I BECAME A SNOWBOARDER BECAUSE…
I’m from Hawaii so, growing up, my dad was a big surfer. He taught us how to manoeuvre the board from young. Then, when we relocated to the mountains, one of the first things he did was teach our entire family to snowboard. I’ve been snowboarding since I was 6 years old and, honestly, I’ve loved it from the minute I started.
I LOVE SNOWBOARDING BECAUSE…
The great thing about snowboarding is the freedom and creativity. I love that it brings me outdoors every day and it’s a really great way to connect with nature. Whether you’re snowboarding competitively or for fun, there aren’t really any rules. It’s all about personal creativity, how you see the mountain and how you want to ride the mountain, or how you want to learn to half pipe. I think that why I’m so drawn to it. It’s a sport (so requires a lot of discipline and dedication) but it’s a very creative sport.
‘Snowboarding’s not like a typical sport where the off-snow training is very standard. So many different things can help you with snowboarding. That’s why I like it so much.’
THE SKY’S THE LIMIT
I’m constantly inspired to see where I can take my own personal snowboarding. I always get a massive thrill from taking that next step, landing that next trick and just trying to do things that are above or beyond what I have ever imagined. Obtaining those goals is the best feeling in the world so it just keeps you coming back for more.
TEAM USA UNDERDOG: LET’S DO THIS!!
I’ve been travelling on the pro-circuit since I was 14 years old so a very long time. I’ve essentially grown up in snowboarding so it’s difficult to surprise me but the coolest experience was competing in the 2006 Olympics in Torino. I was 16 and kind of the underdog so when I ended up qualifying... Wow! I knew what the Olympics are about but it didn’t really kick in until I was walking in the opening ceremony with the entire Team USA. That really surprised me. The camaraderie between the coaches and athletes and the strong feeling of team spirit you feel with these essentially strangers who have devoted their lives to their sport is incredible. That’s one of the great things about sport. It’s such a powerful way to bring people together and I’ve met so many cool people I met through it.
FAVOURITE PLACES TO TRAVEL
NEW ZEALAND is one of my favourite places in the world. We train there every summer to train [because that’s their winter] and we often compete there too. It’s so beautiful and a great atmosphere to live in. The Kiwis have an amazing culture and a really cool way of life. It’s all about enjoying the moment and I love that.
ITALY. I really love Italy. It has some of the best powder I’ve ever ridden and the best food in the world. I’m part Italian so I love going there to film snowboarding demos. It’s the coolest place. If you like winter sports, I recommend visiting Gressoney-Saint-Jean. It’s a little mountain town with a huge ski resort not too far from Milan – you drive though Milan on the way there. It’s probably the biggest mountain I’ve ever been on but absolutely beautiful.
OREGON SAND DUNES. I recently visited the sand dunes in Oregon, which was so cool. One of my sponsors, Toyota, held a Hotel Tacoma event on the Oregon Coast. The weekend was built around play and challenged how our society has become all about ‘work, work, work, work, work’ Rihanna. We don’t make the time to play anymore but it’s so important - it can really revitalise you. Oregon has so much to offer. During the weekend, we went paragliding, which I’m now obsessed with, biking, climbing and much more. It was the coolest experience. You’re basically flying like a bird. I’m pretty sure it’s the closest you could ever be to being a bird so definitely worth trying.
LES DEUX ALPS, FRANCE. I’ve just returned from spending a few weeks snowboarding there. They have an awesome glacier so definitely worth visiting.
BEST ADVICE: DON’T TAKE LIFE TOO SERIOUSLY
The best advice I’ve ever received - and I have to remind myself this continuously because it’s really hard - is: don’t take life too seriously. As an athlete, especially for me - someone who’s grown up in competitive professional snowboarding - it’s all I really know. It’s everything I have so it’s difficult to not become fully consumed by it and take it so seriously that it’s not fun anymore and I forget to enjoy it.
‘Know that every day is your life. Laugh lots, enjoy every moment and don’t take everything so seriously.’
ON WINNING 5 X GAMES MEDALS
The X Games is like our Super Bowl. It’s the biggest event we have besides the Olympics but it’s so rooted in snowboarding that it’s almost more coveted than the Olympics. It’s always been my goal to win an X Games gold medal since I started snowboarding but it eluded me for so long so winning the gold this year was a dream come true. I put a lot of hard work in and it’s always nice to feel like your hard work and sacrifices amount to something. Bring on next year!
MY FAVOURITE ATHLETES TO COMPETE AGAINST
Torah Bright. She’s an Australian snowboarder who I grew up competing against. She’s really fun to watch and has a much cooler, very different style to a lot of the girls. She always has a new run and something exciting so it’s fun to compete against her because you never know what she’s going to do. I’d love to compete against Danny Kass too. He’s no longer a pro but he’s one of my favourite snowboarders of all time so it’d be amazing to compete against him; or, if she snowboarded, Coco Ho is one of my favourite surfers to watch - although I’d surf against her too so, Coco, take your pick!
FAVOURITE WORKOUT SNACKS
Chocolate flavour Clif Bars - they’re my ‘go to.’ They’re perfect because they give me the energy boost I need before working out but they taste great too, which doesn’t always happen with other brands. After working out, my favourite snack is rice cakes topped with peanut butter. I’m completely addicted.