Benny Urban has been on the scene for such a long time and it seems almost an impossibility that he is only 24 years old. He’s packed a lot into that time frame from filming with Nitro and the now defunct Isenseven, to competing in high profile rail contests. Now Benny is filming for VideoGrass, a move that is no doubtably going to catapult his career even further. Benny is not only an incredibly talented snowboarder he shines on a skateboard and is one of the humble and approachable riders around. Here is Benny’s Real Talk Interview.
You are based out of Munich, do you find that sometimes to be too far away from the mountains or does that distance give you some time off?
That’s true, it’s definitely not the closest location to the mountains for a snowboarder, but on the other hand it’s really practical to travel to a lot of different places from there. The closest resort is 45 minutes away and within 2 hours you can reach many good parks and resorts. Also, I feel that when I’m home in between trips I like to occupy my mind with other things.
You have been with Nitro for a long time and they recently rewarded you with a pro model with Dominik Wagner, was that something you were expecting?
Nitro is like family for me, I think the same goes for Dom. It’s unbelievable that this actually happened, I feel like I still haven’t realized it yet, it’s a great honor for us and also very respectable that they gave us so much freedom for the graphics!
You are good at skating too, does skating help your street riding and vice versa?
Thank you. I love skateboarding just as much as I love snowboarding, it’s an addiction. I think it does help in some ways for sure, kind of visualising movements and approaching tricks is similar, also the way you look at spots, I feel it is helpful overall.
You successfully forged a career out of predominantly filming but with a few contests in between. Why do so many riders have to compete if they want to make it as a pro rider?
Hm I think it just really depends on what type of rider/ person you are. Everyone has their own vision of what they like or at what they’re good at. I did a lot of contests when I was younger and just kind of got over it. For me filming is a lot more fun and more of a creative outlet as well. For sure good contests results can give a rider a lot of attention and popularity but in my eyes it doesn’t really showcases what type of rider this person is. I just think snowboarding can be more than that and with filming parts you portrait more of yourself. Who you are, trick choice, spot choice, music taste etc.
Are the rail contests fun or would you prefer to skip those too if you could?
I could skip those too if I wanted, but some of them are actually really fun, for example the Rock a Rail is always good times. The set up is sick and everyone in Europe gets together in the pre season. A nice side bonus is that you get to visit a bunch of cool cities as well.
You’ve been in multiple video parts from Isenseven, down to earth, hyped etc. What video part are you most happy with and why?
To be honest most of the time I hope that my latest part is the one that I look back at and think this is the one I like the most. Just because like many other riders I try to not repeat myself and do different things. Therefore I would say my “Thirtytwo” Videopart from last fall or my “Welcome to Red Bull” Clip.
Talking of filming, you are now filming with Videograss, how did that come about and what can we expect from your part?
Yes, filming with VG is definitely unreal and sort of a dream come true. That all happened through Justin Meyer who is the main guy behind VG and who was in charge of the “Thirtytwo” movie last year. So I ended up filming with him for nearly a month last year and it worked out pretty good. So in November I got the invitation to do VG and with the help of my sponsors it worked out, so now Iʼm able to film with those guys.
It seems like there aren’t as many German pros as there used to be, why do you think this is?
Yeah there used to be a lot more pro’s in Germany. I think the reason for that is that we had the Zugspitze, Isenseven and the whole Gap Camp era, where Germany had a bigger platform for pro’s than we have now. Also I feel like kids these days don’t realise that snowboarding could be a career for themselves. Maybe back than it was more natural to become pro or live off snowboarding than today? I don’t know that’s really weird actually. I hope that some kids will decide to try it and eventually make it from Germany!
You studied sport science; do you have a plan of what you will do when you quit riding professionally?
Haha good question. I’m sure I’ll find something. I could picture myself staying in snowboarding for a long time. Also after riding professionally, I think I would like to stay in the industry. I love to take photos of snowboarding. Also I’m really interested in making films and stuff like that. Maybe I’ll have a company myself one day. Who knows?
You can follow Benny on his Instagram here.
Index photo: Matt Georges