Think Thank in Russia

Photos: Blotto

The phrase, “Kilroy was here” and accompanying doodle—a bald-headed man sticking his nose over a wall and holding onto the edge with his fingers—emerged during World War II. While its exact origins are unconfirmed, the image was drawn on structures all over Europe as GIs—often men in their late teens and early twenties—became fond of tagging locations they were stationed, beaches they stormed, and other places they spent time during the war. Kilroy became an icon of an unknown, watchful force throughout the world. No one knew who Kilroy was, but he appeared to be everywhere.

Travis Rice

Sy Moran hails from the Rocky Mountains with a penchant for cold steel. p: Blotto

I climbed into the front of the twelve-passenger van that Burton Brand Marketing Manager, Zach Nigro was driving. A half-dozen young snowboarders piled into the back of the vehicle. Fresh off a day on hill and still buzzing with frenetic energy, they immediately gave me shotgun. An iPhone playing Kevin Gates was plugged into the speaker and the crew, only a few days into a week-long trip, tossed friendly jabs at one another casually, laughing volume high. Nigro piloted the van toward Trillium Lake, just a few miles from Government Camp and home to one of the most iconic and picturesque views of Mount Hood proper. Rocks were skipped. Water was jumped into. Laughter continued. Less like a newly assembled team, and more like a group of homies. The posse’s summer vibes shone bright.

Burton Kilroy

In late June, six up and coming snowboarders from across the globe were picked up at the Portland International Airport (none are old enough to drive a rental car) and taken up the winding lanes of Highway 26 toward Government Camp, the infamous hamlet at the base of Mt. Hood. The crew was Burton’s new addition to the larger whole: a small, succinct unit of rising riders, heavy on talent, a little green, and due to this tenacious combination, ready and able to destroy anything in their path. The riders: Luke Zajac, Luke Winkelmann, Sy Moran, Takeru Otsuka, Max Zebe, and Dru Brownrigg (Carter Jarvis, the seventh member of the group, wasn’t able to attend the Hood session due to a schedule conflict).

Burton Kilroy

Each member of Kilroy comes from a very different background on very different mountains, but when lapping the park at HCSC, the common thread of how much each of these guys loves snowboarding was striking. p: Blotto

Dru Brownrigg

The PNW addition to the crew, Dru Brownrigg. p: Blotto

Luke Winkelmann

Hailing from North Carolina, Winkelmann is an all-terrain beast on hill, and a continuously-stoked, hilarious kid off hill. p: Blotto

Travis Rice

Luke Zajac's reputation has been on the rise from his many appearances in Trollhaugen edits, but judging by how he was riding at Hood, this addition to Kilroy is only beginning his reign of rail riding destruction. p: Blotto

Burton Kilroy

A quick crew rip down the streets within the Mount Hood National Forestland. p: Blotto

Burton Kilroy

The Hood trip was the crew’s first opportunity to ride all together. While some had crossed paths at The Launch or High Cascade in years prior, Hood was an opportunity for the guys to really get to know one another. Nigro, TM Frankie Chapin, and legendary photographer Dean Blotto Gray were on hand to ride with the guys, hang out after the towropes closed each day (ie. skateboard, play dodgeball, and jump in Trillium Lake), and all in all, welcome the six to the family on their first official trip.

Burton Kilroy

Being a part of Kilroy is undoubtedly a fairly surreal experience for these young riders. Imagine getting to help design a snowboard that not only you are going to ride, but that is also going to be sold in shops around the world while simultaneously preparing for your driver’s test. But it’s this kind of input that Burton believes is vital to creating a cohesive assemblage, one that will provide fuel for these riders to grow alongside one another as well as communicate meaningfully to their peers--their fellow young guns who lap local resorts from open to close, whose gloves are worn thin from so many towrope laps, whose computer screens glow bright with replays of VG, Think Thank, and Rendered Useless. The same riders who spent last winter hiking the set ups at each stop of the Burton Qualifiers. The grassroots of the snowboarding community.

Takeru Otsuka

Takeru Otsuka is the next up and comer in a long line of Japanese rippers. At Hood, he met the rest of the squad for the first time, and proceeded to throw down on the HCSC jumpline. p: Blotto

Luke Winkelmann

Winkelmann, at home in the air. p: Blotto

Burton Kilroy

Kilroy. p: Blotto

Takeru Otsuka

All day, every day, the guys would mob through the HCSC park. No jump or rail was safe from the crew. Takeru Otsuka. p: Blotto

Burton Kilroy

In the evenings, skating was the go-to. The dudes sent it to Windells for a few mental games of S.K.A.T.E.. p: Blotto

JBurton Kilroy

At the end of the day, Kilroy was established to bring together these seven snowboarders as a marker of where snowboarding is headed, not only as individuals, but collectively in how their on hill experiences translate and bring together other like-minded riders. Max, Dru, Zajac, Winkel, Sy, Carter, and Takeru are an integral piece of a larger puzzle of the snowboarding community, representative and inclusive of the unbridled excitement of those who spend their summer paychecks on their winter passion. Now, these riders, long from being grommets but before they’ve become full-fledged adults, are provided not only with an opportunity to travel, compete, and film, but also to take a vested interest in the product they ride, building their brand from the inside out. The boards they helped to design will be sold in their local shops (and beyond) alongside Analog softgoods that they not only wear, but provide feedback on that affects design. When the name for this burgeoning part of Burton was selected, it was done so by the riders, who democratically picked their favorite moniker from brainstorming done by Burton’s creative crew. And like the original Kilroy, the energy and skills of these seven snowboarders will ideally percolate from their respective locales and resonate across state lines and country borders. Because while all of these guys possess rampant talent and endless drive, their on hill prowess is just the beginning, the catalyst for an influence that will contribute back to the community that they came from, drafting like-minded snowboarders wherever they touch down after demolishing run after run and bringing them into the fold, linked by a common love, a common obsession, and the Kilroy snowboard beneath their feet. This is what Kilroy is all about.

Burton Kilroy

Luke Winkelmann

p: Blotto

Luke Winkelmann

Name: Luke Winkelmann
Hometown: Blowing Rock, North Carolina
Home Mountain: Appalachian Ski Mtn
Instagram: @luke.winkelmann
DOB: 12.18.00
Stance: Regular
Snowboarder you look up to most: Jeez, this is a hard one because I look up to so many. I look up to Brady Lem a lot. He is one of my favorite snowboarders and he’s good at everything.
Favorite video part ever: Keegan Valaika’s part from “In Color”. Honestly, any of his parts.

Luke Winkelmann

Plans for this winter?
This winter I’m kind of just cruising around on the East Coast until January. Then I’m headed West and will kind of be everywhere competing, trying to film, and go on trips. I’m just trying to do the whole kit and kaboodle this winter.

Max Zebe

p: Blotto

Max Zebe

Name: Max Zebe
Hometown: Bolzano, Italy
Home Mountain: Seiser Alm
Instagram: @maxzebe
DOB: 11.4.96
Stance: Goofy
Snowboarder you look up to most: Too many.
Favorite video part ever: Louif Paradis in the new “Déjà Vu”.

Luke Winkelmann

What was the trip to Hood all about? What did you guys do up there?
We mostly snowboarded, skated, and random shit. Good times! It was my first time at Hood and I really enjoyed it, especially the skateparks over there, they are insane!

What was the most fun off-hill activity you guys did at Hood?
Visiting Hood River, skating there and jumping off a bridge into the river.

What are your plans for the upcoming winter?
I will be doing a couple of rail contests, go film and just snowboard, mostly.

Carter Jarvis

p: Blotto

Carter Jarvis

Name: Carter Jarvis
Hometown: Calgary, Alberta
Home Mountain: C.O.P.
Instagram: @carterjarviss
DOB: 2.19.99
Stance: Regular
Snowboarder you look up to most: Darcy Sharpe. He's one of the few slope riders that are still keeping it real. By real, I mean it's a relief to see boarding blending into competition without the loss of style.
Favorite video part ever: Couldn't say I have a favorite, I love watching whatever Trans or Snowboarder has put up, so I'm constantly watching shit when I'm not doing anything. I dig the “Reel Raw” series JP has been re-editing. The raw film feel on anything pleases me.

What are your plans for the upcoming winter?

I'll be headed to the Yukon for a jump camp up at Mt. Sima for a few weeks come late November. Then I'll be doing a few of this year's World Cup slope events. Maybe a big air and some smaller comps, as well. Just mainly focused on training on bigger booters and upping the rail game. Getting comfy with the uncomfy, and most of all, having fun every day I get on the snow.

Luke Zajac

Bp: Blotto

Carter Jarvis

Name: Luke Zajac
Hometown: Marine on St. Croix, MN
Home Mountain: Trollhaugen, WI
Instagram: @luke_zajac_
DOB: 4.19.00
Stance: Regular
Snowboarder you look up to most: Tommy Gesme.
Favorite video part ever: Sam Bakken/Cullen Bernklau in the Impaler movie has to be one of my favorite parts to watch.

Carter Jarvis

What are your plans for the upcoming winter?
I plan on riding a lot at Troll this winter and want to film a full part with the Impaler since I got about eight shots over the past couple of years for their next project.

Sy Moran

p: Blotto

Carter Jarvis

Name: Sy Moran
Hometown: Breckenridge, Colorado
Home Mountain: Breckenridge
Instagram: @sy_moran
DOB: 5.9.96
Stance: Goofy
Snowboarder you look up to most: Alek Oestreng.
Favorite video part ever: Mikkel Bang in Burton’s “13”.

Carter Jarvis

What was the most fun off-hill activity you guys did at Hood?
We spent an afternoon in Hood River. That was wicked. Got to skate the park, do a little bridge jumping into the river, and then ended the day with a great dinner with all the boys.

Any really good, rad, or funny story from the Hood trip? 

The rental car people upgraded our van to a big ol’ Cadillac. That was chyll...

Dru Brownrigg

p: Blotto

Carter Jarvis

Name: Dru Brownrigg
Hometown: Bend, OR
Home Mountain: Mt. Bachelor
Instagram: @dewbear1
DOB: 7.9.97
Stance: Regular
Snowboarder you look up to most: Mikkel Bang.
Favorite video part ever: Travis Parker's part from “Lame”..

Dru Brownrigg

What are your plans for the upcoming winter?
I would like to ride and film a lot more in the Oregon backcountry! I'll probably do some contests as well, and shred Mt. Bachelor!

Takeru Otsuka

p: Blotto

Takeru Otsuka

Name: Takeru Otsuka
Hometown: Atsugi City, Japan
Home Mountain: Takaifuji
DOB: 4.2.01
Stance: Regular

Takeru Otsuka

What are your plans for the upcoming winter?
I’m planning to spend time snowboarding in Colorado in December and compete in slopestyle and big air events.