Snowboarding, like surfing and skateboarding has always been susceptible to loosing some of its most promising and established talents to external influences, wavering interest or injury. I’m not talking about death here, but rather those riders who showed up, blowed up and then fled to the Metawais and started a surf charter business.
It’s a harsh reality that snowboarding can’t keep some of its most prominent riders in the limelight forever. Some will transition into industry jobs while others taper off – choosing to adopt a mantra of only boarding for ‘themselves’ while others just become simply become ‘washed up’. Others might go totally incognito, choosing to snowboard only once every few years or not at all. If you’re an ex-pro dwelling in the Byron Bay Hinterland, your time in the limelight has come once again. This week we count down, in no particular order those Australian Snowboarders who’ve simply come, conquered and then went and started carpentry businesses on the south coast. As Jack Johnson once sang ‘where did all the good people go?’
Back in the day, there was one man that championed Australian Snowboarding and that man was know as Max Cookes. Lunging onto the scene somewhere around the early 2000’s when the Haag brothers where the shit and hitting Jindabyne handrails where the in-thing. Max showed up overnight and stuck frontside 1080’s on the regular, something that barely any snowboarder would step to at the time. He was the face of Burton Australia, riding on the first wave of Uninc decks and wearing Analog head to toe. He had his own ads with Electric and he was making a name for himself on the international scene only to one day just drop off the scene completely and become a real-estate tycoon. Max, I’m not sure where you are now, but I would like to see you snowboard again.
Another former Analog rider who was on top of his game that kinda fell off the scene. Up ‘till only recently Creany was still killing it in the streets putting out video parts and magazine spreads. His riding was upright and immediately distinguishable with huge presses and technical displays of snowboard trickery. After scoring a debut part in our ‘Made you Look’ movie in 2012, Crean climbed the ladder steadily, intermittently taking time off to rest his shoulders that would dislocate. After a stint in New York last year shooting with Jye Kearney and Jordan Rockford, Dan decided that he was going to stay on the Gold Coast and focus on skateboarding. Crean’s been out of the limelight the last few years, but having seen him step to Front Valley Terrain Park this year – his skills are still well and truly intact, shame about those shoulders but.
Back in the early 90s, specifically ’91-’93 Sean Gall was an indomitable force in snowboarding. Not just in Australian but also worldwide. To this day, Gally is the only Australian Snowboarder to have a cover with Transworld . He’s also the first rider in the magazines history to get a cover on a rail. Gally had spreads in international mags and a bunch of never-been-done-before’s under his belt. He tweaked everything and he embodied that early 90s punker spirit. From reports, Gally hasn’t snowboarded since ’94. Rumors of him showing up at this years 30 Years reunion at Thredo never came to fruition, maybe we can get Gally back for 2017?
Wiki’s one of the best female snowboarders this countries ever seen, despite she’s actually a Kiwi but we’ll claim her like we did with Paul Kelly. The former Thirty Two rider was hell bent on going toe-to-toe with Jess Rich for the win at every single snowboarding event in Australia a few years ago. Then it appears life happened and Wiki is no longer chasing the dream but still manages to win or at least place at any snowboard event she turns her hand at.
At a time where most Australian snowboarders smilingly had all transferable styles, Chris Eacott stood on his own entirely. Eacott was an early adopter of the Technine-ish get-up and riding style. Not just here in Australian but internationally, choosing to focus entirely on street snowboarding. To his credit he did some seriously psycho shit during his days based in Salt Lake, shacked up with the likes of Nate Bozung – which landed him in their first film – Bozwreck. Which was a milestone for the Australia Snowboarding jibbing contingent. Eacott maintained a healthy career hitting rails before tapering off, his current whereabouts are unknown.
Nick Gregory shared similar fame to Max Cooks here in Australia with his own Electric ads, but his career span as a professional snowboarder was much longer. Coming onto the scene with huge tricks and the first decent 270 onto a rail I’d ever seen back in 2001, Nick continued to better his riding into the future which scored him various video parts and cameos in international flicks as he began his campaign in the Whistler backcountry. Nick was part of the White Silk Road crew that visited Afghanistan back in 2012 to go snowboarding. Nowadays, Nick still rips and makes his presence known in Japan. He’s the most punctual guy in the entire Mountainwatch / Transfer office these days, helping with all the digital in’s and out’s of the operation.
The lemon-headed Novocastrian Tom Reilly had one of the most identifiable styles in Australian Snowboarding. When people talk of effortless snowboarding, Tom 100% personifies that in each and everyway – which immediately made his riding stand out from all others. A relatively late adopter of snowboarding, ‘Tomo’ quickly developed the necessary skills to land himself on the cover of Transfer back in 2013 and dominated every street trip he went on over the next few years, scoring him self a section in the Dinosaurs Will Die team movie. A bi-product of his own ‘chillness’, Tom settled into a beach side dojo and spends his days designing websites while simultaneously checking his tide watch.
From one Tom to another, the non-blood brother of another great Australian snowboarder Adrian Pelly – Tom Pelley was instrumental in bringing Australian snowboarding up to scratch with rail riding on an international level. The kid from Bright, Victoria could jump but his real skills lied in his technical and creative approach to handrails and almost anything else that could be ridden on. He had video parts and spent a good length of time in LA filming with the Sunday in the Park crew at Bear where his antics landed him on some major brands. Tom resides in the Blue Mountains these days and still rips about on his board as an ambassador for Russian Snowboard brand – Terror .
There was time when Andy Lloyd wasn’t just the best-groomed man in Australian Snowboarding, but one of the best riders also. ‘Lloydy’ was team mates with Robbie Walker riding for K2 and Anon and had a similar fetish for massive jumps. His double backside rodeo’s were some of the biggest man’s ever seen. He was at the forefront of the GoPro movement with his Fisheye Fridays series which primed him for his current occupation as a professional Cinematographer / Hot Guy.
Last but certainly not least is the bloke Australian Snowboarding has been unable to fill the position of – Gus St Leon. Quite possibly the most ‘Australian’ Snowboarder of them all, Gussy not only had the balls the size of the outback but he could stick his shit, making him one of the best riders in the country between 2005-2008. Gussy was the peoples snowboarders and had his own signature outerwear with 3CS and a collaboration with Nitro. Beneath that technicolored outerwear was an Aussie bloke who loved curved brim Flexfits, 4WD’s and drinking beer. Gus ended up migrating to the tip of Australia to pursue his love of 4WDing.