Photos: Chris Wellhausen
Words: Taylor Boyd
A movie theater by the beach midweek is an unlikely place to find a concentration of snowboarders. But walking up to the legendary La Paloma Theater in downtown Encinitas on Wednesday night, it was clear that one goal for the world premiere of Insight had been accomplished. We wanted the place to be packed, and the crowd was spilling onto the sidewalk. Whether the remaining goal for the first public showing of a film one year in the making would be checked off was yet to be determined.
In the meantime, the logical thing to do was drop a five in the donation bucket for Road 2 Recovery and grab a beer. Drink-in-hand, it was hard to move three feet without spotting someone who's contributed something to snowboarding. Josh Dirksen was making the rounds. Scott Stevens came through. There was a Mark McMorris sighting. SoCal-bred boarders Harrison Gordon and Jordan Small were cruising the lobby. There were TransWorld SNOWboarding alumni: Jon Foster, the magazine's second photo editor, Mark Gallup, the first TransWorld senior photographer, Cody Dresser, former senior editor. Jeremy Jones was in town. Andy Hetzel was there. Jason Robinson drove from Montana. Elias Elhardt was in from Austria. The Full Moon Girls were crewed up heavily. Even Chuck Barfoot showed up.
Attendance extended far beyond industry people and pros. Southern California has more snowboarding enthusiasts than most would imagine. College kids drove up from San Diego's universities—a couple even came all the way from Chico. Families showed up with the next generation of snowboarders. Even diehard surfers and skateboarders showed, maybe entertaining the idea that strapping in isn't so bad sometimes.
We chose the Insight cast for a reason: we love their riding. But with a roster as eclectic as Insight's it's often tough to predict audience perception before the film's first screening. After Eddie Wall introduced the crew that worked so hard to make the film happen, the intro started, segueing directly into the first rider's part—a proper and stylish urban segment with subtle technicality. If you study the lineup, you might know whose it is. The crowd lit up. Representing different ends of a spectrum, Josh Dirksen and Dylan Alito's parts drew roars—so too did Victor De Le Rue's hair-raising descents and Elias Elhardt's massive and absurd tweaks. Our second goal was accomplished. People were stoked.
When you host an event you want people to come. When you make a movie you hope the audience enjoys it. Attendance confirms proper promotion and hype, but applause is affirmation of a job well done. You can never be sure of the reception or perception until it happens, and as we exited La Paloma with a buzzing crowd we couldn't have been happier with the outcome of Insight's world premiere. But the night wasn't over. There was beer to drink at the bar across the street.