Volcom’s Peanut Butter And Rail Jam
… And the youth shall inherit the Earth.
By Dave Schiff
Photos by Nick Hamilton
Man, I remember back in ’83 when competition was about having fun—enjoying a good day of riding with friends and making new ones. Actually, the only thing I shredded in ’83 was my momma’s womb. Luckily, Volcom remembers those days and has created a contest that veers far from the traditional norm of large corporate-sponsored events—one that’s based on the respect of those who attend and throw down, not what their names are or how much money they make. This is an event for every kid who snowboards. It’s a true amateur event, for the riders, by the riders.
On May 10, 2003, the Peanut Butter And Rail Jam came back to its birthplace of Mammoth Lakes, California on the final stop of the season. As I recollect it was a Saturday, blue skies, warm and sunny. The grill was smoking, hot dogs were roasting, and some good old tunes were blasting—the perfect atmosphere for jibbing.
The setup consisted of three obstacles arranged side by side, allowing easy access not only for the riders but also for supreme viewing pleasure. What monstrosities were the future jibbers of America chucking their meat at? On the left side sat a wide flat-down bar, the middle area hosted a mellow flat-down, and on the right was your favorite and mine—the pink funbox. I do love watching the kiddies nosepress that pink box. The contest had two age categories: seventeen and up, and sixteen and below. Four rounds of elimination for each category brought everyone up to the fifth and final round—the one that determined who would claim rail supremacy for the day.
So, what went down? I will answer that question with another question—what the hell is in the water in California? Unlike the public-school systems of America, I was actually paying attention to the youngsters—and the sixteen-and-under kids were killing it! Actually, “killing it” doesn’t even come close to justifying what went down. The word “annihilation” might fit more appropriately. I saw every combination of 270-on (it seems that most eight year olds can do those now). Switch frontside slides? Forget about it, they have those tricks down first try. More than any other time in my life I had the feeling that shit was really going to get hectic in the next couple years. It seems that young ones just watch the videos and figure, “Well, I guess I’ll try that trick today,” then they land it, and on to the next thing. After the first round, you could even see the older kids sweatin’—they knew they had to step it up.
To get back on track, I believe the children are our future—and leading the way are Eric Jackson, Mason Aguirre, and Sammy LeBuke. Tyler Flanagan, who’d just turned ten years old, also rode very impressively. Tyler really stuck out from the crowd—he looks like a tiny ball of steez when he rides. The pink down bar was easily four inches taller than he is, but that didn’t stop the backside lips from flowing.
On to the big dogs—they had a lot to prove. Mammoth mainstay Max Weinberger is the king of the Hot Garbage. A “Hot G” for those who don’t know is a frontside slide turned over 90 degrees, basically like a hurricane grind on a skateboard without the trucks. Anyway, I saw this one kid jump fifteen feet with a gap 270 on the pink down bar. Then another one was trying gap 450s on the flat down. And what kid didn’t huck onto the funbox and spin around ’til the end, then get in a few more rotations?
As Travis Robinson fastplanted his way into third, Corey Crunk (riding under the alias of Sean Happy) had some moves on the box, that amongst other tribulations such as fakie ollie back lips earned him second place for the day. It was such a relaxed event that the kid who won simply went by “Johnny.” Who needs last names, anyway?
To wrap things up, it was a perfect day for the record books. Many tricks were stomped,, peanut butter and rail jam sandwiches consumed, sodas shwilled. Thank you to Billy Anderson and Jay Twitty of Volcom for creating such an awesome venue for everybody and remembering that snowboarding is fun. See you next year.
Sixteen And Under
Seventeen And Over