Over the years, snowboarders have gotten a lot of flack for what we call our moves. Whether it’s the bitter old jock making fun of our grabs, the skater saying, “You can’t call it that, your feet are attached.” or fellow shredders like me, who think people shouldn’t rename tricks just because they learned them eight years after everyone else stopped doing them.
But it sure would be hard if we didn’t have some sort of names. Could you imagine being super stoked and trying to tell your buddy what your last jump was? “Hey, I just stomped a thing.” How about if you stacked super hard, and when your buddies asked what happened, you had to settle for, “Oh, I was trying this thing when I caught my edge.” instead of, “Oh, I was trying a switch Rodeo 900 when I caught my edge.” At least it would simplify contest Xplanations: “Peter Line stomps another insane thing for the win.”
Granted, most hassles are self-generated, due to names such as the “Lien Dracula,” the “J-Tear Air,” and the “Chicken Salad”-the list could go on and on. It’s also true that snowboarders have used skater terminology a little too loosely-you don’t really ollie. We’ve also completely blown it on terms like the “Frontside Indy,” which yes, even TransWorld has been guilty of printing.
When I was debating Josh Dirksen about the difference of “switch” and “fakie” (“Switch” means you stand opposite of your normal stance, facing the nose of your board-take your bindings off your board, and put them back on the other way. “Fakie” is just riding backward!) he asked me why I had to make it so difficult, instead of just using what’s easiest to understand.
That got me thinking: are the names as important as the insane tricks that people like (but not limited to) Mike Michalchuk, Todd Richards, and Jim Rippey are doing? Where should someone look to find the correct names? Who’s right when it’s all said and done? If two people who never saw the other person ride invent the same trick, would they both call it the same thing? Do names even mean anything to you?
Would any of it ever matter to my mom?
-Dave “I got a job that requires me to label tricks, allowing everybody to scrutinize me” Sypniewski