Ed Leigh: The Best Snowboarding I’ve Ever Seen


David Vincent launching into his trademark frontside rodeo. In the words of Carly Simon: “nobody does it better…” Photo: Vanessa Andrieux

If you’ve never heard of David Vincent then it is highly unlikely that you will find anything on the internet that will adequately sum him up. So I will try. Imagine taking an international standard gymnast and giving him magic mushrooms for a couple of years and then letting him loose on a snowboard.

David Vincent was Europe’s  equivalent of Jamie Lynn, beautiful frontside spins, explosive pop crazy and his mushroom infested A Snowboard graphics made him one of snowboardings beautiful enigmas. Living below the tiny French resort of Sainte Foy in a hut called La Limace (translation: The Slug) he could be spotted floating around the Haute Savoie riding to a completely different beat. One day in early spring I was down in St Foy and a French friend pointed out Le Tit, the biggest natural kicker spot on the hill.

I was stunned. In less than thirty seconds David Vincent had destroyed everything that I thought I knew about snowboarding.

I saw David launch a massive frontside 7 Lien, grabbed and styled from take off to touch down. And the landing was no deck chair, lay back affair (which was completely acceptable back then) instead David rode away clean, threw up a couple of turns and then dropped into a gulley next to us. Finding a natural backside hip he launched into what I thought was a McTwist but somehow he stalled the rotation in mid air, almost like Mueller does with his Japan/Chicken wing mcTwists but then seemed somehow to reverse the rotation of the spin and finished the air like a frontside rodeo.

I was stunned. In less than thirty seconds David Vincent had destroyed everything that I thought I knew about snowboarding. He showed me that amazing riding didn’t happen somewhere else to other people, it could happen right here in front of you and somehow seeing it in the flesh, not on a video made me realize just how insanely good he was and how hard that trick was. I was riding the same snow on the same day and there were no excuses. And so accompanying the elation was the sinking feeling of just how shit I really was at snowboarding.

My friend Thomas told me that David called the trick the Milkshake, I have never seen it anywhere since, all I know is that it was the blueprint for the frontside Rodeo, a trick that David invented and over the next couple of years made his own.


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