Style: Nothing Else Matters

From the December 2012 Issue of TransWorld SNOWboarding

Words by Joel Muzzey

Style. We know it when we see it, right? But what else can really be said about style? Each of us has our own interpretation of what it is, our own criteria. We’ve got our favorite riders, tricks, and video parts. We’ve got the knowledge passed down to us from the older guys (never grab tindy). We have a mental checklist of essential elements that make shit rad offset by a mental blacklist of what’s wack. There’s also a vast gray area populated by riding and people who we barely notice. But the good stuff stands out in subtle, yet striking, detail because of style. It could be anything: the tilt of the head on takeoff, the odd angle of an arm, the sticker job, mid-spin composure, whatever. And whether you’re talking snowboarding, music, art, or everyday life, style is what draws the line between the best thing ever and who cares. It’s what constitutes that rare, inexplicable image: the one photo or trick or incredible something that hits you and melts itself into your soul. And yet aside from descriptors that circle the subject, style seems to escape explanation. At the same time, its importance in snowboarding can’t be denied. That’s why we talk about it.

Style

“Style is the deciding factor in boarding because almost everybody can do tricks”- Terje Haakonsen. Terje has been pulling out mean methods forever, but don’t take that a general endorsement of the pull out method. Pemberton Backcountry, BC, Canada. PHOTO: Adam Moran

Any discussion on style is subjective. It’s about opinions and reference points and not much else. The loose parameters and roots of style were established by the pioneers then reinterpreted, reinforced, and mutated by the following generation of leaders. So instead of foisting a steaming pile of shred-magazine-writer-kook conjecture on you, we got some experts involved to explore this mysterious topic. Granted, the beauty of talking about style is that each of us is an expert, but unlike yours or mine, the opinions of these riders might actually make for some interesting reading.

To lead us along on the tour, we have Jamie Lynn, Terje Haakonsen, Mikkel Bang, Gigi Rüf, Chris Bradshaw, Jake Blauvelt, Justin Bennee, Devun Walsh, Nicolas Müller, Pat Moore, and Danny Davis. Maybe they can shed some light on it.

That Which Cannot Be Defined

“What is style? It sounds like a pretty simple question, but it’s actually the hardest thing to put your finger on and give a definitive answer for,” Jamie Lynn says. “Style is the essence. It’s organic—just the way you do things. It’s your creative expression. How can you describe that or define it? It’s something that happens unconsciously. It’s just the way things are, like the way you wipe your butt or brush your teeth or tie your shoes. It’s automatic.” And coming from a rider universally acknowledged as one of the most influential style leaders ever, we immediately face the futility of trying to deal in the definitive.

Continues on next page…