Il est mort? Diego Anderson laughs at the scary past and pokes a stick at the shiny future of this crazy sport
…Long live Mountainboarding!
Frenchman Diego has been at the heart of mountainboarding since the very early days, and now as we approach 2017 he’s been scratching his head on the scary topic of popularity… He’s seen the ups and downs; the coming and going of boards, brands and riders. And now he’s asking is there new blood getting pumped on the sport, or is the Grim Reaper on his way?
In the 90’s, a f*cking great new sport on 4 wheels appeared.
Firstly named Dirtboarding then All Terrain Boarding before settling on mountainboarding, this sport was all set to become the next big boardsport on planet Earth.
25 years later, this next “big thing”, is completely aside of main boardsports such as surfing, skateboarding or snowboarding.
How did that come to be?
A few points that may explain why we never became mainstream:
1/ Warning : Mountainboarding is a dangerous sport…
Since the beginning, Mountainboarding is considered by many people, as a really dangerous sport.
Videos on the web in the 2000’s were full of crappy “my first crash on a mountainboard”, with newcomers on the wrong board, on an hostile terrain, no pads and often no clue.
The first MBS adverts, though really good and funny, were insisting on that extreme aspect too:
Our lack of mountainboard schools, showing kids having fun on gentle slopes, didn’t really help in the past.
Mountainboarding is still considered today as one of the most extreme sports.
2/ What’s this ? Did you make it by yourself ?
Most people don’t have a clue about what is a mountainboard.
Medias are mostly on main sports, only shows few main boardsports, and mountainboarding is not of a real interest for them.
Our communication is mostly made through personal edits shared on Facebook, which is not showing the sport to main public.
No one is really able at the moment to deal with a professional film company which could edit promo videos and work with TV producers.
3/ Passion, the real business
Most alternative sports grew up quickly, highly supported by the industries which were interested in. They organized events, demos with paid riders, and created the scene they could live with, highly helped by the medias, fond of fun and leisures at this time…
Mountainboarding came a bit later and didn’t benefit of that sort of exposure. Even Laird Hamilton riding his mountainboard in Hawaii, which went on air worldwide didn’t make it better.
Industry didn’t have the money to produce pro medias and competitions to interest main people, and newcomers who wanted to begin mountainboarding at this time soon figured out that the only way will be to buy a board on the web and ride alone in some close woods, just for the fun of it.
The Industry business model didn’t give the chance to make it good neither. They tried to develop their sales on a large scale or through the web mostly, when a lot of little interested core scenes needed to be created. With an interest, they could have distribute boards in local shops, sponsor local scene and events, and make it soon way better than it is now. Unfortunately, except UK, no one benefit of this kind of support.
Business in the Mountainboard industry today is mostly ruled by passionate riders, who just invest their time and money into a Passion, which in the only way to survive in a difficult economical context.
4/ You mean, the skateboard with big wheels ?
It’s not a skateboard with big wheels, it’s a fucking mountainboard mate, that’s its name. You don’t call a snowboard a plank with bindings!?
For so long that the sport exists, we didn’t manage to make our voice heard. Mountainboarding doesn’t exist, and doesn’t have an image as a sport.
We’re still a bunch of dirty crappy crazy people, trying to go too fast with full pads on, on hardcore tracks with bad falls…
We still have to create the model of sport that would be cool enough for everyone, but shows medias and public a bit of organization and professionalism of our sport.
The image of our sport has still to be made.
So what for now? Have we got some hope?
I think that though this was a dark statement about the situation until now, we actually did the worst part and the future can only be brighter:
1/ The heart keeps on beating…
Though the scenes worldwide didn’t develop hugely, the didn’t disappear either.
There are still passionate riders pushing the sport all over the planet, from the beginner to core people on the scene for 20 years.
Yes the riders are still there, and these ones are the most involved and passionate ever, because they know that the only thing to win is the pleasure of riding!
2/ There’s still innovation in the sport
Brands like Colab and Venom (below) did produce the best decks ever for Mountainboarding last year. Trampa is still producing the best trucks and parts for Mountainboarding, MBS did produce a great skatepark style Pro board. Innovation is still on the run.
Boards are getting better, faster, with more stability, helping the sport to push the limits.
No doubt that with a bit more collaboration between the best riders and the best brands, the gear will keep on evolving to go faster and higher…
3/ International Mountainboard development is getting big
With 19 Nationalities taking part in the last World Boardercross champs, the sport has never been so well internationally represented.
Even if the scenes are more or less developed, a lot of people are promoting the sport locally around the globe.
The International Mountainboard Association (IMA) is now leaded by a few riders and organizators who are pushing the sport forward. They share experiences and organize the world of mountainboarding for a better experience.
The World Boardercross Championships is showing each year more and more people, more and more level, more and more countries.
The international competitions are also pushing the sport to another level, with more people travelling around.
Even quiet nationally, mountainboarders make their voices louder through this international exposure, and it also really helps on a local point of view.
4/ Mountainboarding is amazing
That’s something which comes to my mind’s eye everytime I meet some other riders, locally or internationally…
It’s not that we are all the same, we’re all different, but we’re all together.
We can have an opinion, but we can understand and accept another one. We can be proud of our specificities, but we like to share them together.
We can have an argument, but we know that the decision will be democratic (in its real form), and made in the real interest of all riders.
We’re not only a bunch of mountainboarders, we’re a group of Humans re-inventing relationships between people.
So now, the future is in our hands.
Mountainboarding is like Karma, you’ll earn what you give.
And according to the lovely people who are part of this sport, nationally and internationally, I’m pretty sure that the best is still to come!
Mountainboarding is dead. Welcome to the new generation of Mountainboarding…”
All words courtesy the French Angel of Off-road Wheelieboarding Diego Anderson.
What do you think? comment on social media or get in touch!