When I started snowboarding, my first kit was a Nitro snowboard from the early 90's that weighed double what I did, matching bindings, a terrible pair of Killer Loop boots, snow pants that were too short and a bright orange Florida Panthers jacket. Things have changed since that first season, but the progression was slow, largely because snowboarding is such an expensive sport to get into. My luck, and coincidentally, my style, changed when I managed to get hooked up with Special Blend, Forum and Circa. Bam! I could actually keep up with the trends. All that seems way in the distant past now and looking at me riding today, you could never tell that I was THAT kid in the ridiculously mismatched gear.
It's easy to keep up with what's good and what's not when you have the connects. I get stoked on new gear. Saggy pants? I got 'em. Tight pants? I got 'em. Tall tees and jackets? I got those too. Then came cap straps and I jumped on board. Boa lacing systems, I was all over that. Reverse camber on snowboards? Well...I'm still working on that one, but as the following conversation shows, the new tech got me stoked.
Sam: Last season was just one of those seasons where I wasn't progressing and wasn't really motivated to ride.
Dan: Then reverse camber showed up...
Sam: (laughter) Yea man! That was totally it!
That's a little over exaggerated, it was more about finding new people to ride with that push you to ride better and have a good time doing it, but you get the idea.
Living in my little bubble of awesome style and gear, or so I like to think, I used to find myself judging others on how they look. I totally feel like a jerk. The unfortunate thing is, this is the attitude that scares people from riding the park or progressing, since they're embarrassed to go into the park and try something new because of their style and lack of trick list. It's even worse because ALL of us were once at that stage, but we seem to have forgotten that. I remind myself of my ridiculous getup and all the times I felt that way when I was starting out. Hence, this post.
It's like my friend and fellow blogger Charlie put it, "That's (fashion) all skiing and snowboarding is. If you have the tricks and the style, you're set." Definitely, you can have your style. You can have your tricks. You can progress, you can get hyped, you can ride with your buddies, be loud, exchange high fives, but don't be obnoxious or a straight up dink. That kid with no toque, sunglasses for goggles, jacket tied around his waist and a second hand board or pair of skis is going to be the same kid in fresh new digs and a skill set to back up his style in a couple years.
Basically, my point is stay stoked on your style and gear. I'm sure the pros get antsy when they get their new gear too. But! There's always a but. Instead of being a jerk, hype other kids. You see someone trying and bailing only to get up and hike the feature, give them a high five or a cheer. Spread the hype. That's how we spread our lifesytle.
'Nuff said, let's shred.