Sebbe De Buck on FOMO, DC Transitors, and a Season of Competing
Whether you are on the sidelines at a private park shoot or saddled up at an after party, Sebbe De Buck is formidable and appears to always be having fun. Despite being amongst the tallest riders to reach the pro ranks, Sebbe is still able to not only do all the agro tricks but he does so with a style and grace rarely seen amongst giants. De Buck's drive to splice great riding with good times is infectious which is why he has quickly become a welcome addition to every crew and session. SNOWBOARDER had a chance to saddle up with the Belgian standout to discuss the South Korean Winter Olympics, his snow dome roots, the DC Transitors project and his propensity for partying. – Pat Bridges
How does a kid from Belgium get so damn good at snowboarding?
I don't know. I think growing up in an indoor slope with one towrope, one jump and two rails where you can lap tall day long in the summer and winter with the weather always the same is really good for laying down a proper base for snowboarding. I mean, you're not going to spin anything over 720 so instead you focus on spinning in all the different directions. You also get to ride as much as you want because it's never really closed. It's never windy. It's never flat light. It's always the same every day.
But alas you can't get any pow days in a snow dome.
Absolutely no pow and at some point you out grow the snow dome so you start traveling a lot.
Was it from traveling that you got noticed?
I got noticed around the time that the Belgian Snowboard Federation started to grow up. The good thing about our Federation is that it was started by snowboarders. It began with the generation of Seppe Smitts and his brother as well as a couple of other riders. It was basically just a couple of snowboarders who were looking for help getting money to do some contests and ride all of the time.
So the Federation wasn't an offshoot of a ski organization?
No. It is totally a different thing. It was started from scratch. The guy who started it still oversees it and looks out for us. He is a rider himself so he knows how snowboarding works. We never had to the shit of explaining to skiers how snowboarding works. It has worked out pretty well. I am still in the Federation and they let me do what I want.
Are there a lot of snowboarders in Belgium?
There are a lot but there used to be way more. Belgium is a small country. You can drive across it in 3 hours.
I had a layover in Brussels this year. There were a lot of soldiers with machine guns in the airport.
Yeah. A couple of years ago there was an Isis bombing at the airport. It was crazy when it happened. It was a shit show. I was supposed to fly into Brussels from Innsbruck, Austria the morning that it happened but I decided to stay two days longer and changed my flight.
So how did you make the leap from Sebbe De Buck the indoor snow dome local to the pro we see traveling the world today?
I always wanted to snowboard. It was the only thing I wanted to do. I started to go to a school that allowed me to miss a lot of days. We started getting a few weeks off of school at a time and traveling. As soon as I graduated when I was 18 I got a sponsorship deal with Mini Cooper so I just jumped in my car and didn't come home until the winter was over.
In order to be a successful pro snowboarder there pretty much isn't any other way to do it, than to spend your whole season away from home.
This year I've maybe been home for two weeks total all season. Even then it was to see my parents and do my laundry and then leave the next day. But I can't complain. It is what I want to do. I get to travel the world snowboarding. I just want to get as good as I can at snowboarding, get into the backcountry and get good at that.
Who do you ride with that really pushes you?
This year I rode a lot with the DC Team while filming for Transitors. I was hyped to ride with Iika Backstrom, Torstein Horgmo and Devun Walsh. They know everything. Riding with them showed me that there is still so much to learn. I was like damn, I don't know anything about backcountry snowboarding. Like how to get speed the right way, all of the safety features… I mean I have used a beacon and probe before and taken a backcountry course but doing it all was so different. It was also my first time in Whistler and they really helped me sledding and showing me how to build a proper jump. How to look at different features that I wouldn't even consider. I would just look for an open roller and build a basic kicker. They see it so different. It is so sick. Devun is a legend and riding with him is so inspiring.
Where did filming for Transitors take you?
I did three trips for Transitors. The first trip was in January to Japan. It was my second time ever going to Japan and we were with Devun, Antonin Chamberland and Torstein. It was sick. It is crazy how good they are at pow riding. I am always still thinking to myself "don't tumble, don't tumble." and if they are doing their tricks they are always landing. I then went to Whistler in March for two weeks but we only had two days out in the backcountry but we were in Whistler and it is pretty fun there. We partied a lot but it still came out as a sick edit.
How do you manage to send it at the bar or after party till last call and then still send it on the hill the next day? I mean the stuff you are hitting is huge.
I definitely get the biggest FOMO so I don't want to leave the party until it is over. I don't want to miss out on everything and here the next morning about how I shouldn't have left. The level is so high right now in slopestyle snowboarding that riding with a hangover is frickin' dangerous. It's even dangerous not hungover. I mean, the tricks you have to do today to get a good result are insane.
What was your take on the whole Olympic experience?
The reason I wanted to go was if I ever have a kid or my sister has a kid I can say I went to the Olympics. When I was young I really just watched the Summer Olympics. Not even the Winter Olympics really. Being there in Korea in the middle of nowhere I was really bored for two weeks. My snowboarding didn't work out and I didn't make any finals. That was a bummer but it was also a shit show how the schedule was with ten days between slopestyle and big air and only two days of practice for each. It was all over the place. It was an experience but I'm not even sure if I will try to ever do it again. I'm actually not even sure if I'm going to keep competing. The level is so insane. I mean, I've done all of the tricks but the guys who have the contest tricks on lock are always doing them every day in the park. To be honest, those tricks aren't even fun to do. If you land 'em it's sick but once you do you have to then do something else or keep doing them till they're perfect. It is super fun to be on the tour and traveling the world with good after parties but I really want to try to film a full part. We've even been talking to DC about doing a team movie and I think that would be really sick. I would definitely go 100% all in on that.
It must have been a good way to end the season in Mammoth with Transitors for Cinco De Mayo. That is a party and pretty mellow as far as the riding.
The weather in Mammoth was really good. We drove up to Mammoth in the DC RV and that thing is always full of booze. The whole team is there because the season is over and we are fully slush riding. It was a big party with the whole crew and a nice way to end the season.