Real Talk: Tarquin Robbins

You know you have done something right with your riding when legendary riders such as; Jp Walker, Scotty Whitlake and countless others describe you as their inspiration. One of the first notable riders to bring a skate style into a sport that was once dominated by racing and neon suits. Tarquin is an important cog in snowboarding’s history and helped create what we know today as modern snowboarding. After a litte break from snowboarding at the end of the nineties, Tarquin rediscovered his love for snowboarding and now resides in London, where he is the Uk TM for Capita and Union.

You are regarded as one of the original pioneers of snowboarding and an influence to some of the sports most loved riders, were you aware that you were ground breaking at the time?
No, essentially all I wanted to do was ride. We had little to go on back then so I drew from my skate influences. All l knew was I didn’t like what I saw in snowboarding at the time and hated the day glow ski Industry with all its fake pretentious shit, so we did what skating was doing, rebel! I never thought that I would make a differerce in the sport but truthfully it’s not why I rode in the first place. I just wanted to do things my way.

You were also one of the first riders to have sections to hip hop music and dress without neon, where did you take your influences from?
I wouldn’t say I was the first to have my part to hip hop but maybe one of the early riders. I came from a punk rock/hardcore background but was also into rap, dancehall and all kinds of shit as well, so I didn’t really think about it at the time. I also used to DJ (proper turntable shit) scratching and that kinda stuff and was into low riders and all the crap that went along with it, so just sorted melted into the whole way It worked out. I actually DJ’d the first half of one of the early snowboard flicks “Big Jean Fantasy.” I loved spinning records and at the time it was my way to relax. When Technine first started in Vail in the early nineties, I used to DJ all our house parties and at the bars in Breck and Vail. I gave my set up to Cole Taylor when I left.

Duncan Warrener asks: As someone who was a huge part in moving jibbing into the spotlight, how do you feel about the state of skate style influenced riding today ?
I was a skater before I started snowboarding and all I really wanted to do was skate on snow, however I never wanted snowboarding to get stereotyped or pigeon holed into one style or direction. For me snowboarding gave me the opportunity to take my skating, add a little surf style and just ride everything on the mountain. Back in the early 90’s skaters hated on the sport but as it progressed more skaters were realising it had validity. Now it’s refreshing to see that there are top snowboarders who started snowboarding first have now got into skating as an extension of their craft. For me as long as there’s freedom of expression and creativity then I’m happy. What makes snowboarding so good is that it draws from so many lifestyles and skating is just one dimension that adds to the progression.

Back in 92 and better than you.

Back in 92 and better than you.

Zach Whymen asks: Are you glad you went pro? Do you feel like you missed out on other opportunities?
Again, I never really considered myself a pro rider, I never had the commitments and obligations that most riders had and was just lucky there were a few companies that were happy to pay me a salary to just go out and play. I loved it! I always snowboarded on my terms and when someone said this is what you have to do, I just went the opposite direction. The sport was new and we were finding our way but as long as I was doing it my way, it wasn’t a sport or a job but a way of life. No, I never believed I missed out on anything as I had a very diverse upbringing and had travelled the World before I was even a teenager. I still live life to this day enjoying what I do, we only get one shot at it so get out there and make the most while you can. If you’re not happy with your situation change it, no one will do it for you!

Do you now ride with highbacks or still take them off?
I do ride with highjacks now but have thought about riding some lowbacks in the dome. For big mountain riding they do make a difference but I think it could be quite fun hitting small stuff without the stiffness and restriction you get with highbacks… hmmmm I can’t wait to try taking mine off next time I’m at Hemel.

A lot of people say the old days were better, were they? Was the industry as a whole more fun back then?
We all like to think it was better back in the old days but in reality we are spoiled now! The only good thing about the early days was If you’re like me and prefer to be the minority, then yeah, I do miss that, but man, all the parks and fun areas that resorts have now is incredible! Boards are so much better than in the “Old Days” although it’s good to see creativity hasn’t disappeared in the industry and at the end of the day we are just sliding down the hill on a lunch tray. I love seeing the resurgence in powder boards and guys like Cory Smith still experimenting with board shapes, snowboarding is not and should not just be an oversized ski!

aggression tr

The iconic Aggression Tarquin shotgun promodel

You had 8 pro models in the day; do you own one of each? Do you ever ride them now?
I have some of my pro models here with me here in the UK, but most of the ones i’ve been actively buying back are at my cousins place In California and need to get them sent to me. No, I haven’t ridden any of them in a very very long time but think I will have to same day soon! I have got a few tribute boards as well, Technine have redone their jib board for this year and I’ve got two now so will ride one fairly soon. Solid are also doing a Nate Dog model as a tribute and that’s being made now so hopefully I’ll get mine soon which I will have to try out!

Zach Whynen asks: How many shotgun boards do you think sold and what’s the back story on the graphics ?’
I have no clue how many of the Shotgun boards were ever sold, it always tripped me out seeing people riding any boards that had my name on them as I never really believed I should have had any pro models. The story behind the graphic is a little fucked up. The guys behind the design were Troy, Trent Bush and Amani King from Twist and artist Even Hecox who drew the graphic. When my first pro model for Aggression was launched in Las Vegas, I was out there sort of hanging out with the wrong crowd, I was into guns and just being a degenerate, so at one of the trade show parties I got into a fight with the bouncers of the club, I was stupidly drunk  and had a .38 special in my belt. One thing led to another and I ended up spending time in jail. This was the start of my infamous career in snowboarding. Everyone assumed I was a gangster, so the next year the graphic and add campaign was literally making fun of the whole middle class kids thinking they were all thug life and gangster turf on the hill.

Soild with their take on a Tarquin's classic.

Soild with their take on Tarquin’s classic.

You had a little break from snowboarding and reappeared in the UK, what happened there?
I retired or should I say got burnt out at the end of the nineties and made a quick exit from snowboarding. I still rode occasionally when I could until my dad died going out of bounds in Verbier in 2005. An unfortunate accident but it happened, we know the risks involved so I just sort of lost my love for it. I would never change anything because snowboarding has always been about freedom for me and denying my dad his for the sake of him still being around would not be right. I didn’t strap into a board again until after I went down to the CAPITA Defenders of Awesome premier a few years back in London. I was watching and thinking how much snowboarding was a part of my life for so long and that I missed it.

Obviously I now lived in London so getting to the snow wasn’t so straightforward! I had no desire to ride dry slope as I’d not grown up with it and getting away to Europe or the States was not always possible, as I wanted to ride more. When I found out there was a local dome nearby that had a freestyle night, I thought, wow that would be cool. l’ve been addicted ever since and have tried to make it up every Friday for the last few years, barring injuries of course! Ironically enough, back in 1995 or so I was staying in Avoriaz and riding with a few British kids who I now ride with again after all these years at Hemel, fucking cool! Love my Fridays at the Snow Centre!

How are you finding the Uk scene?
I must admit I was a bit tentative on riding the domes, kinda like the first time you rock up at some skate park with a heavy local scene and it’s new to you. I’ve been really stoked on the Uk scene; I love how the domes and dry slopes make use of what little they have. The progression is astounding which is giving riders a good foundation to work with when they go to the mountains. Everyone I get to ride with at the domes are awesome, you get the buzz like when you are at a skate park with your bros because it’s so condensed and you’re all around the features together. As much as I love freeriding the mountain there’s something to be said for just sessioning a rail or feature and getting stoked when dudes are pulling crazy shit. I consider myself lucky to still be involved in the scene and especially here in the UK as there’s plenty of talented riders here who can make a big impact on snowboarding in the future.

Rob Needham asks: Do your old man aches make you think before attempting new tricks?
Yes definitely, having just had knee surgery and mainly riding the indoor domes with rails and no landings on the kickers i’ve had to take stock on what i’m doing! My mind says “yeah dude you’ve got this” but reality and age kick intokeep it real and just chill and have fun. I’ve been retired for over 15 years, so got nothing to prove but hey life aint over yet and I can rest and heal up when i’m dead! You know you’ll always find me up for giving it a go! and yup Rob, Fuller is attractibe on that special kind of way!

Just a couple Runs at UK Springbreak from DEELUXEboots on Vimeo.


Brian Stiles asks: Who is your favourite current rider or who gets you stoked when you watch them ride?
I’ve never really had any favourite riders but have always tried to draw inspiration from guys and girls that do things a little different that aren’t text book. Getting to ride with Scott Stevens and see how creative and easy he makes things looks definitely gets me stoked to go try stuff. There are so many rad riders nowadays and with edits coming out everyday it’s very easy to get overwhelmed. As I now live in the UK and only get to ride indoor domes on Friday nights, I have to say I get more inspired and pushed on by the local kids I get to shred with ona  weekly basis. When I do go away, I just wnat to cruise, ride pow and do some laid out Yawgoon carves 🙂

Eric Keeney asks: I remember an old rumor you could verify, That he pulled a gun on someone at the Ratskeller in Govey once upon a time, proving he was a douche and not a thug. True or False?
If you weren’t there and were not involved then it doesn’t concern you! Fucking douche bag my ass!