Hump Day Goes South with Austin Leonard

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photo: Erik Hoffman

Austin Leonard is the snowboard king of the south. With smooth style, and the whole dark and handsome thing going on, I expect this kid will see big things. From his little hill in North Carolina, to working at Windell’s in the summer, Austin Leonard actively lives the dream with a gigantic smile on his face.

Where are you from and when did you start riding?

I am from North Carolina in the Appalachian Mountains and I moved here like 13 years ago. I’ve been snowboarding for six or seven years. I started skateboarding and then got into snowboarding by poaching on the hill. I didn’t have tickets or anything and I ended up getting a job at the local skate shop so I got a free pass. I kind of finagled my way in there in that way.

What’s your home mountain?

Appalachian Mountain. It’s just a little hill. Probably 400 foot vertical or something. Straight 30 second runs and a five minute lift ride so, it’s a little bit of hassle but you’ve got to grow up with what you’ve got. I made the best of it for sure and I grew up riding with guys like Cam Pierce and they definitely helped me get better at snowboarding in my area cus there are not any boarders here. Period. It’s not a place like Minnesota or California with a scene. It’s just a small town.

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Austin Leonard’s neighbors had a hard time understanding why this was necessary. Photo: Darcy Bacha

Are you a super-hero in North Carolina?

Ya, It’s pretty easy to recognize me just because I look… different. Way different. When I moved up here I was basically the only black kid in my school and one of the few black kids in the town even so that was kind funny. I’ve got big curly hair and I’m black so I’m super easy to recognize. I just try and make friends with everyone so, I think everyone knows me here. I think it’s funny because I am just a nobody just like everybody else.

Are you traveling this winter or chilling in North Carolina?

I just graduated college in December. I got my degree in graphic design but…that was what made it hard to get a film crew. Everyone gets their crew together in October/November, and I was set to finnish school in December. Had to get that done and out of the way. As soon as I graduated I headed straight to Bachelor for a little bit to get some real Mountain riding in. After that I went down to Bear to film Sundays at the park and I was super stoked on that. That was my first time doing that and it was my first time really entering the “edit” scene because it’s a late time to be getting in with crews. In reality I don’t plan on hanging out here too much longer.

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Austin deals with pressing matters at work.

So you just finished college. Which lifestyle will you choose? boarder or job-seeking-college grad?

Well I just got out of a a five year relationship so lately I have been experiencing the ultimate freedom. Playing life by ear has been going well so far so with all this freedom I’ve been able to jump on the thirty-two spot check tour, which has probably been the best experience I’ve had in a while. Getting to meet people like Chris Bradshaw and Beresford and Kuzyk. It’s one thing to ride with them but to actually live with them for a couple weeks and stay in hotels and get to really know people…It’s cool. Bradshaw was huge influence. He said a lot of stuff that made me feel like sticking with filming things. He sort of just speaks to playing things by ear and letting things come about. So ya, right now I am just playing things by ear and everything seems to be going well and falling into place.

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Fishy business.

What’s the hardest thing you have dealt with this winter in terms of traveling and filming?

For me, I honestly haven’t been snowboarding as a lot of others because I got into it a little late but I think the timing of different things has been the hardest. I haven’t been able to film a full street part and I’ve mostly been filming edits. I sometimes feel like I am waiting for things to fall into place. I try and keep a good mind set about everything, you know. Push the hard things to the side and let ’em be and but if they do get in, then I feel like hard experiences are learning experiences, ya know? you have to go through those hardships and learn what you need to.

How do you support your life of traveling and snowboarding?

{laughing} I work at Windells in the summer and I stack mad racks off the staff sale. In the winter I help out at recess, my local shop in town.

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Watch out ladies, this guy has quick hands. Photo: Oli Gagnon

What are five things that Austin Leonard needs to survive?

Umm spliffs, friends, money…Is that three?

ya.

Ok [laughing] Water and inspiration.

Where am I talking to you from now?

I just drove back from the spot check tour in New York. I’ll be chillin for about two weeks and the other homies are in California. I am going to be heading out west soon for the Asbury demo in Cali and then I will get some much needed Oregon time.

Many of us saw the riffraff video. That shit was hot. Do you rap in real life?

Well…I do get drunk sometimes and freestyle. Me and my homie have been getting more into it so you may some stuff coming in the future. As for the Riff Raff track, that is my homie Viktor Simco’s brother and I just thought to myself “well if I do come out with some hot shit, and Riff Raff is on it, that’s what s good you know? Get that, catch me on tour if he really likes me {laugher}. My main goal is getting super icey to the top ricey, you know? On the real I just like to entertain people, you know? Everyone makes snowboard edits to cool songs and does tight tricks and I was like “well I probably am not going to do anything insane all by myself. That’s how it is riding here, I ride all by myself so, I got my homie to film it but it was just me riding so I had to think about what would make int entertaining and what would make people laugh. That is my overall goal in life really, to make people happy.

I’m tryna make rap videos this summer? You in? I’m tryna piece this thing together.

well shit, I’m recording right now with slush. Beatman is over and we are producing right now. I drank a little moonshine but I figured that would spice things up. Anyway send me your sound cloud and we can figure that out.

Tight. You working at Windell’s again this summer?

yup. What do you do there? This will be my fifth year being a digger.

Have you gotten sick of it yet?

[Laughs] I think everyone gets sick of it but it’s a bitter sweet thing. It’s one of the best experiences that I have every year, no doubt about it. The diggers create a brotherhood and we share that extra bond so if we go camping and get triply and weird…can’t beat that. It gets old in the last couple weeks because you are ready to get home but right now i’m ready to get there so it does’t get old.

Do you have your eye on your next location?

I am thinking about Bend, Oregon. It is super easy to get to other places from there and I have a spot I can live at already. It’s a really cool town. super peaceful and nice. Jonah and Spencer both get mad shots there so, I’m down with that place. That’s my number one right now.

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Channel gap or chanel gap? Both work for Austin.

Who you going to film with for the season?

In October I went on trip To West Virginia with the Keep the Change dudes. West Virginia is a pretty shitty place though and they don’t have options so that was just a fun trip with the homies. Other than that I was in school and everyone got pretty crewed up. I am not trying to be an intruder though and even though I want to get my thing going, I think something will fall into place. And once that happens I am down to move wherever.

Shout outs and Sponsors?

32, Ashbury, Salomon, Bonfire, Crooks and Castles, RAW ROLLING, Airhole face mask, Recess ride shop, and Stance Socks. My shout outs? Shout out to all the diggers, My mom, my family, all my friends, much love to everyone, much love to the haters. Shout out to you guys for keeping it the realest on the internet.Much love. Starting at the bottom, now the top. I see y’all.

55 replies
  1. Im a Snowboarder
    Im a Snowboarder says:

    lol lol lol riff raff or die… bricksquad to hahaha. 40’s beer… gucci squad or get hit… waka crew or poop….. lololol drink water and cobra dawg

  2. That Guy
    That Guy says:

    I really hope we see full video of austin the future, he got such a unique style that is just so dope to watch

  3. Indianatoker
    Indianatoker says:

    Yeah I bought one of your old boards when I was all drunk at the staff sale. Still riding it til it dies

  4. North Carolina
    North Carolina says:

    Seems like a pretty cool dude. I don’t live in Boone so its probably not my place to say this,but there seems to be plenty of cool people that are good at snowboarding (if that’s what you care about) to ride with at app so if he has no one to ride with that probably says more about the way he acts than the place he lives.

  5. GrandfatherMountain
    GrandfatherMountain says:

    I grew up watching this kid ride, as well as TONS of other really good snowboarders from the area. This kid aint no “super-hero from north carolina”, and he has no one to ride with because his ego is too big. Learn some new tricks, and stop pretending like your the king of the Southern snowboarding scene.

  6. @North Carolina
    @North Carolina says:

    Your exactly right. Theres a 6th grader from Boone NC who puts austins riding and his attitude to shame. North Carolina superhero my ass!

  7. HOLD UP
    HOLD UP says:

    If you thought you didn’t have anyone to ride with in NC before, try getting someone to ride with you now… At least you still got your girlfriend JP.

  8. Smelly Turd
    Smelly Turd says:

    Don’t get to big of a head homie–I bet we will never see a full street part from this kid. For sure needs an attitude change. Also, the part about riding with Cam P is bs.

  9. Let The Haters Hate
    Let The Haters Hate says:

    You haters are so lame, your just jealous because he is doing something with his life. If you ain’t got nothing nice to say keep your damn mouth shut. He stated he is a “nobody” just like everyone else so he doesn’t think he is a super hero dumb asses, but to some people he is I have watched kids and people go crazy when his name is mentioned. He rides solo because he feels like it not because he doesn’t have friends and he is not mean or has a big ego like stfu. He loves his friends and other riders but he obviously meant professional influences i am sure, and homie ” Smelly Turd” go look at cams Facebook he gave a shout out to austin and NC, that shows how much you know. They deff rode together asshole. He doesn’t think he is the “King of the South”. People amaze me. You just wait, he is gonna be big one day and laughing at all you haters. Always gonna be haters everywhere though.

  10. SouthEast Snow
    SouthEast Snow says:

    Ben Sullo, Kris Jones, Luke Fosse? All three of these riders would DESTROY Austin “front 3” Lynrd.. and they all live in the South and don’t constantly SELF PROMOTE themselves.. they keep it real… Kid never even hits parks jumps..unless its a tuck knee with skinny jeans… REALITY CHECK… He cant touch the style those guys have…

  11. Austin
    Austin says:

    Thanks a ton for the hate homies! Much love to you guys and I hope the best for all of you. May you spend your time actually doing something positive for yourself! God bless!

  12. Evan is from NC
    Evan is from NC says:

    Despite what you say or think about him, Austin actually loves all of you, and would probably show that love to your face. My bet is that if you met him in person, you’d bite your words and coward out. Hiding behind your computer doesn’t take guts. Loving your haters despite clearly being more talented than them does. I’m stoked for you dude.

  13. GetitRight
    GetitRight says:

    Ben Sullo is a Vermonter (much love!) through and through who happens to live in VA… don’t get it twisted. Austin is a fun-loving, positive dude and the article is gonna spin things to appeal to readers. Everybody calm down we’re all here cause we love to snowboard..isn’t that enough? Relax

  14. East Side
    East Side says:

    I think people are taking his words out of context. Austin sounds like a cool guy to me. People need to stop hating.

  15. Luke.winks
    Luke.winks says:

    Yo Austin is my boy!! He is like my second Dad!! He has basically taught sooooo many tricks!! I love him to death and he is such a shredder!!! He will go big and that is a fact!!! All you haters need to go get a life and get off your f’in computers cause your sure not as hell gonna go pro!! I love Austin he is such a great guy to chill with trust me alot of you people probably dont even know him!!! And yes i am that 6th grader that was in that too comment!! I never kicked his ass i might have gave him a run for his money but ill tell you right now i never kicked his ass!!! I love you austin you da MAN!!

  16. Shredder Feet
    Shredder Feet says:

    So I have known Austin since middle school and he has always been a shredder at heart. It makes me extremely happy that he is doing what he loves, he has progressed so far in such a short amount of time and its awesome that he is finally becoming known within the snowboard world and making a name for himself out there. Keep moving up A-steezy!

    Too all the haters who for real don’t know him, BLING BLOW BURR! FUCKS YALL!

  17. Matt
    Matt says:

    Shout out to Austin for hooking me up at Windells’ Staff Sales. Keep living the dream. And to all the haters…. Come back when Chris Bradshaw hits you up with a text saying he loves your style.

  18. Va rider
    Va rider says:

    Keep SouthEast Snow outta your mouth if your gonna hate, snowboarding is about have fun and doing your thing, not hatin on homies! Much love!

  19. Goat Show
    Goat Show says:

    This may be the perfect example of snowboard hate culture. Cmon that is probably one of the funnier/ most entertaining edits in a while and all you crusty internet goons are butt hurt cause who even knows why.

    But real talk, I think you all are just mad that he rides for Crooks and Castles and you fools are too honkey to rock C & C let alone ride for them.

    Cmon now.

  20. Csm
    Csm says:

    All you cocksquabblers talking shit on a kid you’ve never met, haha. Not sure I’ve seen any of the aforementioned commenters in any recent spot checks…….

  21. JP
    JP says:

    A little late on the post but I was having too much fun snowboarding. I think for all of you southern shredders that got your feelings hurt reading this article you are miss understood. I think the point being for Austin as a snowboarder and trying to make something happen there are no snowboarders in the area that are going out and trying to film outside of the park and push to possibly have a career. Yes we have good snowboarders and yes we have a fun park scene thats pretty obvious but really… what crew is out there taking that next step? Not one in our area in a long time. Not a crew of sponsored riders doing work and trying to take things to the next level. So please stop blowing things out of proportion. Be happy for your local shred, stop crying or get out there and do something yourself. For all the others with some common sense thanks for the love and support for our homie!

  22. random guy
    random guy says:

    Hey,
    Yo beat you suck. All you commenters are losers. Seriously, you should all just stop breathing.

  23. Ashley
    Ashley says:

    Versace Carolina – my favorite edit of the year. Mixing it up, shredding, keeping things FUN & entertaining the people. Go Austin!

  24. Ronnie Bittner
    Ronnie Bittner says:

    haha austin you tha man, just googled yo name and found this, great to hear all is well for ya. hope it gets better too pimp. if im up in btown ill hit ya up. take care man don’t listen to them hatin ass’ they goin nowhere doin nothing. haha about like my ass i guess. oh well get at me on facebook man

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