Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Featured Rider: Kirk Thompson

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Featured Rider: Kirk Thompson

    Up next in the Featured Rider series is Kirk Thompson, RVL8 team rider and namesake of the KTP skiboard. Kirk is not only a great rider in the park but rips anywhere on the mountain. He is also an historian of skiboarding and passionate supporter of the sport. Big thanks to Kirk for putting a lot of thought and time into this Q&A.

    SBOL: We usually start off by asking your real name and where you live, but since you have a skiboard model named after you and you live in Pittsburgh, PA we have to start someplace else. What is your take on how the sport of skiboarding has progressed over the years? Where do you think the sport is headed? Do you like where things are going right now?

    I’ve seen skiboarding go through a world of changes. When I started, it was huge. You could watch skiboarding on TV, buy a pair of boards in any ski or skate shop, and the mountains were full of new skiboarders. Then within just a couple of years, the big ski industry had all but wiped skiboarding out of existence.

    For the next several years, the sport struggled. It really struggled. Not only was there zero innovation, but we were seeing fewer and fewer boards produced every year. We were on the verge of extinction - until Mix Skiboards. Although they failed miserably as a company, they were the kindle that reignited a fire within skiboarding. They made us realize that not only could new boards come out, but they could be completely different from what we were used to.

    The Mix ALP was the first 110cm skiboard. Sure, there were some short skis around that time exceeding this size, but the ALP was the first thing longer than 100cm that looked like a skiboard, acted like a skiboard, and was labelled a skiboard. This caused a rift within the tiny community at the time, where people began to question what skiboards were and what possibilities were ahead.

    The next year we saw RVL8 release the 105cm Revolt, Summit release the 110cm Woody, and Spruce release their 120cm board. The times had changed. Skiboarders had collectively decided that they were willing to trade some of the “skiboard zen” for the benefits that longer boards provided. I even found myself riding 105cm boards for a couple of years.

    Although I loved the performance of the Revolts, every time I rode them I knew that I really wanted something shorter. When the KTP was conceived, the idea was to make the highest performance and most versatile “classic” skiboard design possible. This is what I wanted to ride, and I was convinced it would show riders they really didn’t need longer boards to achieve maximum performance.

    The KTPs exceeded my expectations and have been very successful, but they never really captivated an audience in the way I hoped they would. I viewed them as the longest boards I would ever need, but others tended to view them as their “little playful boards”. Everyone was more focused on 110s, 120s, and beyond, so of course the KTPs were tiny by comparison.

    I take a loose definition to skiboarding. I believe skiboarding is achieved when you take your equipment down to the bare minimum required to ride the way you desire. That said, for a long time I felt a little sad inside when novice riders would be recommended skiboards over 100cm. Why? Skiboarding is the freedom you feel when the equipment disappears, and the shorter the boards, the more quickly they become invisible. I hate to think that someone’s first “skiboard” may be 130cm long. I know these are great boards for a ton of riders, but I think people new to the sport should first experience it in its purest form – where it is a distinct and separate entity from traditional skiing. Only after experiencing this extreme can you have perspective to assess the middle ground boards that may better suit your needs.

    What is this all leading towards? The Blunts! They are the reincarnation of the classic skiboard philosophy enhanced with modern technology and design. They have successfully captured people’s imagination in a way that I wish the KTP could have years ago. I am super excited to see so many riders looking at a pair of boards this small with a fresh perspective – seeing possibilities and freedom instead of limitations.

    I can only hope that the Blunts will change people’s opinions about the limitations of short boards. Short, easy to manage skiboards are the democratic mobilizers of the snow-sliding world. They shun the world of expensive equipment and lessons and encourage a simplified learning curve based on experimentation and a quick feedback loop. This is the route to see skiboarding grow in both participation and economics, which I think is a good thing.

    SBOL: In a recent thread (http://www.skiboardsonline.com/forum...ad.php?t=14866) you shared how you got into skiboarding. How did you become a Pro Rider for RVL8? What has kept you in the sport for so long?

    I actually “discovered” RVL8 before they even officially existed. I was surfing the web one day looking up some skiboarding stuff, and I came across a single, very plain page saying “RVL8 Skiboards… coming soon”. I emailed the contact on the page, and to my surprise, it was Greco! I was already riding for SBOL at the time, so I was super excited to see that he was taking the risk to make skiboards after the failure of Mix. I first rode the RVL8 Revolt at Bear Creek in November 2005, and I haven’t looked back!

    <iframe src="//player.vimeo.com/video/14275436" width="500" height="375" frameborder="0" webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen allowfullscreen></iframe> <p><a href="http://vimeo.com/14275436">Kirk Thompson Night Skiboarding at Bear Creek - 2005</a> from <a href="http://vimeo.com/skiboards">RVL8 Skiboards</a> on <a href="https://vimeo.com">Vimeo</a>.</p>

    As far as what has kept me in the sport… injuries aside, there is no reason I would leave. I love all snow sliding, but skiboarding’s philosophy of taking your equipment to the absolute minimum necessary has always resonated with me. Skiboards are just a tiny extension of your body.

    SBOL: What’s it like having a skiboard model that has been on the market since 2008 named after you? How did that Kirk Thompson Pro (KTP) board come into being?

    Having a pro model is a dream come true, but it took a while to really embrace it. When I first rode the KTPs, I actually put stickers all over the board with my name on it to obscure it from myself while riding. It was so unbelievable to me at the time that I tried to downplay it as much as possible. I think it was only after I placed 1st and 2nd in two events at the European Open in Romania that year that I started riding them without stickers.

    Now rewind a few years. While I was skiboarding in Vermont with Adam Lynam and Ben Wannamaker, Greco quietly let me in on a short list of riders who were in the running for pro models at the time. Adam, Ben, and Ethan Mitchell were up for the first year, and a couple of others were planned for the next year (I wasn’t on that list). The ALP, BWP, and EMP all came out that year, but by the time the next season arrived; the RVL8 team looked much different. Several riders had decided to go their various ways while those remaining were pushing themselves and progressing the sport.

    <iframe src="//player.vimeo.com/video/14270341" width="500" height="373" frameborder="0" webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen allowfullscreen></iframe> <p><a href="http://vimeo.com/14270341">RVL8 Skiboards Team Rider Kirk Thompson Skiboarding in Vermont - 2006</a> from <a href="http://vimeo.com/skiboards">RVL8 Skiboards</a> on <a href="https://vimeo.com">Vimeo</a>.</p>

    I guess I did something in that time to impress Greco, because one day he called me and asked if I was interested in a pro model – and of course I was! We talked, and the basic idea was that since I had been riding the BWP (Slapdash) and the Revolt at the time, my boards would be something to bridge the gap between the two. The result was a board in the classic skiboard length with stiff flex, a wide body, and an extra set of inserts.

    When I first saw the boards, the only thought I had was “wow, I think we really messed up… these things are way too fat and are going to fail!” After putting them on, by the time I skated to the ski lift I realized my assumptions were wrong: they were absolutely amazing. Until this year, I haven’t really ridden any other boards.

    SBOL: There is probably a lot of “pressure” to ride KTPs all of the time since they have your name on them (and they are great boards!). Do you ever get to ride other boards? If you couldn’t ride KTPs anymore, which boards would become your “go to” boards?

    Haha – interestingly, I’ve never felt any pressure to ride the KTPs, even though I’ve ridden them exclusively since their release. This year I’m super excited to ride the Blunts. I am all about the “classic” skiboard sizes, so I can’t wait to give them a shot.

    If I couldn’t ride the KTPs anymore, I’d be getting in contact with manufacturers to make a KTP clone – although maybe the Blunts can change my mind!

    SBOL: If you could have a set of custom skiboards built what performance characteristics would you be looking for and what the specifications be?

    They would be the KTP of course! But if I had to make a different skiboard, I would have something completely off the wall. It would be a pair of “street” skiboards. They would be 90cm long, with a 13/13/13 profile, zero camber, and SUPER stiffness (think 2x KTP stiffness). The inserts would be slightly off centered – closer to one edge than the other. This design would allow them to work with a special softboot riser and binding system where the riser would be flush with the edge of the board and would emulate a skate frame. The base of the binding would hang over the riser and be designed like a skate boot with soul and backslide plates, so you could do legitimate skate tricks on them. I don’t even know if they would need steel edges.

    Granted, this would be heinously impractical for all mountain riding, but they sure would be fun on handrails!

    SBOL: What are some of your favorite places to ride? If you had to pick one place, what is your favorite and why?

    Tahoe for sure. It’s not just the mountains, but the weather, the atmosphere, the scenery… everything out there is amazing. Picking a single resort would be more difficult, but I’d probably have to go with Squaw/Alpine Meadows because they are such beautiful places to ride.

    SBOL: You obviously have a lot of talent in the park. Any tips to beginning skiboarders who want to get into the park, learn new tricks and make progress? Any advice to people who have solid skills in the park but want to take things to the next level?

    For beginners in park today, you basically have to learn two things: how to slide a box (sideways), and how to clear a jump (a properly built jump, where you gap all the way to the landing). Once you have these skills, you can have an awesome time just applying these to different features, even if you never learn any tricks past that. (Both described in depth here: http://www.skiboardsonline.com/forum...ad.php?t=12658).

    For those who decide they’re ready to start trying bigger stuff, the best advice I could give for now is to look at what other riders are able to do on the features you have, and try to match them. The way features are built tend to lend themselves to certain styles of tricks, so if other riders are doing certain things, that would be a good place to start (even if it is just skiers and snowboarders). Once your skill exceeds the riders around you, then it’s time for you to become the innovator!

    SBOL: You aren’t just a park rider – you can rip anywhere on the mountain. Any keys to being a good all-mountain rider?

    Don’t try to fight physics. You can’t stop on ice or really steep sections, so don’t try. If you aren’t comfortable at keeping your speed through sections where stopping is not an option, you need to find another way down. Realize that conditions will have a huge impact on the type of riding you will be able to do on any given day, and adjust to them. Conditions can vary dramatically even on a single slope, so you constantly have to pay attention to them and adjust your style accordingly.

    Also, don’t ride trails full of beginners. I find it much more difficult and nerve-wracking to try to navigate a sea of unpredictable beginners that may do anything at any moment than it is to ride any “challenging” terrain. Take advantage of the fact that skiboarding lets you go places that others can’t, get away from the crowds, and get some good riding in! The more riding you get to do that pushes your ability the better you’ll get. Riding in seas of beginners only makes you better at riding in seas of beginners.

    SBOL: Do you have a favorite skiboarding memory – something that really stands out in your mind?

    I have so many awesome memories from skiboarding and keep making more every time I ride with other skiboarders! All the old SBOL meetups, all the Shredfests, all the competitions, and even every time I drove ridiculously far by myself just to ride with a couple of guys have all been awesome experiences that I wouldn’t trade in for anything.

    The one thing that always stands out in my mind from other experiences was the day that while on the way to ride at Shredfest, the RVL8 team decided to stop and “take one quick run” in the backcountry off the side of the highway. That “one quick run” turned into an entire day of some of the most fun riding I have ever done. The weather was a perfect bluebird day, we were shuttling people up and down the mountain in a rental mini van, and everyone was just so stoked on what we had stumbled into.

    The spontaneity and sheer joy on everyone’s faces is forever branded in my mind. I was recovering from shoulder surgery at the time, but after I saw Dave Lynam drop a 50’ cliff, I had to follow him. From where we started, you couldn’t see where you were going to land, so we had to rely purely on Adam Lynam’s expertise to direct us where to go from below. As I left the ground I noticed there was a huge boulder protruding about 20’ outward that wasn’t visible from the takeoff point! I seriously thought, “holy shit, I am going to land on that cliff and die right now!” Of course Adam’s judgment was perfect and I sailed right over the cliff and landed in a sea of bottomless powder, but that moment and that day were unforgettable.

    SBOL: Any final thoughts?

    I just want to say thanks to everyone who has been a part of this sport over the years. It’s an awesome community to be a part of. I especially want to thank everyone who has given back through sharing expertise, compiling video edits, or simply asking questions to keep progressing skiboarding. There are always new tricks, ideas, and styles that need shared to keep moving the sport forward.

    I also of course need to thank Greco for everything he has done to keep pushing the sport. It has been amazing to watch RVL8 evolve from producing just the Revolt their first year, to today where you have over twenty board styles to choose from on SBOL. His dedication and love for skiboarding has brought it out of its darkest times and put it on solid ground to keep progressing into future.

    <iframe src="//player.vimeo.com/video/80437452" width="500" height="281" webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen allowfullscreen></iframe>

    Some of Kirk’s Favorite Photos:









    Last edited by Greco; 12-12-2013, 10:22 PM. Reason: Added 3 videos
    In pursuit of Peace, Harmony and Flow.....
    Think Like a Mountain

    Boards ridden, some owned: Sherpas, Spruce 120 "STS", Blunts, DS110 custom prototypes, Rockered Condors, Revolts, DLPs, Summit Custom 110s, Summit Marauders, Head 94s, Raptor prototypes, Osprey prototypes.

  • #2
    13/13/13 profile? How about that, a board with no sidecut LOL. Thanks Kirk, great insights and thoughtful comments as always. I hope you like the Blunts as much as I.

    Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk 4
    Crossbow (go to dream board)
    Most everything else over time.
    Go Android

    Comment


    • #3
      Wow! This is a great read, intelligent, informational, impressive. Superb!

      Skiboards:
      2013 Spruce Sherpas w/Tyrolia Peak 11s
      2015 RVL8 Blunt XLs w/Tyrolia Attack 13s
      2018 Spruce Crossbows w/Tyrolia Peak 11s
      2017 RVL8 Sticky Icky Ickys w/Tyrolia SX 10s


      Boots:
      Salomon X-Pro 80

      Past boards: Salomon Snowblades, Line MNPs 89 & 98 cm, Five-Os, Bullets, Jedis, Spruce 120s, LE 125s, Ospreys
      Summit 110s, Nomads, Jades, RVL8 ALPs, BWPs, KTPs, Tanshos, Rockets, DLPs, Blunts, Condors, RCs, Revolts, Spliffs

      Comment


      • #4
        We're plenty lucky to have a fellow as thoughtful, intelligent and talented as Kirk representing the sport. Folks who've been lucky enough to meet him also know what a pleasant, personable and well-spoken young man he is. Great job by all involved in this rider profile series.

        Comment


        • #5
          Great interview.

          Kirk, you are a class act!
          sigpic


          Osprey, Sherpa, Custom Coda 120WT, Custom DS110, Condor (Green), Spliff

          Custom Twist Out duck foot bindings, Bombers (custom duck foot base plate and 3 pads), releasable S810ti on custom duck foot riser

          Nordica N3 NXT ski boots (best so far)


          Wife: 104 SII & 100 Blunt XL with S810ti bindings on custom "adjustable duck foot" risers

          Loaners: 125LE, 105 EMP, 101 KTP, 100 Blunt XL, 98 Slapdash, 88 Blunts

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Bluewing View Post

            I take a loose definition to skiboarding. I believe skiboarding is achieved when you take your equipment down to the bare minimum required to ride the way you desire. That said, for a long time I felt a little sad inside when novice riders would be recommended skiboards over 100cm. Why? Skiboarding is the freedom you feel when the equipment disappears, and the shorter the boards, the more quickly they become invisible. I hate to think that someone’s first “skiboard” may be 130cm long. I know these are great boards for a ton of riders, but I think people new to the sport should first experience it in its purest form – where it is a distinct and separate entity from traditional skiing. Only after experiencing this extreme can you have perspective to assess the middle ground boards that may better suit your needs.


            ^ ^ ^
            This, this and this, but mainly this.
            Just these, nothing else !

            Comment


            • #7
              such a great interview! and inspirational

              Comment


              • #8
                Another great profile and great read!!!

                Note to Bluewing and Greco -- I see the rider profiles are just in the general skiboarding subforum. Would it make sense to create a subforum just for rider profiles so they are all together and do get lost in the mix of posts once they get old. A bit of a hall of fame. Also, if you create this subforum, can you restrict it so only SBOL rider interviews are posted to it not any profile created by any forum member? Open to comments from all by only creation of new profiles by Greco or Bluewing.
                Boards:
                2016 Spruce tuned Head Jr. Caddys - 131cm
                2013 Spruce "CTS" 120s
                2010 Spruce "Yellow/Red" 120s
                2018 Spruce "CTS" Crossbows - 115cm
                2016 RVL8 Spliffs - 109cm
                2008 RVL8 Revolt "City" - 105cm
                2017 RVL8 Sticky Icky Icky - 104cm
                2011 Defiance Blades - 101cm

                Comment


                • #9
                  Good idea Wookie!
                  sigpic


                  Osprey, Sherpa, Custom Coda 120WT, Custom DS110, Condor (Green), Spliff

                  Custom Twist Out duck foot bindings, Bombers (custom duck foot base plate and 3 pads), releasable S810ti on custom duck foot riser

                  Nordica N3 NXT ski boots (best so far)


                  Wife: 104 SII & 100 Blunt XL with S810ti bindings on custom "adjustable duck foot" risers

                  Loaners: 125LE, 105 EMP, 101 KTP, 100 Blunt XL, 98 Slapdash, 88 Blunts

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by slow View Post
                    Good idea Wookie!
                    Very good idea!

                    Skiboards:
                    2013 Spruce Sherpas w/Tyrolia Peak 11s
                    2015 RVL8 Blunt XLs w/Tyrolia Attack 13s
                    2018 Spruce Crossbows w/Tyrolia Peak 11s
                    2017 RVL8 Sticky Icky Ickys w/Tyrolia SX 10s


                    Boots:
                    Salomon X-Pro 80

                    Past boards: Salomon Snowblades, Line MNPs 89 & 98 cm, Five-Os, Bullets, Jedis, Spruce 120s, LE 125s, Ospreys
                    Summit 110s, Nomads, Jades, RVL8 ALPs, BWPs, KTPs, Tanshos, Rockets, DLPs, Blunts, Condors, RCs, Revolts, Spliffs

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      i really enjoy reading anything and everything KTP has to say
                      facebook.com/dlynamr8

                      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2s7yBfCTp2M

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Davelynam View Post
                        i really enjoy reading anything and everything KTP has to say
                        Start thinking my friend because you are a future profile candidate!
                        In pursuit of Peace, Harmony and Flow.....
                        Think Like a Mountain

                        Boards ridden, some owned: Sherpas, Spruce 120 "STS", Blunts, DS110 custom prototypes, Rockered Condors, Revolts, DLPs, Summit Custom 110s, Summit Marauders, Head 94s, Raptor prototypes, Osprey prototypes.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Wookie View Post
                          Another great profile and great read!!!

                          Note to Bluewing and Greco -- I see the rider profiles are just in the general skiboarding subforum. Would it make sense to create a subforum just for rider profiles so they are all together and do get lost in the mix of posts once they get old. A bit of a hall of fame. Also, if you create this subforum, can you restrict it so only SBOL rider interviews are posted to it not any profile created by any forum member? Open to comments from all by only creation of new profiles by Greco or Bluewing.
                          Great idea, done!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Greco View Post
                            Great idea, done!
                            Sweet! Now you can focus your energy on ordering more Blunts.
                            Boards:
                            2016 Spruce tuned Head Jr. Caddys - 131cm
                            2013 Spruce "CTS" 120s
                            2010 Spruce "Yellow/Red" 120s
                            2018 Spruce "CTS" Crossbows - 115cm
                            2016 RVL8 Spliffs - 109cm
                            2008 RVL8 Revolt "City" - 105cm
                            2017 RVL8 Sticky Icky Icky - 104cm
                            2011 Defiance Blades - 101cm

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Thanks everyone for reading and glad it was enjoyed. It was fun to write up and kept me from going crazy waiting to Skiboard. I got stuck helping family move this weekend, so I still haven't gone!!! I'll get out this weekend no matter what it takes...

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X