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Gavin Robbie (SCUK:ace_mcgraw) caught up with UK shredder Scott Penman whilst hanging out in Kopaonik, Serbia. He was there to promote the new SSX game from EA Sports and Ace had a chat about hitting kickers at night with virtually no illumination, the life of trying to keep a snowboarding career going as a Brit, and who was the fittest female snowboarder... You can even win a copy of SSX!
So, Scott, we're in Kopaonik.
Howís it going? Are you enjoying your time here?
Yeah itís great, Iíve never had an experience like this before. Going away with so many different media crews and having like night sessions to do tow-ins on jumps and stuff so it kinda felt a bit special, but I wonít let it go to my head. Itís been really cool, weíre staying in a really posh place - weíve had a look around and the food and everything has been really nice. Itís been a little shame about the weather, but thereís been a lot of snow so letís hope we get to go ride some pow. They want us to do some park tutorial things but itís definitely not the right weather to be riding the park. Might be the right weather to check out the jacuzzi though.
So how sketchy was hitting that kicker last night? From where we were standing it looked like there was barely any light?
It was a bit dark. It could have been lit a bit better, but apart from that it was one of the sickest little jumps ever. It was really well built, really well shaped. Kind of similar to that Nike one at Hemel, a little bit bigger perhaps, and a bit more of a step down, but itís the first park theyíve ever built so they werenít going to build some monster but it was cool. It was something like a 13m table so it was mellow. It was a proper session and I got to throw a few tricks on it. Riding in and getting the skidoo to the top was proper scary like, hanging onto the back with a skidoo going the other way as well and Iím kind of like blinded from the snow being kicked up anyway and Iím like ďWoo, skidoo whizzing past that wayĒ so that was pretty sketchy. But it was a really sick park session that, Iíve never had the opportunity to do that sort of thing before. I was just so stoked, I had a smile on my face all the time. Cruising in from the top it was completely pitch black where that first kicker was you were kind of like ďWhere is that? There it is!Ē so you go around that and be headed towards the lights. But I like riding at night, itís a lot different. Itís really cool with all the Serbian media at the bottom. Some of them hadnít seen snowboarding before so getting to do tricks in front of them so they were like wow, which is what itís all about really.
Thatís the thing; you seem not to get many snowboarders out here. I saw about 15 others over the whole day today on the mountain. The Serbian camera crews were even filming me heading through the park!
This was the first park theyíve ever built in Serbia and I wonder why they havenít done it before. People have been building snowparks for the last 20 years and theyíve been getting better and better and it seems like now Serbia have just said ďYeah weíll have one nowĒ and build a really good one so theyíve whacked some really good jumps on. But yeah, why? Theyíve got all the snow, theyíve got trees and stuff. Iím guessing thereís going to be some sick crews over here, like there always is. Iím sure thereís sick filming crews, doing urban stuff across Serbia and have been rocking for some time. Iíll be interested to check some of them out when I get home. Iíd imagine there are some really good industrial spots. Like where we landed in Belgrade and through there, some really cool stuff.
Scott Penman is an ambassador for EA SPORTS' SSX
EA SPORTS' SSX is released on March 2nd. SSX challenges gamers to race, trick, and survive the worldís most iconic mountain ranges. Pre-order your copy from GAME at www.game.co.uk.
Whatís it like being a British rider? Do you think itís more difficult keeping a career going coming from Britain?
Well I reckon maybe itís easier from Britain, because Ė fair enough we donít have mountains or anything, but to be a pro in the states youíve got to be ridiculously good. There are so many people out there who are worthy and good riders but thereís just so many. I think in the English scene, itís a smaller scene. Itís like, what is a UK pro? I mean I get hooked up mainly from distribution companies and Iím only now sorting out an international thing with Oxbow and an international deal with Drake. For me Iíd love to go with a proper video crew and film a video part and then Iíd be in a video and then Iíd be happy. But the life of a pro...I mean, I canít really say Iím a pro. I mean I donít get a wage from snowboarding. This is the first trip where Iíve been given budget, and this is the first season where Iíve been given a budget to go ride. But, you know, Iím not winning X Games, I donít have a pro model so I try and stay humble and ride as much as I can. Just ride to have fun really. Donít wanna think about all those distractions and stuff. I wanna ride and film little edits with my mates, and see where that goes, where it takes me. But I think my path really, I know Iím not going to be competing with Seb Toots and all that lot and getting triple corks, although I might get triple front flips under my belt by the end of the season. But Iím not going to be getting to the X Games and competing with those 17 year old snowboard killers. Theyíre amazing. I really hope my future is to stay in the scene as much as I can, try and get involved in the media side of things a bit more. Try and get a good ride and stay away from real work!
Youíre heading out to Breckenridge to hang out with the Brits out there. Whatís the plan?
Me and Angus Leith, my gay love partner, got together 3 years ago in Breck and we just kinda have the same attitude about snowboarding and have the same sense of humour Ė maybe some people donít find us funny at all, but we just crack each other up. We just wanna concentrate on making these little edits. Weíre trying to get them a bit more professional, a bit more HD, not necessarily more riding but just more messing with Americans and make it as funny as we can. But weíre just portraying just how much fun we have together doing the edit, and if people like, then thatís cool. We get alright feedback from it.
Scott flies in Sebia © EA Sports
So what tricks are you working on for this season?
I guess just to be smoother. Get a bigger bag of tricks. Iíve never been so comfortable spinning big spins. Iíve had a few 10s Ė front 10 and the front 10 double. Iíve only really just started hammering backside spins and I really wanna get a back 10. Iím gonna spend some time at Woodward and try and get a back double. Cos the way I do a back 5ís I think if I just really hang onto that corked back 5 and throw it a bit more and Iíll think Iíll have a double. Cos where I am with flipping I am fairly aerial aware, so I know where I am in relation to the ground. I really like front flips, double front flips are just like doing another one, so Iím really used to that flip. So Billy (Morgan) is really inspiring me to do the double back rodeo so heís going to give me a few lessons on that, and maybe after that a triple back rodeo! I just want to be smooth, and come up with some more interesting stuff. I really wanna film a street part. I love urban riding. Iím not the most technical handrail jibber, but I love finding a wall ride, or finding a spot which is a bit different, kinda like the Think Thank stuff and one footed footplant kinda stuff Ė skate orientated bits and pieces and making that stuff look cool. So an urban trip is what I really wanna do. And apart from that a heli ride. Iíve never had that experience. Iíve never ridden big mountain pow, Iíve hiked a few pow lines, but to film with a crew and have the budget to go ride in helicopters, thatís the dream.
Are you into backcountry riding?
I would be. This season weíve had so much snow in Europe, and off piste in Europe is better than American off piste. Last year in Breck we had some really good pow days, tree lines and stuff but even in Meribel Ė to me Meribel is a party town, you never really go there to do anything proper. But we built a really good jump. But with the snow there it was really dangerous Ė 5/5 on the avalanche scale, and I feel like an idiot because I donít even know how to use a transceiver. Iím a park rat you know! But now Iím riding a bigger board Ė Iím riding a 156 now and we were just shredding pow lines and cliff drops, and I was thinking this is what itís all about! I guess Iím gonna be one of those guys when I eventually can grow a beard anywhere as good as yours Iíll just get a place in the mountains live in a hut and ride pow.
Maybe with the whole SSX thing you can sort it out? Thereís the whole ĎSurviveí part of it. Iím sure EA Sports budget would stretch that far!
Yeah, you just need to send us to Alaska, just bill EA Sports! But yeah, thatís the dream but weíll see how things go, just keep fingers crossed.
Right, whether itís a good idea or not, I put a message out on SCUK asking for any questions, and I got a few suggestions back. I apologise for these in advance...
Out of the following, who would you shag/ marry/avoid? Denise Welch, Dana International or Dot Cotton.
Ok, Iím feeling a bit thick now Ė whoís that first one?
I think she was an actress in Corrie. She was a bar maid?
Iím not that into Corrie, but my mum likes it. I think Iíd shag Dot Cotton for the man points. Whoever was the best cook, or the happiest wife or whoever had the best hips to bear children Iíd marry.
Well, Dana International is a transvestite...
Well, yeah, I donít think sheíd bear children then. Well, yeah Iíd probably just shag her then. Just for the kinkiness Ė you know, chicks with dicks and all that.
If they banned snowboarding, would you ski?
No, Iíd snowblade... [Ed. Unfortunately, at this point the tape broke and Scott mysteriously went missing ... oh, okay...]
Or Bigfoot. Or those snow bikes. Iíve always wanted to do that. Skiing's been done Ė thereís gotta be something new. Have you seen that new snowboard, where you lie on it? Kinda like a big bodyboard, but more like paragliding I guess. You have blades underneath you. That looks pretty gnarly if you bail on them.
Whoís the fittest female snowboarder?
Iíve always had a thing for Jenny Jones.
Is it because she went topless in Terminal Ferocity?
A lot of people say that, but I just think sheís really nice. Some of the American female snowboarders are really nice. Seb Kern, team manager for Drake used to date this Russian pro. She was really hot. But the Eastern European girls over here really nice. And the blokes look like they can kick your head in!
Whatís the best question youíve ever been asked?
Probably that question right there. Thatís a real thinker, a head scratcher! Probably something rude! It depends on the context. With women Ė do you wanna come home with me? Have you got any STDs? I dunno, I think it is just that question, itís a real ďIf a tree falls in a wood would anyone be around to hear itĒ sort of question.
Do you wanna give a shout out to sponsors?
Andy and T at UltraSport for helping sorting me out this season with Drake boards and bindings, Northwave boots. Just getting on Oxbow Clothing now Ė theyíve got such a sick range. Iím looking forward to seeing more of that. I think when people see more of their stuff, itíll be massive. It seems like theyíve been around for ages, but theyíve never been one of the core, cool kinda brands, but JP Solbergs riding for Oxbow, and theyíve got a really good video with a bit of everything from park shots and pow riding, good sort of European film. Contour Cameras Ė Iíve been doing a sort of diary cam whilst Iím out here in Serbia. EA Sports for sorting this trip out, and the new game SSX which is out soon, and everyone is super friendly. Monokel Eyewear Ė youíve got to get a pair of them. Theyíre the sickest sunglasses, with the round eyes and everything Ė theyíre gonna start bringing them back. Yoki beanies. Skullcandy headphones and Laura at Sport Bureau Management. Angus Leith and anyone Iíve shredded with. For Boarders by Boarders, theyíre a really wicked company. And thank you very much Snowboard Club UK. It seems like everyone right now is really productive, and everyone is doing great stuff. Iím so glad to be part of this community.
Win a copy of SSX!
EA SPORTSí SSX has teamed up with SCUK to offer this awesome competition. We are giving away ONE copy of the new SSX game, out on March 2. Not feeling luck? You can pre-order your copy now at GAME. Go to www.game.co.uk, or www.ea.com/uk/ssx for more information on the game.
Enter the competition here.