22/09/2010 | by Uli Köhler
Surplus mag chat gets an internet rebate.
By now you’ll have read the crafted re-write of the old vs new chat we had with young buck Niki Korpela and legend Joni Malmi in issue 116. But we can now bring you what we didn’t have space for. It always happens doing interviews: heaps of interesting fat gets chewed but to ensure it all fits on the allotted number of pages in the mag you inevitably have to lose some meat. Seeing as the internet’s guts run on a full-fat diet we can bring you the extra chitter-chatter that had to be cut to fit it in the mag. The internet knows no word count. Spare time science, snowboarding going mainstream, US vs Europe… check out what had to be left on the cutting room floor.
Do you think as a pro you should always focus 100% on the riding. Or should you always consider the time after being a pro?
Joni: I think if you really want to become a good snowboarder you have to focus a lot on your snowboarding. But I think it is more a question of your personality and if you like doing other things on the side. For myself at least I have noticed that I can’t really just snowboard and not think of anything else. Obviously I am interested in lots of other things.
Niki: I am the kind of person who lives in the moment. So I would say focus 100 per cent of the riding!
What is it that keeps you busy other than snowboarding?
Joni: Right now I am part-owner in a clothing company called Makia. That takes some time. And I am helping out doing the movie Euro Gap. What else? My hobbies: I do music on my computer, I occasionally DJ somewhere, that kind of stuff.
Niki: At summer-time my friends. And all the mad chilling I do! (laughs)
With the Olympics, X Games and other big events snowboarding has become a mainstream phenomenom. Is this is good or a bad thing? And why?
Joni: It is another type of snowboarding. I don’t know if it still has that much to do with the way snowboarding started, the way it used to be a “soul sport”, a rebellious culture thing, you know? I think contest snowboarding, and especially the Olympic stuff, is taking it in a different direction. But that’s where it would go anyways, and I think there will be a split between those two categories: There will always be people who still do it as a lifestyle, and have fun, and just enjoy the riding.
Niki: I’d say the answer is fifty-fifty. It’s good that normal people get to know our sport. At the same time it does not promote the guys who film or do other stuff than just contests. People start to think that snowboarding is just about contests.
The level of riding is progressing more and more? Do you see a peak that we are approaching soon? Or what’s the next big thing?
Joni: In a couple of years there are going to be triple corks. Snowboarding will keep progressing, as it is still a pretty new sport.
Niki: I actually thought we would reach the peak about two years ago, but it is still going on! Hard to say, there will be some triple corks, I am sure about that. But you’ll have to start learning those basic tricks as well, and it takes some time. If a new rider is coming up he can’t just start doing triples without knowing the basics first. Yes, the level will go higher, but at some point it will have to flatten out. Maybe some new world records will be set, but that’s it.
What’s in your opinion the main difference between the snowboard scenes in Europe and the US?
Joni: I think a lot of the US scene has already brought itself into Europe. Over the years Europe has become more and more influenced by the US, which is where it all started. The differences are still obviously pretty big, but it would take too much time to explain it now…
Niki: I’d say dealing with Europe is a lot easier. Take just simple things, we use the Euro, they have the Dollar. It is really a different world over there. And snowboarding is definitely bigger in the States than in Europe, and normal people know more about it than over here.
Park, pipe, backcountry, street: What will be the biggest thing in five years time?
Joni: Well, the pipes are probably going to be huge, even though there is not a single contest-size pipe in the entire country of Finland! It’s going to be hard to ride a pipe of contest dimensions, but maybe this will change. Rails are going to be rails. Parks are probably getting safer and better, they have already improved. I don’t know what’s going to happen in the backcountry, but maybe Travis Rice knows. (laughs)
Niki: Overall? I’d say park and backcountry. Well, unless the global warming is getting worse, because then the powder will disappear. But I hope not. I just think that there are so many rail kids hucking it up right now. There will be more park guys and back-to-basic things. I never understood pipe riding. I just hope that won’t be the next big thing in a few years time! (laughs)
Do you have any advice for kids out there who want to make it as a pro?
Joni: I think it’s the same that everybody else always says: Keep riding, and ride for yourself! Don’t be cocky, just be a nice person! Things happen from there on.
Niki: This is such a cliché question. I think every rider will say have fun and good things will happen. But what matters the most for me was that I was a positive guy and always talked to people. It did not matter if they were big money-makers or not. I just tried to be friendly to everyone and get to know as many people as I could. Who you know is the most important thing to get you somewhere.