[splitpost intro="true" order="reverse"]
In snowboarding style is everything right? Even more than what tricks they can pull, it's the way someonecharges down a Alaskan face or floats a method ultimately defines them as a rider. And those with the best style are enshrined in snowboarding folklore. Even with all the double/triple cork madness going on these days, the internet community can still get just as fired up over new footage of Gigi Rüf steezing out a trademark front 360 than it does with any new upside-downy variation.
There’s a case to argue that style evolves the quickest and holds the most importance in the jibbing sphere. After all, most rails are a lot smaller than your average park booter so what you do with the space is a lot more apparent. Plus there’s arguably more room to progress and add individual nuances; style can also mean how someone chooses to approach a feature. Anyway, I’ve come up with a list of what I consider to be some of the ten best styles in jibbing, but I’ve deliberately left out some of the big names to try and show you guys something different. Of course Halldor Helgason, Scott Stevens and Ethan Deiss are all up there, but these guys all have something special and that deserves to be shared. Check them out, it's guaranteed to brighten your day.
[part title="10 Tommy Gesme"]
When you talk about style, this guy practically sweats it. His bunched up shoulders on near every trick gives the impression of someone hunched over a maths exam, but the way he flows in and out of features with such ease suggests he probably spent more time in the park as a kid than at school.
His riding has the same kind of look about it as Keegan Valaika’s, but is maybe even more buttery. Seriously, that two-seven out at 1.57 is just ridiculous! Riding for Burton and their Knowbuddy crew, he just won this year’s Hotdogs and Handrails event at Bear Mountain, so if you haven’t heard much about him until now, I’m sure you will soon...
[part title="9 Erik Leon"]
And now for something a less serious. Also doing pretty well for himself in last month’s HDHR2013, Erik Leon has one of the most natural styles ever seen. With a classic Airblaster-style disregard for hitting features ‘properly’, most edits you can glimpse him in show his dreads flying in the wind as he slaloms across the park, all butters and smiles. Don’t be fooled though, he has the rare knack of being able to make massive tricks and rails look small and easy. Totally effortless.
[part title="8 Jaeger Bailey"]
Like Scott Stevens' younger brother with ADHD, if you’ve seen his part in this year’s Think Thank release then you know what I’m talking about; it looks like there isn’t a feature he can’t flip in or out of, or at least try to. Ferociously attacking everything in his path, it’s almost like his snowboard’s trying to find interesting ways to kill him.
But somehow he’s lived long enough to be able to add insane tricks like a double backflip to frontflip off the knuckle and front three on-back three off to his repertoire, as well as the insane ender to the High Cascade edit above. His style isn’t the cleanest certainly, but for sure it’s his own.
[part title="7 Mike Ravelson"]
Another High Cascade favourite, Mike Rav sure knows how to put his signature on a trick, as well as showing everyone how much fun he has doing so. Check out his part from ‘Hungry?,’ full of super clean rails alongside pressed to the max laybacks, how could you not love it?
‘The Ravelsnake’ showed some seriously-creative-but-not-too-serious street riding in his part for Capita’s Defenders of Awesome video a couple of years ago, one of the most stylish from that season. If you haven't seen it yet, go watch it now!
[part title="6 Lucas Magoon"]
Lucas Magoon may not really be a new name (if you haven't seen him ride before, you probably should have) but his style is so pronounced and so much fun to watch we thought we'd include him here. In truth, his steeze hasn't changed much since his famous parts in MFM's ‘Finger On Da Trigger Productions’ films: There's a similar choice of music and tricks and a style so smooth you can almost feel the herbal smell oozing out through your speakers, but we've always got time for it.
I mean, anyone else would look a bit silly rolling over the top of a wrecked van but 'The Gooner' somehow manages not just to pull it off, but to make it look good!
[part title="5 Nick Dirks"]
Although his partner in crime from Videograss, Jed Anderson, is now a major name on the Nike team, Nick Dirks deserves an equal share of attention. He’s made my list purely for trying to make life as difficult for himself as possible and constantly finding the weirdest spots to hit up; I mean, who goes to Avoriaz to ride urban?
The little guy sure has balls to step up to spots like the crazy bust stop thing to redirect at 2.11 and still ride away so cleanly. You can see him and all of his latest balaclavas (he looks like the friendly clown division of the IRA) in the Last Ones, highly recommended.
[part title="4 Desiree Melancon "]
The old cliché rings true here: she’s not just as good as the boys, she’s better than most of them. Her parts with the Peepshow and Too Hard chick flick crews showed her characteristic strength and confidence with even the gnarliest of street features, but it's her section in this year’s Think Thank movie that's truly incredible. It will blow you away for pure, clean style.
Fellow lady shredder Jess Kimura has gone so far as to call it the best female part of all time, and what better recommendation is there? Desiree also apparently has a side business selling pornographic art: Basically, she's one straight-up badass.
[part title="3 Denis Leontyev"]
This swag-laden Russian burst onto the European scene a few years ago in some style. He rocked up to the Nike Stairset Battle tour stop in Finland, and proceeded to beat the Scandis on their home turf - no mean feat given how many shit-hot riders there are in Finland. He was quickly snapped up by Forum, and has been impressing everyone with his rail tech-wizardry and gangsta steeze ever since, eventually landing a place on the Nike team. Having mastered every spin in/spin out variation, he's now started getting a little creative, throwing a whole bunch of hand drags and plants into the mix.
He’s always the dark horse to look out for at rail jams, already making a fair splash at Rock a Rail and Hot Dogs and Hand Rails so far this season. We like Denis because he manages to push rail riding to its limit (540s on are the equivalent to triple cork on jumps in our book) but rarely looks scrappy. Thugs just don't. Not ever.
[part title="2 Jay Hergert"]
We covered this edit a few months ago already but it definitely deserves a second viewing. Love it or hate it, you have to admit that it shows that there’s always a new way to see the mountain.
High speed surf style and a bunch of crazy grab and tripod combinations are Jay Hegert's thing and he makes you realise sometimes the best fun you can have is just on the piste with a bunch of friends. Oh and how much fun does Bear Mountain look?
[part title="1 Justin Fronius"]
Ladies and gentlemen, introducing Justin Fronius. He’s been around for a few years but he just won the ‘best newcomer’ award at The Reels film festival in Annecy, France last week. Although the edit above is a park one, in the streets is where he shines. His trademark is his casual stance, which you can see as he rides out.
This doesn’t change on even the kinkiest rails or the biggest drops to flat; to see for yourself you’re gonna have to download the latest VideoGrass movie The Last Ones from iTunes. Justin spends the whole of his ender part floating over the gnarliest features. Just unbelievable.