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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.

Red Bull “Thinga-ma-jib” at App Terrain Park

Red Bull wanted one of our most advanced street/jib setups of all time for this event. Our crew made it happen & worked super hard to design a this one of a kind street setup. Big thanks to the town of Boone NC for donating the street light and supporting the southeastern snow scene!

Standout riders
1.Charlie Mayforth
2.Kris Jones

Song: Bro Safari feat. DJ Spooky

Rome Pre Jib: Appalachian Ski Resort

It took some delays and cold weather but the highly anticipated Rome Pre Jib finally went down. Over $500 was handed out to riders who stuck the best trick on each feature. Congrats to rider Austin Leonard for taking home $120, a season pass, and a full Rome Setup!

Big Thanks to Rome & Recess for throwing such a sick event!