Dad, Businessman, Shred Wizard - The Eiki Helgason Interview

We caught up with dad, businessman and ‘mind-boggling’ snowboarder Eiki Helgason. You could probably guess, he’s a busy man and hard to pin down for a good chat. But, while his 18-month-old, hyperactive daughter was in the other room, testing the limits of her voice box back home in Iceland, we skyped Eiki while he was taking some time out on the couch. To ask him a few questions on how he manages to balance his tripod of responsibilities and passions; his snowboarding profession, running multiple businesses and fatherhood. 

Interview by Will Radula-Scott

Photos by Viktor Hjartarson

The balancing act...between fatherhood, multiple businesses and filming video parts.

Yo Eiki, thanks for taking the time out to have a chat. Where are you right now?

Yo how’s it going? I’m in Iceland right now, at home, currently building my house. 

Building you’re own house, that’s awesome. How long have you been doing that for?

I’ve been building now for 5 years. Started off with the concrete work and built the basement and then it kinda stayed the same for a few years. Then when I had time I would go upstairs and build a wall here and there… 

So are you based there?

Halldor and I have been based in Monaco for the past 7 years, but the farm we grew up at is the other side of town to my house. The plan is to move back from Monaco eventually, now that I have a family here.

© Viktor Hjartarson Eiki's backyard setup with the Lobster team and then Iceland's backcountry setup.

Is it true one of the first things you built in your house was a mini ramp?

When I lived in the basement, the first floor was like a warehouse with no walls inside so, yeah built a mini ramp in there. But then that floor was to become the living room and kitchen so I had to take it outside. Now it’s in pieces at the farm, but I’m gonna put it back up in the yard this summer.

Was that always the plan, to build a house and live back in Iceland?

Well not really, actually it just seemed like a good investment to build your own house… Especially if you can build most of it yourself. That’s probably why it’s taken so long, as I’ve tried to do most of the building myself and if I don’t know how to do something I’ll just ask around. Most of my friends are carpenters and electricians so I can always ask them or they can come over and help.

You’re now a father, to little Alexandra, how old is she now? How has becoming a father changed things?

She is now 1 and a half, based in Iceland with my girlfriend, but she likes to come to Monaco too sometimes, she likes the beach. Things have changed for sure, you have to plan a bit more now, but it’s nice though, I love it! Takes a lot of energy, ha.

© Viktor Hjartarson Eiki is a humble guy, not one for selfies...

How does being a pro snowboarder and businessman compare to bringing up a kid?

Well, snowboarding and having a business is easy…haha. Na, it’s definitely a challenge, but it’s nice, the reward is great. Right now, she’s running all over the place. She’s a really active kid, so once I get her snowboarding she’s gonna be really good I reckon.

So, have you got her snowboarding yet?

Ha, well we got her a snowboard, but we thought she was just too small, so we’re gonna wait to next season I guess.

You mentioned [before the interview] you’d just headed up into the mountains to finish shooting for your Beyond Medals part?

Yeah, we tried to, just went up there and it was pouring with rain, so we’re gonna go back up tomorrow. There is still snow up in the mountains, but we just need to go higher and higher each day. It’s not glacial but there is usually snow there all summer. You just need to hike to find it. I filmed the Braindomness parts this winter so I am bringing a kind of Braindomness theme to my Beyond Medals part.

So how did the Braindomness idea come about?

Well I’ve been filming video parts for the past 14-15 years now and so I’ve kinda been looking for something new to do and so this Braindomness idea came up last year. Also, having a kid that season I was wondering what I could do whilst staying at home and still make something happen. So, the idea of doing just short 1 minute vids of an NBD to fit on Instagram seemed like a fun project. It’s really hard to get people to click on links nowadays, the main videos don’t get many views but the videos on Instagram get shit loads. So, I kinda wanted to just focus on Instagram and see what I could fit into 1 minute edits.

Also, a lot of my riding doesn’t work for video parts. The way I ride is, land a trick, tick it off and never do it again, haha. So, this is just a nice way to use these one-off tricks I guess. 

Braindomness episodes; Watch Eiki landing one of his many NBD's below and watch all episodes HERE.

 

Do you still have a list of NBDs tricks to tick off?

Yeah, I’ve got a list of over 70 ideas now. Most of them probably don’t make any sense. For sure, I’ve been up to the hill with an idea that I think is going to work so easily but it’s not even close. I’d be stoked though if I would see my tricks in someone else part in the future. Like I opened up a way for something new.

Well we know how hard it is just to do a kickflip on a snowboard!...

Oh man, these tricks take time! I think it was the 360 flip hippy jump took me 6 days and over 600 tries! Got so close so many time and just kept on trying over and over until we ran out of light or battery. We filming the last half of the [Braindomness] episodes the week before they were going to be released, so that definitely added some pressure to land the tricks, haha.

Wow, your camera man must have some serious patience. As do you!

Yeah, sometimes I really feel bad for them, especially if it’s really cold.

Least these ideas don’t need a ton of cash for an epic build? Mainly just a bench and some loose bindings, right?

Well yeah up here in Iceland we don’t have a lot of parks or rails and a lot of the guys will complain there is nothing to ride but I like to show that you don’t need anything to make stuff happen, just a little bump of snow and get creative. I like to make it relatable with a trick that’s maybe un-relatable, so people at least see it and could maybe try it if they want.

© Viktor Hjartarson. It's not just technical NBDs that Eiki is rad at... roof gaps and mega tweekage is always in his locker.

Do you think these new creative moves are the future for snowboarding?

Oh I dunno, I’m just addicted to trying something new. People ask, why don’t I compete, but I don’t have any safe tricks. I do a trick and then move on to the next one. I really don’t believe I belong in the slopestyle comps, ha. But, I got into Xgames Real Snow one year and that was really a contest more for me, I’d love to do that again. 

So, your Beyond Medals part is going to have a ‘Braindomness’ theme to it, but you shot some other riding too for it?

For sure, actually the first trip of last winter was a pow trip, which never happens. Usually we film streets until sometimes February, so that was a nice change.

Hyped to hear you’ve joined the Deeluxe Boots team. How did that come about, any pro models in the works?

I met the Deeluxe guys in Stubai last year and we’d been talking a little bit before. I’ve never had a boot deal before so I was stoked when they said they were keen to sign me up. I’ve just been designing my pro model boot which will be for winter 19/20. It’s nearly finished, well I’ve seen it on paper, ha. 

And also, Melon Optics is another new sponsor?

Yeah, they contacted me as they were looking for some new riders. Ash at Melon use to work at Monster so I knew him from back in the day and asked if I was looking for a goggle sponsor and well I was, so it worked out pretty well. I’m also designing a signature strap with them so looking forward to seeing that too.

© Viktor Hjartarson In his homeland of Iceland finding some rhythm.

While we’re talking signature lines, you have a continuing line with Horsefeathers Clothing, right?

Yeah, this will be my 4th year with Horsefeathers and I have a signature line with a jacket, hoody, pant, some underwear, oh and a tee. These guys are awesome, they’re like full on snowboarders, like the whole company.

What can you tell us about your next Lobster Board?

I’m super hyped on it, you can see it in some of the Braindomness episodes, it’s the one with the green base. Usually you can’t see the top sheet because of all my stomp pads, ha. I love the ‘Wallie Tips’ same as last year, it really changes the feel of the ride just because of the shape. Helps you over objects and through kinks but also makes so much sense in powder, as it just shoots you up out the snow once you go under. Ah, and the board matches my Switchback bindings too, so it makes a good package.

I actually have a theme going through all my signature lines I’m designing, a detail that connects them all. 

Thanks Eiki for taking the time to have a chat with us, it sounds like you’ve got your hands full of projects, from raising your girl, growing businesses and keeping the shred alive!