Hump Day Laughs with Brendon Hupp

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Brendon in black and white. Photo: Spencer Mitchell

If there were an award for the most unique laugh in snowboarding it would without a doubt go to Brendon Hupp. His strange guffaw has been turning heads for days and is even featured in a few major videos this year. However, there is much more to this modest guy from Alaska. Beyond breaking out of his local scene and filming a part for Think Thank, Hupp finds the time to get behind the camera just as much as in front of it. Everyone that meets him raves about what a great person he is so we decided to sit down and see what all the hype is about.

I heard you just finished working at the Alaska State Fair. How was that?

It was fun. I worked with (Jesse) Burtner and his folks at the Salmon Quesadilla stand but the whole fair was crazy. There are a lot of really weird people in Alaska and a majority of them come to the fair so it always ends up being pretty interesting.

Word on the streets is that you lost a bet at the fair and now you have to do a triple back flip. Explain?

(Laughing) Yeah. Jesse would come up with a trick for me to do if he succeeded at getting a bottle into a trash can right next to the stand so whenever he was done with a drink it was betting time. He had some crazy ideas and one was a triple back flip. Seeing as how I have never done a back flip I probably won’t be throwing the triple but maybe I’ll try a regular backy this winter. That stuff scares me.

You said there are a lot of weird people in Alaska. Every chick that I have met in the lower 48 from Alaska has been cute but has also been bat shit crazy. Why do you think that is?

We are really secluded up here and we have very long cold winters so it’s really easy to go crazy up here. I know some cool girls from Alaska but I think everyone from Alaska has to escape this place at one point in their life and experience other places.

Alaska is known for it’s huge mountains and endless backcountry yet it produces some of the best jibbers in the industry. How does that happen?

We are lucky because we have snow in the city from mid November to March and we have a lot of good spots. Pretty much every spot in Alaska has something weird or shitty about it so we learn to work around those things and it makes us more versatile. Plus the snowboard community in Alaska isn’t very big but everyone rides the same areas and sees each other progress and we all feed off of each other.

In your opinion, who legitimized Alaska as an urban filming destination?

Either Kooley or Burtner. I feel like they came up around the same time and pioneered a lot of the spots we ride today from the JB Duece/Boarderline era (Burtner & Borgstede’s old production company).

Jibbing in Alaska. Photo: Alex Mertz

Besides yourself, who is currently holding it down for Alaska?

Well there are the obvious ones like (Chris) Larson, (Chris) Brewster and Gus (Engel) but then there is also Cameron McCormick, Scott Holland and Garrett Swenson. Cameron, Scott and Garrett all have full time jobs, work super hard to film, and still maintain a typical life. Hopefully people recognize them soon.

Larson is a mad man. I hear that he beats you up on a regular basis. Why do you let him do that?

He does what he wants. I couldn’t stop him if I tried. (Laughing) That’s just the type of person he is. He likes to get wild and get rough.

You and Burtner have a pretty long history. Weren’t you a camper of his at some point and you think that helped you get involved with Think Thank?

Yeah, he was my High Cascade coach for two years plus I saw him around at Boarderline Camp each year. He proved to me that it was possible to do both filming and snowboarding so when I blew my knee out I filmed Larson a lot during Cool Story and gave Jesse all the footage which opened the gate way to getting in with those guys. The next year I was boarding again and got some footage of myself plus I gave Jesse some more footage of Larson, Gus, Mark, and Brewster. He hooked me up with a cameo that year and I had filmed a few shots in the video as well, which was really rewarding for me. He makes you work hard but it all pays off and he is always down to help launch the careers of local riders.

This was your first year having a part with Think Thank. Were you stoked on how it came out?

Yes and no. I wish I could have done more and done what I did do better but I am really happy with the fact that I filmed a full part. I got to meet a lot of new people and learn a lot of new things about the filming process on a bigger scale.

What was the hardest part about filming for Ransack Rebellion vs. filming for your own movies?

The hardest part was definitely not knowing what was going to make the cut. I have always had control over my own footage and been able to nit pick at everything and make it the way I want to be. It was weird not knowing what they had in mind for my footy or song.

Speaking of doing more, you came to Tahoe for a while but never filmed with the local Think Thank crew (Lucey, Visconti, JRob). Instead you were with the Peepshow girls the whole time. Were you trying to get a girlfriend? What gives?

(Laughing) Well, I have been filming a lot the last few years and I met Esther from Peep Show through Gus. All the snow had melted in Alaska, I was broke, and Esther hit me up about going on a trip to Tahoe as a filmer. I had nothing else going on and said “why not.” A week later I was in Tahoe filming the girls and snowboarding.

Bros before hoes dude. Do you think if you could do it over again you might try to film with those two? They did get opener and ender in Ransack Rebellion, arguably Think Thanks best movie to date.

Yeah for sure I would have tried harder to meet up with them but it was also difficult because Lucey was going to Washington to shoot with Burtner and I think Nick had already filmed his last trick for the season the first few days of my trip. It was just bad timing plus I was there to film not be filmed.

What went through your mind when Dinosaurs Will Die upgraded you to AM status? How do you feel about the company in general as I feel not a lot of people know what they are about?

It was crazy. I had no clue that it was going to happen so it was a huge surprise. It is really cool riding for a company that has such strong morals about things happening in the industry plus having Sean and Jeff behind every little thing that goes on over there, you can count on them to do things the right way.

Brendon not only films and snowboards, but he coordinates his outfits with spots. We predict a future in fashion. Photo: Spencer Mitchell

It’s safe to say that this was a good year for you. What’s next for you as a rider?

I plan to film another video part and try to get some photos. Hopefully I can save up enough money to do some more traveling this winter too.

Think Thank makes very niche snowboarding movies based on creativity and individualism with a focus on each riders’ personality. How important is that for the snowboard industry and why?

I think it’s very important because that adds character to the movie. I believe if you watch closely each and every snowboard movie has some sort of theme or creative idea driving it. It’s then up to the riders and editors to make that idea or concept a reality and that’s where Think Thank strives. They always have a very defined concept and they pursue the concept in every way possible. It was amazing to be a part of that and watch it grow through out the winter and then see the final result. But with out these ideas or individualism every production company would be coming out with a similar product and we all know how boring that can be.

Somehow you find the time to also make some fantastic web videos. What’s the deal with Bear Cubs?

Thanks. We don’t have a filmer up in Alaska so I have two cameras and I just go out with my friends and we all film each other. The movie is just a result of all of our hard work. Plus it’s fun to edit their footage and see what we can come up with.

Where did the name “Bear Cubs” come from?

Well the name was Mike Morgan’s idea. It was right around the time that Sunday in the Park started coming out and we both wanted to be down in Bear but couldn’t for whatever reason. Our solution was riding Hilltop (a very small hill in Anchorage) and making VX and Elph edits with Bear Cubs as the title.

Is it hard when you are filming at a spot to not strap in and hit the feature too? How do you differentiate between Hupp the snowboarder and Hupp the filmer?

For sure, it was really hard last season. I felt like I needed to be doing both riding and filming all the time but for obvious reasons I could not do that. In the end it all worked out because I have some really good friends that helped me out more then words can explain. They knew when I wanted to hit a feature or just wanted to film.

Lighting it up. Photo: Spencer Mitchell

There seems to be a new wave of up and coming filmers that care about style just as much as filming. Jake Durham, Kevin Castanheira, Paul Heran, and Jon Stark to name a few. How important is taking your time when editing a video and who influenced your style as a filmer/editor growing up?

Editing is very important to me. I am a self-taught Final Cut Pro user so I don’t know a lot of crazy effects but choosing good music to fit the mood of the part is key for me. As for influences, Shelby Menzel of Kids Know fame has the biggest influence on me. Also Jesse and Sean at Think Thank and Meyer and the VG guys too, I suppose.

Will any video ever be as good as Love/Hate?

(Laughing) I’m not sure any movie will ever be as good, but that’s just my opinion. Maybe Cue the Birds, but that’s a tough question. That doesn’t mean I don’t like new videos but old Technine, Neoproto and Think Thank movies are what I really look up to. Team thunder, VG and Comune all have made some amazing films as well.

What do you think about a movie like Art of Flight which cost millions to make and will undoubtedly be nominated for video of the year?

I think what they did is amazing, from the cinematography to editing to riding everything they did is next level but that doesn’t mean I’m the biggest fan. I prefer to watch more snowboarding than landscape shots and I’m not saying that’s what they did but that’s how it felt to me. Lando, Muller & Blauvelt had my favorite footage in that movie for sure.

As someone who really chooses his songs carefully, how did it make you feel when they used a song that was already used in a Marben part 3 years ago?

Well it was a bit annoying to see that happen especially since that made that mistake in That’s It That’s All as well but it’s their movie and they can do what they want. They have the budget to do that and I’m not going to complain.

I have to ask this. You have one of the most recognizable laughs in the world. It’s like a whooping crane caught in a lawnmower. Has it always been like that and does it run in the family?

It has always been around and my mother has a similar laugh. I know that it’s very recognizable.

You spent the whole summer at HCSC as a filmer. Based on what you saw this summer, who is going to be killing it this season?

So many people are going to be throwing down. Sam Taxwood, Blake Geis, Blaze Kotsenburg, Johnny Brady, Ben Bilodeau, Mike Rav, Tanner and all the East coast kids are the ones to watch out for. I’m sure I forgot some names and I apologize to those people.

Dinosaurs will die, but Hupp lived through this one. Photo: Alex Mertz

Why do you think Blake Geis is one of the saltiest internet commenters to ever grace Yobeat?

I have no clue, to be honest. Maybe because he made no money after working at Hood all summer but who knows with that guy. He is awesome.

Anyone you want to thank? Sponsors and all that jazz…

Mike Mo, Shay, Cameron, Garrett, Scott, Larson, Gus, Brewster, Evan, Logan, Landon, Mason, Geno, Burtner, Mertz, Ross, Bogart, Kooley, Mark, Kerwin, Owen, Jay, Spencer, Justin, Trevor, Zak, Sean & Jeff @ Dinos, Corey @ Comune, Kevin @ Sandbox, Travis and everyone @ Zaks Boardroom & my parents.

26 replies
  1. NW4LIFE
    NW4LIFE says:

    Dude has been killing it since the USASA days. BIG ALASKA coaching helped for sure. This kid is the future of alaskan snowboarding. You wouldn’t know it but he can ride pow and hit cliffs too! Keep up the good work! It is sad to see the scene in Anchorage dying, shops closing thier doors and people getting laid off. Hupp managed to stay in AK and film bangers. All without a sled or a lift ticket. Can’t wait for the backflip.

  2. bordman
    bordman says:

    dude’s killin it! and always love parker’s articles, sick interview, sick rider, f’in love the footage coming out of this crew (bear cubs is dope)! im reallyy lookin forward to this coming season and seeing it unfold, keep up the good work!

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