Since the 1960s, snowboarding has been growing by leaps and bounds (Turnbull, Keogh, and Killing). At the moment, it is one of the fastest-growing sports. Its inclusion as a Winter Olympics sport is credited with the growth. As one of the most popular sporting events in the world, Winter Olympics provides snowboarding with enough exposure. Triple and double corks have transformed snowboarding into an acrobatic show. Most moves from riders resemble those of gymnastic acrobats. Accordingly, a good rider must be able to perform a few gymnastics tricks. Substantial physical capabilities are, hence, vital for the safety of a rider and maximizing a jump’s amplitude (Turnbull, Keogh, and Killing). However, over-reliance on corks makes a rider conservative and boring.
Such riders are said to lack style. The main elements of snowboarding include originality, difficulty, and style. Style, nonetheless, should be the dominant consideration since progression in skill levels halts from time to time. It is very difficult for someone to have style while conducting many spins and flips. Style determines how controlled a rider looks in the process of performing a trick or two. Additionally, a trick performed aesthetically is more pleasing than a cork. Some corks are difficult to master or understand due to their speed and complexity. This paper argues that style separates good riders from great leaders.
Difficulty and Danger as Elements of Snowboarding
A number of factors are considered in judging tricks (Tan). Nonetheless, difficulty and endangerment remain the most weighted aspects of snowboarding. What is considered is not an actual difficulty but what the public and judges perceive to be challenging. “A clean switch backside 1260 is just as hard as a double cork 10” (Tan par. 8). As compared to switch backsides, double corks are more recent tricks. For that reason, they are viewed as challenging and dangerous. For instance, Shaun White claimed gold in the X-Games as his runs were perceived to be more dangerous than those of his competitors (Tan). In these games, he was the only rider that managed to throw himself over a large death gap transfer sandwiched between two jumps. If the judges considered technicalities in trick execution, the results could have been different. This explains why a switch backside 1260 rarely beats a double cork. Most judgments seem to be centered on how difficult or dangerous a trick is. As a result, some riders are given an undue advantage over others. In this respect, riders like Halldor Helgason and Nicolaus Muller are seen to be inferior to Shaun White and Mark McMorris. However, the two riders are a joy to watch than White and McMorris.
Originality in Snowboarding
People enjoy viewing original or new tricks. Overuse of double and triple corks has made them boring. People crave tricks they have not watched frequently. It is not surprising to hear many lovers of this sport asking for switch 12s and other under-utilized tricks. The first indication that snowboarding is slowly embracing originality came from the Air and Style competition. When everyone else performed double corks, Ulrik Badertscher did a double backside rodeo 1260 and won. People were left wondering where his current moves came from. The trickery caught the audience by surprise as it was new to everyone. Judges and spectators must, hence, strive to give a new move the support it deserves. Halldor and Muller are some of the riders with lots of new tricks. In an earlier interview, Müller echoed that snowboarding is not just about acrobatics, but evolution (Intern). Consequently, ambitious riders always look for something to lighten their skills. Halldor and Muller’s wide popularity can, thus, be associated with these attributes.
Style and Snowboarding
Style is a very important consideration in this sport. According to Tan, style follows a progression. It takes time for fans to understand new tricks. Initially, the doubles were ugly and boring. Subsequently, crazy tweaks were introduced by riders to lighten the double and make them remarkable. Accordingly, snowboarding has become more popular as it is interesting to watch. Among the main elements of snowboarding, style is the most dominant consideration when progression in skill levels comes to a halt. People are thrilled by a trick for a short time. When these tricks become commonplace, riders use style to impress their fans and the judges. Riders have almost defied gravity in a bid to add this feature to their game. Quoting David Benedek, Schönthier reiterates that the days of the 1080s are over. Creativity and innovation have taken precedence over other factors in snowboarding. Schönthier further states that riding levels are too high as compared to earlier years in some events. As a result, the lives of riders are exposed to unnecessary risks. For that reason, it is prudent to change the rules of the game to guarantee safety. Instead of erecting dangerous obstacles, organizers should let riders excise their creativity on less life-threatening arenas. A rider improves and progresses through learning and perfecting new tricks. Advanced moves like spins, flips, and balance require gymnastics skills. Kids and amateur riders must, thus, be given a chance to master this art without hurting themselves.
Soccer, rugby, and other routine sports require a worthy alternative. Nonetheless, for snowboarding to replace them, it must provide more excitement than these sports. This delight cannot be provided through repetitive and complicated double and triple corks. For that reason, uniqueness and style are indispensable to snowboarding. To increase its popularity as a competitive sport, snowboarding must embrace creativity and originality. Judges base their decision on the difficulty, originality, and style of a move (Tan). Risk levels are a consideration judges and the general public take seriously. However, other factors must be given the same weight since snowboarding is enjoying fresh inputs and innovation than any other sport (Schönthier). There is also a feeling that snowboarding is going to enjoy further developments. In this regard, riders must be given a chance to come up with unique flairs or advance older ones. This is the only way snowboarding can be taken to the next level. Sportsmen find it difficult to come up with something new in a sport like snowboarding, where mental blocks are rife. Snowboarding prowess displayed by Halldor and Muller results from their freestyle moves. Shaun White and Mark McMorris, on the other hand, have little style but are masters of double and triple corks. At the moment, double and triple corks are preferred over style as they are difficult to execute. Alternatively, style makes a rider more interesting to watch than the conservative corks. Current trends, nonetheless, show that flair is just about to triumph over boredom in this sport.
Intern. 2012. Nicolas Müller Interview – The Path Less Travelled. Web.
Schönthier, Melanie. 2010. David Benedek: A Question to Ask. Web.
Tan, Jedidiah. 2011. The Future of Snowboard Trick Contests – Double Corks, Style & Originality. Web.
Turnbull, Jonathan, Justin Keogh, and Andrew Kilding. “Strength and Conditioning Considerations for Elite Snowboard Half Pipe”. The Open Sports Medicine Journal. 1 (2011): 1-11. Web.