Editor's Letter | The Future Issue - January 2016
January's long reads all focus on the future
When “future day" finally arrived last autumn it sent a wave of excitement rippling round the world. October 21st 2015, the date that Marty McFly and Doc Emmett Brown chose to type into their time-travelling DeLorean in the second of the cult Back to the Future films, captured the public imagination in a way that far outweighed the success of the original trilogy.
Newspapers wrote reams on it, Nike released a real-life version of their power-laced boots and for 24 hours Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds around the world were dominated by #FutureDay.
"We spent an interesting few hours talking through doomsday scenarios with a man who helps people prepare for the Apocalypse."
If I was surprised by just how into it people were, perhaps I shouldn’t have been. Talking and thinking about the future is inherently fascinating, as the mix of stories that make up Mpora’s forward-looking first issue of the year demonstrates.
We kicked things off with a bang, almost literally, by interviewing action sports’ most explosive showman, Travis Pastrana. As the ringmaster of the Nitro Circus Travis has been responsible for raising the bar of what’s possible on bikes, boards and err… children’s tricycles and he continues to have big, big plans for the future.
We also looked at how technology might shape the future of action sports, trying out a virtual reality skiing simulator that sent Associate Editor Jack Clayton hurtling down a slope at 100km/h... from the safety of an office in East London.
The advantages of technology like this, which makes adventurous experiences more accessible, is obvious. But how far do we want to take it? Might technology eventually make such experiences so easy that they cease to be adventures at all?
It was this thought that preoccupied Dan Milner as he went off-grid in pursuit of a new form of adventure, sea-kayaking across stormy lochs in Scotland with his mountain bike in tow.
He wasn’t the only one pondering the potential negative impacts of future technologies either. As blown away as he was by Kelly Slater’s seemingly perfect artificial wave, our surf guru Ben Mondy couldn’t help but wonder if this brave new world would split surfing – separating those rich enough to ride the wave from ordinary surfers who might not have the means.
Yet this issue isn’t all doom and gloom, despite the fact that we spent an interesting few hours in an Apocalypse shop, talking through various doomsday scenarios with a man who helps people prepare for the worst.
We met a cyclist from Amsterdam who’s come up with an innovative and sustainable solution to a seemingly intractable problem, one that many cities may face in the future.
And when Deputy Editor Nina Zietman began investigating why professional snowboarders are getting younger, she found herself interviewing some seriously well-balanced kids. Far from worrying about the future or feeling the pressure to perform, they are simply stoked on the sport and want to have as much fun as possible.
It’s an inspiring attitude, and one that perhaps more of us could do with adopting. If #FutureDay 2015 taught us anything, it’s that the future isn't worth stressing about. Because as often as not, any predictions we make will be wrong. The 80s nostalgia envisaged in Back to the Future II really had materialized by 2015 but the hoverboards, sadly, had not*. But did that matter? Talking about the future should be fun, not worrying.
For all that it's entertaining however, it always struck me there was a semi-serious point at the heart of Back to the Future too, which was this: If we care about the future enough and we work to make it better, things will probably turn out alright in the end.
Here’s to the future, and making 2016 our best year yet.
– Tristan, Editor-in-Chief
Read our Future Issue in its entirety here and keep your eyes peeled for the long reads in our DIY Issue, dropping next month.