Russ was one of the original boarders from the Nowamean squad, and he has been filming longer than any of us. He is one of the snowboarders we all looked up to growing up, so it's really sick having him be a part of the project. If you've seen Russel snowboard, you know that he can take a beating, but when he comes out on top, it's a guaranteed hammer. —Julien Choiniere
You've been around many different Nowamean lineups, from back in the earlier days to the new Bruners crew. Which one do you think had the best roster?
That's a tough one. I can't really say one was better than the other. The Bruners are super hype and I've been riding with them since they were young bucks, and Nowamean is just a big family. The Bangarang year was pretty epic. That year was super fun and I feel was our breakthrough movie. That movie helped put some of us on the map. Dillon's part in that movie is still better than most parts coming out today.
You've had some serious injuries and surgeries throughout your time street snowboarding, as well as a professional career and a relationship. What keeps you motivated and hyped on filming year after year?
I just like boardin'. After I blew my kidney and spleen, my doctor told me I should stop boarding, not just street, but everything. I straight up cried. I told myself that couldn't happen and that I would be back sideways no matter what. Two weeks after, they let me leave the hospital. My homies took me boarding to just cruise. They all thought it was a bad idea, then I did a Method and it was the best feeling ever. Then they understood. I just like to board and I always will. My job knows it and so does my girlfriend. The feeling of getting your clips and doing something creative outside is just too fun. I really appreciate my job and girlfriend being so understanding.
[o] Eric Lamothe
Your bails are legendary and often look dramatic. How do you manage to strap back in and drop in after those really bad incidents?
It's pretty simple. When the doctors told me to stop boarding, the last memory I had was pissing blood and lying in an ambulance. It sucked. If I didn't get back up and try again, that would be the thought I'd be stuck with looping in my mind. Now my memories of boarding are just having fun with my homies and smiles all around. Boarding is all about having fun with your friends, and that's how I want to remember and think about it.
How would you describe Ju's way to criticize a trick at a spot?
I love filming with Ju. He's fucking straight up and no bullshit. If you tell him a trick idea and he doesn't feel it, you know right away. He's either 100% or nothing. If you land and are wondering if it's good, all you have to do is look at Ju. If he's reviewing the clip over and over again, you know it's good. If the screen is closed and he's taking a sip of his beer, you know you better go strap in again, because he won't waste battery watching your shitty attempt [laughs].
What inspires you in life that you can relate to when you're snowboarding?
Music and design really inspires me. Ever since I was little, I was super into the way things are made and designed. When I look at spots, it's almost as if some are made for someone to board on. It's almost too much of a coincidence how perfectly things work out sometimes. Style heavily influences design, and boarding is all about style. Every designer has their own style just as every boarder has their own style. It's up to you to just board and create your own style that you're down with.
Thank you to everyone that has helped me board. Thank you to my parents, my friends and my girlfriend, Janik. Thank you Julien Choiniere, Sean Traer, Jé Pagé, Gab Bélanger, Will Jourdain, Jason @Fixbinding, Marc and Ryan @Signal, Billabong, VZ, Empire, Nowamean, The Bruners, Franky Mo, Craig McCallion, DOPE and RGK.