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Current State: Snowboarding

Tracing the sport's past and present in a pair of complementary books

by Mike Giles
on 11 April 2012
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Written, edited and designed by professional snowboarder, graphic designer and filmmaker David Benedek, the new two-volume book "Current State: Snowboarding" marks three years of hard work across 450 pages. Interviews with some of the sport's most prolific characters, such as Jake Burton, Terje Haakonsen, Shaun Palmer and Peter Line, are included alongside images from the past three decades. This massive tome attempts to show the current—if still a little blurry—state of snowboarding, from personal narratives to ambitious, hand-drawn infographics that trace the evolution of freestyle tricks. We had the chance to ask Benedek a few questions about the limited run of his new publication.

What made you decide on the format of two interconnected, large-format books?

I always like the idea of having a separated visual layer that basically illustrates the written content. The lower book is mostly all text while the top one works like an additional photo book. Also, this way I didn't disrupt the flow of imagery and could obviously play a lot more with design ideas, which was really fun. The content of both books correlate from beginning to end, but they work perfectly fine as individual books, too.

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The content of the book consists of 23 interviews, which seems rather specific. Why not 24?

(Laughs) That's just a random number I ended up with. I never set out to make a 450-page book either, but at some point I just had to quit interviewing people to save myself from total insanity—even though I am not entirely sure that worked.

With so many influential subjects, how did you choose who to interview?

I basically made a selection of people who I thought represented different eras and areas of snowboarding's past 30 years—people who influenced what snowboarding culture is, or will be in the future. It's a very subjective selection, of course. In a way, those people represent a large part of what I feel snowboarding is.

Why did you choose online distribution rather than something more traditional?

Well, I actually have a publisher in Japan, but I realized pretty quick that in most parts of the world I wouldn't find someone to share my... well, very un-economic ambitions with this book. Since the production costs are pretty ridiculous and I didn't want to make too many compromises, I figured it would be best to go direct, which has been working out really well.

Out of the 2,000 printed copies of the book, more than half were pre-ordered and the other half are selling out fast. To purchase a set or for more information, head over to Current State, where you can also watch the making-of video for some behind-the-scenes action.

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