Switch Nosepress, London, Not. Photo: Ralph Damman
Words: Eric Greene
Snowboarding needs more guys like Layne. That’s not really possible because there aren’t any other people out there who are truly like him, but snowboarding needs more alternatives. We’ve already got enough jocks and shameless media hoes, so we need those renegades who are on their own programs to balance things out. Layne doesn’t fit into a mold. He’s such a snowboarder that he doesn’t even fit in with the snowboarding masses, which is proof that snowboarding has been led astray by the kooky jocks who seek fame and social media fans over glory turns when the cameras aren’t around. If you’re like a lot of us, you know Layne from DOPE videos and Stepchild ads, that portray a badass dirtbag with a lot of attitude and the best street riding skills you’ve ever seen come out of Edmonton. You’ve watched this long-haired kid with a fuck-it attitude step to the heaviest setups and draw the kinds of lines you’d never think of yourself. He crushes. But the Layne you meet in real life one-on-one is a different guy. Sure, he’s gnarly in the streets, but he chills hard. There’s nothing aggressive or intimidating about him. He’s a pillar of the Duh Bolts gang, who are so core it hurts, but he can hang with anyone in any crew and fit right in. He’s the type of guy who has his own interests and it doesn’t play on his mind if other people are interested or not. He’s a lone wolf, but he also rolls with the pack. Snowboarding needs more guys like Layne because the coolest thing about him is that he’s always down to board. He’s just down in general. Down for it all.
Switch Backside Tailpress, London, Ont. Photo: Ashley Barker
You’re a hard guy to track down.
Really? How long have you been trying to get a hold of me?
About a week. Where are you?
I’m in beautiful Kamloops, B.C.
Ahh… Lovely place in the winter. Who are you with and what are you guys working on?
Uhmm… I’m with my friend Dylan [Vachon] and a few guys, helping them work on some things. I was here with Brockle [David Brocklebank] and Eman [Anderson] and Derek Molinski before, but they all left. It got super warm here, so we’re taking off tomorrow.
Where to next?
I’m not exactly sure. We might head into Washington. Everywhere out west is warm right now.
What project are you filming for?
Well, I’m not totally sure, which is weird because it’s getting late in the year, but I’m helping people on a few different projects and then filming my own stuff. Brockle and Eman still aren’t sure about what they’re doing with their project this year. I wish I had more to tell you [laughs].
Is that the main plan for this winter? Just be on the road, filming, hotel-living, and following the snow?
Yeah, I guess. I’ve been in Kamloops for around 10 days. I was in Kelowna before, staying with some friends, but I don’t know anyone who lives in Kamloops, so we’re in a cheap hotel at a truck stop. It’s not too bad. I just go with the flow.
But you normally live in Whistler?
I was, but I’m kinda living out of Edmonton now. Whistler is going through a housing crisis right now and it’s super expensive and hard to find a place to live. And there’s no snow there.
Are you spending much time in Edmonton?
I was there for a while over the holidays, but have been on the road since. There were some good days there when it was really cold.
Is it true that you don’t read snowboard magazines?
I wouldn’t say that. I read them. Like, when I’m in the grocery store, I’ll stop by the magazine rack and flip through to keep up to date.
So you’ll read this interview when we print it?
No, well, yeah. I’ll read all of them. If my friends are in the magazine, I’ll read them. I also like to see the new people that I don’t know about, but I don’t stay on top of it and I’m not going out and buying all the magazines when they come out.
Are you into snowboard videos?
I used to be way more on it with watching videos than I am now that I’m older.
How old are you?
I just turned 25.
Pfft. You’re nowhere.
I like watching video parts of people that I know or that I’ve met, but it’s not like when I was little and wanted to watch every single thing that came out, you know?
So you do care about the snowboard scene and follow it, and you’re out there doing your own thing this year, getting clips and helping out other guys on their projects.
Yeah. That’s mostly what I’m doing.
Would you ever consider doing a webisode series?
If someone had a cool idea and wanted to put it together properly, I’d probably be into it.
Backside Lipslide, London, Ont. Photo: Ralph Damman
Did you watch the X Games this year?
I didn’t because we’ve been busy the last few days and I don’t have a computer, so I can only watch it on my phone, but I heard Danny Davis won the halfpipe and Mark McMorris did a 1620 or something like that. I’m stoked to watch it.
Really? I’m surprised. You’re into X Games halfpipe?
Yeah, I love watching halfpipe. It’s so crazy what they do. And at big events like that, where people are really pushing it? I mean, the guys with style, like Danny Davis… It’s sick.
What are your thoughts on that scene? It’s so different than what you’re doing.
It is. But it’s just cool to watch people get crazy on their snowboards. It’s entertaining. That scene is not what I’m into doing on my snowboard, but I definitely enjoy watching it.
What’s up with Duh Bolts?
Brockle and our friend Evan [Chandler-Soanes] started this bolt company for snowboarding.
Are you a founder of the company?
Ahh, I am. I’m definitely part founder. We wanted to start something that would be more people than just DOPE. Like, we have people involved from all different areas of snowboarding and guys from different crews. We have them together as this team and we have some limited product available on the DOPE website.
Have you guys gone through the fun process of trademarking your branding, registering as a corporate business with the federal government, and drafting up your partnership shares?
I don’t know if that’s happened quite yet. DOPE Industries is a registered business. I think Duh Bolts is still in the starter stage.
So it’s not entirely a Whistler-based crew?
No. Like, Lucas Magoon, Ryan Tarbell, Deadlung, and Chris Bradshaw are all involved. Everyone who’s in the Duh Bolts promo video is on the team.
Do you guys vibe well with other crews or do you keep to yourself and do your own thing?
I definitely vibe with everyone out there. I’ve met a lot of people in different areas or mountains or events or whatever, and I can hang and become friends with anyone. I like going out with different film crews and helping with their projects. I’m always open to things like that.
Did you walk from CAPiTA to the Stepchild family through your affiliation with Eman and Alex Stathis?
I think that’s why they initially approached me. I didn’t want to leave CAPiTA, but it got to the point where I was always going on trips with the Stepchild riders, so it was just the right option at that time. I still love the crew at CAPiTA.
Who else do you ride for?
Thirtytwo, Union, JSLV, Ashbury, Salmon Arms, Nuclear, Duh Bolts, DOPE Industries, Eden Medical, and The Source.
That’s so good you’ve got a marijuana dispensary on that list. What obligations do you have to fulfill for all those brands? They’re not forcing you to do contest and stuff?
No. As long as I’m getting their product in the photos and videos then they’re happy. I'm just on flow with most of those sponsors, so it's not like I’m under contract or anything.
Do you do other work? I can’t image you’re getting rich off Stepchild pay.
[Laughs] No. I definitely work. I do contracting work in Edmonton in the off-season. I was in Whistler for a lot of last summer, bumming out and just skating and what not. Then I worked all fall in Edmonton. I wanted to get a place in Whistler again this winter, but I couldn’t find anything. Now that I’ve been on the road for so long, I’m glad I didn’t commit to a place and a season’s pass out there, especially on my budget [laughs]. Also, being in Whistler, I’ve felt a bit jaded at times with snowboarding being so easy and accessible, but then in Edmonton, it’s like, “Fuck, there’s nowhere to snowboard here.” It makes you appreciate it more.
I hear you on that. I live in New York. I’d be all over the shittiest day and horrible conditions if it were 20 minutes away.
Yeah. Exactly. Like, when you’re away from it, you just wanna board, so you know you’d ride in the rain all day if you could.
You’re super talented and amongst the best street riders, but you lay pretty low compared to some other snowboarders who aren’t really that good, but they’re all over the self-promotion with brands and social media to the point where they’re more successful than you.
Yeah, I think about that, but I don’t know. I just snowboard to snowboard and not really to push the business angle of it. I probably should do that, but I think some people get lost in that. I definitely lay pretty low and should promote myself more, but… Wait. Are you talking about other Canadian riders or American riders?
Pole Jam 270, Switch Boardslide, London, Ont. Photo: Ralph Damman
I’m talking in general, but if you want to split it between Canada and the States, I know the American kids on the come-up have a bigger advantage with getting in the media—especially compared to someone like you, who’s coming out of Edmonton.
Yeah. I know so many riders in Whistler who are amazing, but you’d never even know who they are.
Do you care about that? Like, seeing someone else making money with lots of sponsors, but you know you’re way more skilled than them?
I don’t really think about that because if I did, I probably would care. I know I could play the business angle smarter, but that’s just not me. I don't really like self-promoting myself. If I'm good at snowboarding, people will recognize it, and if I suck, people won't pay attention. If you’re good, you’re good, and if you’re not, get better. I probably need to step my game up and get working on the Quadruple Corks [laughs].
What’s your ideal situation for snowboarding? Do you want to have the financial backing to do road trips with your crew and film what you want to ride, or would you be more hyped on a bigger spotlight and more opportunity?
I’d love to have a bigger spotlight and more opportunities like that, but I’m mainly interested in working with motivated people who are into going to new spots and areas with the proper equipment. I’d like to push myself to work with people who share the same mindset as me.
What if Stepchild made you go on a shop tour and do autograph-signings at the mall with Simon and JP? Would you be into it?
I could do it [laughs], as long as we were doing other proactive things towards snowboarding. I don’t think that anyone at the mall would want my autograph if I was with Simon Chamberlain and JP Walker. I’d be the anonymous guy at the end of the table [laughs]. But to answer that question—I’m pretty open and down to do anything. I love to meet new people and travel, so I’ll try anything new.
Whose snowboarding do you feed off of and respect?
All the Déjà Vu dudes and the Videograss crews. All my friends I’ve been filming with over the years, like Eman, Al, Scot Brown, Kael Hill, Mike Ruddy, and Jody Wachniak. Also, the up-and-comers in Whistler, like the FootyFIEND crew, who are out there givin’er with no budget. Anyone who puts their heart into it inspires me.
Are there any riders and crews of people that you don’t relate to at all and aren’t down with?
I’m never not down with someone else’s snowboarding. If I went on a trip with someone and all they wanted to do was build huge jumps or winch super fast, well, that’s not really my kind of trip. But I don’t know. I think I’d be more selective about who I snowboard with rather than not liking someone else’s snowboarding, but I think everyone is like that.
How often do you guys have run-ins with the cops when you’re on road trips?
Not ever, really. When the cops get called in and show up, they’re kinda just shocked that all they’re dealing with is snowboarding. They have to deal with way worse stuff than that.
You’re known to always be packing weed. Do you have to deal with that hassle with the law.
No, I’ve never even been asked by the cops about having weed.
What are your thoughts on the legalization of marijuana?
[Laughs] My thoughts?
Yeah. You’re like the smoking, yerba mate drinking, Zen guy.
Yeah. Some people in snowboarding don’t see the benefits of all that stuff, but I want to be healthy and keep snowboarding for a while. It feels good to treat your body well. You’ve got to be conscious about it.
You’re still rocking the dreads?
And you love Pink Floyd?
What about yoga? Do you get into it?
Do you own a pair of Birkenstocks?
No, I don’t have any Birkenstocks [laughs]. I think Eman has some Birkenstocks.
Snowboarding needs more dudes like you.
Ahh, thank you. I don’t know what to say [laughs].
You’ve had some injuries in the past. How do you deal with recovery and time off and all that?
I just try to keep my mind busy and not think about snowboarding too much. It’s important to keep occupied in a proactive way. I’ll read a lot and play instruments… Just try to have a good mindset and feel good energy. That all helps with the healing. You’ve gotta stay happy.
50-50 Drop to Bank, London, Ont. Photo: Ashley Barker
Some people can’t handle being injured and get mega depressed, then can’t bounce back mentally to push it snowboarding once they’re healed. Do you feel like it’s a pay-to-play kinda thing and injuries are just a part of it?
Not really. I mean, I think falling is part of snowboarding. Serious injuries are different, though. You need to snowboard in a smart way. Don’t’ get too crazy [laughs]. It’s tough because most snowboarders are naturally on the go-go-go all the time, but as soon as you get hurt, you can’t do anything. The hardest thing is being forced to sit still when you want to be doing all these other things.
What else are you into outside of snowboarding?
Skateboarding, obviously. I guess any outdoors stuff, like swimming, camping, riding motorbikes and bicycles… Just being outside doing things. I stay pretty active. I’m also into food and cooking big dinners with family and friends. And music. I love playing instruments. I mainly play the piano and a bit of guitar.
The piano! That’s sick. Did you take piano lessons growing up or did you get on it later in life?
I took lessons when I was young, but I didn’t like it. I think it was the scheduling of having to be home at a set time every week to take a lesson that made me not enjoy it. I got injured when I was around 18 and picked it up again at my parents’ house. I’ve been into it ever since. I’m getting better at playing and reading music.
Do you have access to a piano in Whistler?
I have a keyboard there.
Being able to jam on a piano is one of the best long-term life skills you can have.
Yeah, it’s awesome! Fuck, I wanna go play right now!
You’re not packing around a keyboard on road trips?
We were actually just talking about how we should have the keyboard in the car with us.
And your real piano is in Edmonton?
There’s one at my parents’ house. You can find a lot of ads for free pianos on Kijiji and Craigslist if you keep your eye on it.
Yeah, totally. They usually want you to come pick it up and then it’s free. I’ve been trying to get one to my friend’s garage in Whistler, but every time I find a free one, I’m not around or don’t have access to a truck to go get it. I’ll get one soon.
Nollie 50-50, London, Ont. Photo: Ashley Barker
What’s the end game with your snowboarding and what comes after it?
That’s a crazy question, man [laughs]. I don’t really have an end game. I’ve really enjoyed what snowboarding has brought me and all the cool people I’ve met doing it. I’ve learned a lot and I’m happy. I’m sure I’ll find something else along the road that inspires me and if snowboarding fades out, I’ll pursue something new.
Will you ever end up as the office-guy/desk-pony at the Duh Bolts headquarters?
[Laughs] Yeah, maybe!
As someone who’s still under the radar and relatively out of the spotlight, what kind of image do you feel you have to those who see you in the media?
I think that up until now, I’ve been represented as being a little more hardcore than I actually am. I mean, there’s been photos published of me wearing a Casey Jones mask and smoking [laughs]. I don’t know. I think some things have made me look kinda badass, but I’m actually a really mellow dude, you know? I don’t really know how to describe it, but I think I’m just more mellow than people think I am if they see some photos or video footage of me.
Does that bother you? What kind of image do you want to present?
No, it’s totally fine. I’m chill. I’m down for anything and I think some people are a little surprised when they meet me and see what I’m really like [laughs].
Yeah, like me. Shout outs or anything else you want to add?
Was this the actual full interview? I was wondering what you were even gonna ask me. I had no idea.
Well, these are your pages, so you can say whatever you want.
Uhmm. OK. I guess for shout outs I’d just say Brockle and Eman. Much love to all those boys, my friends and family, and everyone who’s ever helped me out along the way. I don’t really know. It’s been a long day and we hit a few different spots, so I can’t really think of anything else to say right now. I was kinda nervous to have this talk, but that was pretty sick.