The phrase “wearer of many hats” gets tossed around more than its fair share when describing jobs within the snowboard industry. For good reason too, by nature, most jobs require varied skill sets. However, when it comes to Gray, the age-old cliché truly does speak volumes–there are simply very few people out there that embody the DIY ethos of snowboarding as completely. When Gray wasn’t happy with the status-quo of snowboarding films, he created Warp Wave–a refreshing and completely unique approach to snowboard cinema. When he wasn’t content with the snowboards available on the market, he created United Shapes and designed his own. Today, Gray manages both businesses, all while continuing to find time to focus on his own snowboarding career. That’s a lot of hats. Owen Ringwall
Birthdate: December 12th, 1991
Current Title: Multiple hat wearer- Snowboarder, Co-Founder and Marketing at United Shapes, Filmmaker.
What does your current position in the snowboarding industry entail? Describe a typical day on the job.
Everyday is different. I’m constantly juggling a bunch of projects, one day I’ll be on the computer working on board concepts, gathering imagery, or editing a video project, and the next I’ll be out riding boards or filming someone riding boards. It’s a healthy balance of outside and inside time, that maybe leans a little heavier on the outside time. It can feel pretty scattered at times, but it’s an exciting process.
Where are you from and where do you currently call home?
I was born and raised in the colorful city of San Francisco and now I call North Lake Tahoe home, just a few hours away.
How did you start snowboarding?
I came across a picture book of snowboarding at the age of five and became absolutely obsessed with the pursuit of snow and mountains. At the time I was deeply into skateboarding, but It was the complete contrast to living in a concrete jungle that spoke to me. So flash forward a year and I’m out at Sierra At Tahoe, sixth birthday, trying my hand at riding a board on snow. It was love at first sight and we’ve been together ever since.
At what point did you realize that you wanted to work in the snowboard industry?
I always knew I’d pursue a career in design or the arts, and the more I got into snowboarding; moving to the mountains, traveling, etc. I saw an opportunity to practice art and design within the snowboard industry. Things began to build off each other after filming a couple of my first video parts, and then starting Warp Wave in 2012 opened up the world of filmmaking and content creation, in turn leading to more opportunities. Early on I think I realized how tough professional snowboarding is, so I made it a point to add more skills to my belt and be able to offer more to snowboarding.
And how did you make that happen?
Learn by doing has always been my motto, so I let my entrepreneurial spirit take over and started a bunch of projects and concept brands, each with tons of learning opportunities.
Who did you look up to in the industry for inspiration?
I’ve appreciated a lot of people’s work in this industry, riders and creators alike. Eric Messier, Ryan Scardigli, Jake Price, Kealan Shilling, David Benedek, Mikey LeBlanc, Silvano Zeiter, Corey Smith, Nicholas Muller, I could go on but the trend is with individuals who have cut through the noise and brought originality and authenticity to the table.
What do you feel has been your biggest impact in your line of work?
Well, I’d hope my biggest impact has been adding something positive, original and authentic to this awesome culture of snowboarding; maybe during a time when things felt a little stale. I really hate to claim, but I do think that Warp Wave helped open the door to a more diverse platform in snowboarding- at the time, it portrayed and shone a light on a more underground style and vibe of snowboarding, and hopefully fired others up to create stuff with some soul.
What do you want to accomplish that you haven’t yet?
Really just to continue polishing the creative process. It’s a never-ending goal, but it entails a lot. To create the films that live inside my head and are so hard to turn into a visual product, To discover and help elevate new riders and styles, tell stronger stories, and stand atop more mountains.
Anyone you’d like to thank?
Thank you snowboarding, earth, space, Messier, Steven and Pete from United Shapes, the support family and friends, and everyone who I’ve crossed paths with, worked with, or ridden with- y’all are some good humans!