Gigi Rüf says style is “the understanding of snowboarding. Take that and start drawing.” Chris Bradshaw says it’s “putting your own twist on how you do things.” To Nico Müller, “style is the spiritual side of it. Style in snowboarding is like what the soul is to our body.” Terje outlines it this way: “Style is the deciding factor in boarding because almost everybody can do tricks.” Pat Moore agrees “it’s uniqueness—many people can do a trick but few make it interesting. To Devun Walsh, “making it look fluid and effortless” are key elements, explaining, “you do certain tricks because that’s what you think looks cool, and that’s part of who you are and how you feel. It all comes through in the riding. It’s not necessarily Jake Blauvelt’s big front seven, it’s the way he does a slash on the side of a run or flows through the bumps.” For Danny Davis, it’s “clothing style, it’s everything. It’s what feels good to you. Even if grabbing tindy feels good. Bummer for you, but that’s your style.” Okay, well, let’s use that mention of the tindy as our signal to move on. Suffice it to say, the concept of style is very personal.

Style

Gigi Rüf boogies but he definitely doesn’t do ballet. Inverted, grabbed and held. Arlberg, Austria. PHOTO: Andy Wright

It Is What It Isn’t

A standard approach for art and music critics is to talk around a given piece of art, discussing all that it isn’t in order to explain what it is. This process of elimination is also applied to discussions of snowboarding. Surely you’ve heard of “bad style.”

“Bad style is what you fear—tricks that just look horrible and ugly,” Danny Davis says. Mikkel Bang defines it simply: “Bad style is when someone tries too hard or is out of control.” Justin Bennee, on the other hand, “could go on for days about all the things that make bad style, like pants that are too tight or too short, pants that are too big with a jacket that’s too small. That can look pretty bad. Too much flare is bad style—let your riding speak for itself. Anytime you grab tindy is bad style. Also grabbing mindy, tailfish, nute, and a few others that if you don’t know about, you should try skiing. Doing a bunnyhop and calling it a nollie is bad style. If your back foot isn’t at least a few inches off the ground before you lift up your nose then it’s not a nollie, it’s a bunnyhop. Don’t grab your knees, under or over, when trying to do a bigspin. Touching your knees together before you ollie, or at all, is bad style. Beaming people in the park after you land a trick is definitely bad style. Poo-butt front boards are really bad. Changing your style up to keep up with the latest trends is bad style as well.”

Gigi says that when spinning, “grabs should be held, not spun like a ballerina. Devun cites anything “herky-jerky and wild” as bad style adding that, “to me, watching a kid do a back lip down a 40-stair rail is way cooler than seeing someone gapping out doing a method to like, boardslap on a 15-stair rail. That’s so gay. You just don’t grab onto rails. It’s not a video game. You’re not trying to add on extra tricks to get bonus points.” Keep in mind, opinions are like assholes. Everybody’s got one, and generally speaking, our own smell like roses while everyone else’s stink. Jake Blauvelt reminds us, “That’s the beauty of snowboarding: no rules!” So grab mindy if you need to, just make sure it’s sick.

Nature versus Nurture on the next page