Nature Versus Nurture

Is style something we’re born with, or can we develop it? On one side, there’s the Jamie Lynn view that says, “You either have it or you don’t,” and many on our panel agree. Bradshaw says, “I got lucky and came out the womb stylin’. My dad was a G.” But what if your dad wasn’t a G? The alternative view on this aspect of style is more permissive. Terje, who has been a style icon for 20 years, thinks “everyone’s style is always in development or changing a little.” And even though he comes down on the birther side and says “you can’t polish a turd,” Justin Bennee concedes that, “you can definitely develop certain abilities like doing tricks more solid and maybe not waving your arms around so much.” He says, “Think about when you try a trick you’ve never done before. It might not look that good at first, but the more you do it and the better you know that trick, your style will develop and it will look better.”

Style

Hitting the trees obviously has no adverse effect on Justin Bennee’s style. Cement session in Quebec City. PHOTO: Andy Wright

Mikkel’s view on the matter is split. “I guess you’re born with it because it’s your own personal way of doing things,” he says. “But I know my style has changed a lot since I started because I look at snowboarding differently now. I want to turn and carve more and find my own lines—you just find your own way you want to ride.”

Pat Moore agrees, taking the long view, “I think style is something you grow into. A lot of guys grow up imitating what their favorite pros do, but it’s not until they grow into their own style that it becomes their own.” Pat’s mention of imitation is a great jumping-off point into the oceanic waters of style influence.

I Learned This By Watching You

There’s almost nothing as personal as our influences. Certain shit speaks to us, moves us. And it’s totally subjective. We’re all riding along the arc of a timeline highlighted by different events, experiences, and individuals. Past, present, or future, what resonates with us as riders is always linked to the timeline. Riders who influence us today were influenced by those who came before them, and so on, back to the dark ages. Here’s where the name-dropping gets really heavy. Whether you know them or not, the following names and perspectives matter. Trust us on this. Influence is the motor that drives style.

For Haakonsen, it was “Craig [Kelly] and [Shaun] Palmer. I also used to dig [Terry] Kidwell and [Chris] Roach’s style, too. Ingo [Ingemar Backman] has hella cool style. Also, riding with [Jeff] Brushie helped me a lot. He went big and had tricks with sick style.”

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