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Soap Box – The Kids Are Alright

Soap Box is a chance for others to use the Whitelines platform to express their views, have a rant or just scream SNOWBOARDING into the eternal void of the internet. These opinions are not necessarily those of the WL editorial staff.

This article, written by Malcom Shueman, originally appeared in WL119.

Shaun Palmer and Mike Ranquet back in ’88: yesterday’s cool kids, today’s old guard. Photo: Bud Fawcett

“Yeah now well, the thing about the old days… They the old days
Slim Charles

In this piece I’d like to address anyone who has ever brought up in print, online or at any snowboarding event the idea that this generation of riders are tame compared to ones from days gone by. Or that kids these days don’t know how to cut loose, and there’s no heroes at the after-party anymore (except for Halldor, they always mention Halldor…)

Aside from the obvious retort “and which after parties have you been to recently?” – anyone who can actually remember Shaun Palmer throwing TVs out of windows clearly will not be heading out after 10pm these days – the sad truth is that if this really is ‘the age of corporate obedience’, it’s the previous cohort’s fault.

Yeah, yours. As soon as the first batch of Keith Moon wannabes realised that snowboarding wasn’t going to pay the bills quite as well as My Generation did, picked up that first energy drink cheque and started doodling designs for WalMart, that became the example for the next crop. The same generation that fucked the planet up with global warming then yelled at their kids for leaving the lights on is once again blaming their sons and daughters for the damage they themselves have done.

The same generation that fucked the planet up with global warming then yelled at their kids for leaving the lights on is once again blaming their sons and daughters for the damage they themselves have done.

Don’t worry though, it’s nothing new. The sight of Johnny Rotten sucking on the buttery teat of Country Life is still a sight that rightly makes stomachs churn (ha!), but really what kind of choice did he have? Just like snowboarding, singing tunelessly and railing against the establishment isn’t a career for life. Just be thankful he still had the decency to call the British public ‘fucking cunts’ on live national TV later on.

But even if last year’s Olympic podium had headed out on the town after a day spent nailing triple corks over goliath-sized kickers (remember back in the day when Shaun Farmer could do that? No? Didn’t think so) and consumed their medal’s weight in battery acid, they’d still get no love. Instead we’d be hearing “This lot are so unoriginal, we did that first.” Basically, anyone under the age of 25 is damned if they do, damned if they don’t.

But what the naysayers really don’t want to admit is that whatever kids these days are up to, they don’t care what you think. And why would they? You’re old! Like Grandpa Simpson rambling on about how great the Flying Hellfish were back in the day, young Bart doesn’t care about why you think John Cardiel was so legit for leaving us for skateboarding, or why hucked pencil spins out of a hand dug ditch is better that the latest Insta-edit from Jaeger Bailey (spoiler: they’re not).

Instead, embrace all that’s great about this generation: the time and effort they put into the shred, the creativity oozing out of each week’s hottest new online video, and the tricks you hadn’t even dreamt of a year ago, let alone in the 90s. Who cares if Bode Merrill doesn’t throw TVs out of hotel windows? He just did the Pyramid Gap with one foot unstrapped, that’s fucking rock ‘n’ roll!

No matter how shit bucket hats are, they’ll never be as shit as JP Walker in a do-rag

Even the bizarre fashions leave your heroes in the dust: no matter how shit bucket hats are, they’ll never be as shit as JP Walker in a do-rag (or bursting into tears whilst reminiscing over landing the first ever double cork). Hate seeing skinny pants in movies? You’re obviously forgetting the MC Hammer-meets-Limp Bizkit sail cloths that were the nineties – at least this generation is shredding in something vaguely waterproof.

Failing that, there’s always leading by example. Stop spending your evenings reading the Telegraph ski supplement to find the best family-friendly resort, or browsing the latest range of splitboards on BeardyFreerider.com. Instead, head down your local snowdome, show the kids how it’s done and then get wild in the nearest pub – there’s a shot of lighter fluid on the bar with your name on it… Grandpa.

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