Riders Who Simply DGAF

There is a monumental difference between being a calculated rider, and a bat shit crazy rider. Whilst you need some elements of an institutionalised inmate to be a decent rider, you can mainly split people into these two groups. Think watching Christian Haller in the pipe versus someone like Coonman, and the difference becomes clearer.

Both have their place in snowboarding, and personally, I prefer the cold calculated precision element of snowboarding; the control of it all. That said, if there waa an opportunity to travel back in time and watch Farmer do the Baker Gap sans shirt, I’d be the first in the DeLorean in full 80’s getup

We’ve mainly split the criteria for entry into the hallowed DGAF halls as riders whose snowboarding is loose as fuck and as entertaining to watch as Robbie Madison headed towards the wave from the Perfect Storm; and those who’s personality occasionally writes cheques the body has to cash, much to the dismay of their liver.

Without further ado, here are some riders that are looser than a paper bag caught in the wind. Scroll on…

Kazuhiro Kokubo

Kazu in Munich © Sami Tuoriniemi.

No word of a lie, at one point, we were genuinely considering making our own version of the ‘Crazy Nastyass Honey Badger’ video, but with Kazu’s riding over the top. Just imagine it

This is the is the Kazu. Watch him ride in slow motion.

He’s pretty badass. Look. He rides all over the place. ‘Whoa! Watch Out’ says that judge.

Eew, he’s got his shirt untucked. Oh! He’s slashing the lip! Oh my gosh!

Oh, the Kazu is just crazy

We could go on, but we fear we’re diverging into our own personal pleasure, and not something people would actually want to read. Kazu’s Badass factor has massively increased over the past few years – whilst he was a sweet cheeked rookie for Burton, it was a series of events that lead him to the inclusion in this list.

He was infamously barred from attending the opening ceremony of the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver by the Japanese IOC delegation after turning up at the airport with his Olympic uniform not up to IOC standards. After a press conference in which he was meant to apologise, the microphone managed to pick up Kazu’s mutterings on the situation, that then lead to the ban.

At the 2013 X Games, he put the middle finger up at the man, by literally by putting the middle up. In a TWSnow interview, he seemed to have has an existential crisis about the current state of snowboarding, and low and behold, after that, he entered one more competition and parted ways with competitive snowboarding.

Since then, he’s shed his skin and emerged as one of the most talented all-terrain destroyers in the business. Stand out sections in Capita’s ‘Defenders of Awesome’ movies, a biblical dose of board control and a history of past indiscretions firmly cement Kazu’s place as a true DGAF-er.

Don’t-Giveafuck-Ometer = 7/10

Halldor Helgason

Halldor Helgason headbanged the landing but he gave zero fucks and was sending it hard till the end. Photo: Thomas Copsey

Arguably the modern incarnation of the ‘Don’t Give A Fuck-er’ would be Mr Halldor Helgason, we reckon it would also be fair to say, a large part of his success comes from his laissez-faire attitude to it all. Hell, he even started Lobster Snowboards, 7/9/13, Switchback Bindings and Atrip off the back of it.

That’s in no way to say that his riding is sub-par, hell, watching Halldor dropping into any slopestyle course on television is like throwing firecrackers into a ball pit full of snakes, you just know you’re about to watch something special. Anyone who was watching the 2011 Air & Style Munich can attest to this as Halldor unleashed the Lobster Flip (Double Backside Rodeo 1260).

It doesn’t even have to be a super tech, never been done before kind of trick for Halldor to sprinkle his magic on though. First run at the X Games Big Air in 2014, he squeezed out every inch of muscular supple-ty for a megatron of a method.

When a man’s motto is ‘first or last’ you know you’re onto a winner. Besides, you never want to win qualifications…

Throw in equal part of regurgitated stomach bile in edits, the fact he went for a kebab after he broke his ankle in competition in Norway, THAT backflip, the wanking double backie and a plethora of other events, you have yourself a certified BA mother-ucka.

Don’t-Giveafuck-Ometer = 8/10

Xavier De Le Rue

We’d be committing a cardinal sin if we didn’t include the ol’ Xav dawg in this collection of fine snowboarders. Xavier De La Rue hasn’t so much as pushed the envelop of big mountain snowboarding, than he has burnt down the Post Office with napalm and a softly whispering gauloise.

The thing is, is that (with no offence or disrespect to the other riders) we think Xavier actually gives all the fucks. Xavier’s fully aware of the sheer madness that he’s committing to, which in this writer’s opinion is almost more respectable than riding by the seat of your pants.

To fully comprehend the consequences of what you’re doing? Fuck, that’s short-circuiting your brain kind of territory. When you get the point where you have to start riding with an ice axe so you can self-arrest if you fall because the pitch is so steep, you have to give a fuck.

Don’t-Giveafuck-Ometer = 0/10 – He gives all the fucks. Calculated snowboarding.

Romain de Marchi

Romain De Marchi sure knows how to turn it on when it’s business time. Charging hard in Haines. Photo: Oli Gagnon

Careering onto our screens in the combo of a camo suit, a pink belt and a machete, Romain De Marchi’s charge into the stratospheric heights of perception have been a staple since his Absinthe ‘Vivid’ part in 2002 – a career defining video part that still ripples through the veins of many a die hard snowboarder to this day.

Whilst you could describe Coonman as ‘fast and loose’, RDM is ‘fast and loose’ in a different way; it just looks as if that’s the way he was designed to ride. Whilst watching someone like Devun Walsh might look like Jesus, serenely walking across water, Romain is like an amphibious tank hurtling towards the shore, all guns blazing.

This mach-10 approach translates across to his extra-curricular activities, which we’ll leave out of this, but it’s the 100% high octane commitment to the line/trick/hit that he’s approaching that marks RDM out as one of the most interesting to watch. He’s like that can of Coke you dropped, but you’re not sure when it’s going to explode and unleash a sticky havoc.

Don’t-Giveafuck-Ometer = 7/10

Shaun Palmer

Back in a time that a lot of snowboard people call the ‘Good Ol’ Days’ you didn’t need to drink coconut water, get up at sunrise and eat vegan grass to be a ripper snowboarder. Palmer would drink beer after stying up all night, turning up to the course half-cut and blitz 90% of his competition.

Personally, I think that Palmer and Shaun White are actually fairly similar in their ethos to their given crafts; their only goal is the absolute destruction of anyone else competing against them. This is what made Palmer a motocross champion, a snowboard legend and mountain bike hero.

This cross domination of sport was unthinkable at the time. To be fair, it’s unthinkable to this day. It sort of makes you wonder, what would have happened if he’d taken the other path? What if he’d chosen the yoga retreats and the berry smoothies?

Don’t-Giveafuck-Ometer = 10/10

Shawn Farmer

The Missouri export is one of the all time greats of snowboarding in its infant years, and it’s a personality that we’ve seen glimmers of in other people, but none could ever match the madness of Shawn Palmer.

Unlike many of today’s pre-pubescent professionals, Farmer was 27 when he took to the stage in Standard Films’ ‘Totally Board’ released in 1991. He followed that up with the infamous part in Critical Condition, complete with ‘The Farmer Rap’, a self produced track that he’d recorded for his part.

To give you a glimpse into the DGAF-ery of Farmer, this is an extract from an interview with TWSnow;

TW Snow: Why is snowboarding boring?

Farmer: It just seems stale. It’s not boring for me personally, I rode one day last year and it was great-a powder day at June Mountain-but in general, pop culture’s just got me down, man. It drives me nuts-the constant bombardment of bullshit. I hate the radio stations. Forget the TV-I’m just overwhelmed by the whole media-presence thing. I mean the mainstream shit-how there’s always a TV screen pointed at you, a chick with big tits, a snowboarder, a skateboarder. It’s just not cool anymore. I want to see something new. Anything that was ever cool-the corporate media-circus money-machine just whores it out to the level that it all disgusts me. The music, the premade look, it all sucks. Maybe I’m jaded as hell, but it’s dead. It’s all about the money-and I’m not opposed to making money. It’s something we all have in common-if we’re not making that money, we’re pissed, right?

But I’ll still stay pissed even when I have money.”

Don’t-Giveafuck-Ometer = 10/10

Ulrik Badertscher

Guess who Halldor’s favourite snowboarder is?

Ulrik Badertscher’s notorious opened out double tamedogs, the first man to send a 1620 over a kicker and a ladle of lunacy rank Ulrik pretty high on our star walk.

Unlike Halldor, we’ll say that about 100% of Ulrik’s baddass-ery comes from his riding, or at least his attitude towards riding. Just look at his face. he doesn’t give a fuck. He doesn’t give a fuck what you thought about that trick. Whether it was an abomination or not, he just sent it.

Petter Foshaug, a guy who filmed with Ulrik many times over the years, quipped: “Most of the time Ulrik has no idea what trick he’s trying. He just sends it and hopes for the best. Thing is, he’s so good that he pulls it off more often than not.

A seemingly stellar recommendation to the halls of DGAF-ers.

Don’t-Giveafuck-Ometer = 9/10

Scotty Wittlake

Equal parts pioneer in both the film world, and to extra curricular activities that he excelled at, Scotty Witlake was another one of snowboarding’s few that turned his back on it all, at the peak of his career.

In the scheme of things, does this make Scotty the most bad ass snowboarder of all time? To give up sponsors and what most people would call a ‘dream’ lifestyle, because you feel disconnected with your art? To remove yourself from what you see as a self-sustaining paradox of marketing an image?

Personally, I think so. To have it all, and to give it up to reconnect with the thing that made you the person you are is the truest form of loving something. To not chase medals, or video parts or pro models, and chase powder instead? That’s dedication. That’s love.

Scotty had an incredibly honest and insightful interview with David Benedek for his book ‘The Current State’ released a few years back. The fine folks at Huck magazine have it up on their website, and if you’re looking for a good read and an insight into the person I’d call the man who didn’t give a fuck the most, you should read it to.

Don’t-Giveafuck-Ometer = Off the fucking charts.


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