COLUMN // "worst bail ever" with Darrah Reid-McLean

An Interview with Darrah Reid-McLean

Behind the “worst female slam ever”

by David Rouleau
Have you seen the shot of that chick eating shit into a fence in Minnesota? It’s the epitome of brutal. This is the kind of stuff that brings the viewers in, folks. Pure and utter horror. All joking aside, I’m actually acquainted with the young lady in this clip. Her name, as you may already know, is Darrah Reid-Mclean. Darrah comes from the snowboard scene in Winnipeg; a place that produces an above average amount of talented and stylish riders per capita. These aren’t facts. They’re just observations. Darrah is no different. The first time I saw here ride she surprised me. She can come off as this really nice little girl, but charges pretty fierce on her board.

When I saw this bail shot I was really worried. I feared for her life, but I was also kind of embarrassed for her. The comments that were left around the internet were mean and hilariously demeaning. Something about the shot struck me as odd. I mean, there are bail shots that a rider can almost be proud of and then there are those that you wish no one saw. This one obviously falls into the ladder. If you watch the clip, you can almost see the moment where she realizes that she doesn’t have enough speed to clear the gap, but it also has you guessing at whether or not she knew she would clear it at all. I contacted Darrah in Minnesota to get her end of the story. What I learned surprised me at first, but it also reminded me about how crazy it is to film a video part and how much mental damage young riders inflict upon themselves trying to do it.

Hey Darrah. How’s it going? Everyone has been talking about this bail of yours. Are you down to do a little interview with us about it?

Yeah, I’m down. I’m super embarrassed, but, fuck it. I’ll do an interview.


Can you give us a background on how it all went down and exactly what happened?

Well, I was on a trip in Minneapolis trying to film, but it wasn't going very well. We went to this spot that our friends had hit before and thought it would be pretty easy to gap over the ditch. We spent a bunch of time building the jump and then I tested the speed so many times. I knew the in-run wasn't fast enough, but at some point I was just so annoyed of going up there and doing the in-run and not hitting it that I just thought, fuck it, and went for it. It was so stupid. As soon as I went off the jump I knew I was going to eat shit.


Hmmm. That's an interesting scenario you put yourself in. I agree with you when you say it was stupid, but I think in a way I can also relate. There's a weird pressure that comes with driving yourself to send your life for a video camera. I've seen you snowboard before. You're a good rider and you obviously have the nuts to go big. Is it a huge mind fuck trying to film a video part being an am like yourself? How do you manage?
It is the hugest mind fuck. I'm having, like, five mental breakdowns a week here. I don't know how I manage. I guess I don't, really. This year feels less fun and less productive than any other. It's so much harder than I ever thought it would be to film a part. I feel like when I'm snowboarding for fun in the park I'm so confident and can do some cool stuff. But sometimes when I go out to film I get nervous and scared and just really uncertain. Then I feel guilty for not getting stuff done. So many negative feelings basically. I have so much more respect for anyone that's ever filmed a video part now.

So what are your plans for the remainder of the season? Have you been filming much since the big bail? 

Yeah. After that bail I went to the SIA show in Denver and got really drunk for a few days because everything seemed to not hurt when I was wasted. Then I went back to Utah and did nothing for a while. Now I'm in Minnesota again trying to film. We had a couple good days here, but I got kind of hurt again yesterday. I was just doing something dumb, so now I'm back to feeling like an idiot and wondering why I'm even trying. As for the rest of the season, I guess I'll just stay in Minnesota until I have some sort of a video part, hopefully. Or until I freak out completely, which might happen soon.
Jesus. Well, I wish you the best, Darrah. It sounds like a pretty rough grind. This may sound like a dumb question, but why are you in Minnesota? Do you have any plans of getting out into the backcountry?

I'm not sure why I'm in Minnesota. There's just always snow in the city here I guess, and there are lots of nice friends here that help us out. I fucking want to get out into the backcountry so bad. One day I hope.


Cool. Well, thanks for your time. Want to give a shout out to any sponsors or peeps out there who are helping you in your quest for craziness?

I don't think my sponsors are too proud of me eating shit all over the Internet, but I guess I'll thank Birnie (Etnies/Thirtytwo) and Tonino (Nitro), and also all my friends that encourage me to keep trying.


Speaking of the Internet, do you have any parting words for any of the viewers out there that may have left some rather unkind comments about your bail shot?

No comments. I'd hate on the bail for sure too if I saw it and it wasn't me. I know it's ridiculous.

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