Top Ten Street Snowboarding Photos 2015 : Andy Wright
Words/Photos: Andy Wright
Street snowboarding (I hate calling it urban) is how I fill the first month or two of each season while waiting for the snow to accumulate in the backcountry. Obviously the genre has become massive since the novelty handrail clip riders would have from time to time in videos of old. Bungees and winches have opened a new world of possibilities but it’s the riders with a creative vision on how to use these tools, and not abuse them, is what separates the good from the bad for me. It’s a world of colors, textures and the ability to control light that isn’t found in backcountry snowboarding. It’s also a hell of a lot work; there’s lots of shoveling, endless searching for spots and dealing with authorities. Days are long, sessions can go well into the night and the risk of serious injury gets worse every year. By the time there’s good enough snow in the mountains to transition to that environment, I’m exhausted and ready for a change of scenery. But it’s never without a feeling of satisfaction.
Here are my top 10 Street Photos from 2015:
Scott Stevens | Kalamazoo, Michigan | January 2015
The first photo I ever took of Scott Stevens was a hippy jump over a chain. I had no idea who he was back in 2008, but I was instantly a fan of his unique approach to snowboarding. 7 years later he’s still doing hippy jumps only the stakes are little higher. This close-in to close-out situation probably wasn’t going to get him killed, but it certainly would leave a mark if things didn’t go well.
Joe Sexton | Kalamazoo, Michigan |January 2015
This creeper-gap-creeper had and 90 degree runway just to add to the degree of difficulty. Joe Sexton likes added degree of difficulty. I like that you can see just how frigid this night was by looking that steam coming off Joe and even the breath of filmer Sam Fenton in tight for wide angle. Of course I like this hindsight, as I was happy to see this one landed so we could get back to the warmth of the car.
Joe Sexton |Kalamazoo, Michigan | January 2015
This up-rail-to-wall, was really more of an up-rail-to-vent and made a very loud, but kinda of rhythmic noise as Joe would ride down. This was a tricky one to find an angle on. It’s tough shooting combo-style tricks like this and telling the story in one frame instead of just shooting a sequence. I’m not anti-sequence, I do think there’s a time and place, but a lot times I kind of just feel like I’m just the 2nd or 3rd filmer at that point. It’s much more rewarding, and memorable getting that single image.
Jed Anderson | Kalamazoo, Michigan |January 2015
Most people would see a set of bleachers in a flat field, Jed saw a landing. Most people would see a wooden post, cut 45 degrees at the top, Jed saw a take off. Put the two together and you had a perfect gap. We actually got kicked out of this deserted park by some power-tripping rangers and were worried that Jed’s plastic snowboard was going to somehow damage the metal on the bleachers. It must have been a pretty slow day in the park.
Jake Welch | Ogden, Utah |December 2014
I’d shot this place a zillion times in year’s past, but never the gap to the wall. Jeremy Jones settled the score with some demons and made good on a frontside transfer that had taken him out years ago. Jake is goofy so I had an idea to try the shot looking from the back. This is one of those rare instances where the photo I pictured in my head came out even better than I had imagined it. Of course most of it had to do with Jake’s insanely perfect style, I was mostly just in the right place to push a button.
Scott Stevens | Syracuse, New York |December 2014
I think this might have been Scott Stevens first clip of the year. Super mellow warm up spot just after breakfast and slamming a grape energy drink. I don’t know what goes through Scott’s mind, but since gapping one footed to this down rail is mellow, I can’t image what keeps him up at night.
Krister Ralles | Cold Springs, Minnesota | December 2014
I’ve driven by countless yards of shipping containers over the years while searching for spots on street trips, but never had seen a good setup until this. While it’s not quite Geoff Rowley frontisde 180’ing a 50-foot high gap between 2 containers, it’s still one of my favorite shots. Krister Ralles nose-pressed this rusty I-beam with full permission and even a bit of assistance from the owners of the work site.
Check out the rest of the top photos after the jump.
Dan Brisee | Cold Springs, Minnesota | December 2014
Sometimes Dan Brisse shows me photos from spots he wants to hit and I almost start to laugh, as if he was joking. But there’s a reason #brissespots became an instagram sensation for a minute. To get access to this secure granite countertop facility, Dan had to go in the front door and ask permission. Sometimes things are just crazy enough to work out. And while it’s rare we are ever shooting a spot with the property owner’s blessing, the crazy-enough-to-work mentality is what’s made just about every #brissespot successful over the years.
Bjorn Leines | Cold Springs, Minnesota | December 2014
There’s no question that Bjorn Leines would rather be destroying a backcountry line than get pulled into a concrete wall at high speeds in sub-zero temps. But it’s not by as big of margin as you would think. Every season he jumps on board with Dan Brisse while he’s going full throttle filming for his Xgames Real Snow part. And every year Bjorn is jumping on features that anyone with his resume would leave to those with younger knees and backs while they save themselves for powder landings. And while sometimes I think he knows better, he just can’t help himself and has to get in on the session. When Bjorn’s long career finally fades into the sunset someday, it’s not going to be without a guns-a-blazing.
Scott Stevens | Kalamazoo, Michigan | January 2015
Super stunts like flying between buildings and parking garages are actually quite easy to shoot. In fact you’d really have to be inept to blow a shot like that. Shooting a guy who sees endless possibilities in an empty parking lot with the tiniest little hill for speed, now that’s a challenging photo. I’m a huge fan Scott’s snowboarding (in case it’s not obvious), but documenting in photos and doing it any kind of justice isn’t the easiest mission. Perhaps this photo is more for myself than any of the others in the collection, because it was certainly unlike anything else I’ve attempted to shoot in almost 20 years of doing this. Scott in his happy place, logging clips in the parking lot of our hotel after days on end of driving around with the crew looking for the perfect rail/ledge/gap etc…. If we weren’t there with cameras, I guarantee he still would be.