RIPPING | GABRIEL JACQUES
Interview by Max Trudel Photos by Renrob Gabriel Jacques Age | 25 Place | L’Ange-Gardien, QC Sponsors | Bataleon snowboards, Dragon, Vans,...
I was dwelling on which Canadian snowboarder has gotten the most video clips. Louif Paradis, Jed Andersen, Jake Kuzyk? Then it dawned on me; the filmers are the ones really stacking clips. Hayden Rensch has been beautifully capturing some of the most prolific snowboarders for countless years. With a deep filming history dating back to iconic releases, Transworld’s In Color, then he tapped into Videograss to create Enlightened before releasing his own legendary projects such as the Déjà Vu saga and subsequent co-sign with Louif for the award-winning Beacon. Hayden has most recently found a home filming for the snowboard boot powerhouse Vans. Coming off playing his position for Landline, we’re preparing ourselves for another onslaught of clips caught masterfully through Hayden’s viewfinder in their upcoming release. Hayden is still out there mashing that little red record button, further solidifying himself as a serious contender for most-clipped Canadian.
Written by, Finn Westbury
The longest time it took to film a single trick | 3 days
Long Lens or Fisheye | Long
Stand-out project you had nothing to do with | Dragon’s We Are Frameless Tour
Most clips you filmed in a day | Jed Andersen did 16 tricks on one rail and they all got used
Hard Drives | 25
Home Turf | Live in Vancouver, but I started snowboarding in St. Albert, AB
Years filming | 14
What are you working on this year? How did it go?
The new Vans video project and a personal retrospective. I’m not editing anything this year besides commercials for Vans, which is cool for me because that’s what I want to break into. The commercial aspect of filming snowboarding is kind of a struggle, getting the correct content for commercials while also focusing on getting the tricks. It sometimes feels like an afterthought. There are lots of variables. You can never say in the back of your head, “Oh, we’ll just focus on this and get the commercial stuff later,” because later never fucking happens. Summer happens later.
At one point, filming must have transitioned from a passion project into a full-time job, do you remember when that happened?
Just the right place, right time. Dave Rouleau came to Edmonton and we filmed for a couple of weeks. He got me to move out to Whistler, where I shot a little of the Gnarcore movies with him and Gerhard Gross. The next season Gerhard got me a contract with Roxy. I was 19 at the time and was super fortunate to even be making any money at all. It kind of snowballed from there; met Joe Carlino, then Videograss and Deja Vu.
Can you share some insight on how that changed your relationship with filming?
I am instantly more passionate about making something the minute I am not getting paid for it. If I’m hired to make a video, I feel like I have to make it their way, which is totally fine. I’m making commercials for Vans this year and in my head it’s like, “This suits the brand.” When I take all my footage to make something else, I am way more hyped. You see a lot of people not getting paid and making really dope shit, because they have full creative control over everything they’re doing. As soon as you bring in payment and brand entity, there is a fine line of creative control.
What inspires you to film and edit? Do they have different sources of inspiration?
Editing for me is whatever feels nice. I filmed with my friends this year—a really good group of friends so I have a lot of funny lighthearted footage. That inspires me to edit this stuff and make it feel good. Filming, I’ve always been hyped to go out and film, no matter what.
Who do you make videos for?
I would make movies back in the day for other people. Déjà Vu, as much as I like it and the snowboarding is amazing, I edited it in a style that people would like. Beacon I edited in a style I like. Taking the DVD master copy to the post office I thought, “I like this, but nobody else is going to like this.” I didn’t know if the snowboard community would be down… Bill Strobeck had just made Cherry, you can see the people now who love Strobeck, you know? I love Bill Strobeck, too. I’m down, but Beacon wasn’t what was cool at the time. I’m at a point, this is going to sound bad, but I’ve been doing it for 12 years, at what point do you evolve? You have to evolve, hopefully, everyone else is too—snowboarding evolved.
You’re studying music theory, what’s up with that?
I’m trying to figure out how music works, how you play certain instruments, what sounds work—there’s a lot to learn. I would like to score the music for an entire snowboarding video by myself. I feel that I’m almost at a point where maybe I could, but I don’t have all the equipment. I’m trying to work on that. I kinda go jack-of-all-trades with everything. It’s crazy because if you were to enter into the film industry, you wouldn’t be able to do it how we do it in snowboarding, where we are filming, editing, music supervising, producing and directing. You’d pretty much pick one of these things. We’re given the luxury of being able to play with everything, I guess I’m taking advantage of that opportunity.
You approach your role in snowboarding critically. Many people regard your work as highly influential, although you seem to respectfully lack personal recognition of this. Can you speak about this?
Soon as you start thinking your videos are the best, you’re done. You’re going to stop getting good, you’re going to stop caring. Your shit always has to suck to you. That’s literally how I think, “That was trash, but well, put it online, whatever.” The biggest thing about editing and filmmaking is that people take it for what it is. They don’t know what it could have been. It’s only what you make it—people don’t see the other 10 edits on your desktop before you send that shit out.
Ten years down the road, that’s where you see yourself, doing commercial work?
For sure, one or two years down the road hopefully [laughs]. I really like developing ideas for commercials, and I think there’s a lot to be done with commercials. I wanted to do them in snowboarding and I have so many crazy ideas but every time it’s just like “Nah, no.” They just see me as a snowboarding filmer, not as a creative director. Which is cool, these brands already have creative directors. Maybe circle back in a couple of years and get the right people in the office to be like, “Oh, that does sound dope.” If I pitch it as being the most recognizable commercials in snowboarding to be made in recent years, I could potentially get the funds and access to make these, which would be amazing. I’d be hyped.