Hood River Hump Day with Colby Richards


Interview by Mike Estes. Photos by Alex St. Pierre

Colby Richards. WHO!?! Yeah, I knew you would say that. It’s okay. This kid has been a goddam man-am for way too long now. But there are riders out there that simply “get it.” Not so long ago, Colby was this eager-eyed, ask me a million fucking questions kid at the local skatepark in Hood River. He was always down to skate and would learn tricks quickly. One thing I took notice of, was Colby always stopping, being cordial and leaving the skatepark saying “I gotta go to work!” Yeah, a kid that could hold down a job. “Wow,” I said to myself. One early fall day while sitting in the now defunct IPS Skateshop, Colby and I struck up a conversation and we have become friends ever since. His Dad was the founding owner of Northwave, a windsurfing company that delved into the snowboard boot market. I felt for him in a sympathetic way. Windsurfing Pioneer parents. Wearing neon and sporting a lingo all their own, Colby survived.

Colby Richards, a dedicated Slash Snowboards Am who loves Dakine and can cook up one helluva meal. That is if you see him “Lamping Out”- catch him if you can my little Pokebots! And enjoy the read. — Mike Estes

Estes: Your father founded a notorious snowboard brand in the mid 1980’s called Northwave located in the windsurfing capital of the world called ‘Hood River.’ What was it like growing up with parents pulling maneuvers called “full loops” and shit?

Colby: It was pretty crazy, we always had team riders camping out at our house and in our backyard. It actually started out as a windsurfing company and transformed after my dad started snowboarding in the late 80’s. He sold the lower case northwave logo to the Italians and designed the first “n” boots.

How many days did you actually attend Hood River HS in the winter? And when did you graduate?
Oh man my parents actually signed a waiver that said I could write my own notes to skip class, which meant I got good at nollie front boards and shitty at quadratic equations and writing essays. I even had a teacher try to put me into special ed when I was a sophomore, her name was Mrs. D**** and she sucked!

I swear I saw a huge photo of you at the Mt Hood Meadows Lodge somewhere — was it in the bar? 
Yea that was pretty funny, we found this sweet pat down in private reserve up at meadows, it was super fun cuz the landing was a big ass bush that you kinda floated across. Meadows being as awesome as they are gave all the photo credit to some kook who worked up there called “Freeland Church” which created a new nickname and alias for me.

colbybs180Cody slashing his way through a BS 180 at Timberline. 

Spending your life maching up and down HWY 35 to shred Mt Hood Meadows, you must have an epic tale of survival?
I only have one kind of crazy story, right after I got my license I was driving super early with my friends Shay Huskey, Dylan Thompson, and Chris Barber after a late night of hanging in Hood River. I was super tired and started to doze off with everyone sleeping in the back and ended up spinning and smashing into the oncoming traffic wall. Busted up my car pretty good but still made it up to ride some pow.

Tell me how you met Gigi (Ruff) and landed on Slash Snowboards?  
I met Gigi through Dustin Anderson, They have been helping me with snowboarding for over ten years now and is a huge part of why I am where I am in the industry.

Did you film this recent winter? Any parts coming out we can look forward to watching?
I haven’t filmed since I left salt lake but ive been shooting a lot of back country photos with Tyler Roemer. No video parts coming out, that shit is too expensive to get into these days, ill remain an underdog and just see you in the trees.

I remember you attending every urban rail jam, in every city from Seattle to Bend — do you still chase the elusive “monster rails” in city environments?
Rails and I are still good friends but we definetly have been a little distent since I’ve start riding the Slash Straight in the back country. I dig smashing trees and jumping in pow!

Tell us your trick to surviving Hood River?
Surviving in hood river isn’t too tricky. I cook for most of my money and am currently living in my van. Keeping up with people in Hood River is the tricky part because everyone is trying to do something fun all the time.

colbyfashionIt’s not a purse, it’s a European carry-all.

I heard you recently got a 55lb dual suspension mountain bike and bomb steep, gnarly trails. Is that how you kids are cross-training these days?
Yea my girlfriend actually got me into it, she is waaay better then me but it is super fun to follow her if you know what I mean.

Have you fished for bull trout in Laurance Lake just outside Parkdale?
Not yet, I’ve been fly fishing a bit up by my dad’s house. I’ve only caught some good size rainbows. Still trying to hook into that river hog (steelhead).

Name your crew of goons who you love to snowboard with during the winter? 
Carson Wieser, Shay Huskey, Thadius Hukari, Ben Connors, Morgan Smith, Keaton Rodgers, and many, many more. Brek Leines fo’ sho.

Did you ever have that one teacher who told you that snowboarding isn’t a career? Would like to tell that teacher off now?
Yea the same teacher who tried to get me in Special Ed. She was the biggest kook, and I’m pretty sure my friend was banging her on the side. Haha, shit was so sketch! She used to light incense in class and totally creep on kids. Pardon my French, but FUCK HER!

What board do you ride?
I’m currently riding the 2017 Slash Brainstorm and Straight.

Do you know the native american indian story about Wyeast? For bonus, how about the ‘Bridge of the Gods?”
No, but im sure siri does! Do you know the story behind she who watches?!

I know rent is unreal in Hood River from personal experience, where do you sleep at night?
I sleep in my Ford transit van and its free.

So when the van is rocking, don’t bother knocking right? 
Unless your getting in!

colbyhomeCody’s Hood River estate.

Describe a typical summer day? What do you do?
Skate, swim, float, beer, snowboard, mountain bike, maybe kite, skate again.

Have you planned for post-snowboarding? Will you become a real estate agent? Or a sushi chef?
Snowboarding will always be a huge part of my life, but cooking food will probably always pay the bills. I have dreams of opening another spot but its not really in the cards right now.

Have you considered working in the industry for a brand as a sales rep or get the elusive “marketing” team manager job? 
I have definitely been interested in team managing but havent really pursued it to the fullest of my capabilities. Most of my friends and team mates have told me to do it.

Give us five items on your snowboarding bucket-list?
Go back to Japan, Do a double winter from norther to southern hemisphere, go to the Alpes, check out the board scene in Italy, and if I have kids teach them how to board.

Would you consider living and riding a winter in Bend? Or any other city in the PNW? 
Yes Bend is so tight. I would definetly spend a winter there, or in Glacier, WA up by Baker.


Do you own a food cart?
No but I have owned one.

Ever cook for celebrities? What would you cook for Pitbull or Rihanna for breakfast?
I cooked for Elija Wood last night. Pitbull would get fried chicken and watermelon, and Rihanna is probably gluten free and vegan so she would get lettuce.

I know you love to skateboard, what flip trick eludes you?
I’ve done a million kickflips, but landed maybe two heel flips. Nollie inward heels are my jam right now, but I really want to learn varial flips again.

Name your five favorite spots to skateboard?
Esplanade, Hood River skatepark, Bingen skatepark… can’t tell you the other three.

Your Dad has an interesting job now, he watches horses fornicate. Does he film it too?
Haha, yea him and my step mom are born-again farmers.

Have you ever worked at a summer camp?
I worked the demo center when I was one of the burton Knowbuddy’s (RIP) !

Do you wait in line for a Cobra Dog? Volcano Cones?
I wait for Cobra Dogs if Ted Bundy’s not working and I wait for Volcano cones if Sallys not working. Major name drops sorry folks.

Have you climbed to the summit of Mt. Hood and snowboarded off the top?
Not yet and im ashamed that I havent because my girlfriend does it all the time.

A 2012 street part from Colby.

Give thanks to all your friends, give a memory to a fallen friend if so be — but the floor is yours: Thanks to my Mom, Dad, Sister, and Gmama for always supporting my crazy travels and injuries, you guys are the shit! Thanks to all my friends, Shay, Carson, Cofia, Lucy, Casey, Nash, Ty, Sam, Benny, Thadius, Joe, Aiden, Paula Dibbles, Mike Jacoby, Dylan Thompson, Fletcher Hukari, Wiley Watson, and everyone else love all you guys. And a special thanks to US Outdoor Store, Slash by Gigi, Dakine, Ashbury, and everyone else who has helped me along the way!!!

8 replies
  1. W.W.D.
    W.W.D. says:

    Great Hump Day.

    Correction though, his family didn’t start Northwave Snowboard Boots, they started Northwave Sails. The distributor for Northwave Sails in Japan went to Italy and had some OEM boots made and registered the name and then labeled them Northwave in Japan. Then the Italian manufacturer registered the name and labeled them Northwave in Europe. In the USA, Northwave Sails still owned the name so when the boots were brought into the states, they had to label them N-Boots to get around it. Until the Italians bought the name from the sail company. True story.

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