Published in Onboard Magazine Issue 117, November 2010
Words: Danny Burrows
Sometimes being a hack in snowboarding can be a real ball-ache, especially when it comes to the interviewing of snowboarding’s paid ‘professionals’. Its not that they’re intentionally coy or elusive; no, the problem is that ‘professional’ as an adjective used in conjunction with snowboarders is about as fitting as rad is to rollerbladers - they just don’t fit (this is a sweeping sleep driven generalization for humours sake rather than sound, informed journalism).
I’m not referring to their unquestionable abilities while strapped in. I mean to compare them with ‘conventional’ sporting folk or to expand further, to the professionalism of the lithe Adonis, on a diet of carbs and cardio-exertion who are trained in the art of oily charm before the cameras. Contrast this with the reality of your average pro ripper for whom media is an annoyance and training involves mucking about on the hill throwing shapes that if a dance would be more raver than Torvil and Dean. And as for their routine of health, exercise and abstinence I am not sure that knocking the back out of groupies and a fish’s thirst for alcohol counts.
So when it came to me squeezing words of wisdom from (insert name of rider here) I wasn’t thinking Frost and Nixon. In fact I wasn’t thinking at all. For starters, as I write this he would be straining through summer training – a euphemism for getting pissed and surfing – and the most I hoped to get was garbled pleasantries in a virtual interrogation cell on Facebook. And secondly, Frost and Nixon might have something more to tell me than how bloody good the waves that I might be missing were.
BUT WAIT. HOLD THE PRESS.
I move through a labyrinth of concrete tunnels that fizz with florescent light and through which the sound of a snowboard contest clacks thinly, like music from the unworn headphones on my desk.
He’s in here somewhere.
I feel feral with the need to track down my interviewee - nerves wriggle and jump like a bag of condemned puppies.
Identical doors stretch down the tunnels, behind each I find faceless strangers in dressing rooms who gawp back at me but no (name of rider) or blackness without shape or depth.
I know he is here.
Tom, Onboard’s English editor, appears pushing a pram and tells me without me asking that he doesn’t know where the aforementioned rider is. That’s weird exclaims waking mind.
I turn to find myself sitting in a clown’s police uniform, holding scratched sketches on parchment, Futura like; the type skaters call art.
“Dude the guy in there is going to fuck you up" a Steve McQueen-in-Papillon-look-alike confides nodding in the direction of the cell door between our benches.
My head’s swimming.
Someone lifts me by my elbow and I move into a claustrophobic cell. A screen flicks on the wall showing (insert rider name here) slashing a face of Absinthish pow. On the walls are more Uncle figures scrawled in florescent pen – the Xerox of those which I carry in my hands – I get it they are (riders name) tattoos.
“He isn’t in," says a voice above me.
I look up and out to a tarpaulin blue sky where a synthetic tune is finding a foothold in the air.
Bugger it’s my alarm.
I’m awake but my eyes are blind behind closed lids. My brains live but isolated in a body that still asleep.
It’s only the alarm that reaches in, as consciousness drowns the fading shadows of sleep.
Too much thinking and not enough doing is a bad thing.
Bring on the season.