Shaun White sealed up his place on the Olympic team Friday night at the Grand Prix in Park City, but he also blew some minds by dropping a new trick -- a double McTwist 1260. There's crazy commitment and crazy spinning involved in setting this trick down, and White has alluded to another breakthrough move he might drop later in the season, particularly at the Olympics.
So while the shred world is busy hitting rewind and play, over and over, and the non-endemic media is trying to wrap their noodles around the double cork phenomenon, I thought it would be an apt time to "dip" into the history around the ground-breaking, never-been-done tricks that snowboarders (and skateboarders) have been coming up with since day one.
Bear with me on this, and on a few others: naming the actual progenitors of a new trick can spark nasty, contentious bickering over who innovated what. Suffice to say, I'll just be identifying who the key player(s) were, and what movies put the move out into the public.
The "double dip" that's become the, er, "gold" standard in both film and competitive snowboarding owes its origins to two of the sports most recent icons; David Benedek and Travis Rice.
Benedek, in particular, gets kudos for busting this double cork version out on transition, perhaps inspiring a certain red-haired pipe rider?
Rice, who has perhaps popularized the move the most, whipping out front and backside varieties, made his mark with this gigantic double cork 1080 over the Pyramid Gap in Utah, filmed for Absinthe's "POP" film.
A bit of rivalry here? Probably, as evidenced by this more recent clip of Benedek taking the trick cab, and also a strange, over-bs rodeo, of switch 900 taxonomy.
The backside rodeo owes the most to Peter Line, while arguably being invented by either him or Chris Engelsman. Regardless, here is one of the first clips of Line hucking a late-season bs rodeo 540 from Mack Dawg's "Simple Pleasures."
Which brings us to the original cork. The frontside and backside varieties originated from rodeo flips and single cork spins in the mid '90s. Line, of course, led the way on most of these moves, as you can see in his 1996 part in Mack Dawg's "Stomping Grounds" (sorry, no audio on that one). But Daniel Franck is certainly owed some credit in breaking out the original rodeo flip, and then taking it switch, as seen in his part in the same Mack Dawg flim.
An here we are at the snowboard McTwist. This, and your garden-variety front and backflips, are the bedrock for any snowboarder's flips and twists, the double McTwist 1260 included. The person responsible for bringing the McTwist to snow is Terry Kidwell. Known as the "Father of Freestyle," TK busted out the first documented McTwist for Sims' "This is Snowboarding" movie in 1984 (check for it at about 1:15).
The McTwist itself is named after Mike McGill, a legendary skater that also took the move public for the first time in 1984, first in Sweden, and then at the Del Mar Skate Ranch. Check the video of the event here, McGill skating in a red shirt, and his McTwist at about 7:20, the crowd goes nuts. Shaun White, a ripping vert skater himself, no doubt knows the skating lineage of his latest, and possibly greatest, pipe trick.
There's no question that the double cork has changed the rules of competitive halfpipe snowboarding. And in an Olympic year, the progression of the sport, and the toll it's taking on a few riders, is becoming the story of snowboarding. But as history shows, the double cork, and even the double McTwist, are all part of a long history of innovation -- one that riders will keep pushing, no matter who wins in Vancouver.