The Jed Anderson Interview
Words: Joel Muzzey
Photos: Andy Wright
At an early age, this Canadian kid was almost eaten by the snowboarding machine. On the verge of premature teenage burnout, Jed fled the scene. It was a move that saved him. Back home in Calgary, Jed tapped into the unlimited possibilities of the streets and found his fire again. Raw talent and convincing footage made his return to the game both swift and inevitable. He has since become one of snowboarding’s most influential young riders. And he’s doing it his way.
You started riding at six years old and by 10 you were on Forum. Did you instantly know snowboarding was your thing—that you could take it somewhere?
I didn’t even think about that shit. It was just kind of happening. When you’re young you’re not thinking, “I want to be a pro snowboarder.” It was just something that I was doing. And it was kind of this snowball effect—I’m getting free stuff, I’m going on trips, and it all seemed normal because I was young. Basically what happened when I was riding for Forum and getting into competing more, the more pro side of snowboarding, that wasn’t the right fit for me in the end. I wasn’t happy at Forum. I didn’t want it to be like that. I was like, “I don’t want to be a pro snowboarder,” so I quit and started snowboarding with my friends.
Was it also the pressure of competing? You were groomed to be a little pipe star.
I think that was part of it. When you’re a kid you’re just going to contests—pipe or whatever, and it’s awesome. Then when you get a little older you start noticing other things going on. Different ways you can progress, different ways you can go. When I was on Forum they were trying to make me do all this shit I didn’t want to do. Like I was supposed to be this weirdo pipe rider, and they sent me all this crazy clothing to wear, like pink digital camo. I was like, “I’m not f—king wearing this.” They wanted me to do so many pipe contests; it got to the point where I was like, “No.” When you get to be like 14, 15, you start to realize a little more what kind of person you want to be, what style of stuff you’re into. So when that shit was happening with Forum it was around the time when Love/Hate came out. I saw it and really got interested in that side of things. I had never seen anything like it. It pretty much engulfed me, I was like, “F—k, that is what I want to do. That movie pretty much made me the snowboarder I am today. There are other factors obviously, like my family and my brother, but the style I’m into, it was all because of Love/Hate. It was this artsy movie with different music, I didn’t even think there were people out there doing stuff like that. I remember watching Darrell Mathes’ part over and over and over. I wanted to learn noseslide pretzels, so I’d go to the park and listen to his song and do that trick.
I don’t think a lot of people realize you already have a decade in the game.
I’ve been snowboarding a long-ass time and I’m still having fun doing it. Obviously I look at it a lot differently than when I was a kid. I think it’s coming full circle. There were definitely a few years when I thought, “This shit is pretty lame.” I remember the phone call when I was like, “This is it, I guess I’m quitting everything.” It sucked. At the time I didn’t know if it was the right thing to do, but I look back now and see that it was the best thing I could have done. After that I started to have a lot more fun snowboarding.
But that was it. You were done with sponsorship.
Yeah, so then when I was 14, 15, 16, I was just filming with my friends at home. I had quit every sponsor, but I was back to being able to do anything I wanted. And all I wanted was to go film on handrails. I was riding COP [Canada Olympic Park] on the weeknights with my friends, then on weekends we’d go on little missions around Calgary hitting rails and stuff. Just having fun.
A lot of kids see sponsorship in snowboarding as the ultimate. How did you just walk away?
Trust me, it was definitely hard. I was a spoiled kid. I got free shit my whole life. I didn’t even know—would I have to go buy a snowboard? It was like, “No more boxes are coming to my house.” But the further along it went and the further along I got, I knew it was for the best.
So then you started posting your own videos online.
Yeah, I didn’t have anyone to film for, so I was like, “I’ll make an online video part.” This was about the time web videos started blowing up. Sunday In The Park was a really big thing to me then. I think it was the first time the Internet was being used that way for snowboarding. So that’s sort of how I got back into filming. Then the next year I also got some shots in the TransWorld video, which really brought me back into it.
When your street stuff started coming out your stance got a lot of attention. How did it get so skinny?
I used to have a crazy wide stance. I would T-bolt my boards and stuff. My knees killed and people would be like, “You look like a retard,” but I was so stubborn, I was like, “F—k you, this is what I like.” Then the reason I initially brought it in was because this kid Tyler Verigan had such a small stance. I remember watching him ride and it looked so f—king cool. So I did it. Then I realized it made certain tricks a lot easier. It was just more fun. My shit isn’t even that narrow. I ride pretty square, just like 19 or 20 inches. It’s a little different every time I set up a board.
And now you have a lot of clones out there. Does that weird you out?
It’s cool. I don’t really care. If anything I’m flattered. It is funny though, like I see some kid with a Krooked skateboarding sticker on their board in the same spot and wearing the same gear as me. But I f—kin’ did the same shit. I actually still do—just trying to look like people who I think look cool.
When you’re not actually riding you sort of step away from snowboarding.
Yeah, I think it helps so much to get away from it. When I’m at home with my friends, I never even talk about snowboarding. Most of my friends don’t know anything about it. Nobody knows shit. Going away from it makes me more motivated when I go back to it. It’s something I haven’t done or been around or talked about, so I’m more excited to do it.
Is snowboarding ever a bummer?
Riding never is, but there’s a lot of stuff in snowboarding that’s super lame and that I don’t agree with. Luckily enough the people I’m around and the people I’m sponsored by let me do my own thing even if it kind of goes against the grain. I never want to be doing this to get ahead. I’m not trying to climb some ladder, you know? I just want to enjoy doing what I do. There are probably things I could’ve done to get me further ahead, but I might not be as happy now.