casing. Those dudes had to bleed pain from there souls for a hot minute, it was awesome! Do you feel it he deserves for
that JP landing that
gotten almost 10
SEAN KEARNS: That was one of those Best and Worst times in my life incident’s. In my Opinion, Forum had decided to split from MDP and start their own film company because they discovered alcohol at a very late date and were looking for anybody and anyone to blame their problems on . JP knew that what MDP had to offer couldn’t be thrown together in a few months and he also was loyal to the people who help make his career possible. Mike Mcentire being at the top of that list. JP was in the middle of signing the biggest contract of his career with Forum and he stood beside Me and MDP even though it could have jeopardized his future deal. Balls out shit!. Can you elaborate on how stressful it was that Anthony may have missed the shot? Well JP had done more than his part and was helping with all kind of edit’s throughout the year we felt an enormous amount of self inflicted pressure to not fuck up. This was not an option.
How would you Anthony actually did Like
it that snowboard
can ad about him or even
the above personally?
felt if Is that shot still legit by todays standards? the shot? That thing is flawless. Perfection. good friend.
“JP was in the middle of signing the biggest contract of his career with Forum and he stood behind me and MDP even though it could of jeopardized his future deal. Balls out shit” Why film
Jp is a simple dude for the most part. He has focus on getting things done proper and with a steady grace. He’s been a friend to me that words don’t explain. We have been through brands, films, contests, friends, crews, girlfriends, wifes, skateboarding, bike riding, working and experimenting and testing everything we can to make the industry think about our idea or hate us cause we pulled it off and it worked. You see where this is going? I love the kid! I believe JP to be the most talented human that has stepped on a snowboard, period!
I feel like he got it then for sure! It was a game changer. However it faded quick into the “versions” of a double cork and even with some of the young kids I film with now, they are clueless who did this first. BLUNTER: So Kearns you were the director of Shakedown and this was the year that Forum did a team movie. JP chose to not film for Forum that year and stay loyal to you and Mack Dawg.With JP not filming for the Forum Movie, can you describe that year a bit and the pressure you were under to help JP film a great part?
range of people they spit out is pretty pathetic actually. I try educate and help them understand some history.
you don’t movies
What makes JP different than other pro riders in his personality and his riding? He know’s what he want’s and how to get it. What makes him different is I think he knows what other guy’s on the crew want and he will do every thing in his power to help them get it as well. Selflessness comes to mind. What are some of JP’s hammers in his career that stand out in your mind and why? A trick called the “Paul pulled in Burlington a few In your contributed
Wood” he years back.
what has JP day snowboarding?
make or anymore? I don’t think that could be put into words.
I was in a car accident 5 years ago Any other comments, quotes or stoand since then I have felt like shit. ries that you would like to ad on JP? Motivating and travelling the world with a group of high octane athlete’s is not in I miss JP and all the shit we used to get into. my repoutuore right now. Next question.
BLUNTER: JP explained that he almost got an ulcer waiting for the photos to get back from the lab. Do you recall going through similar stress waiting for the photos to get developed? ANDY WRIGHT: I was definitely tripping out for a few days. I think we shot that on a Saturday so I couldn't take film in until the following Monday. I had crafted a series of excuses to give in case I had missed the ride out frames, but luckily none were needed. Explain what you felt when you got the photos and you were sure you got it. I remember getting a stack of slide sheets back that day but somehow grabbed the made sequence first from the pile and being so relieved in the photo lab that I didn't even look at the rest of the slides I was picking up. You have a pretty long history in shooting snowboarding for the fact that 35mm film was the standard when you picked up a camera. How has digital helped your game and what do you miss about film? Digital has helped every photographer improve on some level. There's just no better way to fine tune your skill than seeing instant results and being able to make adjustments while you are in the moment. It's also changed the world of photo management, where i can now send photos from my laptop wherever i am in the world hours after shooting the images. I do miss some things about film, most notably the moment of when you pick your order up at the lab and you get to see all the magic reveal ittsself. All this blind trust went into these little cansiters and this tool you ran them through.
Do you feel that JP has got the credit served for landing the first double cork
that he has dein snowboarding?
Not even close. It's maybe one of the only tragedies of his great career. It's almost 2013 and still to this day the mark for which cheesewedge obsessed snowboarders are measured is their double cork. There are hall-of-fame-bound legends of the sport who are just in the past few season landing their first double corks. JP did it without any video to show him how it's done or even more important, that it could be done. There were no air bags to practice it on. And to be quite honest no real pressure to go out and do something like this. He could have easily cruised by with his already deep bag of tricks and rested his career on his huge lead in jibbing he had at that time. Beside the double er you shot them
cork, what shots or not) stand out
JP (whethyour mind?
That first nose press on a rail, I think it was at Mueller Park outside of Salt Lake, completely blew me away. It seems so basic now, but at the time my mind was melted, no body was doing anything close to this. Jibbing was purely a novelty, I mean Terje was doing rails a few years before that. To me, that nosepress showed me that now that this had been done it was only a matter of time before every skateboard trick in the book would go down on rails someday. I'm no expert, but as far as I can tell, that statement has been true for some time now.
THE FIRST DOUBLE CORK
“he’ll most likely be remembered as this urban snowboarding legend when in fact he comp
pletely changed the game for the whole other half of snowboarding as wellâ€œ - Andy Wright
WALL TO WALL
DENVER, CO / 2007 / MACK DAWG: PICTURE THIS / WALL TO WALL RODEO Mid winter 2007 I was home in SLC gearing up for a film trip when my Dad came my house for a visit. He looked visibly ill and against his wishes I immediately stopped packing and took him to the hospital. After a few hours of tests the doctors were pretty sure he had pancreatic cancer and with that news I basically wrapped up my film season. Luckily I already logged a few clips early in the year so I wouldn’t have just completely disappeared from the public eye that season. Filming at a street spot in Denver with Eddie Wall, Stevie Bell and Pat Moore we ended up at a random school yard that had a few options to jib. Eddie sized up a small close out rail but at this point in my snowboarding career looking for the least obvious feature was how I liked to do things. There was a strange piece of architecture under that rail Eddie was hitting and I couldn’t stop obsessing about it. It was a brick wall with an open ended acute angle with another wall of bricks jutting out of the corner. There was a downhill strip of grass that flattened out before the wall setting up a perfect natural runway. I didn’t know what to do with it but I could’t stop thinking about it. I got out my board and tucked into the little triangle space and started to try and visualize different tricks. I looked at doing some airs and maybe a handplant but it started to look like a frontside rodeo flip might actually line up in there. Maybe it was because just the year before I had launched a wall ride rodeo flip off another wall or maybe just because I like that trick, but for whatever the reason I started to do the geometry in my head to make it work. I set up the tranny to the wall as much as I could that night because I wanted it to freeze up and take shape overnight before I rode it.
“I was upside down way but then riding
in a labyrinth of bricks flipping one out in a completely different direction”
I sprinkled some left over water from some water bottles onto it to help ice it down. Transition stuff always takes a beating and I knew a proper take off would be key to launch and flip in control from one wall and to land on another. We came back to the school late the next day after seasoning a few other spots and I started to work out the speed and pop. I had to drift it a bit alley-oop to land back in the pocket and get a piece of the ride out tranny I put in. It was weird to pop the trick inside that little space. The first few times I half tried it but stopped mid rotation to cover my head. It felt like I was going to run into the other wall head first. I felt like a human pinball getting launched into a brick bumper. It was also tricky because I had to ride up as close to the wall that stuck out as possible to line up the trick but without smashing my face, knees or shoulder on it. All while not actually looking at because I had to focus on the other wall and where to go up it. I tired a good handful of tries and, in what seems so cliche, it came down to the last try before it was too dark for Rob Mathis to shoot a sequence. Something that this trick obviously needed to be properly documented. The next go was a make right as the sun went down. Everyone tripped out. I almost surprised my self riding out as it was so awkward and quick. I was upside down in a labyrinth of bricks flipping one way but then riding out in a completely different direction. It was only one of about 8 shots I got on film that year. I wasn’t going to ride for Forum any more and I hit up Jeremy to see if he wanted any bro shots for his video part his was working on that season for MDP’s Picture This. He was stoked and I got the clips in and a few weeks later Brad Kremer let me know that they wanted to use the clips and film a special piece to tie me into the video. I was stoked they made a spot for me in their video and the clip came at the end of Jeremy’s section at the end of the movie. I couldn’t have asked for a better place for that shot to end up after they way my season came to an end so unexpectedly. - JP
Rob Mathis has been shooting with JP for pretty much his whole career which now spans over 20 years. If you remember any iconic shots published of JP over the years, chances are that Rob Mathis was the behind the scenes guy that was there to shoot it. Rob has been shooting snowboarding for a good part of two decades now. Before picking up a camera to shoot snowboarding, Rob could be found at the local vert ramp grinding in his smelly Rectors or pulling egg plants.(your probably too young for that.) Rob's skateboard experience transfers well in trick knowledge and "knowing the angles" when shooting snowboarding and JP's skateboard influenced approach. BLUNTER: I heard that it was getting too dark to shoot the sequence and typically he got it just as the sun set. anything you’d like to mention about that? ROB MATHIS: When JP started setting up this wall to wall shot, I was starting to freak out a bit. It was already getting late in the day, and the spot he was setting up was even darker. These days it would be no problem, but the digital cameras were no where near as good as they are now. The first couple attempts it was still lit fairly well, but the sun was fading quick. I knew if he got the trick he wasn’t going to come back and get it when the light was better. Typical JP, as soon as the light was getting too bad to shoot... boom, stomps it perfect. I can say over all the years shooting with JP there have been very few times where we left something without a shot after he started trying a trick. Looking back at that wall ride, do you see it as JP opening up the doors and showing others what is possible? We had been shooting another feature at this school when JP started putting up a transition to a wall. Honestly when I saw him setting it up I had no idea what the hell he was trying. These days you see this stuff a lot, but back then it was definitely next level. Not too many people know JP has transition skills and has always been able to throw down in the pipe.
This wall to wall showed both JP’s unique style of riding and ability to do what few others have ever been able to accomplish. I have so many great memories shooting with JP, I’ll give you a couple of my favorites.
“Typical JP, as soon as the light was getting too bad to shoot.... boom, stomps it perfect” After all of your years shooting with JP, what are some of the standout bangers that you’ve shot with him? The one I still get asked about to this day is the red kink rail in Buffalo. It was his True Life ender. He was getting whipped in with a super short runway to a gnarly kink rail. I kept getting farther and farther away trying to get a different angle of the trick, by the time he landed it I was so far away he couldn’t hear the holler’s after he stomped.In 2002 we weren’t doing a Forum video, but JP wanted to get a backlip on a downtown SLC rail. It was a heavy rail and JP was trying to lock in a backside lip.I wanted to make the shot look more skate style and my favorite frame was the shot before he landed on the rail.
It was a perfect backlit and to this day one of my favorite shots. Looking back at that wall rodeo sequence now, do you see it as one of the last things JP shot on a Forum Board? I would say more his Future mag cover, f/s 270. It was a grey flat day, but the trick was next level. This shot more than any is my last Forum memory shot. He put down a perfect f/s 270 in only a few tries. The funny thing with the shot is it was turned down by a couple mags and I asked JP if it was cool if I sent it to Future. I didn’t think anymore about the shot until I got the call that it was a gatefold cover. I was told later it was one of their best selling issues. Sequences on covers almost never happen. What do you like most about shooting with JP? Rob Mathis: The thing I like best about shooting with JP is I always know I’m going to get an A+ image. He’s not going to phone it in with a stock trick. It was stressful shooting with JP because if you miss the shot he’s not going to go fake a shot so you can get the still He kept me on point and trusted me to get the shot. It makes you feel real good that he’s calling you to get the shot, it’s a mutual trust and I feel extremely lucky I was able to shoot JP for as many years as I did!
“I can remember after seeing it done all I could think was how the shit did he think of doing that?” - Pat Moore
BUNTER: How can you describe the way that JP looks at features and terrain? PAT MOORE: JP always has something up his sleeve, I feel like he is constantly looking for something new. Innovation is the main motive behind a lot of his tricks, whether he’s being the first to do a trick on a normal feature like a down rail, or riding a feature that no one has thought to ride yet. Did this trick open up the door for other wall tricks? I don’t think anyone has caught up to that shit yet, but ya that trick was one of many wall ride tricks that gave inspiration to a lot of riders.
other things you can ad What are some of JPs heaviest shots you remember? Any from what went down that day? C’mon I’m like a fuckin library in this department. There’s just so many. True Life- Front seven melon The day was super weird, we were filming this step and cab nine tail - both so steezy, gap to back up to rail at some school and JP wasn’t really into it. lip - no one was gapping that big back then, We were getting some shots but not anything epic, especially not to back lips. The Resistance then he had me whip him into this corner of the buildbackside 50-50 pop over drop, I had ing and I really had no idea what he was looking at. never seen anything like that before. We went down and put up a transition on the walls Technical Difficulties Underflip 7 to switch un- and I remember him saying he was gunna rodeo from derflip 7 in the pipe nobody does those like JP. one to the other, and I still had no idea what he was Shakedownfrontboard through the talking about. The sun was setting and we rushed to kink, switch cab hardway 270, and dou- get set up, I think it only took him 2 or 3 tries to get ble cork ender- that whole part is insane. it, and I can remember after seeing it done all I could His cab 9 in That was insane and I was there for think was how the shit did he think of doing that? it, one of thos moments for sure!
“Who the fuck goes for back ten tail on a straight step down?” - Lauri Heiskari
BACKSIDE 1080 WHISTLER BACKCOUNTRY / 2008 / MACK DAWG: DOUBLE DECADE / BS 1080
My first year on StepChild and ThirtyTwo after leaving Forum and Special Blend had a monumental list of reasons as to why I needed to have a good video part. Add in the fact that I was filming for Double Decade, MDP’s 20th year release and the last video they would make, as well as the passing of my father a few weeks prior and the situation could’t have been more pivotal. I’ve been filming in the Whistler backcounty for a long time and there are some jumps out there that will make you second guess your reasons for being a professional. The Forum Stepdown can be one of these jumps depending on conditions and what you want to try off it. I’d hit it before back in 2001 and since then it has become a go to for any film crew seeking an A grade shot or a rider that is in need of a steep landing with some solid hang time. I’d done a backside 720 tail grab off it before so I new it lined up to spin backside good for a regular footer. Before I even got to whistler that year I’d already done the trick thousands of times in my head. Adding on another 360 to the 720 I did almost 10 years ago seemed highly doable even though 900s were the max anyone had ever done off it. I wanted that trick off that jump for lots of reasons. Almost everything has been done off it and to upgrade it to a new level on a jump with the name Forum in the title would be a solid statement and It was an ender clip for sure. I went there one day with Devun, Ikka and Eero and we set it up but never hit it because the clouds rolled in. The next weather window came a week later and I got 2 tries at it and landed one for a few feet before falling and then the clouds closed us out again.
basically feels the top of
you are planet.”
After sitting and waiting for about another week we were there again. This time I was with, Lauri, Eero and Ikka. I launched it once and was a little slow on the rotation but I knew exactly how to do it now. The boys rotated through and it was my turn again. The weather changes quick in the northwest, especially at the top of a mountain. The start of the runway to that jump is one of the highest peaks up there and it basically feels like you are jumping off the top of the planet. The haze was moving in and I would probably only get a few more chances at it this day before the landings were gone or the light was too flat. Luckily one more go was all i needed. I put it down and rode dead straight as the whole year and season came rushing into my soul and then suddenly lifted after I came to a stop. Two weeks of waiting and building and in the end I only went off it 4 tries. The patience you need to film there is the hardest thing but if you can deal with it you will get hammers. I was at the bottom of the landing far from the guys up top and the guys shooting from across the ridge. My head was in my hands and a few tears came out while I took a moment to gather myself before unstrapping. It was like at that moment I landed that I felt all the doubt was gone and all the decisions I’d made were the right ones and all the haters were silenced. I wanted to use the photos for a StepChild poster and print ad and Johnson came up with the tag line “they said he was washed.” After the ad dropped Forum called Johnson to debate the issue stating that they never said that about me. We never said that Forum said it, only that “They”, meaning anyone that has ever doubted or has thought I didn’t have anything left in the tank, was clearly wrong and needed to stop stressing about my age, my sponsors, what size pants I wear or anything else they think is a reason for me to hang it up. - JP
I was really stoked on this sequence for the fact that it was going to be JP’s first StepChild ad with us and it was shot on a jump in Whistler called “The Forum Step Down.” I remember I wanted to put “THEY SAID HE WAS WASHED!” really big in the ad. We wanted the ad to grab as much attention as possible and make a big statement towards the people that have doubted JP and his riding abilities. This was one of my favorite ads that we have ever done. When JP left Forum there were a lot of doubters and haters saying he was done. The sequence in this ad proved he was still at the peak of his game. After the ad came out, Bryan Knox, the Forum Team Manager at the time, called me and he was pissed and swearing on the phone. I’ve known Bryan for years and consider him a friend so I couldn’t help but laugh when he called. I was just like “Where did it say Forum in the ad Bryan?” It really wasn’t directed at Forum but I guess people interpret things however they see it. I’m sure this was also a sensitive time at Forum with most of the riders and employees leaving after the Burton acquisition. The irony in this for me is the fact that JP is still riding at a professional level and Forum is now gone with the wind. - Sean Johnson
BLUNTER: When you were on Forum did you sometimes trip filming with JP from being a little kid growing up and watching the snowboard movies? LAURI HEISKARI: till trip when ever I see him..I don’t think I’ll ever get used to it. It’s definitely always a privilege to get to ride with Jp in your crew and you hope that some of his terrain knowledge sticks with you too. He knows what tricks will work on certain features. So you were there the day JP did this 1080. Can you tell me a bit about that day and briefly what went down? It was my first time even seeing the jump live,I was with Jp and eero and it was 7 in the am,freezing cold and windy.so I’m standing on top of the thing looking down at this big step down and eero is like,”well..most of the tricks have been done on this jump already so I’m going for a switch back nine...” and Jp says, “I’m going for a back ten.” So I’m in my head thinking what the fuck am I doing here with these guys?
I feel stiff as shit and it’s way too early to be JP said this jump from the in run looks like you are throwing yourself down from the top of the world. jumping off the end of the earth. What is the in run like on this and what’s it like watching someWhere were you when this trick one hit this from the top knowing you are next? went down and did you see it? Yea you are standing on one of the highest peaks in I was directly on top of the thing right next brandywine..it’s always windy there and cold and to the take off and saw the whole thing. you have to hit the jump first thing in the morning because of the way it’s facing the light.Theres a little snake run and almost a straight take off and u can’t see the landing of course. You just see this flat section u need to clear and a steep landing behind it.it doesn’t look like a fun jump from the top of it.
“I feel stiff as shit and it’s way too early to be throwing yourself from the top of the world.”
What are some of the tricks JP has done that have stood out in your mind over the years?
you tell that JP was going to land That bs 1080 tail definitely,the first douafter his first couple attempts? ble cork,cab nine over da kine gap,first front board trough a kink...the list goes on.. I thought he landed his second try..he almost nailed it the first time even trying the trick..who the fuck goes for back ten tail on a straight step down? Could this
â€œThe best dudes out there go first and cut the trail for everyone else to followâ€? - Jeremy Jones
RAIL GARDENS RAIL GARDENS, SLC / 2008 / STEPCHILD: THIS VIDEO SUCKS / SW BS 270
The video parts were getting well into the double digits and I needed something to stoke me out and to get me motivated for the season. I was filming for This Video Sucks and I had dreams to film every trick switch for my part. It was early in the year film wise and I had come back to SLC from a rail trip in Canada to hook up with Jeremy and Seth for a bro session at the Rail Gardens. We were all filming for different projects that year but that didn’t stop us from filming together or helping each other out when we got the chance. I had a switch back 270 in mind for a while for the gap rail at the Rail Garden. I’d seen Jeremy do a back 2 on it so I knew it was doable. Jeremy and Seth both had tricks on deck that day and Seth did a switch 50-50, which is probably the hardest trick really done there, and Jeremy did a switch frontside 270. Both were rock solid and now it was my turn. I had an appointment later that day but I wanted to at least get in a few ride ups and jump over the rail so I could marinate the trick mentally when I came back the next day to film it.
This Video Sucks trick switch
I launched a switch 360 over the rail and Seth and Jeremy convinced me to put it up. I was hesitant because I didn’t want to get into a battle and have to leave for my appointment mid trick with no make. They had me feeling pretty confident so I went up there and decided to square it up. Everything was perfect, Jeremy was filming me from one angle, Seth was regulating traffic and the speed and the runway/jump were all broken in. I put it up and squared it off the end of the rail. Problems solved. I didn’t know it at the time but that would be my ender for my part and I would end up getting enough footage for an all switch video part to close the video. It was a good day and a good season. Seth and Jeremy also both had ending video parts that year and I felt proud and stoked for them. It was cool to know that even without filming together all season we each had enough experience and skill to all come up with good enough footy for closing parts. Especially for bunch of bitter old men.
BLUNTER: You were there with Jeremy the day that JP did that SBS 270 on the rail gardens gap. What went down that day with all you guys getting bangers? SETH HUOT: That day was pretty sick We were all filming for different projects that year and all happened to be back in SLC around the Christmas break so we crewed up for a Rail Garden session. I did gap switch 50, Jones did gap Cab 270, and Jp did switch backside 270. How many tries did it take JP to get it? I want to say within 3 tries he got it. A couple switch back threes over the rail then he put on the sw back 2 and it was done... hammer.
Jeremy Jones is one of JPs closest friends and alongside JP revolutionised jibbing. We got to sit down with Jeremy to hear his experiences snowboarding with JP BLUNTER: You and JP have sessioned the Rail Garden for years. Looking back now, are you surprised at the level of tricks that have gone down there in the last 5 years? JEREMY JONES: Not surprised at all, kids are here to send it and be better that what was before them. Its pretty rad to see! There are kids out there that are ripping and it’s 100% respected! What in your mind is the heaviest trick that has gone down at the rail garden? Thats really subjective, simple because the hammers that have gone down there are so close in hammer quality, so close it has to come straight down to the dude reviewing it, if that’s me right now then Probably Seth gapping out to switch 50-50. nothing “fancy” they might say. But so bolts keeping it all straight and switch, Beast!
Only that we kind of feel a close connection to it because we de-knobbed it and opened it up to hit. How been
many years hitting the
you guys gardens?
I mean yeah for sure, kids are fucking gnarly. Every ski resort has a down bar and a kink rail and endless options so kids just lap and get comfortable with tricks and it doesn’t seem to phase them to take it to a street spot. When we came up park rails were so wack and we had to go places like the Rail Gardens or build our own rail spots to learn and progress, or just try to learn a trick while filming. The progression curve is way quicker now with all of the accessibility.
I’ve been going there since ‘99 I think. We used to meet there to warm up then go film spots. That place is so rad SLC wouldn’t be the same without it, snowboarding wouldn’t be the same without it.
If rails aren’t getting bigger then what direction do you see the progression going?
Are you ever surprised by the tricks that are now going down on rails or do
Riding with JP throughout the years, what do you respect about his riding the most?
Some people don’t see much differences between your riding style and JP’s. How do you see your riding style as different from his?
He’s the best there is. That deserves my respect at its fulluest. But, JP sees things others don’t and he is patient, he can resist and wait through the panic we all get when we get hyped on a feature or trick. HE waits until its the right time. then he Murk’s! No time wasted!
“He is the best there is” How do you see how you guys have helped each other become better snowboarders throughout the years? The same I think as other homies do, we just push each other by props and not letting eachother “settle” or claim “its good enough” there was never any of that growing up. “do your best fool, and that isn’t it, go again”. This is how we played, we always knew how to get the other to do better without being dicks. It was calm and subtle. But you would know when a trick didn’t pass
and creativity. something new
We both love the streets! Thats our preferred environment so to that regard there is similarities for sure. Our snowboading is not the same at all. We practice and do alot of the same tricks with each other, he has me on this I have him on that but then come go time and the camera is rolling JP and I have always made a clear split. Now, its about the shot or the Part. nobody knows your idea for you part better than you. I might have helped JP setup a feature all night only having a small idea of his plan, based on my knowledge of his current riding set. Then its ON and JP will dip in his bag and pull out something he had been working on and in most cases it gets put to rest in a timely fashion. Its always been this way, our tricks we film have crossed paths a few times over 15 years, but you definitely know who your watching on the screen.
FISHING IS THE NEW OWNING A MOTORBIKE
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