A Review of Shaun White’s New Docuseries (Kind Of)

Thoughts on the four-part HBO Max series: The Last Run

Words: Xander

The Shaun White Album was one of the first snowboard DVDs I ever watched – I even paused the credits, downloaded the songs off Limewire, burned them to a CD and played it in my diskman. As ‘cool’ as it was to hate Shaun White because he was the best, I always had a soft spot for him, purely based on his monumental talent. There was no denying that whenever he dropped in, you watched, regardless of your personal opinion of him.

The Last Run seems to be unavailable for streaming in Australia and New Zealand right now, but just like I illegally downloaded the White Album soundtrack off the internet in 2004, I found a sketchy streaming site and watched the four-part series this week.

Shaun and I are the same age, and when I reflected on just how long he has been at the top, it’s mindblowing to think about how much of his life he dedicated to this sport – but what was most evident to me in the documentary, other than how incredibly wide his stance is, was just how addicted he was to winning. He was the Kelly Slater or the Michael Jordan of snowboarding with a complete disregard for anything other than being the best – obsessively so. He was so dedicated to winning from a young age that it impacted his relationship with the community of top snowboarders at the time, creating somewhat of a tall poppy syndrome in some circles – affecting the way he was perceived. Shaun reflects on this specifically in the series.

Like many of top athletes in the world, Shaun had a combination of the freakish natural talent, the mental tenacity and the money (!) to out-perform his competition. The rivalry between him, Ayumu Hirano and Scotty James is incredible to reflect on, and the work he put in and adversity he overcame to with his third gold medal in Pyeyong-Chang is heroic. Yes, there are so many cringe Americana moments in the series where you can’t help but eyeroll, but Shaun’s story is captivating.

Winning in his final Olympics in Beijing would have been an incredible swan song, but regardless of the result, after an almost 30 year career, you can’t help but applaud one of the best to ride a snowboard.

I really enjoyed the series, as a fan of snowboarding and of sport in general. Use a VPN, find a sketchy streaming site or ask someone way smarter than me how you can get at it – it’s well worth a watch.

Louis Macindoe on Shaun White:

I was thinking about Shaun this morning funnily enough, more about a photo of him and Aaron Bittner freeriding Mt Bachelor a little while ago – I wonder how often he does that?

He was sitting on his bum on the snow and throwing a gesture of stoke, he could have been any one of us. He looked like a stoked tradie about to blow the top of a Blue Cow windlip. 

I am empathetic to Shaun, MDP’s AMP video was the first snowboard VHS I owned – Shaun had a little part in that, as a 12 year old kid. Shaun is a bit like Santana, he’s one of the best to do it – but at the same time, you kind of wish he’d tapped out before his time had been run and won. When that was, I’m not exactly sure. Somewhere between that sloppy white pin stripped team USA Olympic kit and the first iteration of the signature leather jacket. 

The bottom line is, snowboarders deny ourselves the right to embrace Shaun White at times although it was very much evident following his closing run at Beijing that snowboarding did heart Shaun. I felt emotional, and the monochromatic images of Shaun’s last stand at the bottom of the pipe dominated the feed. It was a real moment, and a cornerstone in the snowboarding history books – at that moment, snowbording wore its heart on its sleeve and showed that it still loved Shaun.

Everything else is star dust. Will I watch this new documentary? Probably not. Am I interested in Shaun’s snowboarding career afterlife? Kind of. But what I’ll keep revisiting in my head is that photo of him in a state of innocent froth.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest Posts

Watch Now

Subscribe to our newsletter

Get the low down on the latest news & reviews