Friday, February 24, 2012

Current State: Snowboarding – A Book Review

From the man who brought you, the first ever frontside double cork 1260, the seminal film Afterbang, the seminal film 91 Words for Snow, the seminal film Lame, a bunch of other seminal films (and no, not that sort of film), the perfect kicker and the winner of the converted iFPackaging Award of 2008, comes the much anticipated book Current State: Snowboarding. We got our hands on one this week and here’s what we made of it…

Even for a guy as creative and industrious as snowboarder/film maker/kicker builder/graphic designer/one-man-publishing-house David Benedek this job was biggie. It’s pretty close to the equivalent of one guy writing, designing and producing a whole season’s run of a snowboard magazine on his own.  Try these numbers on for size: 3 years in the making, 2 years over schedule, 2 interconnected books, 450 pages, 2,000 copies printed, 1/2 of the print run was pre-booked, €89 a pop ($118) and at least 6 different types of paper.
The bulk of the content is made up of interviews with 23 influential people from the world of snowboarding and they’re top quality interviews. Benedek has managed to craft those interviews together to provide a narrative on where he believes snowboarding stands at this point in time.
The making-of video, every book should have one...

Here are a few of our highlights…
1. This is the prettiest infographic we ever saw.
Its a chart of snowboarding participation over time. It puts our version to shame.
There were a few other infographics including this very brave attempt to timeline the development of freestyle tricks.
If we put something like that on this site we’d be swamped by a seething mass of people keen to correct us – one of the benefits of writing a book.
2. He’s a good interviewer with some well-thought out questions and strong opinions. It makes a real change from the interviews we’re used to reading and he’s able to draw out some very interesting insights. He also asks tough questions. Here’s a good example from Jed Andersons’s interview.
Anderson - It’s really hard to think about this in retrospect, but when I first came up, maybe also team managers and stuff like were the reason it sucked for me. I don’t really know how to explain this.
Benedek - Try

3. There were a couple of games. Here’s his spot the difference game. Unfortunately the book doesn’t supply the answers, which must be its only printing mistake. How many differences can you see?
We spotted two.
And this is the draw the line game.
We aced this one.
4. The interview with Shaun Palmer was probably the stand out interview for us and it included these nuggets:
Palmer - Oh, they tested me.
Benedek - Who?
The Grenades, Danny, Dingo and all those fuckers. This is a couple of years ago, they’re like, “Come on Shaun Palmer, you wanna party tonight?” Just egging me on, saying I couldn’t fucking party and shit.
Oh, they got the competitive side in you going?
Oh no. They got the scary side.
I bought a fucking case of beers and a buck knife and just started shotgunning. Like eight in ten minutes and they’re all like fucking terrified. I started blacking out and tackling all of them and shit (laughs).


I’ve never heard of Arnbrister.
Allen Arnbrister, he was the real fucking talent, more talented than me or fucking Terje. The baddest motherfucker, ever. He was doing crystal and freebasing and shit.
So were you, man.
Yeah, bit I got out of it. He didn’t.
I remember he got money from Sims once to fly to the US Open but instead bought a fucking Greyhound ticket and cooked up coke with the rest of the money. So he could’ve bought a plane ticket but got coke and a bus ticket instead and lost all his shit, like at all the stops. He shows up at our fucking room with absolutely nothing, his eyes all dilated as fuck, and just smashes the window with his head and starts drilling holes through Toms Sims’s race boards that he has just made. They’re all handmade. Puts holes right through them and Tom’s losing his mind because he’s on blow, too. And the nest day Arnbrister gets fucking second in the downhill on a borrowed board and a set of jeans and, like borrowed some kid’s helmet. Boy he was fucking bad. It was fucked up though. I think he’s still in jail.

5. This looked rideable

6. Wolle Nyvelt’s had a clever idea we hadn’t heard about. He’s been using magnets to help keep him attached to his Asmo noboard and apparently the idea works “surprisingly well”.

7. And finally, it smelled real nice.

The book is the current state of snowboarding as David Benedek perceives it so it does come with an agenda, but it’s an opinion we largely agree with. To give you one example of what we mean, you get a sense that he's concerned that there are aspects of the snowboarding today that will look as silly in 20 years’ time as this does to us today. 
Shaun White is not one of the interviewees

Here’s a final insight into his views on the current state of snowboarding. The top left caption reads, "I thought it was about going out and having fun, not about hoping to have your own TV show and buy some gay euro sports car."
He’s going to hate our article on Pamela Anderson snowboarding

There were only two negatives
1. We found the large section in Japanese at the back made for a shit ending; we couldn’t make sense of it at all.
2. The other problem was that he’s created a logistical nightmare, it was almost impossible to read on the underground during my commute and I suspect that it’s similarly useless as a toilet book. Maybe he’ll put out a Kindle edition soon and solve that problem.

David Benedek always produces well thought and creative stuff and this book is right up there with his best work. This was easily the best snowboarding book we’ve read, and we’ve read our way through a shed load of the fuckers. And as the guy from ESPN said, “Order your copy now for 89 Euros or wait a week and get one for $500 on eBay … Your call.” 
If you’re interested you can buy it from his rather lovely website

You Might Also Like…
Pamela Anderson - snowboarding celebrity
If you liked this book you might also like our infographic on the specialisation of snowboarding 

You Probably Won't Like...
The weak pun in the title picture. For that we can only apologise and hope to move on.


  1. Hi there. I just got the book today and the little i've seen and read is great. I got to say that the fact that i have to be sitting at a desk/table to fully enjoy the book kinda ruins the way i had planned to read this: in a couch, after a long day on the snow. Great work though !

  2. chuckle, chuckle... Currant. Inspired.


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