Ladies, Models and Gentlemen. It’s with great honor today that I bring you this Hump Day. I first met Corey Smith when he was a fresh-faced, eager aspiring snowboarder. We both worked at a small shop located in Zig Zag, Oregon called “ New Release.” The owner would put us both through incredibly difficult situations. I quit. Corey stayed for as long as he could. Yet our circle was tight, I watched him ride and apparently he watched me. He is one of the most genuine people on this planet and one of my personal all time favorite snowboarders. These days he’s starting his own shop, a retail snowboard-artist-coffee consumption station and gathering spot of creative minds to be called The Donut Shoppe. If you’re in Lake Tahoe, stop by and touch all the new SpringBreak collection. You just might get to see Marcel. Enjoy the read! -Estes
Photo: Robbie Sell
When we first met, many years ago working for Mark Archer at New Release in Zig Zag, Oregon I can remember you as “tat-free” but noticed there isn’t much of you that isn’t inked up, what triggered your ink obsession?
That’s probably because I was like 18 years old and didn’t really know anything about tattoos or really life in general. I don’t really have a ton of tattoos but I guess they’re accumulating over the years. I like to collect them from different people and places I visit. I’m not like one of those dudes that goes out and blows like $5g on some pretty boy well thought out arm sleeves. I’d rather get them randomly from friends or people I meet. I really love the immediacy and irreverence of tattoos. I’m not even really sure if I even consider tattoos art, I just think they’re funny things to do to your body. They’re more like little souvenirs from the life you’ve led.
I clearly have some great memories of you- early days working together to trading art pieces. Do you remember the first painting you did? Did you know I still have it?
That’s awesome you still have that. I think that was just more experiments with making my own screen prints. But that image did end up on the Andromeda snowboards first line.
How’s Marcel Duchamp?
He’s awsome. He’s just a sweet old boy now. One day I’ll own like five greyhounds and be a weirdo dog hoarder. They’re just the most beautiful, magical animals.
Photo: Cory D Roy
You’re spending some quality time in Japan, have you enjoyed the post riding hot baths and sake? Are you planning on buying a house there?
I just had an amazing few weeks there. It was unbelievable conditions. I’d like to live out there for a bit next winter. It’s perfect terrain and snow for my boards and the kind of riding I wanna do.
If “cancer” was a person and you could get your hands on this person, what would you do?
I don’t know. Probably nothing. We’re all gonna die at some point. Life and death are the same thing.
The snow levels look a bit low for Tahoe this year, what is the overall mood in Truckee these days?
We had a record breaking March so that was amazing to come back from Japan right into a bunch of storms in Tahoe. The thing about Tahoe is even when the snow levels are low it’s still really fun. Most resorts blow snow and the park at Boreal is always on point. Boreal makes such a fun creative park, just transition everywhere.
Photo: Charlie Wood
Do you consider yourself the “unique shaped snowboard” innovator? Have you tried a “pitchfork” shape and called it the “Children Of The Corn Snow” yet?
I think I helped disrupt the homogenized twin-tip hell that the snowboard industry was stuck in for years. Industry snow bros used to literally make fun of me and talk shit about non twin boards. It’s pretty funny to think back on. But like anything you do that’s new in snowboarding first they talk shit and make fun of you, then they copy you, and then they act like you’re irrelevant.
I think shaping snowboards is an art form. As far as shaping goes Mike, it’s a fine line between clever and stupid so no, I haven’t tried the Children of the Corn Snow yet haha! But I do take shaping serious and there’s year’s of prototyping and refinement that goes into Spring Break shapes and that’s why our boards are so unique and coveted.
What is planned for this years SpringBreak vacation?
Probably just snowboard and work on this snowboard shop I’m trying to open. Stay outta trouble and avoid crowds. Probably ride the park at Boreal and maybe do a mellow split mission on Mt. Rose or something.
I remembered a time you where the “park rat” and rode Option snowboards. You were clearly engulfed in the corked out rotations club, landing and taking off switch seemed to be your forte’. What are your thoughts of the triple or quad corks nowadays?
In my opinion big slow rotations and style will always look better. I think snowboarding looks best when it stays close to it’s skating and surfing roots. Big slow rotations and style will always evoke more emotion that some crazy acrobatic trick. It’s what separates snowboarding as an art or a stunt.
I’d rather watch an snowboarding master create art rather than a gymnast do a stunt. But people can do whatever they want. If you wanna be a gymnast be a gymnast.
Photo: Robbie Sell
Did you watch the recent Olympics?
I didn’t. Stoked Red won that shit though, he definitely represents the ethos of snowboarding. Overall though I’d say there’s nothing positive about the Olympics not just for snowboarding but for the world in general. It’s corrupt as fuck, promotes nationalism, terrible for the environment, exploitive of the athletes, etc. I could go on and on.
Have you ever heard “Fuck the Po Po” by your country music namesake Corey Smith?
No but I respect that sentiment. They’re never there when you need them and always there when you don’t.
You recently said you’ll never live in Portland again. Why? And also, how long before you change your mind?
I don’t know, there’s just no reason to live there. It’s yuppie double-strollerville with all the headaches of living in a city with out the culture or opportunity. I used to love that place and it’s just sad to see it stripped of all of its personality. It’s become a parody of itself. Still love all my friends there though.
Photo: Alex Mertz
Why did you decide to have Capita absorb/buy Spring Break Snowboards? How did that come to be? Was there any arm wrestling involved?
I just want to be an artist and create, I don’t have any business trying to run a company. I can barely take care of myself ha! It’s a dream opportunity to align with the team at CAPiTA and since I’ve worked with them on and off for the past 17years it’s a perfect relationship.
How can someone get their hands on a “Kooks Only, no Locals” Tshirt or sticker? Did you come up with that phrase like everything else cool before it was cool in snowboarding or does someone else get the credit?
I think I came up with it but it was probably more of group thought from a night of drinking with the Spring Break crew. It basically just our frustration with the snowboard industry around 2010. We were just thinking wow, this sucks, the kooks have won. Snowboarding is a joke, there’s no cool brands, everything is terrible. So if it’s a Kooks world you might as well join them, hence “Kooks only no locals”.
If you had to adopt Robbie Sell or Sean Tedore, which one would you chose and why? You can’t have both, but you must support one or the other, financially, emotionally and creatively, for their rest of their lives. So choose wisely.
Robbie Sell 110%. Sean is already a kept man haha! Love ya Tenuts!
Photo: Jake Pollock
What design flaw did you discover while “testing” these unorthodox snowboard shapes?
I don’t know if there was necessarily any design flaws, more like learning opportunities. Some of the more conceptual shapes we go into it knowing it’s not going to work and will be difficult to ride but that’s the fun of it. The Coffin board is a perfect example of that.
Have you done any backcountry riding in Utah with Blue Montgomery? Any plans?
I’m always down to ride with ol’ Blue Mont. It’s more up to him and his busy schedule.
Do you miss being a summer camp coach?
I do sometimes! That was such a great time in life, no responsibilities, just snowboarding everyday without a care in the world. I really miss working at Cal’s Pharmacy. That’s one of the reason’s I’m starting a shop.
Looking back on your time in Los Angeles, what did you learn?
Shit, I learned so much. Everyone should live in LA at some point in their life. It’s the most amazing culturally rich place in the world. It’s absolutely insane, beautiful, hard, dark, and infinitely inspiring all at once. Sensory overload. If you can live there you can live anywhere.
Tell us the story behind doing Birdhouse Skateboard graphics for Ragdoll and do you know where that guy is these days?
I’ve been friends with him for a while even though I don’t get to see him as much as I like. He was probably my favorite skater at the time and we just connected. He really liked one of the paintings I did at the time titled “Liar’s Laughter” and wanted to use it for his graphic when he got on Birdhouse. He’s a magical person, heart of gold, true innovator and artist, one of those human’s that’s too good for this world.
Photo: Danny Kern
Any upcoming solo (or group) art shows?
I took a year off after moving from Portland. I’m getting a new studio space set up so I can start making new work that hopefully will be good enough to start having shows again.
Anyone you would like to thank? Or call out?
Man, so many people, too many to list. I’ve been really blessed to have been surrounded by so many inspirational people throughout my life and so many people who have taken me under their wing and helped me out both personally and with my art and snowboarding career. I think they know who they are and I’m sure I’ll start gushing next time we have a drink together!
Thank you Mike for all of your influence and showing me how to snowboard back in the day. You definitely showed me so much about what can be done on a snowboard. When you back lipped that wood rail and rode that roof in Govy years ago it definitely was a “WTF you can do that on a snowboard?” moment in my life and opened my mind to so many ways you can physically express your creativity on a snowboard. Props Mike!