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Gigi Rüf is my kind of snowboarder

borrowed from Volcom (photog not listed)

I don’t follow snowboarders like a spectator follows baseball players. To me, snowboarding isn’t about stats, exposure meters or Cribs. I agree with this guy that snowboarding is a recreation, not a sport. That said, the recreators who get major media exposure–because, well, they’re better and/or cooler than most of us–give a face and a voice to snowboarding. And when you see and hear one with which you identify, a feeling of inspiration is instilled in you–a core member of the riding community. This equals a positive.

Gigi Rüf exemplifies all that for me (and I’m sure for many people). Every time I run into him via a movie segment, an interview, a news clip, I smile. He hasn’t changed in the decade that I’ve been constantly reintroduced to him: giggling Gigi, humble, appreciative, insanely skilled, and (not to be cliche, but) ‘core.  When he joined Volcom in 2008, I was super stoked. It’s a brand whose story I learned at an early age, and a company who I’ve respected for years. In the works presently is a highly-anticipated movie about the Ruf, by the Volcom.

Gigi also has ties to the Northwest in riding for Union bindings.  You can’t help but like him when he says stuff like this: “Washington with it’s Cascade Range is one of my favorite destinations! It bears the truest  boarding scene. True indeed if you only knew how gloomy and dreary the weather can get in these mountains. After a day of riding you better collect some firewood to dry your stuff.”

In the February issue of Transworld, Gigi speaks again, and one quote prompted me to finally gush about an athlete in this crazy thing they call a sport. Of course, in the essence of this quote, Gigi dispels the notion that snowboarding should be about the “sport” of it. And alas, ‘zats why it resonated with me! Isn’t it ironic?

He describes the connection one should feel with snowboarding:
“Not just huck and spin and use [the] body for it, but to get the connection, the meaning–to love the mountains and winter…
We all enjoy it in different ways, but I’m saying there is some sort of alpinism in snowboarding–you need the mountains to ride, the slope, the speed, and the acceleration. There are also dangers out there that come with it. Maybe one of the reasons I’ve pushed it this far in snowboarding is the excitement I feel with that environment, the fun in the mountains, the thrills. I find my eagerness and pleasure in being prepared for whatever challenge I find in the mountains…
In snowboarding you have to adapt to a lot, like bad weather, and it’s not that I just want to bring the right lens, but it’s to be able to adapt to any uncertainty–you’ve gotta be spontaneous… What drives me, and what always has, is that I am still looking for my place–trying to create my place around the aspirations that I have in the mountains, getting out into the fresh air.”
Gigi Rüf

borrowed from Volcom, photo: Scott Sullivan
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