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A lot of people say they are doing it, or talk about how they’re going to do it, but Matt Shaffer is actually making it happen. Bred in Vermont and groomed for the world of pro boarding in New Hampshire, he managed to get the hell out of the Plymouth party scene and loaded up his Subaru and pointed it west. After a brief stop in the Rockies, he eventually continued on Interstate 80 to Cali, in a tale that’s as juicy as any Kerouac novel. As 2017 comes to a close, he finds himself living the life in Tahoe. Of course, “the life” is different for everyone, and there have been no shortage of bumps in Shaffe’s road. The most notable — a bouncing baby girl named Brixton. Of all the ups and downs, she’s the one 27-year-old Matt is sure has only changed things for the better. So, with the release of his biggest, baddest and best part to date (it’s up there at the top of the page) we decided to double tap @shaffe-daddy for a little bit of hump day action, to find out more about what the hell he’s thinking.
So, tell me about your new part. Why did it take three years?
It’s not that it took me three years to film a part, it’s more like this is what I was doing while I was getting used to living on the West Coast. I was a contest kid so I spent a lot of time traveling when I could and just riding the park as much as possible. I was getting used to living in Tahoe and meeting different filmers and photogs. Getting a feel for the industry out here. I had homies who knew I was hungry so they started bringing me to spots. After a couple trips, I realized that I loved filming in a different way than I loved competing. Two different feelings. It was fun trying to get better at something that was somewhat new for me. After a while it’s all I really wanted to do, but it’s hard to get in with the right guys who have the experience. So I started coming up with my own crew of guys that I work with. Professional filmers like Eric Gillespie, who had never really filmed in the streets for snowboarding. My homie Kurt Brending was a GoPro park guy who I convinced to buy a camera and start working with me. Dude’s got some patience, cuz im a pretty particular guy when it comes to getting shots. And I started working with other photogs, like the legend IJV and my homie Sawyer Mahoney. After putting this part online, it’s all I really want to do. Hoping someone takes a peak n gives me a real shot.
Who’s idea was the freeway set up? How did you not die?
The freeway setup was my idea. I was driving around one day with some homies looking for a spot. We were at this lil warehouse with a no trespassing sign at the entrance and a bunch of vehicles. We were contemplating going for this roof thing, but I was not in a very good position to be getting in more trouble, so we decided to bail, but on the way out I saw it. About a mile in a half as the crow flies, there was a huge concrete wall. I pointed at it and the boys said it was an old Chuck G [aka Chas Guldemond] spot. I had to hit it. We cruised over close to it, found a spot to kinda safely pull the rigs off the road and hiked down to it. We were getting some funny faces from passerby’s cuz we were loaded with equipment. But got down to it with no issues and setup for a couple hours. I started hitting it and it was mad sketchy. As soon as you landed you had to put the breaks on and hope you didn’t slide into traffic. That doesn’t look cool though, so the only way to make it legit was basically guarantee you were gonna slide to tar. Hit it for a couple hours until finally I landed my trick and then filled in the bomb hole for the boys. Ten minutes later the cops showed up and gave us the boot with no real problems. Pretty stoked!
That rules when things work out! How did you get into snowboarding for fun?
I have my parents to thank for getting me into snowboarding. They put me on skis around four or five years old. At 10, I borrowed my first snowboard and boots from the neighbors who were two degenerate kids that had a few years on me. Their boots n boards were wayyyy too big for me but I still couldn’t get enough. We built a jump in the backyard and would be out there before school in the morning trying to get in a couple hits. Eventually my parents bought me a super cheap deck and some boots and I think one lesson at Ragged Mountain in NH. I was hooked. I entered my first contest at 13 or 14. It was a boardercross event and I only made to the second round. Eventually ended up in Sunapee NH and rode Mt. Sunapee for quite a long time. New England is where [the path I’m on now] truly started. It was mountains like Sunapee, Ragged, Pats Peak, Okemo and Stratton. I definitely have those parks and the locals around there to thank.
And how did you end up in Tahoe?
Well, I graduated high school in Vermont and moved out of Mom and Dad’s house to Plymouth, NH. Holy shit, was that a fun time. I rode Loon for approximately four seasons, and spent my time there looking up to homies like [Mike] Rav and JOC [Johnny O’connor.] They truly sparked my fire. I filmed with guys like the Fairgrounds crew and Paul Osbourne, who I eventually moved in with. Those were some radical fucking days. But you can only live in that town for so long until your body parts (liver) start to fail. Eventually got dragged to Colorado…but noooo thank you. I couldn’t stand it there. I called my homie Jeff Brewer and he told me he had a room amd some beer lined up for me, so I packed the Subi with $250 to my name and bounced to Tahoe. Shit’s been pretty fucking wild ever since. Best thing I’ve ever done for myself. Happily in Tahoe now.
Is Tahoe still the spot? Or is it getting too expensive just like everywhere else? How do you make it work?
Tahoe is definitely still the spot. It’s an interesting place for sure, though. The longer I live here the more I realize it’s completely different than the East. It can suck you in to some pretty gnarly lifestyles. The trick is to just keep your goals in front of you. Rip it up n have a good time, but the people that crush it here are very goal-oriented. How I make it work is a mystery. Life’s hard but that’s because I live in vacationland. I could live in a dump back east and be rich and yada yada, or i can live in the coolest place in the US and bust my ass to make it work. I’d rather bust my ass any day. Tahoe is the shit.
Any thoughts of moving to Reno?
Fuuuuck Reno. Place is garbage. I do my best to not go down there and when I do I just want to get out of there as soon as possible. Mountains for me.
How’s fatherhood treating you? Tell me about your spawn?
Fatherhood…haha oh man where to begin. To be honest it’s a pretty sore subject. I was not ready to be a dad. I was basically told boom, “you’re gonna be a dad and I dont give a fuck what you think about it. Get ready.” It was probably the most scared I’ve ever been in my life. 26 years old, just starting to get real traction in a brand new place 3000 miles away from my family. None of my homies had kids. So it was a real kick in the pants. It took quite a few months to come to grips with it which I have all my homies out here to thank for.
Baby Brix though. Fuck, it’s insane. The moment she came out I was in love. I just wanted to learn everything. How to be the illest diaper changer in the west. How to hold her the right way so she would pass out if she was upset. I didn’t want to let go of her. I also wanted to take a nap because it just so happens that two days earlier was my birthday and then the night before she was born was my Patriots big day at the Super Bowl. So needless to say I was “feeling it.”
I didn’t ride for a couple weeks. I just helped out with Brix and my baby mama. I stayed down in Sacramento while it was dumping in Tahoe. It was whatever though, I just wanted to hold my kid and practice changing shitty diapers. I eventually got to get back to riding after a couple weeks. I went back up to Tahoe to hit a backcountry jump with the Gremlinz and some other homies. It was fun. But after a day and night up there I went right back down to my new family. Crazy times. I really didn’t get back into the swing of things for at least a month in a half. That’s when I started filming the rest of [this part.]
Brixton is the most adorable little girl. She’s already got a sense of humor and a ton of attitude. She’s also got my blue eyes, so I’m pretty much fucked in 15 years. Boys, just a heads up, by the time she’s that old I’ll prolly still be thinking like an 18-year-old boy, so don’t bullshit me. Just treat her right and I won’t have to beat your dad up. Daddy loves you Brixton.
What’s the best thing about life in Cali? The worst?
Best thing about cali life… haha, oh man. Quite a few million good things. I’d have to say the women..good lord . The worst…the friggin’ taxes. Oh and there’s honestly a different type of grind out here. People from the East are true hustlers in my eyes. Life is a lil lazy out here.
Can you expand on the East coast hustle vs the Cali hustle? It’s so true! I think it’s because they don’t have real winter. lol
I think Cali is just a slightly pampered place. A lot of people’s priorities revolve around money and ego and looks and how cool you are, yada yada. Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty people like that back East, but it’s much more prominent here. People from back East are savages. I talking about truly cold winters where you don’t have a choice but to go ride when it’s negative 10 and cloudy because you’re a weekend warrior. And that’s after working a 50 hour week laying tile (you know who you are, Woody.) And during the summer it’s 90 degrees with 90% humidity and you’re landscaping all day because it’s Vermont and there a million farms that need help. People back East are more humble. They live a simpler life. Work hard, play harder. Bust your ass and then drink beers in the woods around a fire. At least, that’s what it’s like where I came from. I’ve become a spoiled lil bitch since moving here. It’s sunny, good snow, great temps, all day, everyday. Hell, most of my part was filmed in a T-shirt. This place is heaven, but on the real, it’s a vacationland. East coasters are hard ass folks and I rep the ones staying true back there. Respect ✊🏼 Growing up riding ice and low light, turns you into a true ripper, especially when you make your way to the west and get perfectly groomed parks with soft snow and sun all day. It’s funny, I’ve noticed myself really enjoying the icy days this season. Brings me back to the good ole days.
What would you like to get out of snowboarding? What are you goals with it?
Snowboarding is my escape. It’s exactly what I’ve always needed in my life. It makes me hungry to charge other aspects of my life, such as work or other responsibilities, because I know I’m doing it for a good reason…so I can feed my kid and get back on my snowboard. I can block out all the negativity and become completely happy in those moments that last hours.
I think I can honestly say snowboarding saved my life. I’d probably be dead or in jail without it. It gives me something to focus on and look forward to so I’m not drowned by the craziness of life. Ever since I was a kid, I was a little crazy, and when I found snowboarding I knew it was my end all, be all. All I wanted to do was be a pro snowboarder. I think it took me until the past few years to put everything I have into it though. I was definitely slightly distracted by a partying and women when I was growing up. Snowboarding was my first love, but not always my first priority haha. Nowadays it’s amongst the most important things in my life, along with learning the tricks of fatherhood and keeping the bills paid. I pretty much have no intentions whatsoever of slowing down.
I did have to make a switch though and let go of the wild lifestyle I was living so that I could accommodate a child and snowboarding. I really just want to take it as far as I can. Every year I seem to get more hungry, probably because I know I’m not getting any younger, so I’m tryna get it in while i can. I’m just gonna keep chasing the dream. I truly love snowboarding. Getting paid or not for me, it’s about getting better and building myself up to be the best I can be. It’s taught me a lot of really important lessons in life. I’ve met a lot of really rad people. I’ve got memories that I can always look back on that I’m really proud of. I’m hoping it can do the same for my daughter. I want to end my career knowing that Brix has something to look up to. Something that might spark some passion in her so she pushes to better herself at whatever it is she wants to do. Praying it’s snowboarding! haha
How does it feel to be a millennial? Did your generation get screwed or will it be the greatest generational story history ever told in 30 or so years?
I’d say we are definitely a different breed. Growing up with all this new technology has created a new way of life that some really love. Me personally, I’m not a big fan. I’m an old school guy. I look back to the way my parents grew up and I respect those times. There’s so much bullshit these days that kids care about more than life. Ego’s through the roof. Nobody is humble anymore. That all being said, I think this generation has created some pretty diligent people. I think people are striving to be better, which is cool. We definitely got the shit end of the stick in some respects.
Coming out of high school with a shitty economy didn’t affect me so much, because all I ever did for work was labor jobs and it’s not that hard to find them. I’ve seen it screw others over, though. It’s a very different time. I’d rather see kids playing in the dirt like I did, than worrying about how many likes they got on their last post. Or watching the Kardashians and wanting to be just as fake and bitchy as them. Hence my daughter not getting a cell phone till she’s a teen or being allowed to watch those stupid shows, at my house, at least. I think it’s very powerful and I just don’t want people to lose track of what’s important and get caught up in all the bullshit that seems important but really doesn’t mean shit. Millennials are a strong group though, and I’m glad to be a part of it.
Why should weed be legal?
Weed is dope, haha. Get with the friggin program, America. Corrupt ass government, you won’t keep it this way forever. Half those kooks will be toking by the time it’s fully legal. Shit is medicine and a hell of a lot better than the poison you feed and treat us with.
Gimme your predictions for 2018. Snow, politics, the world at large.
2018. Well, I think I said it pretty well the other day. 2017 was an 80 MPH front edge catch. 2018 better be all roses ‘n orgies, haha! I’m thinking it’s gonna be a weird winter for snow, at least out here. We’ll see though, I’m far from a weatherman. I’m still trying to learn how to use my weather app that I’ve had for two years. Haha.
I’m thinking Trump is gonna implode because of his absolute inability to care like a real human being. Dudes a kook, and definitely skis in jeans. I hope his 2018 teaches him some much needed lessons about how the world goes around.
Anything you’re looking forward to? What is the most terrifying?
I’m looking forward to getting my kid back in my custody. I miss her very much. I’m looking forward to riding as much as I can and hopefully, and very sincerely, that someone gives me an opportunity to film another full part with the big dogs. Finna get Brisse on em! I’m definitely looking forward to teaching my daughter how to ride. She’s got a hell of a crew of people to learn from, so ladies watch the fuck out, Brix is coming in hot.
I’d have to say the most terrifying thing is trying to stay on top of life. Money, family, snowboarding, parenting, friends. My life is really really busy and wild and it gets really overwhelming. I think it’s good for me to build character; I just don’t want to bite off more than I can chew. In the last three years I’ve definitely done exactly that though, and here I am talking to you guys with a smile on my face. Bring it on.
Good attitude! Finally here’s your chance to shout out anyone and everyone!
I’d like to give a big shoutout to everyone in Tahoe!! Love all y’all. You people are a strange breed and I love it. Don’t know where I’d be without u . Huge shoutout to all the guys who helped make this edit possible. Eric, Kurt, Goggin, all the other filmers and photogs who took time outta their busy schedules to help my dumb ass out. All the dudes shoveling and not hitting it, y’all the realest. My boys riding next to me, need y’all. MY BSQUAD BOYS, I fucking love y’all hahaa. Megan, thanks for your bit of support and Diane for anything and everything you and your daughter have done for me. All of my bosses who gave me time off to chase this dream, that’s some real shit thank you All of my sponsors still with me and the ones gone, thank you guys for any kind of support you gave over the years. Without you guys none of this would be possible. Gilaffe Snowboards, Smith, Union, Thirtytwo, Volcom, Darkside, Saavi, Be Easy
Yo, Yobeat, thanks for this opportunity y’all still some real ones. Most importantly I gotta thank my family, Robin Chris and Craig. You guys been there since day one. Calling me on my shit and pickin up the pieces when life is rough. I can’t wait to take care of you guys like you have for me, someday. Love you guys so much. Brix I’d like to dedicate this edit to you. I worked my ass off for these clips and I want you to know I will put just as much work into being your dad. I love you kiddo, you keep me moving and breathing. Let’s shred soon and I’ll teach you how to read soon so we can read this together. Definitely gonna need to bleep some of it out.