Dillon Ojo is boss in training. A breath of fresh air in a room of stale farts. Putting a lot of pros to shame, too. He has the board control, the right style, the right attitude and the talent to back it up. Mindblowing. A game changer. Russell Winfield was quick to preach the gospel of Dillon Ojo too, “Oh you mean my boy Ojo Cinco??? Yeah, he looked real good in the combine aka Superpark. He is a real good kid who loves to get his shred on. He is doin’ it right. He has great style and he is dating a blonde – kinda reminds me of myself. I think he needs to come up here to Washington and ride some pow with me. I would like him to take the same road as Pat Moore and dudes like that. Start off in the streets and end up on mountain tops. Ya feel me?” Bringing a presence to a sport severely lacking with so much white bread, It’s awesome to see this just-turned-18 young buck from Montreal finally getting noticed. I caught up with him at his parent’s house. He was doing his homework but put the books down to talk shred. Meet Dillon Ojo. Radical ripper in the making. Bow down. Le Black has arrived.
How did you get into snowboarding?
I got into it around the age of 14. It was just something I felt like trying. I got into it at my local hill — Mont Saint-Bruno. After I met the crew I ride with today, they showed me pretty much everything I know and that’s the Bruners crew. They are all of my best friends that I hangout with today.
What was your first day like?
My first day was actually horrible (laughing). I didn’t take any courses or anything and I just grabbed my cousins’ board and went to the hill. I just bombed down the hill. I didn’t know how to stop. To stop I would just cut and flip down the hill. I was just flipping down the hill. The only black kid at the hill and everyone was laughing at me! It was embarrassing. After awhile I got better and I really got into it.
When in doubt, just ass it out.
Sequence: Phil Bernard
What was better – your first day snowboarding or losing your virginity?
Losing my virginity was probably a lot better because who doesn’t like losing their virginity (laughing)? My first time I blew it. It was real weird. I blew it snowboarding the first time, too! They both kind of sucked. Losing my virginity was better.
What was your first setup?
I don’t even know! It was plastic bindings, plastic board. It had two screws for each binding.
Good times though, huh?
Awesome! The board kind of sucked. Whenever I would fall, those bindings would actually move around because it was such a crappy board. My first actual good board was a Apo Selecta and it had the Union/Airblaster collab bindings.
Your nickname isâ€š Le Black. Has this nickname ever offended you?
No, not at all! I actually like it. It’s funny because here in Quebec there are no black folks. It’s cool and that name is really good because I am one of the only ones. I am known as “Le Black.” When you say “Le Black” you know that’s me!
Where are your parents from?
My dad is from Trinidad and Mom is from Montreal.
Does it bug you that people talk about your race in relation to snowboarding?
No, I don’t mind it at all. There aren’t that many black people in snowboarding. Durrell Williams, Russell Winfield, Stevie Bell, Austin Leonard — yeah…That’s about it (laughing)?
Snowboarding is turning into wakeboarding. It’s so fucking white, expensive and boring.
You really beat some ass down at Big Bear last month for HDHR besting all the pro and hoes. What was your secret?
I didn’t have one really. I was just hoping to win. I think I had $50 bucks left in my account and so I was like, “I need to win some money!” I went there with the mentality I was going to do everything and hope for the best. I finished second.
Is this a good omen for the start of this season?
Oh, it’s great! That comp is scene here in Quebec is some big thing. That helped me out. Everyone was so stoked on that and that gave me even more coverage out in the States. That’s the main thing — trying to get coverage in the States. The snowboard scene is big in Quebec but everything revolves around what is going on in the states. Anything I can do to help my name outside of Quebec is perfect of me.
Gang signs. Photo: Richard Hope
I read that you only learned French a couple years back. How is that possible in Montreal?
I don’t know (laughing). I went to school and took French and was never really interested to learn it. In high school I didn’t learn that much. When I started snowboarding, I met the guys that I snowboard with today and they’re all French. It was hard talking to them. I only spoke English. Because of them that’s how I got my French and now I can basically speak it fluent. I have been speaking French for 4 years now. Some people here in Quebec don’t even know that I am English.
When I said I was going to talk to you, everyone said, “Does he speak English?” I responded, “I heard Dillon barely speaks French!”
When I go to the states everyone thinks I am French (laughing). Sometimes I just try talking in French just to make things fun. Usually I just say, “Dude, I am English. You don’t have to try talking in French!” And everyone is like, “Oh! I thought you were French!”
In Quebec City you don’t usually find many people who will speak English to you.
If you speak in English in Quebec City you will have some people who will try but most people will just get pissed and flip you off because you are talking in English (laughing). Montreal is not as bad. Montreal is like at least a good Â½ English when you go into town.
Growing up, whom did you most like to emulate on your snowboard?
The first year I hardly even knew anything about snowboarding. I just strapped in and went. I didn’t know any names — pros or anything. I didn’t have any background information. The first movie I watched was Bandwagon. That was all the big name jibbers out from Quebec. I pretty much looked up to them. When I first started hanging with the Bruners now, my friends, they were the ones who inspired me to do what I am doing and they were the ones who helped me get where I am today in snowboarding so everything I do is thanks to them, so they are my main heroes.
So many lifeys. Photo: Jerome Page
What is the most important – peace and joy or wisdom?
Peace and joy for sure. For me, the main thing in life is just to have fun and to care about friends and family.
What is Dillon Ojo’s spirit animal?
A black bear (laughing). I don’t know. I just thought of an animal that was black and then bears are pretty boss. I am not saying that I am boss, but it would be cool to be a black bear.
With lots of snow, lax restrictions, lack of rent-a-cops, and a police force who turns a blind eye, the urban landscape of Quebec City and Montreal have become a gold mine for snowboarding. Is there anything else that helps make these places a mecca? Dillon drop some knowledge on us.
You almost just mentioned everything. Quebec’s got everything you could think of — from shredding the kinks to perfect down rails. You could just drive around Quebec and go by spot by spot by spot. People think Quebec is dying down in spots! That’s because everyone always looks at the same ones. People from Quebec find spots everyday that no one knows about. The place is so big and there is so much elevation and there are so many rails. Cops are really chill. A lot of times you will get kicked out like anywhere in the world but most of the time they will be chill and pretend like they didn’t even see you. You’re not going to find any backcountry, or powder or big hills, or good parks in Quebec. All you are going to have is the streets. Everyone learns in the streets.
Do you eat a lot of poutine, drink a lot of Molson and eat at Tim Horton’s a lot?
Yeah (laughing). I go to Tim Horton’s about every 2 days. I grab a nice cappuccino and a donut. Poutine I don’t eat that much. Back in the day I ate so much It doesn’t even excite me anymore. Molson? I usually drink ghetto stuff like Carling and Pabst, that kind of stuff.
How could snowboarding be more radical?
It can always get more radical. Just look at how snowboarding is progressing today. Once a year an extra cork gets thrown in! Rail Riding! People go bigger or get more creative with things. Snowboarding is never going to stop progressing I think. There is always going to be new ways to make it better, or cooler, or snowboarders taking tricks in more of a skateboard direction for rail riding and now people are starting to hit more skate spots that back in the day weren’t even a spot to hit. Park riding is also getting bigger and crazier. I just think snowboarding is always to keep progressing because everyone is going to always have an open mind to think of new things.
With Canadian health care do you get free medical marijuana?
No we don’t. You can get a pass for medical marijuana but there aren’t all those marijuana shops. You can’t get it as easy as you can in the States. You really have to have some crazy sickness or know the doctor.
Arthur Ashe, Tiger Woods, Barack Obama – all the super white, stiff country club sports eventually get toppled. Are you the black Jesus who has come to save snowboarding?
No, the black Jesus of snowboarding is Russell Winfield (laughing)! Definitely goes to Russell. Russell invited me this winter to come out and ride some powder with him. I have never hit powder in my life. I have never stepped on a powder board. I am fucking psyched that he is pretty much going to be the master and I am going to be the grasshopper to that.
Russell Winfield is going to pop your powder cherry.
You took the year off of school to filmâ€š Bangarang. The part speaks for itself – it’s insane! How else did you mentally prepare for a video part most pros would give their left testicle for?
That was my first winter off school. My goal was to get something that got people talking. That got my name out. That’s why I took the winter off. I am trying to make something out of snowboarding. That’s my passion. I love it. It’s the most fun thing there is in the world. This winter I am thinking school off again. I am going to put out a better part and see how it goes.
Where does Dillon Ojo go from here?
Well, hopefully up. I am going to film another part this year and see where that gets me. My goal is to have fun, but if I can get people hyped and people to help me pursue this sport that’s all I want. That’s what I am going for. That’s my dream.
Stepchild Snowboards, Union Bindings, Empire boardshop, Thirtytwo, LRG, Etnies, Gshock, Dragon, Pop Headwear, Duh Bolts