words: Mary Walsh
photos: Mike Yoshida

I drive a stick shift. Friends routinely question my sanity as I depress and release the clutch over and over every time I sit behind the wheel. Southern California is so known for its outlandish traffic, its stop-and-go round-the-clock, that for many people, changing gears and causing footcramps on purpose is just, well, stupid. But I’m down. Not with the muscle cramps, but with stubbornly refusing to drive an automatic transmission. But mainly the reason that I can continue to harbor this attachment to my small-town, traffic-less roots is that I rarely go into LA. Scratch that, never.

Except. When Brent Sandor, Patrick McCarthy, and their band of 686 rabblerousers put the call out to drive into the city, especially for the world premiere of their new movie. Over the past few months, leaks had been floating through the snowboarding airwaves like errant flakes during a cold snap. Riley Nickerson’s switch backlip in Finland. Atsushi Hasegawa’s detonation out of the ether. Who is Enzo Nilo? Where is Ian Hart? Rumors of Ryan Tarbell compiling stacks. Forest Bailey’s footage. 686’s brand new team movie, 686 Seconds had been quietly, humbly, and rapidly gaining hype and I was more than happy to shift gears into Hollywood to watch the premiere of the film.

Thursday, September 17th, the The Big Orange (seriously, google it) beckoned and the SNOWBOARDER crew headed into LA County to get a first look at what the 686 team has been up to. Over the last couple of years, Brent Sandor and Pat McCarthy, along with 686 Founder and Creative Director, Mike West, have been molding one of the most formidable teams in snowboarding, with heavy representation from esteemed riders in the US, Canada, Japan, and Europe. The 686 Seconds premiere was something of a coming out party: an explosive announcement of the collective boarders that are proudly donning the iconic numeric logo and sending it whenever and wherever they strap in.

Without a doubt, 686 Seconds lived up to and exceeded the momentum of hype that has been building around it. From Riley Nickerson’s first drop. to clips of a striking depth of backcountry riders, including Matt Belzile, Cam Pierce, Forrest Burki, Sammy Luebke, and a head-turning segment from French rider, Enzo Nilo, and rolling into plentiful hammers from Side Surfer John Muphy, Max Lyons, Mike Gray, Matt Wainhouse, Japanese powerhous Atsushi Hasegawa, and many more. Ryan Tarbell’s finale was, for lack of a more appropriate word, heavy. Dude was busy last season and the amount of barkin’ that filled the bar during Tarbell’s part was positively deafening. We’re not sure exactly the number of seconds 686’s movie is actually made up of, but each and every one is worth watching. If 686 Seconds is any foreshadowing of what to expect from this well-rounded team during the upcoming winter, and we’re positive it is, we can’t wait to see what this crew does once temperatures drop.

As the credits rolled, Brent and Pat ushered Tarbell to the center of attention and welcomed him onto the 686 Global Team, adding even more reason for the rowdy crew to celebrate into the wee hours of the southern California evening. As the party died down at the premiere venue and the snowboarding constituents moved outside to rehash favorite parts of the film, slap high fives, and enjoy the din of late night Los Angeles, we collectively moved just a bit closer to winter, thanks to the entire 686 crew.

Thank you to Brent, Pat, Mike West and everyone at 686 for bringing together a grip of individuals for a epic preseason evening. Thank you also for hosting the premiere only a half block away from Smoke’s Poutinerie. Good call.