At every event there is someone complaining about the judging (though, strangely, never the winner). Someone always got robbed by the judges blah blah blah. Is it true? Do the judges really suck? Do the judges really not know what they are doing and in fact the rider who didn’t win (who couldn’t see his or her runs) actually knows best? Hmmm… I would think these days, with the quality of judges, the judging systems in place and the fact that a lot of them can actually ride as well as some of the competitors, that judges on the WST actually do know what’s up. So I thought it would be cool to start meeting some of the judges who are judging this year’s World Championships of Snowboarding.
So let’s start by getting to know Mr Giom Morriset.
Giom is French Canadian and one of the WST’s judges and a part of the largest posse of judges heading to a single event for this year’s World Championships in Yabuli China. He has been a big part of snowboarding in a good way, for a long time having had parts in the Robot Food movies as well as winning major Elite Level events like the US Open Pipe and Big Air events like the Toyota Big Air back in its glory days.
What made you turn to judging after being a rider for so long?
It kinda just happened to me. My ex was getting into it and I followed – but I pursued for longer because of existing connections with organizers that I already had.
What is it that makes you stay passionate about snowboarding?
Again, seems like I didn’t choose, but it seems more like a NEED in my life.
You are known as the judge that rides the pipe every moment he can. What are your favourite tricks to watch and your favourites to do yourself?
Favourite to watch are perhaps those that I struggle most with… McTwist has always been one my hardest one to pull –as easy as this one looks, it is super hard to gauge the pop I find. I would either land it perfect, flat, or deck to flat. Kazu would be my top one on that one trick… Then every move alley-oop I like doing and they impress me because, again, with this one, it’s either the easiest trick if done with no distance traveling down the pipe, or the hardest if done while traveling far down. Also, I still give the challenge to any rider out there to pull the backside rodeo 900 on the backside wall. I’ve never seen anyone do that one and it was on my to-do list as a rider. Please… someone!
How long have you been judging for?
Guessing from around 2007.
What does a year look like for you, travel-wise?
Mostly Colorado as it happens that most events are happening that way now… then Switzerland – LAAX – a few scaffolding events and Big Air events here and there, end up the season in Whistler for spring time riding and finally over summer I end up southern hemisphere, in Australia.
Have you been to China before and what are your thoughts on the World Championships of Snowboarding being held in Yabuli this year?
I’ve been for Air + Style twice, but it’s hard for me to make a statement on that one as I’ve not been to the mountains there as yet – but everybody who’s been to Nanshan Open are always stoked about that one.
What are you hoping to see from riders in events these days?
Riders are coming up with a variety of grabs. I am hoping to see them enjoy snowboarding and progress it in a stylish way.
What is more important to you – style or tech?
As a rider who mainly rode pipe how’d you choose to judge Slopestyle over Halfpipe?
I use to go towards Slopestyle because there were a better variety of tricks and it just seemed more fun and progressive that way… while I didn’t agree the way pipe was going. Especially around Olympics 2006 era; those back-to-back 1080’s where a lot of no-grab would happen. But nowadays, especially since the Danny Davis era, pipe is back to fun and I thought it might even get more fun than slope… but seems like slope is back to a good path as well. So the sport is doing great at this point!
How complicated is the judging system these days?
We have about 25 judges for the World Championships in China, which is the largest group of Internationals going to the event apart from the riders.
What events for you are the standouts of the year and why?
LAAX OPEN is super fun for any snowboarder because it’s a great mountain to ride, we all live in that one little village… the vibe is so fun. Then X Games has gotta stand out because it is so big and feels like one of the most important for the riders to do well and get coverage.
What was your personal opinion on the Olympic judging hype with SS men’s?
Ståle clear win. After that, please argue for the rest of the field.
Do you think it is good to have judges on the panel who were professional snowboarders like yourself and Julien Haricot?
I really feel comfortable asking opinions of other pro or ex-pro riders, of course. I mean they get the feeling and the technicality of doing such and such kind of way of putting your body in certain positions…