Finnish ripper Antti Autti recently announced that he had signed a deal with Nidecker to release a line of boards called Antti for NDK. We caught up with Autti from Hintertux, Austria where he had just gotten off the hill testing the new boards in a meter-and-a-half of fresh.
Super jealous to hear about the snow over there. Not sure if I want to know how it is?
It’s been dumping here for a while. I think they got over a meter and a half on the top. It was like summer a week ago, so there’s not really a base, but it’s still real fun.
Sounds like you’re getting to put the new board line to the test then?
Definitely, we’ve been testing the different boards and need to make the decision which ones to go with. I think I figured that one out yesterday.
What did you land on?
We’re gonna make a rocker board for sure. One rocker for powder and then one freestyle. It’s pretty soft but it works really well in the pipe as well. It has really good pop. I’m used to riding stiffer boards but am changing to a softer one – they’re really fun to ride.
So it will be a pretty small line for the first year?
Yeah, we want to focus on the boards we’re making and not rush into too big of a line. One rocker and one freestyle board should be right. I want to make them in the price range that people can actually buy them and it’s not just for the guys who can afford a Mercedes.
What range are you talking?
Probably around 350 to 370 U.S. dollars –definitely not over 400.
Whose involved in the project?
We’re doing it with the Nidecker guys and then Jim [Zbinden], who has been doing stuff for Romain and YES. He did a lot for Burton’s Un-Inc. – he’s designing the graphics with me – it’s looking pretty sweet.
Why did you decide to launch this now and part ways with Flow?
A lot of things have to do with the economy, but in my case, it wasn’t about the money. I thought if I wanted to make a change in my career, it might be too late if I waited. I’m at a point that I want to do something more for the sport and not just do contests. That was one of the key points of why I wanted to leave Flow – no hard feelings, sometimes things just go in different ways.
You talked in the release for the new line about the “way the industry is moving.” Can you talk a little more about where you see the industry heading right now?
There are only a few movie companies that are doing well these days. I wanted to do my own Web site, anttisworld.com, where people can see everything right now and don’t have to wait a year to see a movie. That was my point with that. I guess it’s good to film a video part for a major movie, but I think it would be better if all the movies were online because you can get them from there anyways.
Will the Web site be your primary means of marketing?
Definitely. We’re going to try and do a lot of editorial as well, but the Internet is going to be the major thing.
That comes out at the end of the month right?
That’s right, and then everything will start rolling. My main goal for the season is to get it running good and some good content and keep my sponsors happy, and be stoked myself.
What are your distribution goals? Will you be in shops?
We’re going to go through the NDK guys with that. They have good connections and they want to help me out as well. We have a pretty good thing going on.
Did you collaborate at all with the YES. crew on this?
Yeah, I saw Romain during the summer in Geneva and Rolle at the Nidecker office and he was telling me about it before I even decided to go with them. He made some good points about how he saw things that helped me make the decision at the end.
Are you looking at bringing on a team, or will it be a solo project?
I’m just looking at getting the boards out there right now, but for NDK we want to bring it together as a team. I think it’s a good thing for the kids as well to see that the team has a good thing going on, not just one rider. Like what Rome and those guys are doing is looking pretty sick.
Henry [Nidecker] was saying that these new projects are really about bringing riders back to the center as the focus for something the kids can identify with.
Yeah, it’s definitely one of the reasons why I want to do this. It gives me the freedom that I kind of missed for a couple years. When you ride pro you have to do all the stuff for the companies, but sometimes it gets to the point where you start feeling it’s a job. I didn’t want to lose the fun of snowboarding – that’s why I want to do it. Now it’s on again. I’m having as much fun as when I was a little kid.