We met snowboard superstar Shaun White while he was in Manhattan recently. His latest game is Shaun White Snowboarding: World Stage.
What is the hardest part of being a snowboarder and a skateboarder?
I think coming up with new tricks and doing that while being safe, because I’m taking slams all the time. I don’t know, I always end up crashing here and there. It’s a balance of making sure the snow’s soft when I go and do my stuff. But the rest of it’s pretty easy, pretty fun.
What other sports or hobbies do you do with your brother Justin?
Gosh, we do a bunch of other stuff. He surfs as well. I live at the beach in California, so I’m always surfing. He’s the one who really started me skating and snowboarding, so it’s been a funny thing because he’s always been better than me forever.
What was the first trick you did on snowboard and skateboard?
I kind of worked my way snowboarding. I wanted to do every single grab and from there I wanted to do, I did 180s, half circle and so I would do the 180 and it was my goal to do every grab doing a 180 and so I kept going on up to 360s and 540s, and I really wanted to do a back flip, but that was way later. And skateboarding was always to do Ollies. I couldn’t do it. My brother could do it. It didn’t really seem like a trick to me at the time.
What do you like best about your new game?
I like the multiplayer, where you’re racing each other. Because it’s competitive. I play with my friends. I like the slope style. I like the newest version because in the slope style before we just had jumps and rails and certain turns and stuff and now we have quarter pipes and big hip jumps and there’s just more obstacles, more features.
Can you tell us about your clothing line?
Yeah, it’s really cool. It’s something that my brother and I are doing. It’s funny, we had made snowboard clothing for Burton and when we made the clothing it was really, really hard because we’re making jackets and they have to be, like, waterproof, wind resistant, and weatherproof. And they’re storm flaps and storm zippers and all these things you had to do. So when we were able to make clothing for Target it was cool. It was nice to be able to just have fun and put funny designs on the shirts and different things. So I’m excited about it. We’ll be in the store all year-round now, so we have to come up with six different lines. It’s a lot of work.
Where is your favorite place to skateboard and snowboard?
I love snowboarding in Japan just because it’s so much fun out there. Every single thing is, it’s so different. Like when you go through the chair lift there’s this weird; like everything there has a song for some reason. You know what I mean? So there would be this weird Japanese singing songs while you’re trying to go up the chair lift. Everybody’s clothing that they wear, it’s just the loudest thing you’ve ever seen. So it’s like pink pants with purple shirts. Everything’s flashing and glowing. In the U.S., I like to ride in Park City. Just because it’s close to my house. And then skateboarding? I’m lucky enough to be friends with Tony Hawk. He’s got a massive warehouse that’s his office and he’s got a giant ramp at the office, in the warehouse, so I go there and skate with him sometimes.
Have you gotten any injuries?
Yeah, just recently I was at the World Cup in Cypress. It’s the mountain where they’re going to hold the Olympics and I was in first place and I kind of had this throwaway run. I was messing around. OK, I’m just going to do whatever I want to do. And I wasn’t paying attention and I came flipping around and I bent my thumb back here and it tore a little ligament. So I had to get surgery done where they reattached the tendon and that’s why my thumb’s all swollen. But I could still text. It works just enough now.
You are a hero to a lot of people. How do you feel about that and who do you admire?
I have a lot of different people I look up to for different reasons. Within sports, I think a guy like Tiger Woods is really impressive just because, I don’t know, I always kind of pick people that might have something similar to what I’m doing ... You see a guy like that and he’s expected to win and he’s expected to beat the guy every single time. It’s really difficult to like have expectations and then like actually compete and come up to those expectations and do all. I really enjoy watching him because he seems to even thrive even more when people are watching him. And then I’m a big fan of musicians.
Will there be any skateboarding games for the Wii?
I know there’s been talks about trying to do something like that. You know what’s been nice is when we do the games it takes a certain amount of years to even make it to the platform to do it. So before the last game came out we’ve been working on it for two years. And then this took a whole other year to come up with the new version of the game. So definitely, if I had a chance to do a skating game I would go for it. But so far what we’re doing is all the changes that get made within those two years before the first platform is done, you really get to nitpick it and go, “OK, well, I really like the grabs they’re doing and the airs, but I really want to see this.” So you get — I don’t know, it’s kind of like the second version is always better you’re able to add more. So I’m definitely hoping that the third version will be something unique.
How long does it take to make one of your video games?
Well, the first one, to actually make the platform for a game it takes about two years. And to revamp it takes about a year. So at some point we’ll have to come up with a new platform so that’ll take another two years. Usually you have people working on things in the meantime. So right now while we’re playing the Snowboarding: World Stage game, they’re already working on the next thing to come. It’s pretty cool
What is your favorite Nintendo video game?
I like playing Mario Kart. The one with the wheel. I’ve been playing that a ton.