Triples and the Internet

Everyone wants a piece of Bobby Brown. Christian Pondella/Red Bull Photofiles

Bobby Brown's triple cork 1440 is the second triple that he is credited with having pioneered. The first one happened in May of 2010 when Brown was rumored to have landed new triples on a Matchstick Productions film shoot in Alyeska, Alaska.

The rumors were, of course, true. But a lid was kept on Brown's tricks, a couple different triple rodeo variations, until the fall of 2010 when Matchstick started selling DVDs and premiere tickets.

Before that would happen, Sammy Carlson landed his unprecedented switch triple rodeo in Mount Hood last July. Carlson posted video of the full trick to the Internet the next day, and in doing so effectively beat Brown to the punch for landing the first triple independently verifiable by the freeskiing community at large.

Now it's the second time that Brown has been beaten to the punch. In the midst of the magic and mystery that surrounded Bobby's new triple, Russ Henshaw landed the same trick in Åre, Sweden, early this week, during the first training session for the Jon Olsson Invitational. The whole trick, takeoff to landing, is right at the top of his blog. Park City up-and-comer McRae Williams also landed it, and that's also on the Internet.

Now take another look at the video of Bobby's trick that's been sweeping the web. We've got 15 seconds of the Poor Boyz Productions logo, a title screen and several cutaways reminding us of Red Bull's involvement, a quick note that we're watching Bobby Brown, and then the new trick in slow-motion from two different angles. Neither angle depicts a landing.

No landing? In a contest, a trick without a landing makes a throw-away run. On film, a trick without a landing usually makes the cutting room floor. And when flanked by company logos in a video clip, a trick without a landing makes a commercial: The first two words in the title of the original video on the Poor Boyz Vimeo page aren't "Bobby Brown." They're "Red Bull." The video's caption instructs viewers to, "Be sure to check out the rest this fall in the 2011 Poor Boyz release."

So that was a teaser? I guess this year's movie is going to be a short one.

I should say at this point that I have no doubt that Bobby was the first to land a triple cork 1440. Of course he stomped it. I don't need a video of the first half of the trick to know that. You could simply tell me that Bobby landed a triple and I'd believe it. You could tell me that Bobby landed a quad and I'd believe it. You could tell me that Bobby wrote and directed a hit play and I'd believe it. I mean, Bobby is awesome.

The question isn't whether Bobby landed the trick though. The question is, if Bobby's first triple cork 14 is a groundbreaking moment in skiing, shouldn't the advertisements made from it at least demonstrate that he was, in fact, first? Who exactly owns this trick?

Poor Boyz doesn't deserve all the blame, of course. Their business is ski movies, and they can't give up the goods months before premiere season. Living in the Internet now as we do, we only have ourselves to blame. We, the news sites, the content aggregators, the sponsors, the self-promoters on Twitter, we saw an opportunity to direct IP addresses to our respective corners of the Internet and get our own piece of Bobby Brown's latest triumph. And we blogged, posted, shared and tweeted that advertisement into the lytic cycle and then promptly moved on to the next thrill.

Unfortunately for Bobby Brown, the next thrill this time was Russ Henshaw's triple cork 1440 complete with a solid landing. It's the first triple cork 1440 I've ever seen. Meanwhile, Bobby's still floating somewhere between just over the knuckle and another "Brought To You By."