Hopefully you’ve read all about snow and skateboarding hero Shaun White’s gadget life in Stuff February. If not, shame on you… but here’s our interview with the Torino Winter Olympics freestyle champ in full anyway. What a nice guy.
Are you into your gadgets?
Well I like like iPods, stuff like that. It’s pretty much all you need – you’ve got music and videos. Burton’s been making some crazy stuff. We had the Audex jackets at the Torino Olympics – all our jackets had speakers in the hoods. The Bluetooth control panel on the arm is like something out of a bad space movie. It lets you control your music and you press a little button to answer your phone.
We hear you like gaming as well.
Yeah, we’re just working on my new game now. I’m kind of frustrated with the snowboarding games that are out – I just don’t think they capture what snowboarding’s about. Snowboarding’s not just contests – it’s a whole lifestyle. There’s backcountry, the snowtown and the mountains, street rails that you have to pay off the police to ride, stuff like that. There’s a music budget, and I’m like, ‘yes!’ I’m a big rock n’roll fan. It’s out 2008 and it’ll be called Shaun White Snowboarding… or hopefully something more creative than that.
Has snowboard technology changed much in the 14 years you’ve been riding?
Every year. Burton’s guys are amazing. The new boards have ‘infinite ride’ – they never lose their flex. How awesome is that? For the Olympics we had boards made with special base materials. It’s too expensive to put on normal boards, but this material made them so fast.
What tech do you need with you on tour?
I take a laptop just to get emails from my brother. He’s always making graphics for me and I’ve got to approve ads I’m in. I don’t want lame photos of me going out, so I’m like, ‘OK, no change this!’ I use an HP tablet PC for when I’m trying to show my brother what I want stuff to look like. Oh, and I have this mini guitar called a Fernandez that I take with me everywhere. It’s the most tech thing I’ve ever seen – it’s got a built-in amp and all these buttons that let you modify a drum beat to play along to. All the different distortions, too – you can sound like you’re in a stadium. I’ll sit in my room for hours and play.
Any advice for someone starting out snowboarding?
I give the same advice to all beginners. The first day, get a private instructor, unless you have really cool friends that are going to teach you. Get some one-on-one. Then you’ve got to give it at least three days. If you still don’t like it then maybe it’s not your thing, but normally after three days you’re hooked for life. That’s how it worked for my whole family. They all ride now. So many people are like, ‘the first day it was horrible. My wrist hurt, my butt hurt, I was cold cos I kept slamming…’
How do you get the nerve to do the stuff you do?
Slowly. You do a 180 and from 180 there’s only 360, so you slowly keep building and building. I just add on a little. Say I do 540 in the halfpipe and I want to do a McTwist – I add a flip to it. You change, you do different grabs. Also, having someone there who’s competing with you always pushes you on. I used to follow my older brother through the park and I’d make it over the jumps he’d go over because I was going at the same speed. Ride with people better than you – you’ll catch up. And if not, take them out!