- Written by Ben Jacklet
- Category: Culture/Style
- Published: April 30, 2014
- Last Updated: April 30, 2014
Jason Murray has been surfing since he was two years old and worked for years as the photo editor for Surfer Magazine. So he is more than slightly familiar with the sensation of gliding over water. But he had never skimmed across a freezing cold pond on a snowboard before Saturday, April 26.
Murray, 39, is the Digital Marketing Manager for Nike Football, and he has become quite the regular at Mt. Hood Meadows with his wife and two young sons since moving up to Oregon from Southern California. He is friends with fellow action sports photographer Grant Myrdal, and it was Grant who gave him the lowdown on the annual pond skimming event at Meadows, emphasizing the importance of putting on a dramatic show.
So Murray teamed up with his snowboarding buddy Toby Grubb, an avid costume designer, and they came up with a plan to stage an epic battle at the water's edge between the Masters of the Universe comic book characters He-Man and Skeletor, complete with a large supply of fake blood to spill into the pond with the final death blow.
Grubb had made his Skeletor costume from scratch for Halloween 2012. Murray ordered his He-Man costume over the Internet. He was happy with the outfit but concerned that his Skate Banana snowboard wouldn't skim well because of its magne-traction design with serrated edges. Thinking a more traditional board would work better, he got his partner Grubb to lend him one.
On Saturday morning Murray arrived at the parking lot early and nervous, and the longer he waited the more nervous he got. Grubb was way late, the event was scheduled to start any minute, and Murray still didn't have his snowboard. When Grubb finally arrived at 10:20 (10 minutes before start time), Murray quickly recognized that the binding set-up on the board he was borrowing was totally wrong for him. He got to work with his screwdriver, adjusted the binding to his preference, and rushed over to the Daisy chair to squeeze in a quick practice lap with his new board. But the chairlift stopped when a woman a few chairs ahead fell and couldn't get back up, and Murray was stranded and completely stressed out as the competition began. He barely made it to the start in time for his first run. "It was a totally nerve-wracking situation," he recalled.
In spite of all the stress, his first run went off perfectly. Murray easily spanned the pond and even got in a little spray action. He was into the finals, and now it was time to make plans with Skeletor and break out the fake blood.
For his second run, Murray ripped down the inrun in full He-Man regalia and with total confidence, with Skeletor close behind. He sprayed the crowd big-time and then turned to confront his nemesis for an epic sword battle. During the battle a friend lifted Murray's six-year-old son Kai into the arena, dressed as the magician Orko, adding to the spectacle. The fight ended with an emphatic sword to the heart of the villain, and the fake blood exploded on cue.
This series of photos from Robert Stawicki of Grant Myrdal Photography shows the action unfold. First the He-Man crowd-spray:
Then the face-off with Skeletor:
Then the battle:
And the final plunge:
After all the stress of the morning, Murray was absolutely stoked to win over the crowd and take home the $500 first prize. Here he is with his son Kai, aka Orko:
Asked if he plans to return for Pond Skim 2015, Jason said, "Absolutely. I've got to defend my title. We’re already working on our plans for next year, so look out.”
As for Murray's alter-ego, He-Man celebrated his victory by slicing up some super-sweet Mount Hood powder on April 27. This last photo is by Grant Myrdal: