What a fantastic event it was! There were many highlights during the night such as the sponsored beverages, watching exclusive snowboarding footage on the big screen, the large pool of spot prizes including a Bataleon snowboard, and chatting to various past & present snowboarding gurus. The major highlight for me was the music provided by DJs Brent Screen (AKA B-Rok), J.West and Deano Johnston, boy did they have that dance floor moving! With the bar at capacity and a crowd that could put Hollywood to shame we were in for a night that would make history.
Phil Erickson, a legend in the NZ snowboarding community is the main man behind NZ Snowboarder magazine. I was lucky enough to catch a wee interview with him about the magazine and snowboarding.
Briar: The first issue of New Zealand Snowboarder magazine was in 1993, who were the great minds behind this venture and where did it all start?
Phil: I started snowboarding in 1989. Prior to that I had developed a passion for surf photography, having been a keen surfer since the age of 12. I submitted shots to NZ Surfing magazine and Kiwi surf in the late 80's, specialising in water shots. In 1990’s I started taking snowboard videos and still shots and realised there was no NZ magazine or any outlet to represent the growing NZ riding scene (this is way before any internet or other means of seeing shots other than in print). On a trip down south two years later, I met Steen Webster who was NZ’s first national champ (1990) and he agreed to act as editor, that's how the magazine started.
Briar: On your website http://www.nzsnowboarder.co.nz you have a very informative page on the history of each issue you have released, it is worth checking out. Alongside this is there any major historical moments that have happened for NZ Snowboarder magazine that you would like to specifically mention?
Phil: There are too many to mention here unfortunately, a lot has happened in 22 years! Perhaps if I was to isolate one thing it would be when the digital era began, that was a quantum change in terms of how you could present snowboarding to a much bigger audience. It also spelt some serious issues for print that continue to evolve now.
Briar: What drives you to continue producing a snowboard magazine in NZ?
Phil: I really enjoy having the opportunity to show our readers what's possible on a snowboard. This means working in with the best photographers and snowboarders to help create images that capture snowboarding at the top level. That is what motivated me when I was growing up surfing, the images I saw of the great surfers at the best locations around the world. I soon figured I was probably not going to make that elite group, but the inspiration from those photos drove me to try to get as good as I possibly could and still does.
Briar: Where do you think the NZ snowboarding industry is headed in the future?
Phil: Snowboarding will continue to be what it has always been. An incredibly fun sport that virtually any one can do and take what ever they want from it. The industry should be a reflection of that.
Briar: What is your take on the skiing vs. snowboarding debate?
Phil: I think it's just different personalities, if you really love to ride a snowboard, skiing may not give you that same feel you have grown to love on a snowboard. I have skied before (not very well I might add) So I have an idea of the different mechanics. Even though today’s skis are a damn sight faster, and more versatile in terms of getting around the mountain in varying conditions (2 edges on steep ice will always be better than 1!), I prefer to ride a snowboard. There is no right or wrong both disciplines are amazing!
Briar: Is there any major supporters or contributors to NZ Snowboarder magazine you would like to mention?
Phil: Without founding editor Steen Webster, and Associate editors Dylan Butt and Joel Westcot, the magazine would not be what it is today. All are incredible riders, and have been able to convey the integrity of snowboarding by ensuring the quality of the images and editorial was always of the highest level. That's been crucial. There have been so many others that have contributed to the 22 years and 60 issues including the photographers, riders, writers and advertisers that have all got behind us and helped us document snowboarding in NZ. Without which New Zealand Snowboarder would not be the magazine it is today. Thanks to you all!
What an amazing achievement Phil and co, congratulations on 60 issues and all the best for the future. We are thoroughly looking forward to seeing the continued progression of snowboarding in NZ and the next 60+ issues of New Zealand Snowboarder magazine!
Words by Briar Peters