“When we were growing up if you got mouthy you would get the shit kicked out of you.” – Ben Fawcett
Neatly tucked away in planned disarray, somewhere in between the amateur slopes and the ultimate snowboarding gig, you’ll find a hand full of friends shredding it up, running amuck and just not giving much of a fuck. We caught up with two of these friends over a cold beer in an even colder Jindabyne. The whole town was waiting for the first serious dumping of snow, and things seemed quite restless. Amidst the small town hype, Tom Pelley and Ben Fawcett were especially waiting patiently for the season to hail Mary. In the meantime, they’ve been kicking back, working and most importantly wasting time with Trunk Junk, in anticipation of what ended up being one of the best snow seasons in decades.
Tom and Ben are two gentlemen who are just doing what they love, and they’re not doing a bad job of it. At the age of 22, Tom is sponsored by the likes of Quiksilver, LibTech, Dragon Alliance, Ballistyx. At the age of 24, Ben is sponsored by Billabong, Dakine, Oakley, Rhythm Store, Compatriot and Elm. TJQ caught up with the fellas to shoot the breeze and talk shit.
How was it ‘growing up’ in the Australian snowfields?
Tom: Yeah, it was fun.
Ben: We should tell some of the grom bashing stories. Not many people know that shit or copped that kind of treatment. There’s the one story where ‘anonymous’ grabbed you by the crotch and told you to grow some balls!
(Both gentlemen decide it’s best not to tell this particular story)
Let’s talk about respect, old school, new school, and everything compared to what you guys grew up with…
Tom: Respect is different to when I was younger. We always respected all the older riders, you always gave them courtesy and you would never talk back to them or be cheeky.
Ben: They used to take us under their wing. They would teach us tricks, give us advice and introduce us to people. Some of the little grommets these days get a little mouthy. When we were growing up if you got mouthy you would get the shit kicked out of you.
How’s Life in Jindabyne?
Tom: Usually I just breeze through for a contest or a photo shoot or something. In the process, I’ll raise hell and then get the fuck out of here. This season I’m living here so I have to behave a little more.
Ben: There’s a crew of us that all know each other. By the time we roll into the park everyone knows what you got up to the night before.
What do you prefer, competition or free riding?
Tom: I’m not sure. If we ride the Thredbo Rail Jams, you’re pretty much just running sessions on a box or a rail with your mates and you don’t really care.
Ben: We’re all hanging out, but there’s definitely a competitive side to it. At the end of the day I’d like to think that we’re all good friends, we’re all Ozzies, and everyone likes to see everyone else do well.
Do you think that summarises the snowboard industry in Australia?
Tom: It has two sides to it I reckon. I don’t want to be negative. There’s a lot of hate though in Australia. Snowboarding’s not about that.
Ben: Snowboarding is about figuring out what is fun about it for you and then doing that the best you can. It’s not about having all these opinions.
Last question, do you guys find the politics a problem being the young pros?
Tom: I’m not a pro, I’m a nobody haha. We are apparently, though. Does that mean I get more tail? I want more boobies!
Ben: You wouldn’t realise it, but people know who you are in these little towns. It’s definitely good to have respect for those around you in the industry because it is small so that will help you out. Just do everything you’ve got to do.
Photo Credit: Andrew Fawcett
Browse the Trunk Junk collection; maybe even pick one out for yourself.
© Jonathan Boonzaaier 2016