Sage Kotsenburg joins Oakley Snowboarding

Sage Kotsenburg

p: Joe Carlino

Ted Borland

p: Joe Carlino

words: T.Bird

How did winter treat you this year? What did you get into?

My winter was really sick, actually. In the beginning of the witner, Halldór Helgason and I made a plan to try to do an online movie this year. We’ve been trying to make it happen since the winter after Never Not, actually, and nothing would really line up and it never happened. This year, we finally got it to happen. We went to Japan, Minnesota, Austria, Switzerland and I just got back from Iceland.

What is it like spending a lot of time with Halldór?

It’s really sick. It’s good for your mind. If you’re stressed out, he’s really low key and fun to be around, and you’ll be joking around at a spot and all of the sudden, he’ll throw down the most hammer trick you’ve ever seen. It’s crazy, and that gets you pumped up in a really good way. It’s not all serious but at the same time, you’re riding at a really high level and that pushes you, but you’re also having a lot of fun with him, so it’s kind of like a dream scenario.

How was Iceland? Was Jake OE with you?

Yeah! Mr. Jake OE came with us. It was pretty dope how it lined up. We invited Nicolas Müller, but he couldn’t come and then we invited Gigi Rüf and he couldn’t come and so we invited Jake OE.

Sage Kotsenburg

That’s an interesting hierarchy of professional snowboarders.

Hahaha. Yeah, we ended up with the man, Jake OE. It was really sick. We had a blast out there. It was really cool. Every spot we hit was overlooking the fjords and the ocean. We all had a great time. We stayed at Halldór’s family farm and it was so mellow. We just had a really good time.

A few months ago I saw you at Fenway Park in Boston for the big air. What was that experience like?

It was actually terrible for me from a riding standpoint because I got a concussion in finals practice, but at first it was really sick, just being in Fenway and seeing the stadium. The jump was really fun the first day, but it was really hot and then it got super cold and it froze. The jump was a sheet of ice so that made for kinda harsh circumstances. The overall vibe was pretty tight, though. I didn’t get to see the event because I got hurt, but I heard it was pretty live in there. People were chanting and yelling and hooting and hollering. That’s cool to see a crowd who’s down and interactive with what’s going on and not be all silent. It was rad.

Ted Borland

p: Joe Carlino

Sage Kotsenburg

p: Joe Carlino

Sage Kotsenburg

p: Joe Carlino

Ted Borland

p: Joe Carlino

What was the coolest behind-the-scenes thing you got to do? As a lifelong Red Sox fan, I gotta admit that I’m pretty jealous that you got to do all the cool stuff.

The best thing was in October, when I got to throw the first pitch at a Red Sox game. Ty Walker was there, too. For me, it was so rad to be in the stadium in front of all those people, but it was kinda scary, too. Hahaha.

Was it a ball or a strike? honest.

They claimed that it was a strike, but I don’t know if they were just being nice. Hahaha.

Did you get to meet any Red Sox players?

I met two guys right before the game, but then we watched the game from a different zone. I can’t really remember who they were. I feel terrible now.

It’s all good. You want to meet Big Papi anyway.

Hahaha. I know! I was like, “Can we meet Big Papi?” and they were like, “He’s pretty busy with his schedule.” Hahaha.

Sage Kotsenburg

A few weeks ago, you were involved in a board test with us at Mammoth, called The Black Board Experiment. Talk a little bit about that.

Well, I had been riding a blank board because everything ended with me and APO right at the beginning of the season, so I decided to ride black-based boards all year. Then, you guys hit me up about doing a board test where companies sent in black boards with no graphics for a test so it worked out great for me. There were ten boards total and I rode every single one in the course of a week. It was cool getting to ride different boards. I really thought that they would all be similar, but they all rode really differently. There were some boards that I didn’t like at first but grew into by the end of the day and vice versa. It was really interesting. I would definitely do something like that again. You get to see what you actually like and what you really don’t because you’re only riding it for half a day, so you really have to pay close attention to how the board is riding and whether or not you like it. It was a really cool experience. Thanks for inviting me.

Well we hope to have you back next year, unless you get a board sponsor.

Hahaha! Yeah, hopefully I don’t come back next year, but it would still be sick to come back.

Well speaking of sponsor news, the main reason behind this interview is the recent addition of a new sticker to your board.

Yeah, man.

You signed with Oakley. How did that come about?

Yeah, huge change for me, and it’s really cool to ride for a company that’s been embedded in snowboarding for so long. It’s cool to be a part of a brand that lives and breathes snowboarding and they really want to make a great team with Sven Thorgren, Ståle Sandbech, Jamie Anderson, Charles Reid and Rusty Ockenden. We started talking mid-way through the year and I met some of the Oakley dudes at the X Games and we melded really well and I think I fit in terms of who they were trying to add to the team, but it was halfway through the season so nothing was gonna happen for a bit. We kept talking and it just really made so much sense and now that it finally happened, we’ve already been talking about things that we’re gonna do and different projects. What was so cool about it was that it was just really organic. Nothing was forced. We both wanted to make it happen which is cool and and honestly, kinda rare. It just worked out great and I’m stoked.

And you’re running full outerwear and goggles?

Yeah! I’m going head-to-toe. Goggles, helmets, gloves, outerwear, the whole shebang. I have so many ideas and they’re in So Cal, so it’s a quick flight to get down there, pop in and start talking about stuff like that and throw some ideas around.

And you spend a lot of time down there every summer anyway.

Yeah, I go there to surf and skate a lot in the summer. That whole So Cal scene is sick so I like to go down there to say what up to everyone.

This seems like a good fit, seeing as how much time you spend with riders like Ståle, Sven and Jamie. You guys have a great camaraderie. That’s really important to a team.

For sure. There are disconnections in some teams, like riders may not ride the same stuff or hang out that much, but Ståle, Sven, Jamie and I have known each other for a long time and we all ride the same stuff and like the same parts of snowboarding. We’re gonna make some really cool stuff happen.

Okay, cage match. You, Ståle, Sven. Who comes out intact?

Who comes out? Man. Norwegians have so much energy, man. They have this secret power in them. Swedish people, too, but I swear there’s something about the Norwegians. I think I would go in there with a little fight in me but I would probably get knocked out first, hahaha. And not to take anything away from Sven, but I think Ståle would come out on top.

Sage Kotsenburg

P: Mary Walsh

Sage Kotsenburg

p: Aaron Blatt

TSage Kotsenburg

p: Joe Carlino

That’s exactly what I would say, as well.

Hahahaha. I’d go down graciously, ya know?

Is it too soon to talk about the next Olympics and your potential involvement?

That’s actually funny you brought that up because when I was with Jake OE and everyone in Iceland recently, they were asking me if I was gonna go back. If you asked me every week since February, 2014, I’d probably go back and forth, and maybe it’s still a little early to talk about but in some aspects I would love to go back and in others, I kinda don’t want that to be a part of my life. But, I’ve been thinking recently that going back weighs a little heavier in favor than not going back. Not that there are a ton of negatives to going there. I mean, you’re going to the Olympics. It’s a pretty awesome experience, but it is kinda crazy in terms of how you get there. Right now though, I would be stoked to go back.

And now in Olympic snowboarding, another door opened with the inclusion of big air in South Korea. Would you try to go for slopestyle and big air or would you choose one or the other?

Right now, I would definitely rather do slopestyle. I wanna hit some more park jumps in the next year-and-a-half and if I’m feeling good, I’ll try to go back for slopestyle. I definitely have to learn some new tricks for big air but it would be sick to go back for both. I’m up in the air but it would be cool to go back for both.

Sage Kotsenburg

So you’re saying that you’re “up in the air” about doing both events?

Hahahaha. Yeah. I can see that on the mainstream media now. “Sage Kotsenburg ‘Up In The Air’ About Going Back To 2018 Games.”

Hahaha. Lastly, what does the rest of summer have in store for you?

I’m actually gonna go meet up with Sven and Sebbe DeBuck in two weeks to go to Folgefonna, Norway and we’re gonna hit that classic Folgefonna jump into the sunset. So yeah, session there to get some stuff for my and Halldór’s movie and after that, probably just hang. I was actually just texting Bryan Fox about going to the Rat Race up at Mt. Hood so I’ll definitely head up for that. After that, I have no idea but I’m definitely gonna try and snowboard more this summer than I have in the last few because I’m just itching to ride right now.

Well, congrats man. You’re in a good place.

Yeah man! So hyped.