Words: T. Bird
Photos: Laura Austin
For any snowboard film fanatic, the metric in which to judge a flick is most likely gauged by how many times one watches it. I, for one, will watch a movie a hundred times. For example, my copies of “Subjekt Haakonsen”,”True Life”, “The Resistance”, “Thunk”, “Burning Bridges”, and the Robot Food trilogy are beat to shit. They're scratched and they skip relentlessly, but I still throw them in from time to time (with the exception of “Subjekt”, which I have as a Quicktime file on my external harddrive) because they're simply incredible.
Last night, as I sat in the back row of a movie theater in Laguna Beach, CA for the premiere of Givin's second movie, “Too” I knew from the opening credits that this would be one of those films. By the way in which the movie starts you'd never in a million years be prone to thinking that North America had an atrocious snow year last winter. You'll see exactly what I mean. That's all I'll say about that.
I'll admit, I love a good slam section. Even as a kid, it was somewhat reassuring to know that these dudes don't land every trick every try every time they film. We know this isn't the case, but a good slam section not only reassures us that even the best snowboarders in the world eat shit, but it also shows us how hard they work. It's a side of snowboarding that the everyday fan doesn't get to see, so when the second segment in “Too” was a seven-or-so minute bail edit, I personally thought that it was morbidly awesome.
Enter Alex Stathis. Alex has the first name-credited part in and rightly so. I had heard that Stathis had a remarkable winter but in order to fully understand how much shit this kid handled, you'll have to watch “Too”. He Cab 270s the famed Red Ledge in one clip, back tail pretzels a flat bar to ten-foot drop in another, and then front boards a kinked rail without a damn shirt on! It was hysterical, heavy, and all-in-all, my second favorite part of the film. Nice work, Alex.
Wyatt Stasinos rides far beyond his years. What I mean is that even though he's still in his twenties, he's got the style, fluidity, and mindset of a young Gigi Rüf or Nicolas Müller. The way in which Alex looks at the mountain is unique, and the way in which he ultimately gets down it is incredible. Underflips into tight tranny, a plethora of pillow lines, pow butters, and steep, heavy lines to round out his part made this the most watchable part for me.
I was so stoked to see E-Man Anderson. For years, this kid has been seemingly unrecognized for his efforts by the snowboard media, and it's about time that people see what this kid is capable of. E-Man steps to really heavy shit as some of the slams in his part will attest to, but it's the shit he rides away from that reaffirms the fact that his time is long overdue. (Cameos by Timmy Ronan and Chris Brewster are awesome as well.)
Alex Tank follows up E-Man, and this kid is good. Personally, I love the fact that a kid like Alex most people have never heard of can be "givin" (see what I did there? I know it's not the correct spelling) the opportunity to film a full part. That's what's so great about this crew of guys. No politics, no bullshit. If you can snowboard and you're down, there's a spot for you, and Alex Tank most certainly fits the description. His boardslide pretzel 270 to rock ride ender is one of my favorite tricks in the film, as well.
I love watching Nick Russell snowboard. Ever since his part in last year's Givin flick, I've been a big fan of the turn he's taken in his approach. Nick just wants to ride pow, and ride pow he does, as his part opens with one of the best-filmed POV shots I've ever seen on a steep and waist-deep spine. In his last clip, Nick settles the famed pow pillow rock field in the Mt. Baker area and it got some of the loudest cheers of the night.
Lane Streeter is my new favorite am. I'll admit that I recognized the name before last night and had heard it in passing, but his video part deserves some sort of "Breakthrough of the Year" award. No joke. He starts things off by front blunting a chain (yes, an actual link chain) set atop a retaining wall, and then things get real heavy. Tailgrab front board gap outs, a boardslide 270 on two fences that form an elbow, a gargantuan switch nosepress, and a switch back 180 on the Red Ledge. Seriously, this kid is unbelievable. He had one of three parts that everyone was talking about at the after party...but we're getting to that.
Bradshaw and Keegan hit the screen next. Everyone loves Bradshaw, for good reason. Interspliced with lifeys of BShaw rolling Louisville Slugger-esque joints in the front seat of a car is footage of him tweaking, sliding, bonking, and basically doing what he does best...being Chris Bradshaw. He's incredibly talented, and I absolutely love watching him snowboard. The same goes for Keegan. Keegan has a style all his own and as of the past few years (and a SNOWBOARDER Magazine Jibber of the Year title), Keegan's been riding better than ever. The way in which he looks at urban features is maturing and his style is only getting better. I truly see Keegan as one of the best, most naturally-talented snowboarders alive right now, and that shows every single time he straps in.
Forrest Burki is a fucking madman, and not in a bad way. Burki's two-song part starts slow and picks up real quick as he takes to Baker and sessions the Shuksan Arm with reckless abandon yet unparalleled control. From front three tuck knees in a poncho rug to backcountry handplants and backies over the Baker cat gap, Burki drew huge cheers from the crowd that came to an audible threshold when he Cab fived an entire cliff band to end his segment.
Speaking of ending segments, Forest Bailey finally put together the video part of his life. I've always been a huge advocate of Forest, and not necessarily because of his innate natural ability on a board. He's humble, incredibly genuine, and he epitomizes what I believe a professional snowboarder should represent, both on and off the hill. Well, his part couldn't contrast his mellow persona any more that it does. Forest not only steps to some of the gnarliest street shit I've seen in a long time, but he also earns his keep in the pow. Back seven Japans on backcountry jumps, a knuckledraggin' session on the summit of a mountain, rail-to-rail transfers, and a ridiculous ender/ender that left most people in the theater speechless when the credits started rolling.
What the Givin crew has done in two years is incredible. They've shown everyone that you don't need a gigantic budget to make a snowboard film that speaks to people. All you need is a good crew, a few talented lensmen, and a bunch of snow. That's what they have to work with, and that' exactly why I can't wait to watch this movie again and again.