Fall 2017

‘Doctor B’ and the Yawgoons

Yes, it’s Rhode Island, but the snowboarding is incredible. Just watch Brendan Gouin and his friends.

By Sean Corcoran

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Photo: Ian MacLellan

It had been less than 24 hours since Brendan Gouin, D09, released his newest snowboarding video, “Yawgoons 19,” and it already had 35,000 views. Within days, more than 100,000 people will watch it. For a niche community like snowboarding, that’s a tremendous number. “I downplay it a bit, but that’s a lot,” Gouin says. “And it’s all global. A lot of views from overseas, in all directions.”

These are not run-of-the-mill, point-the-board-down-the-mountain-and-go snowboarding videos. The Yawgoons are a group of five artful daredevils, sliding down railings and stairs, jumping over whatever happens to be around. It’s free-form, freestyle creativity that incorporates everything at their disposal. “There are times where we’re sliding across ponds and waterfalls,” Gouin said. “There was a big thing of ice here, and we were sliding across that. There was a puddle here; we were sliding across that. Gouin has little interest in appearing in front of the camera, so he is the steady-handed director, cameraman and producer for the videos—and a dentist in his day job.

Becoming a dentist—even going to Tufts Dental School—was a natural for Gouin. His mom and dad, Bruce Gouin, D78, and Christine Benoit, D77, are both graduates. They operate Arrowhead Dental Associates in South County, Rhode Island, where Brendan works. But this other stuff—the snowboarding, the video productions, the “Yawgoons”—that’s what Gouin never saw coming. Because a hill in Rhode Island seems an unlikely place for a recently graduated dentist to form a world-famous snowboard crew.

Photo: Ian MacLellan

But after graduating, Gouin started coming back to the Yawgoo Valley Ski Area in Exeter, Rhode Island, to snowboard with childhood friends. They all grew up just a few minutes away. “We started making little videos,” he said. “I started using a little Sony point-and-shoot camera and editing in iMovie. And it’s basically just evolved from there.” With a nod to Yawgoo Valley, they called the videos “Yawgoons.” And about seven years and 19 videos later, they are a phenomenon, each one taking weeks of production.

“I wouldn’t call it an obsession, I call it a passion. And a hobby. Just a creative outlet, in a way,” he said, explaining that he often works 12-hour days in the dental clinic. When he has free time, he gets the Yawgoons together and heads to Yawgoo Valley. To snowboarders there and elsewhere, Gouin is known as “Doctor B.”

“I meet a lot of people through snowboarding who have no idea I’m a dentist,” he said. “A lot of people think I’m called Doctor B because I’m the doctor of filming or something. If they find out, it’s like, ‘Whoa, he’s actually a dentist.’ ”

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