Share

Talking Points

The Wank

The Rise of Infinite Edits Of Good Snowboarding That Could Have Been Kept In The Toilet

Let’s not beat around the bush. Man or woman, having a wank is a pleasurable thing to do. It releases pressure, after all. It also requires zero effort, planning, thought, and it’s a given that you probably should think twice before letting someone other than your closest, most special friend witness you doing it. And you certainly shouldn’t be doing it in public. Alas, in many cases these days when it comes to snowboard video banged out on the internet, there’s a lot of pleasurable masturbation that should be left behind closed doors…

I remember when the internet became a thing in snowboarding. Until around 2008, the audiovisual representation of snowboarding media was almost exclusively reserved for videos – or rather DVDs at that time – that would get released once a season to great fanfare and a premiere tour that would involve swarms of frothing acolytes and plenty of free booze. It was a beautiful thing.

There would be a ‘premiere season’ where every weekend between the months of September and December another premiere party would be on the cards as yet another crew swung through town hawking the fruits of their cinematic labours. The snowboard equivalent of finding a stash of porno mags in the bushes beside the railway tracks in the 1980s. Special. Arousing. As soon as it was done you were already waiting for that day, a year hence, when you’d once again see new, fresh, inspiring snowboard video. I wanted more. You wanted more. We wanted more.

We got it.

Suddenly, almost at a flick of a Silicon Valley switch, it was like we were able to get plugged into ALL of snowboarding. It, too, was a beautiful thing. Until that point, to be able to see what the riders outside the biggest movie productions were cooking up, you had to either physically be there on the hill, or in their apartment when they played back grainy taped footage they’d got on a VCR.

To get shit seen by an audience beyond your pad or, at a push, your local bar, you had to have not only the bunch of expensive camera- and computer equipment, you needed a network of people to distribute and cheerlead your movie across the territories. People making films those days needed to be damned good at making moving pictures of snowboarding, have a cutting edge roster of riders backed up by sponsors who could support a season of full send, or be an excellent blagger. Preferably a combination of all three.

“Suddenly, almost at a flick of a Silicon Valley switch, it was like we were able to get plugged into ALL of snowboarding.”

But the mix of falling cost of equipment and the opportunity to bypass established power structures enabled the man on the hill to get involved and shake things up. To simply upload your work and let the people decide was the most empowering, THE most beautifulist of things. The true democratisation of snowboard stuff, or ‘content’ as it became known.

The first movie I remember to take advantage of this DIY ethos was Elekrep – a Finnish production pulled together by Jaako Itäaho (who’d go on to work with MDP and Burton, as well as producing Euro Gap 3) – but quickly there would be guys like the KBR crew, Ducksjen, Grindhouse and more mushrooming out of nowhere and opening windows onto riders and scenes that previously wouldn’t even have been swept under the carpet – those four walls were so exclusively sanitised that their flaking skins wouldn’t have been able to come even NEAR the floor.

It didn’t take long for individual riders to seize the opportunity either. Torstein Horgmo had his website with the infamous Game of In Your Face series (before taking the unprecedented step of dropping his NBD triple cork on there MONTHS before it would appear in his movie ‘part’ – unheard of!), the Helgason brothers would post B-shots from the road or go bonkers behind their local ice rink, and people like Kevin Bäckström came up arguably on the strength of their internet presence alone. The Full Online Part (part of what?) became a thing.

Much in the same way that bands like the Arctic Monkeys bypassed the conventions of the record industry and established an audience online, so snowboarders were doing the same. It was a brave new world. “Hey, I’m kevinbackstrom.comming” was what a young KB told his team manager who was frustrated he was still in bed, in his underpants on the computer, and not suited up ready to join a Nike shoot. It seemed funny to hear that then. It doesn’t now. Web series, online parts, good snowboarding you don’t have to buy… all at your fingertips, dropping constantly and you don’t even need to put trousers on to access them. Hooray!

“Much in the same way that bands like the Arctic Monkeys bypassed the conventions of the record industry and established an online audience, so snowboarders were doing the same.”

But sadly, like a piece of fruit left out in the sun too long, flies gathered, the beauty began to wither and it all got a bit mouldy. All of a sudden things moved from being constantly plugged into your favourite rider’s haps, to being inundated by good – but certainly not exceptional – video footage from all and sundry. And a lot of it is, well, wank.

Don’t get me wrong. I love, and will (often perhaps against my better judgement) want to champion up-and-coming Euroboarders who show some promise. I’m also conscious that I am a large part of the problem that I’m currently ranting about. We get a tonne of young bucks firing us their edits every day, of varying degrees of quality. And the thing is – whether they’re flicking my love button or making me want to write an article linking snowboarding videography and masturbation –  they generally contain pretty damned good snowboarding. But increasingly, I am – and I can tell you are, and probably even they are – becoming desensitised to all this.

Contrary to even a decade ago, nowadays there are SO many people who are bonkers good at snowboarding, and it seems all of them now make edits of their season, or even their days. It’s great, but in many ways it’s reminiscent of that quote by the wisest of the sages: Dash, from The Incredibles. “Everyone’s special,” says his mother. To which he retorts: “Which is just another way of saying no one is.”

A rider committing their best tricks to film, bundling them together and setting them to a tune heard in a skateboard video recently is a great way to clean one’s pipes, but unless the rider in question is pentacorking onto multikinked rails in a warzone, the chances are tricks alone will not be enough to titillate anyone other than themselves and their most special friends. Perhaps leaving such self-stroking on the harddrive, or the apex of the ego’s digital five-knuckle shuffles – the personal Instagram account – would be the way to go.

“Contrary to even a decade ago, nowadays there are SO many people who are bonkers good at snowboarding, and it seems all of them now make edits of their season, or even their days.”

Jerome Tanon's 'The Eternal Beauty of Snowboarding'. Most definitely NOT wank. Sage and Blake making sweet music. Photo: Jerome Tanon

If, however, someone wants to truly be special, then they need put some time, effort and WORK into their work. It shouldn’t be as easy as homie following homie through the park with a GoPro or telephone, cutting together the best tricks, and that being that. For that is pure, swift, effort-lite masturbatory pleasure and what Instagram was created for – again more power to kids doing that. It’s how you get better, getting feedback from compadres and eventually improvement in your riding.

However, I’d encourage riders to think beyond the fact you can bang one out quick and concentrate more on pleasuring your partner if you expect people outside your intimate circle to watch it. And when your partner can be the entire population of global snowboarding… well, maybe you should consider going for the flowers, the nice meal, the long walk at sunset, and the sweet nothings… rather than just knocking one out. Inject some personality, some fun, have a vision, get weird, use different lenses and angles, film a tree, film an old person gurning. Bring something new to the table.

There’s a vast ocean of people able to snowboard at such a high level these days, and the opportunity for them to get noticed is greater than ever, but trying to replicate what one’s childhood idols were doing – pull together a timeline of the best tricks done that season set to music – when you’re not JP Walker and it’s not 1997 seems increasingly to be an evolutionary dead end. With an excess of mundane edits bereft of a desire to contribute something original, then there is a real danger that anyone who DOES go all in gets lost in the relentless circle jerk of content pumping.

“Inject some personality, some fun, have a vision, get weird, use different lenses and angles, film a tree, film an old person gurning. Bring something new to the table.”

That’s not to suggest I’m railing against online parts, looking wistfully to the past and wishing we could turn back time. That’s another article entirely, but there have been plenty of internet edits in recent years that are still memorable and, basically in my opinion, not wank – Think Alex Tank’s Hypocrisa, Ethan Morgan’s Sponsor Me Tape, the Fat & Furious brothers stuff, Arthur Longo’s Side Hits Euphoria, Christian Haller’s Memoires Memoires and anything from the Yawgoons, ever…

What these and others of their non-wank ilk have in common is in that each case thought, effort, imagination, time, skill and love popped the disco biscuits and have six-wayed their path to online snowboard edit Nirvana. They’ve been the edit making equivalent of cooking a fancy dinner, turning the lights low, and cranking up Barry White.

So, yes. There’s certainly too much wank, but – male or female – as a species we like to wank; wank is nice, and as someone I know once claimed, an excellent way to pass the time on long solo drives. Instagram was built on wankers wanking, and us media types are certainly wankers who have been guilty of promoting the monkey-spanking more than we probably should.

Hey, it’s easy to get carried away! If anything we’re the biggest wankers of the lot because your wank adds to our wank, which makes a super-hyper-ultra-mega-wank that can occasionally mean that we can keep on wanking. But, to paraphrase Jerome Tanon’s The Eternal Beauty of Wanking, is wank truly beautiful?

Your parents will no doubt lie to you and say that wanking is dirty, or can make you blind. Fear not, this is not true. Wanking just means that you haven’t quite got it in you at that moment to do it properly. Try to do it properly.

Make love, not wank.

Share

Newsletter Terms & Conditions

Please enter your email so we can keep you updated with news, features and the latest offers. If you are not interested you can unsubscribe at any time. We will never sell your data and you'll only get messages from us and our partners whose products and services we think you'll enjoy.

Read our full Privacy Policy as well as Terms & Conditions.

production