Andrew Wyton is one of my best friends. I credit him with opening my eyes to a whole new way of looking at the world. A way in which I see my own potential to create something of my own choosing. A world where anything is possible. A world where I can step outside, far outside the rigid boundaries of societal expectations.
Back in our early days, we first became friends through our mutual passion for snowboarding. We spent all our energy focusing on the sport, essentially living at the local hill as though it were our second home. As young adults, Andy and I spent probably close to the majority of our time either boarding or filming videos and films about boarding. It was all-consuming for the both of us, and our passion for the sport has manifested a unique mindset for the way we look at the world around us.
In more recent years, as two young adults, our lives have changed quite a bit, but I can certainly speak for the both of us in saying that snowboarding set up the trajectory for our lives in a very unique way. Initially, Andy started filming snowboarding to solve the simple issue that there was nobody else to point the camera at him. Following a spine injury that forced his retirement from the sport, he continued with the video aspect of snowboarding for many years before eventually turning the hobby into his full-on career. In this episode, he talks about how his passion for snowboarding, quickly turned into a passion for content and cinematography. In the boarding world, a unique phenomenon occurred across the board when video footage grew in demand. The first people with the skills necessary to make good money doing this were the people filming skateboarding and filming. For Andy this was largely the case, and he found himself with the right skills and the perfect point in time. This has allowed him to create a lot of opportunity and freedom in his life as he owns and operates a well-respected video company at home in London, Ontario.
In this Podcast
In this episode, he tells the story of how this transition came to be. He also tells about his upbringing as I poke and prod him to try and understand why exactly his brain ended up with so much creative power. More recently, Andy has joined CEDASS, a charity dedicated to nourishing the poor and troubled region of South Sudan. His passion for this project has sparked inspiration for many of the people around him, and the experiences he has had along the way justify this.
I was lucky enough to grow up barely more than a stones throw from the local ski hill. My natural competitive instinct and interest in sports soon conspired to create a serious and long lasting infatuation with snowboarding. In a borderline obsessive fashion, it became my special form of mania. All my thoughts, all my time and all my money was fully invested in the ongoing chase of more time on the hill. Although extreme at times, I believe snowboarding was one of the best things that ever happened to me.
Over the years, snowboarders became my best friends. We congregated at hills together. We met up at events to compete, film and push each other. We saved our funds and migrated to special places where the snow hadn’t yet melted, just to get our fix of slushy park laps on the jump line. We made friends across the country and shared a common passion that brought each of us a special kind of excitement.
I am super fortunate for all the great friends and adventures i’ve been able to accumulate from snowboarding, but the real value of the experience was the simple ability to be involved in the fullness and culture of the snowboard community at large. It is a world so packed with passionate people that it’s practically impossible to avoid having some special form of inspiration rub off on you. In literal terms, it is a culmination of individuals who are willing to prioritize their own happiness and inspiration above all else. They are the kind of people who are willing dedicate their life to their passion, travelling far and wide in pursuit of a few extra feet of snowfall. They make sacrifices for their own happiness without hesitation, despite whatever message societal pressures are telling them next. I personally have a special appreciation for any individual who is able to live with so much conviction.
At the time, my obsession certainly took away from other aspects of a well balanced lifestyle. I prioritized boarding over everything: my school, my girlfriend, job opportunities, etc. Looking back, there may be a couple things I would have handled differently (like focusing on my jump game more, i’m joking), but in all seriousness, I experienced so much from indulging in my constant desire to be on the snow that I wouldn’t have it any other way. Although I am definitely less obsessed than I once was, I do still love snowboarding more than really, almost anything. For me, boarding is truly the most relaxing feeling out there. It is my special form of unwinding and distraction. The inspiration I gained from spending years with so many genuinely refreshing people still influences many of the life choices I make today. My medium is changing, but the message is still the same. It’s hard to put a value on true passion.
“Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you” – Oprah Winfrey
Featured photo was shot on 35mm in the French Alps.