He’s the 20-year-old freestyle snowboarding hero from Bradford who spun 1440 degrees to land a place in Saturday's slopestyle final at the Sochi Olympics. FHM caught up with the new star of UK boarding back in 2012 to advise how to master the piste with style…
01 Stuff your face with food before, during and after
“You’ve got to eat something with a lot of energy. Pasta’s a typical lunch, or a sandwich, or just loads of bananas.
Tokyo was hard for me back in 2011 because I don’t eat much sushi and it was sushi for breakfast, sushi for lunch, sushi for dinner. Everything there is weird, like snails and pickled egg yolks. I didn’t eat the snail. It wasn’t like the ones you get in France. It had a huge seashell and a big wooden stick through it. I was like, ‘I’m not eating this.’ When I got home I had a massive Sunday roast. It was perfect.”
02 Wear a helmet and carry your board right
“I’ve always worn a helmet because a really good friend of mine ended up in a coma when he overshot a jump. He did a backside rodeo 5 and he over-rotated and landed at the bottom, on his head. He’s getting better now, but it’s been a long, slow process.
I always have my board with me, obviously. But I never carry it like a pool cue. That’s lame. When new boarders get a board they always hold it like that for some reason and it’s like, ‘What the heck are you doing?’ My board’s a Salomon. It’s the one I designed. It’s a really good all-round snowboard.”
03 Learn tricks at your own pace
“A lot of beginners lean on their back foot a lot, but that’s going to hurt your leg. You should keep your feet really central and your shoulders steady. Shoulders dictate your direction, so if you point your shoulders one way your body will follow.
The first trick I learnt was an indie. It’s just like a jump. It’s so lame doing it now. I learned that when I was seven. You have to get used to being in the air and then you can experiment. The snow park in Mayrhofen in Austria is a good place to learn. It’s got big and small jumps and it’s all colour-coordinated. Blue’s easy, black’s hard.”
04 Dance music gets you pumped
“Stuff like Chase & Status is good. Chilled out tunes are nice but they don’t get you ready for snowboarding. You’ve got to have a good fast beat. I never listen to music when I’m competing though – you want to listen to your friends. Avicii are really big right now. Everyone’s talking about them.
I saw the Drunken Masters in Germany a couple of years ago. They were really good. There were loads of underage kids puking though. You know that kind of feeling where you have to be so drunk you can’t remember the night to enjoy it? That’s the kind of feeling that came across.”
05 Don't tell girls you're a snowboarder
“I don’t tell girls who I am, because they might just be going back home with you because you’re a snowboarder.
There was a Red Bull model in Japan, but that was a different story. I won a contest and she was offstage. She didn’t speak much English but I didn’t really say much to her and just started kissing her. It was great! All in the eyes.
I signed the novelty cheque and gave it to her when I put her in a taxi in the morning. I think she realised it wasn’t actual money. The real money was in my bag.”
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