Manual Magazine

Interview: Mahi Mains

Posted by manualmagazine on Thursday September 8 2016

Mahi has always been pretty stoked on life, a happy go lucky chap. Always one to get the party started and known to sink a few brews on or off the slopes, he’ s strong spirited and not scared to speak his mind. He’s proud of who he is and what and where he comes from. New Zealand’s most underrated snowboarder, I give you Mahi Mains Mane.

Interview: Mahi Mains

What up bro, how was the flight back from Alaska?
How good is plane food, aye! Meet anyone special in the toilets? Plane food’ s pretty average, but they’ re getting a lot better, compared to my first trip I went on. I normally order seconds and stock up on it. Couple of beers and sleep for the most part.

Meet anyone special?
Nah, I’ m too shy to meet any randoms! Just keep to myself.

WHAT? Shy?
I wouldn’t say that. Yeah, I’ m pretty shy, depends on the people and situation I guess.

You go by the name Mahi Mains Mane. What other alter egos should we know about?
Alter egos, shit, I’m not sure. I guess most people just call me Mahi Mains Mane. It’ s kind of like my split drunk personality. You know, you’ve got one; most people do. It comes out around the time most people are off to bed. Maybe on the second night it appears. He’ s rad though. Some people don’ t like him, but he’ s a kind-hearted dude and really down to earth.

On a serious note, what does Mahi mean?
Yeah, it means ‘work’ in Māori.

Work, that’s rad. You think it’s put a solid work ethic in you?
Yeah, I think so. Just knowing it means work kind of gives you that drive. I think I got my work ethic from my parents though, they go hard.

You share a very similar name with Olympic rower Mahé Drysdale. Have you ever been upgraded to first class, then once they realise it’s you, bumped back to cattle class?
I haven’ t been confused yet. Other than you MCing at comps, ya dick. Really pisses my older brother Jethro off when you’ re blabbing on about Drysdale and me.

Yeah, he hates that. Alaska is up in the North Pole, right? Isn’t it dark all winter? What the hell do the locals do for fun when it’s dark 24/7? Dance parties and raves?
Shit, I don’ t know. I turned up in March;, it was pretty light by the time I got there. Standard days, really. I just hung out with my mate Kolben. We were too busy on the mission building jumps and hitting stuff to get deep with the local scene. Lots of slednecks and rednecks but the people I did meet seemed like easy-going GCs.

Interview: Mahi Mains

Backside 540 Stalefish, Valdez.

GCs. They hate the C bomb over there?
Yeah, got some funny looks with my crass Kiwi lingo.

How did a gold tooth street jibber end up in the big mountain freeride capital of the world?
I’ve always wanted to snowboard everything: rails, big mountain, freestyle. It’s all basically the same thing to me. My mate Kolben, who I met in Queenstown a couple of years ago, is an Alaskan local and has been hitting me up to get over there. He’s currently studying photography and is really keen to progress in that, and I’m really keen to progress on the snowboard so things work out well. We worked pretty hard and got some great shots, I think.

Most people you hear about heading to Alaska are big-budget film crews that spend the most part flying around in choppers doing first descents and gnarly lines. You did it the old fashion way, right?
Yeah, we didn’t own sleds or have any chopper time. We just hiked. I spent more time hiking in powder up to my nuts than riding in the stuff. It was the most effort I’ve ever put into riding my snowboard, but the most rewarding once you got on your board.

Did you shoot any shit there? Yanks love guns, aye?
Oh yeah, this semi-auto machine gun thing, out around a bonfire on my last night. Standing around drinking Fireball and shooting shit. Epic times with the rednecks.

Sounds great. Did you ride any resorts over there?
I hear Alyeska is pretty mental? No resorts, we just hiked our balls off. I was really keen to build features that no one had seen before. These legs are strong now. But hell, we were beat by the end of the day. Pretty keen to buy a sled next year.

Queenstown is a pretty transient place to grow up. We meet and work with random people from all over the world. You’ve become close to people from as far afield as Korea, and went there riding a couple of years back. Give me the lowdown.
Yeah, we just rode resorts and hit some urban stuff. I stayed with my mate Wan Hero, this Korean dude we met up at Remarks. He was pretty hooked up over there and he looked after us pretty well. Mean feeds.

How good is Korean BBQ? What’ s some random food you tried there?
Yeah, I loved Korean BBQ. Don’ t think I tried too many random foods but I did drink this mushroom juice. Wan reckoned it made your “penis strong”. But I’m undecided. Nah wait, actually it worked really well! [Laughs]

Interview: Mahi Mains

Backside shifty 720, Hatcher-Pass.

You’ve travelled a bunch at such a young age; where else have you been?
Bunch of trips to the States and Japan last year. Loved the powder there.

You went to Utah when you were 16. That’ s pretty young to leave the nest.
Yeah, I went with my close homie Jamin. We stayed with this random dude we met off Craigslist. Pretty sure he was gay and had two hot twin daughters. We got some bad vibes from him and gapped the scene though. Heath Patterson hooked us up with his mate and rode with the Deros. Pretty young to leave home but travelling is an amazing education and opened our eyes to the world.

You’re never afraid to pack the car and hit the road on a mission, hitting up random features like icebergs in Milford Sound or water pipes and truck bonnets. Do these features show themselves to you once you see them or have you got that feature in your head before you set out on the mission?
I’ m just hitting the road with an open mind, and when I see something I like or think is going to be fun, then it’ s on!

Any plans for more gold teeth? Has the tooth ever got you laid?
I don’t think it’s got me laid; some girls say they don’t like it, but they always come around! Don’t think I’ll get any more gold teeth but I’m keen for a Pounamu tooth for my next one.

Rad. You carve a bit, right?
Yeah, been getting into it over the last few years. I love hiking around through the rivers looking for it. Found a bunch of it and have carved bits and pieces here and there. I’ m keen to spend more time carving and creating some unique pieces.

So you got banned from all the ski resorts in the South Island. Or was it just NZSkiresorts? What the hell happened there?
I think it’s all the resorts in the South Island. I should look into that. Basically the short story is I hit this street rail up at Coronet Peak down at Heidi’s Hut (one of the café/restaurants) at night. We had this generator for our lights, which wasn’t working that well, so some of the Canadians who were with us at the time broke into the café to plug the genny in. They got a little carried away once they saw all the beer and candy, and got sticky fingers. Shit hit the fan once they found out what was missing and I got the rap for it. Pretty lame really. They made this big deal about it and I got a trespass notice for two years and a bad rep. We didn’t even get the shot as we deleted the photos once the cops were hot on our heels.

Interview: Mahi Mains

Backside 180 tailgrab, Arctic Valley.

How’d they catch you?
That’s a funny story. One of the Canadians finished the night by riding through one of the ticket checkers, which scanned his pass in his jacket pocket. The following day they check the scanner records and old mate Canadian comes up on the scanner late at night. This all leads back to me and losing my pass just for doing what I love: riding my snowboard.

Now that you can grow facial hair, any plans to join our split board gang? Or are we still too old to hang with the youth?
Nah, I’ll just break those split boards, I’ m just hiking on snowshoes. Keeping it real.

Was growing the beard to fit in with all the locals in Alaska?
Nah, just coming of age!

Menace to Society is the fresh blood on the snowboard scene down here in the dirty south, with some progressive edits coming out on social media. Tell me more.
To me, Menace to Society is a way to put out our work, our own platform for our riding. Not being a menace to society as such, or following society doing as society wants us to do. We do it our own way.

Deep! What’ s the deal with all the dogs? Do they shit everywhere?
Nah, they’re pretty good. I guess we just like dogs, they’re part of our wolf pack.

Who is your favourite artist?
That’ s a hard one; I’ m constantly changing my music. At the mo I’m really into New Zealand hip hop. Bumping tunes like @Peace, Badcrop, Third3ye and Connor Adams C.A. I like hearing fresh New Zealand talent coming up, it keeps me motivated.

Your mum’s pretty rad, aye? You would say the Mains crew are pretty tight. How much do you believe in the old saying, blood’s thicker than water?
Yeah, we Mains crew are tight as. I cherish my family a lot. Mum’s a solider bringing up three boys on her own. I’m very grateful for who I am and my family.

Who’s been your biggest influence in your life so far?
Mumma Mains, for sure.

Interview: Mahi Mains

Switch backside 720 indy, Turnagain Pass.

What’s the longest time you wore your undies before you changed them?
Shit, if you hang them out in a cool breeze you can go a week, maybe longer.

That’s quite some time. You want the people of New Zealand to know you go for a week without changing your undies?
Yeah, let ‘em know.

What’s the best part of the next thing you’re doing?
Wow, Alaska is pretty stuck on my mind at the moment. Really wanna save the coin and get back over there to set myself up with a sled and work twice as hard. So that’s a good goal for me. Got to stay focused.

How do you put bread on the table?
I’m lucky enough to work at The Snowboard Workshop as a snowboard technician and concrete placing for Southern Alpine Concrete Services. Both those boys have hooked me up and taught me a lot. I appreciate all that they’ve done for me and enjoy working for them.

If you could have averted the Holocaust, would you have given Hitler a blowjob?
I would have gone in for a blowie then stuck him like a pig! Either way, he dies and the Holocaust never happens.

Any last words?
Gotta say what up and cheers to Scottie from Electric Visuals. They’ve been hooking me up since I was 16. Keeping me looking fresh and saving me from snow-blindness. Also just got a hookup at SITE Trampoline in Queenstown so got to give them some love. Looking forward to practising some aerial manoeuvres. My main Mains Mumma Mains, most beautiful dedicated mother on earth. Nothing makes me happier than seeing her happy.


Text by Josh Clark
Photography by Kolben Saetre
Published in issue #58

Image Gallery (5 Photos)

  1. Backside 180 tailgrab, Arctic Valley.
  2. Backside shifty 720, Hatcher-Pass.
  3. Backside 540 Stalefish, Valdez.
  4. Switch backside 720 indy, Turnagain Pass.