Boarding by land, snow and sea
April 10, 2008
What better place to recruit world-class boarders than the Truckee-Tahoe area?Thats just what organizers of the inaugural Ultimate Boarder contest did when rounding up 50 of the most talented riders between the big-three of boarding snowboarding, skateboarding and surfing.Included in that field of 50 are local riders Andy Finch, True Love, Ryan Wichert, Dave Brumm, David Burright and Rick Gravesen.Kicking off with the snowboard competition at Squaw Valley on Sunday, the Ultimate Boarder then hits the beaches of Ventura for the surfing portion of the contest on April 16-18 before wrapping up at the Ventura County Fairgrounds on April 19. The first round at Squaw Valley will feature a slopestyle contest.After each event, competitors will be ranked first through 50th. The athlete who consistently places the highest in all three sports and has the lowest number of ranking points overall will be crowned the Ultimate Boarder.The first-place athlete will be awarded $30,000. Second place earns $10,000 and third place gets $5,000. The remaining prize money will be awarded through 10th place.Sierra Sun and Tahoe World Web editor Paul Raymore recently caught up with each of the six local athletes for a Qandamp;A about the event.
Age: 31 Hometown: Fredonia, Wisc. Current residence: Alpine Meadows Home mountain: Squaw Valley USA and Alpine Meadows (works at Alpine in the terrain park) Favorite skate park: Truckee (locally), Gardnerville and Sacramento Anything new Favorite surf break: Maui, Hawaii and Oahu Strongest discipline: SnowboardingQ – In what sport have you hurt yourself the worst? A – Snowboarding, for sure. Ive definitely wrecked both knees, my collarbone, fallen on a rail, broke my nose Ive definitely hurt myself snowboarding. Ive never really hurt myself doing the other two. But its because I snowboard more than anything else.Q – Ever competed in anything like this? A – Ive competed snowboarding, but Ive never competed in the other two disciplines.Q – What do you think your chances are for winning the whole thing? A – I think its going to be tough. Im not doing it to claim the Ultimate Boarder [title]. Im doing it for fun and for the experience.Q – If its not you, any other bets on who might be the best all-around riders? A – I have big respect for Terje Haakonsen and Andy Finch. I think those guys are going to kill it. And even like the local kid Ryan Wichert, hes really good at all three, too. I dont know. Thats another reason I want to see what goes down, because anything can happen. There are pro skaters and surfers too, so if those guys can snowboard, theyll be in there too. But right now Id say that Terje Haakonsen could do it because I know he surfs well, and hes a legend of snowboarding, and Im sure he can skate too.
Age: 27 Hometown: Fresno, Calif. Current residence: Truckee, Calif. Home mountain: Northstar-at-Tahoe Favorite skate park: Truckee skate park Favorite surf break: I cant tell you. Actually, its called left spot. Strongest discipline: SnowboardingQ – In what sport have you hurt yourself the worst? A – Ive jacked my face up a couple times surfing. One time I broke the tail of a surfboard on my jaw. I couldnt even open my mouth to eat a sandwich for five months Skateboarding, Ive had a few good crashes, but nothing too bad. And snowboarding [laughing] Yeah, obviously Ive been injured a few times.Q – Ever competed in anything like this? A – Nope.Q – What do you think your chances are for winning the whole thing? A – I dont have a clue. Id like to make top 10. Thats my goal. Id be stoked to make top 10 Its going to be the funnest event all year. Ive had fun just skateboarding again. I havent skated in a long time and this last week Ive been trying to go out and skate every day.Q – If its not you, any other bets on who might be the best all-around riders? A – I could imagine Todd Richards would do well. He lives down in SoCal so I know he surfs a ton, hes a ripping snowboarder and Ive seen him skate and he kills it I know a lot of snowboarders who rip skating, but I know they cant surf Shayne Pospisil could do really well. I havent seen him skate, but I hear hes really good at surfing, and hes obviously a ripping snowboarder, too. So I think he could be a main threat for the top three Ive heard rumors about Nathan Fletcher. Never met him or seen him do anything except see him on the cover of my last Surfer magazine.
Age: 25 Hometown: Thousand Oaks, Calif. Current residence: Incline Village (moved there in 1994 with his family after the big earthquake in Southern California that year) Home mountain: Diamond Peak or Squaw Valley USA (and hes on his snowmobile if not there) Favorite skate park: The Incline Village skate park (although he just skated the coolest ramp hes ever seen in a subdivision called The Ranch outside Santa Barbara) Favorite surf break: Ryan rides for the Trilogy Arts team and has recently been surfing around Santa Barbara with the Trilogy Arts crew. He grew up surfing County Line, Zuma Beach and Ventura. Strongest discipline: Snowboarding. Thats where I can just kill it, blindfolded.”Q – In what sport have you hurt yourself the worst? A – Ive hurt myself more skating, but Ive kind of put myself out of commission more snowboarding. Hurting and breaking ankles and stuff like that is definitely from skating; but Ive had my concussions on the snowboard too Ive never been hurt on the surfboard. Water is a little bit softer than concrete and rocks.Q – Ever competed in anything like this? A – No, just snowboard comps And I had a skateboard comp when I was like 14. But nothing like the Ultimate Boarder.Q – What do you think your chances are for winning the whole thing? A – Knock on wood, but Id say pretty good. Im not worried about the snowboarding. I know Keir Dillon and Todd Richards and those guys can do 900s and all that stuff. Its just going to be who can stick the sickest run. So I think Im going to have a pretty good chance. Ive been going to the skate park every single day, making sure I can get like a minute-and-a-half run. And if I can do that up here, down there itll be like a two-minute run Im going to have my hands full for sure, but Im just going to have fun with it. And, if anything, thats whats going to be what makes me win. But Im definitely nervous Why did you have to ask that one?!Q – If its not you, any other bets on who might be the best all-around riders? A – Im worried about this guy from Norway. I just saw him at Squaw and we were sessioning these jumps and he was doing really good. And one of the photographers was telling me that hes a really good surfer and skater. I was also really worried about Terje [Haakonsen], but I dont know if hes in it anymore because I heard he hurt his shoulder. So Im worried about Todd Richards, Kurt Wastell, Keir Dillon a little bit And then my team manager is saying hed watch out for all the little guys we dont even know.
Age: 3rd Generation Hometown: Ridgewood, New Jersey Current residence: Kings Beach Home mountain: The High Sierra Favorite skate park: Skateboarding is fun where ever Im at! Favorite surf break: The ones that peel Strongest discipline: Snowboarding and skateboardingQ – In what sport have you hurt yourself the worst? A – Ah, being strapped to a snowboard has given me the most pain. Its because its the one I have been focused on progressing with the past few years. There is always the chance of pain when pushing yourself athletically.Q – Ever competed in anything like this? A – This event is the first of its kind. I dont think anybody can say they have competed in something like this before.Q – What do you think your chances are for winning the whole thing? A – So-so, given that I am not equally strong in all three presently. The deserving winner should be someone who stands out snowboarding, skateboarding and surfing one who can hold their own on a pro level in all three.Q – If its not you, any other bets on who might be the best all-around rider(s) in the competition? A – People I have personally seen ripping are Chad Shetler, Aaron Astorga and the naturally talented Ryan Wichert from Incline Village. He rides for Trilogy Arts, which is based on all three and the arts around them. He is on the team for a reason.Q – Anything else youd like to add? A – Surfing is the root, which bred skateboarding, and snowboarding came from them, so by doing all three, one can live a full life and not limit their self expression. Being skilled in one, can only strengthen the other.
Age: 32 Hometown: Buena Park, Calif. Current residence: Alpine Meadows (has lived up here since 1999). Home mountain: Squaw Valley USA Favorite skate park: Sacramento Favorite surf break: Lower Trestles (Orange County, just south of San Clemente) Strongest discipline: SnowboadingQ – In what sport have you hurt yourself the worst? A – Snowboarding definitely … Hitting trees, falling off a cliff and hitting another rock. That kind of stuff. Its taken a toll on my body for sure.Q – Ever competed in anything like this? A – Ive wanted something like this to happen since I can remember. Since I lived in Tahoe Ive wanted something like this. Its right up my alley. Ive been training half my life for it and I didnt even know it.Q – What do you think your chances are for winning the whole thing? A – Im going to go in with a lot of confidence, but I dont want to be too cocky either. Terje Haakonsen is in it, and all kinds of rippers from other sports are in it. Ive never really made money on any of the sports and there are pros in there that Im sure Im not going to beat. But Id like to get in the top 10. I think top 10 pays and Id like to get paid.Q – If its not you, any other bets on who might be the best all-around riders? A – Todd Richards is a pretty well rounded guy. Nathan Fletcher is pretty good too. Those are guys Im fearing going up against. And I know there are some ripping skaters: Chad Shetler is just an awesome skater, and Im sure he knows how to surf, and I think he used to live up here so I know he knows how to snowboard. Its going to be stiff competition but Im looking forward to competing against those guys and see how far I can push myself to being up there with them.
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Age: 35 Hometown: Born in Sacramento and went to high school and college in San Jose Current residence: Prosser area of Truckee (has lived in Tahoe area since college) Home mountain: The backcountry around Tahoe Favorite skatepark: San Jose park Favorite surf break: 4-mile (outside of Santa Cruz) Strongest discipline: Ive always tried to keep them pretty well balanced throughout my life. But I have been skateboarding a lot more in the last year than I have been doing any of the others. I competed almost as a pro-am in snowboarding for many years and hit some money up and got some top threes … I was on the podium with Ross Powers [in halfpipe], right before he went to the Olympics. So as far as competitiveness, Id say Im more prone to being a snowboarder. Skateboarding and surfing have always just been hobbies.Q – In what sport have you hurt yourself the worst? A – (Has had his knee reconstructed from snowboarding and skating. He hasnt ever injured himself surfing.)Q – What do you think your chances are for winning the whole thing? A – Im shooting for top 10 in all three. And if I can do better than that, Ill be super stoked. But if I can get somewhere close to achieving that, Ill be good with it.Q – If its not you, any other bets on who might be the best all-around riders? A – Id have to say Todd Richards, who is pretty well rounded. Shayne Pospisil and Andy Finch … Ive skateboarded with Finch and know hes a good skateboarder, and obviously a phenomenal snowboarder. Ive never surfed with the guy, but with those kind of cojones I dont see him being afraid of water. And Aaron Astorga is an insane surfer/skateboarder combo; and I know he used to snowboard up here with Rocket Reeves back in the day, so Im sure hes a good snowboarder too.