Vans First Layer – Japan: Full Edit + Gallery

[Ello ello. Will Smith gets ready to drop. Photo: Matt Georges]

Last winter, Vans embarked on the production of a series of shorts under the First Layer umbrella, documenting their team, their travels and, naturally, the crew’s stellar riding wherever they went.

The first First Layer to drop was the Japan section, where a crew of the Vans Euro rippers divided and conquered both the pow and the streets. Sami Luhtanen, Will Smith, Cees Wille and Benny Urban traversed the land searching for urban spots, while Nils Arvidsson, Valérian Ducourtil, Markus Keller and DBK linked up with some Car Danchi locals to tear up the pow. Our photographer Matt Georges was lucky enough to shadow both crews, and has prepared this photo essay of his time in the Land of the Rising Sun last winter…

Sami Luhtanen stacked many bangers on the urban leg of the trip, and this classic Method on an unnatural hip was one of them. Photo: Matt Georges
Will Smith brought his disco moves to the party. Photo: Matt Georges
Nils Arvidsson found plenty of pow to send himself into. Photo: Matt Georges
This imposing wallride to wallride didn't phase Cees Wille. Photo: Matt Georges
Cees. Photo: Matt Georges
Benny. Small in Japan. Photo: Matt Georges
All that fresh snow allowed Nils to crank his gnarlometer up to 11. Front 10 Double. Photo: Matt Georges
Front 3 barrier hop from Markus Keller. Photo: Matt Georges
Keller's room had a view. Alas it was straight at Matt. Photo: Matt Georges
Front lipper across the dam door from Sami. Photo: Matt Georges
Mmmmmarkus Keller deep in the whiteroom. Photo: Matt Georges
If back lips were called Bennys, this could be an urban Benny. Photo: Matt Georges
Nils Arvidsson kindly performed a spot of topiary for the locals. Photo: Matt Georges
With epic conditions the only pressure felt was by Japanese architecture. Cees styles a wallie tailpress revert switch 50-50. Photo: Matt Georges
It's safe to say they scored on the backcountry leg of the trip. Valerian sooo pitted. Photo: Matt Georges
Avalanche barriers: great at reducing avalanche destruction and making snowboard photos interesting. Valerian Ducourtil. Front 3. Photo: Matt Georges
Party wave! Mob shred with the Car Danchi boys. Photo: Matt Georges
Will Smith tamed this beastly length with a back 1 switch 50-50. Photo: Matt Georges
DBK knows which way is down already, thanks. Photo: Matt Georges
#nofilter #polaroid #blessed #guiltfree #vintage Yes, you can follow @matt_georges on Instagram.
Benny Urban has millions of style. Boardslide up to wallride. Photo: Matt Georges
Will Smith is big in Japan. And his minishred game is on point. Photo: Matt Georges
Yama San. Photos: Matt Georges
Sami Luhtanen is a machine. Heavy front blunt 450. Sequence: Matt Georges
Sharkyboy's Car Danchi life. Photo: Matt Georges
Shapers! Get lazy by just planting loads of trees and hoping it snows as much as it does in Japan. Valerian Ducourtil takes advantage of Japan's natural funpark. Front 5. Photo: Matt Georges
Luckily Benny Urban didn't have to hit 50 or overtake anyone to nail this switch front board to bank or he'd have been totally busted. Photo: Matt Georges
Will Smith making clacks. 5-0 back 1 out in Japan. Photo: Matt Georges
A lot of Japan's pow terrain is right off the side of a road. Parking might be a problem but you think Valerian cares? He does not. Photo: Matt Georges
Sami wears protection. Photo: Matt Georges
Will Smith SENDING it on the unnatural hip. Photo: Matt Georges
Benny Urban's Vans First Layer ender from behind. Photos: Matt Georges
Like a bridge over trouble waters, I will press and then back 1 thee down. Photo: Matt Georges


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