Behind The Scenes At Natural Selection

El Hefe Travis with a mega nosegrab | PC: Owen Tozer

Yeah, I liked that yourself and the other commentators were stressing they were the kind of conditions most of us wouldn’t even consider even leaving the ground in, let alone line up 100-foot transfer, like Longo. On that note, how did the commentary gig come about this year?
Well, I turned that down as well [laughs]. They asked me in January. And again I was like ‘Oh, fucking hell, really?’ Because I’ve never done any live broadcasting. I’ve obviously done a lot of talking into a microphone over the years, but I’ve never done live production like that. But Liam said, ‘We wouldn’t ask you if we didn’t think you could do it’. And then he said ‘Don’t worry, you don’t have to be the enthusiastic guy, we all know what you’re like. We’ve got the Americans for that’ [Laughs].

“You look at somebody like Kevin, and then we look at Arthur and what there was room for at Natural Selection was a huge diversity of styles and approaches”

In the end, I treated it like the world’s most stressful best man’s speech. I thought: I’m gonna turn up, be on time, know my shit, try to be helpful and just do my best really. The broadcast itself was almost like an out-of-body experience. And there is a point, especially if you’ve practiced and rehearsed, where the muscle memory almost takes over and it’s like you’re watching yourself do it.

Obviously you’d done your studying, you had your notes, and you were in commentary mode, but were there any moments where you found yourself switching into ‘spectator mode’, and just reacted as a fan watching a rider throw down something insane?
Yeah, that’s a good question. I mean, I really, really liked watching Blake Paul. He’s just such a beautiful snowboarder. And I know he didn’t ultimately get that far, but you can’t watch somebody like him and not just forget what’s going on really, because he’s just so controlled, so measured, so stylish.

Thinking of the competition as a whole in a wider context, I’ve heard people refer to it as the antidote to competitive snowboarding. It’s clearly a move away from these manicured courses and hyper-technical tricks and in some respects it’s a move towards that relatable or slightly more authentic snowboarding, although it’s obviously still very, very elite level. Do you think the Natural Selection Tour is achieving that, is this the future of competitive snowboarding from what you’ve seen?

Well, like I said earlier, it’s still early days, isn’t it? And I think you can really see that, and I’ve already kind of mentioned about the women and their level of progression. I think it’s gonna drive progression, just in different ways, and I know that’s a very glib and obvious comment. But you look at somebody like Kevin, and then we look at Arthur and what there was room for at Natural Selection was a huge diversity of styles and approaches.