Wingspan
© Rail Report
Snowboarding

Watch Now: Wingspan by Luke Winkelmann and Drew Hastings

Get the scoop on the duo’s first street snowboarding film.
By Mark Clavin
8 min readPublished on
Due to travel restrictions and contest cancellations, Luke Winkelmann found himself with some unexpected downtime this past February, in the heart of his snowboarding season. Used to constantly lapping slopestyle courses around the globe, he is not one for sitting at home. To stay sharp going into a massive Winter Games qualifying year, Luke linked up with his longtime friend and filmer, Drew Hastings, to check off a goal that has been on both of their lists for as long as they can remember: making a movie.
Originally hitting it off when they both started on the U.S. Snowboarding Team years ago, they brought their vision to life with Wingspan, a 20-minute film that was release online earlier this month. A few minutes before they had to run and catch an Uber for their premiere at The Breakers, a small bar in Brooklyn, we sat down for a quick convo.
Check out the below for some insight to the project and a pulled back curtain on the difference between filming and competing.

What's it like to have a movie premiere in New York after everything that has been going on the past year?

Luke Winkelmann: Insane. COVID was super tough on getting people together. It separated everybody, but I'm very honored to have a good crew here, and we're stoked to be able to show it safely. Honestly, we didn't think we would be able to have premieres, so we are hyped to get one out in New York. For my first hands-on project, filming a full part to put in a video. It feels awesome to do this. The process was not easy.

What was the hardest part about the project?

Luke Winkelmann: The time we had, honestly.

Drew Hastings: Yeah. These guys are so busy with contests every year, so when a lot of them shut down, it was like a month window of opportunity to go do something that we've always wanted to do. We look up to so many crews that do it year after year.

So it took you guys 30 days to film the project?

Luke Winkelmann: Nope, only three weeks, 21 days. There were a couple contests canceled. Usually, during that time I would be running around to events all February. But this year was nothing, so that was super chill.

Drew Hastings: I think 20 days with the camera rolling. It's a 20-minute movie. Pretty action based, so I wouldn't say there's a whole lot of fluff.

ESPN has 30 for 30, you guys have 20 for 20. That’s pretty productive.

Luke Winkelmann: Our mindset was on turbo to go and get stuff. I just wanted to get a bunch of clips, as many as possible.

Why title Wingspan? Why not Wink-span? Is this attached to butterflies you are always running? (Luke shows the butterfly tattoo on his wrist)

Luke Winkelmann: That was our first thought was to have it Wink-span. But it just made sense because we're trying to spread our wings into more aspects of snowboarding, trying make a film… and yeah, the butterflies for sure.

What's up with you and butterflies? I've never asked.

Luke Winkelmann: Honestly, it has been ever since I was young, I just loved the feeling of something intense about to happen. The butterflies in your stomach. That feeling is when you're most alive. I definitely live for those moments, because you're so in it, and it's just ... when you overcome those, it's feels crazy.

I always thought that was just the emoji you liked.

Luke Winkelmann: Yeah. They are pretty cool graphically, too. They kind of have two lives, the whole caterpillar into a butterfly. It's like blossoming.

That ties into your most recent board graphic with Burton nicely.

Luke Winkelmann: It also ties into Wingspan because the caterpillar blossoms… we were trying to blossom, too!

Drew Hastings: And it has nothing to do with butterflies, but when we were thinking about it and it came to that, it reminded me of the Michael Jordan photo where his arms are out. There's a little cut of that in the movie, too, where it just pans across. Luke grew up in North Carolina. Didn't your dad ball with MJ?

Luke Winkelmann: Yeah. In college my dad played a pick-up game with MJ. Both my parents went to UNC. When MJ broke his ankle, I think it was the first or second year with the Bulls, he didn't want to stay up there because they wouldn't let him play basketball. So he went home to North Carolina to rehab. He was hurt and practicing at the gym, and my dad always hooped at the gym. I guess they played pickup and even with a hurt foot Michael was just balling on everyone.

What's more nerve-wracking, showing your project or dropping in on your final run at the U.S. Open?

Luke Winkelmann: Dude, it lines up pretty similar. That's the butterflies again. That feeling is pretty indescribable. I'm a little more confident in the moment when I'm doing a contest, just because I'm way more focused. I've prepared for that a lot versus movie premiers. Definitely weird when you're watching your clips in a room full of people. But it's fun. It's sick. I'm stoked. North Carolina definitely made me feel better because I got a lot of love there when we showed it.

What about diet on a contest day compared to diet on a film day? What was the difference?

Luke Winkelmann: Diet on a contest day, I'm probably eating avocado toast in the morning. Maybe a Cliff bar lunch… I'm not eating much at lunch. I like to stay light through the day. Food tires me out. But if I did good, then a nice meal that night. On the street trips, we reward ourselves with a nice Chick-fil-A or whatever is around.

You're going to go against Bojangles?

Luke Winkelmann: Well, we were in Minnesota, dawg. You only get Bojangles in the South.

What about you, Drew? Is there a difference between a filmer's diet, filming a contest versus filming in the streets?

Drew Hastings: Probably starting off with a bold bag of Chex Mix in the streets, and running that out until dinner honestly. I'm trying to stay on Luke's program at the contest, maybe eat some nice hotel breakfast and swipe whatever he is eating.

Luke Winkelmann: Yeah, but he better shoot good, or he ain't eating.

Did you have a pretty solid path for the 20 days, or were you floating around… dare I say, like a butterfly?

Drew Hastings: It would have been nice to be floating around a little more, but the whole movie is just a good trip to Minnesota, and three consecutive days in North Carolina. Not fooling around a whole lot. Ethan showing us some zones that aren't quite as tapped in Minnesota which helped us out a lot.

Luke Winkelmann: We didn’t really even get busted at any spots. People weren't very motivated to come out there, trudge through a foot of snow, and tell us to leave. It was a polar vortex or something.

Drew Hastings: I would do unnecessary physical movements just to get a sweat going. It was like negative eight on an average day. But we worked pretty quick. The whole crew pitched in. I had a few cameras with me. I was handing them off to Luke, Judd, Ethan, and my friend Louie.

Luke Winkelmann: We were all filming like a second angle.

Who was the best rider/filmer?

Drew Hastings: ... out of Judd, Luke, or Ethan, or Lou. Judd was the best filmer. That was funny to see.

Luke Winkelmann: We basically winged it for the span of the trip.

Why were you so driven to do this?

Luke Winkelmann: Just because I've always had so much inspiration from street projects, and some of my favorite styles are from street films. Tommy Gesme, number one. That's my dawg. He's number one inspo. And I don't know, I just love the vision of picking spots, and doing whatever you want, and making your own video. It's really sick. It's a good way to show your craft, and your vision.

Drew Hastings: For sure. Everyone was pretty driven. Judd's whole mission for the trip was to find a roof spot every single morning. He just said, "Take me to a roof spot."

Did he find one?

Drew Hastings: We found his roof spot. I think he was hyped on that. You will see it in the movie.

And now it is time to start your march towards the Winter Games?

Luke Winkelmann: Yeah. Here we go, here we go, here we go.

How are you feeling?

Luke Winkelmann: I'm feeling good. I'm very excited. It should be a good adventure. I'm not putting everything on it, but... It would be a huge dream, but it's not going to be the end of the world if I don't make it. I'm going to put 100% of my effort in, and that's my goal right now. I'm definitely feeling the best I have on my snowboard. I'm stoked going into it, and feeling good. Just focusing on my own riding.

Maybe Drew will join you out there and you can hit some Beijing spots.

Drew Hastings: That would dope if they got snow. We will see what happens this year!

Click here to check out Wingspan the film.