Sports News | Grant Brittain Talks Capturing Lance Mountain’s Iconic ‘Flaming Lien-to-Tail’ at Terror in Tahoe (1985) |


Grant Brittain’s photo archive is unarguably one of the most vast and impressive in all of skateboarding. Decades of sessions and inspiration from the best of the best. It’s home to some of the most iconic photos of all time, many that probably haven’t seen the light of day for decades (mainly because, well, there’s just that many). 

Thankfully, Grant is very generous with sharing these photos on Instagram for us all to enjoy, often with a little backstory as well. But sometimes, we just want more of the backstory and this legendary photo of Lance Mountain below is a great example of that. It’s actually always been one of my favorite JGB photos, so I decided to reach out to Grant to learn a little more about this epic moment frozen in time that ended up in the December 1985 issue of TransWorld SKATEboarding magazine. 

I knew the photo was shot in Tahoe and as the caption mentions, Lance warned Grant before he lit his board on fire and dropped in, whispering to him, “Grant, get a shot of this, I’m going to set my board on fire.“ 

“It was in June of 1985 at The Mile High Ramp in Tahoe City in North Lake Tahoe and belonged to Mike Chantry,” Grant recalls. “We were there for the NSA ‘Tahoe Massacre 2’ which is called ‘Terror In Tahoe.'” 

Fun fact, but Lance Mountain actually won the contest this day as well, which must have added a little extra fuel to his fire. “Lance not only set his board but also threw it into the crowd or forest,” Grant mentions. 

Moments like this are typically one-and-done. I mean, how many times can you set your board on fire and keep skating it? So naturally, I was curious if Lance did in fact do this multiple times, or if that one warning was all Grant would get. 

“It was a one-time deal,” says Grant. “I shot two frames when he came up and I managed to get a cool frame of the lien to tail. I also thought that it would be good not to start the surrounding forest on fire.”

Many skaters and photographers—hell, anyone who was a part of skateboarding in the 80s—will always mention how they didn’t think of moments like this being timeless or iconic in those days. Grant tells me, “I didn’t think in historical terms back then because I thought skateboarding could die at any time as it had before.” 

Adding to that, he reminds us, “You have to remember that there were two magazines and no internet or social media and the only people who saw Lance’s stunt were either there at Terror at Tahoe or saw the full page in TransWorld SKATEboarding mag’s December 1985 issue. The non-skate world didn’t give two shits.” 

That said, Grant does admit that he now looks back at those times and clearly sees what a classic moment it was, going so far as reflecting on the first time he picked up a camera (in 1979), which inevitably led him to capturing this truly golden era of skateboarding. 

Thinking back on the photo, he tells me, “Actually, when I clicked the shutter of his board ablaze, I was just hoping that the film would come out and the photo could be in the mag.”

The fact that Grant is still out there shooting all the greats to this day is inspiring in itself. He’s seen a lot of important moments in skateboarding history unfold behind the lens of his camera—shoot, he’s created much of that history. So, I couldn’t help but wonder if he’d get up on the deck these days—fisheye locked and loaded—and shoot a burning board stunt like Lance pulled off on this legendary day in 1985. 

“Fire is good,” Grant tells me. “Add fire to any stunt and it’s even more exciting…and I’ll shoot it from a distance.” Fair enough! 

If you’re looking to add this epic shot to your collection, Grant has this photo (along with so many others) up on his website! You can see them all right here

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 Such a timeless moment in skateboarding history. News, Lance Mountain, J. Grant Brittain Your Ultimate Destination for Beauty Products, Viral News, and Trendy Videos

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