By Rudy Kaytronn
Have you every wondered what a company’s team riders do during the off-season? Well, considering that most riders ride all winter and summer, it only leaves a month or so in-between Hood and pre-season for them to keep themselves busy. Most riders migrate to So Cal, or another “summer type” of location to get their fill of sun before the cold days of winter set back in. Unless you are the Forum team and you are on a world video premier tour, chances are you’re skateboarding or surfing, enjoying the last lazy days ofsummer.
Mike Arzt, the team manager of Airwalk had a better idea. Why should these guys be sitting on a beach in Encinitas, after a ten month snowboard vacation when everyone else from the company was hard at work getting ready for the upcoming season? His solution: put some of the team to work in the office. With this in mind he convinced Zach Leach and Preston Strout to spend some time in Golden, Colorado at Airwalk’s intergalactic headquarters. “Hell, these guys both have college degrees, they should be working for us”, says Arzt.
This seems like a novel idea, but it makes a ton of sense. These riders got to meet everyone from the company, give more than their fair share of input on boots, boards, graphics, ads, you name it. Between chasing them out of the product closet and telling Zach not to ride a bike in the office, Arzt actually got them to do some work.
As time passed, Mr. Strout got increasingly more serious, while Leach slowly fell in love with Nips, a bendable foam mannequin. After awhile, Strout was showing up to work in a suit and tie, spending most of his days reprimanding Leach for his antics. “He just doesn’t understand,” said Strout, “I’m a businessman, working in an office, trying to do BUSINESS! All he wants to do is molest mannequins and photocopy his damn face.”
Leach has a different take on the whole matter: “That kid is a psycho. Nobody else in the office wears a suit and tie. We’re working at a freakin’ snowboard company, not a bank. I think he is just jealous that he can’t even score with my mannequin.”
Working on the office turned out to be a failry productive experience for the boys. Whenever they weren’t watching sponsor me videos in the conference room Leach and Mr. Strout could be found diligently drawing t-shirt graphics or off talking with the design team. “As team manager, it’s been nice to have team riders’ support for a change, instead of vice versa. These guys have now become more effective assets for Airwalk with their newly acquired knowledge (plus the love of fake woman). It will be sad when they head back to the hill. I’ll have to drive myself to work, get my own lunch and find other people to blame everything on,” Mike said.