Natasza Zurek Interview

Natasza Zurek

Age: 21

D.O.B.: March 4, 1978

Sponsors: Burton, Arnette

Years Riding: Seven

Boards: Burton Custom 152, Balance 152.5, Feel Good 155

Stance: Width: 19 inches Front: 24 degrees Back: 12 degrees, lots of forward lean, Burton SI System

Recent Competition Results: First ’98 Innsbruck Air & Style Quarterpipe; First ’99 European Open Halfpipe; First ’99 Davos ISF World Cup Halfpipe; Third ’98/99 season ISF World Halfpipe Ranking

 

O.C.D. (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder), Ice Cream, and Natty Z.

By Yuho Sekihara

Natasza stands outside the group intently listening and reflecting carefully, forming just the right words. However, by the time she’s ready to speak, the conversation has moved on. The moment may have passed her, but she stands still, waiting for her next opportunity.

Natasza may not say much, but she definitely knows how to make a statement. Believe it or not, her riding speaks for itself.

Despite numerous set backs, Natty Z. has become quite successful as a rider. She’s made it to the top without any brownnosing or shit-talking; instead, she’s been able to channel all that needless energy into producing an unbelievable athlete with mad style and sick lines.

After many spoonfuls of ice cream, and three solid hours of patience and understanding, I was able to get a few words out of the shy, unassuming Noz.

What’s one decision that changed the direction of your life?

Deciding to snowboard has changed the direction of my life. Since day one I was completely obsessed with it, and every day since then I live to ride. Before snowboarding I was lost and confused, but now you can see where my decision has taken me. If I couldn’t snowboard anymore it would be like losing both legs and one arm.

What does it take to be a pro rider?

Being a good spokesman would help, but what’s most important is being a good snowboarder. To become a pro, a person needs to have some sort of edge above all the other aspiring riders. Being young and sick, or knowing how to do a trick that no one else can do is a plus. Going higher than everyone else or being a really good competitor helps, too.

What’s your edge?

My edge is I’m not burnt out on snowboarding. Once someone gets burnt out, they stop caring about snowboarding or being a pro rider. Once the dedication and devotion comes to a halt, it’s over.

What’s hanging on your bedroom wall?

Every year on my wall I put a countdown calendar to the winter season a month before it starts. I mark off the days until the season begins. I’ve also got a few super-stylish snowboarding photos, some Scandinavian flags, various memorabilia, art I’ve done, a leaf, and a plastic bag.

A plastic bag?

The plastic bag is from a shoemaker who fixed my shoes. He was the nicest man I’ve ever met. I wanted to pay tribute to him, so I put up his shop’s plastic bag, which has a picture of him making a shoe on it.

So when will the plastic bag be replaced?

I’m probably going to keep it. Stuff that means something to me I always keep.

What’s super stylish to you?

I think that stalefishes are really stylish. There’s a photo of Juha Tenku doing a stalefish in the pipe, which Jeff Curtes took at Mt. Hood. I have another one by Jeff of Gaetan Chanut doing a stalefish off a kicker.

What’s guaranteed to make you smile?

I’m guaranteed to smile when someone I love surprises me with ice cream. Ice cream alone won’t do it; it has to be from someone I love.

You travel quite a bit. Where’s your dream destination?

Mexico, because I’ve never been anywhere tropical. I do avel quite a bit, but only to cold places. I want to go somewhere that’s actually warm; a place where I don’t have to bring my snowboard.

What is the best day you’ve had on and off the snow?

I’ve had a lot of great days on the snow, but the best was when I got second at the World Championships at Sierra-at-Tahoe. I was riding so well, I felt superhuman. Off the snow would be spending time with my boyfriend at the beach or the river. It’s just so rad to be able to chill with someone and be stoked on that person, not having a care in the world. The world is perfect, the sun is shining, and it’s so warm. It’s so La-La Land, Cloud Nine, Seventh Heaven, et cetera.

What is the most misunderstood thing about you?

It’s possible a lot of people think I’m mean, conceited, stuck-up, or a bitch. I’m not very open and friendly, and I don’t talk to many people, but not because I’m mean. I’m just shy and scared of people, and usually don’t know what to say.

Why are you scared of people?

Okay, people aren’t really scary. I used to think they were scary, but I guess I don’t think that anymore. I’m getting over that.

You seem to be getting over a lot of things lately.

That’s good, it’s about time. You know that disease you keep telling me about?

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?

Yeah, that one. Well, it’s not very strong in me, but I do have it. For instance, I’m driving my brand-new car and I see a small gum wrapper on the floor. Even though I’m doing 90 miles per hour down the freeway, I can’t leave it alone. I reach behind my seat where I keep my garbage and put it there. See, if I know there’s a gum wrapper on my floor, I can’t concentrate on driving. So many things like that¿such as my CDs. When I’m changing my music selection on the road, I can’t just throw the old CD into the new CD pocket. I have to make sure it goes in its original pocket even though I might crash for taking my eyes off the road. So if I get in an accident and you find me dead, you’ll know it’s because I was trying to sort my CDs while driving.

You know they have medication for that kind of stuff. Anyway, if you could erase one event in your life, what would you choose?

I wouldn’t choose to erase anything because all the events in my life are learning experiences.

My god, there has to be one event you’d like to erase. Like the day I chopped your hair off?

No, that was funny. That taught me to never let you cut my hair again. It would have happened eventually, so it might as well have happened then.

What’s your favorite trick right now?

McTwists or backside 540s because they just come around naturally. I’m trying to learn to grab them¿they’re fun to do.

Outside of snowboarding, what are some other activities you enjoy?

I like to climb with my dad, swim, hike, listen to music, and hang out with my friends.

What’s your idea of heaven?

Heaven is a place where you have the freedom to do anything with anyone. You’re free to talk to whomever and say whatever you like. Nobody will reject you or be mean. It’s breezy and sunny, but not too hot. There’s always a cool breeze against your skin, but not the kind that makes you cold after swimming. You can fly in heaven, and there’s lots of ice cream. You can’t get fat, though, because you have to flap your arms in order to fly from tree to tree and island to island where there’s more ice cream. Flying around with your loved ones, and eating ice cream in a warm, breezy place. That’s my idea of heaven.

What is your greatest achievement?

Figuring out how to be a competitor, and learning how to compete and win. I’ve corrected my mistakes from past contests, which helps quite a bit.

As a rider, would you say you are a competitor more than anything?

Yeah, pretty much. At least at this junction.

Are you happy with that?

Yeah, I love competing. It’s fun.

If snowboard competitors were like racehorses, what would some of the top riders names be?

Minna Hesso¿Bright Eyes, Stine Brun Kjeldaas¿Jazzy Dancer, Mike Michalchuck¿Blinded By The Hair, and Ross Powers¿The Jolly Taxpayer.

What would your name be?

I guess I’d be Dateless For The Prom.

What would you title your autobiography?

O.C.D. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and me.

How do you deal with fear?

Sometimes I can’t deal with fear and it overpowers me. I can’t say I have a guaranteed recipe to battle fear. A lot of the time I have managed to overcome fear by practicing what I want to do first in my head, and then trying the trick on a trampoline or in the water. You know, building up to it.

How about the “Holy shit! I’m on a 70-foot cliff and the photographer wants me to jump this!” fear?

Most of the time that situation isn’t scary. Usually I don’t put myself into situations that will get me scared.

How many more years do you think you have until retirement?

Ten years. If you look at the pros in their thirties, they’re still ripping it up. I believe I can be that way when I’m in my thirties, too.

So you don’t think you can snowboard longer than ten years?

No, I think I’ll be over it after ten years. I’ll probably want to settle down and have a family.

What do you think will make you quit first, your mind or your body?

My mind. I’ll finally want to stay in one place for more than two weeks, have a family, and pump out some puppies. That’s pretty much the reason why I’d quit riding. Maybe I’ll want to go to school, too.

When do you think the end of the world will be, and what do you think will happen?

It’s possible the end of the world will come in 2012, but I can’t really fathom how. I suspect the world will just blow up. It will probably have to do with nuclear weapons or something.

What’s one question you would like a reporter to ask you?

That would have to be, “Would you like to take a break from this interview and have some lemonade?”

That sounds divine. Would you like to thank anyone first before we end this interview and have some lemonade?

I want to say hi and thank you to all the people I love: Barbara, Chris, Agata, Cory, Yuho, Ariel, Grant, Laura, Tui, Tara, Andrew times two, Iza, Eva, Kjuba, and my sponsors, Burton and Arnette.

, pretty much. At least at this junction.

Are you happy with that?

Yeah, I love competing. It’s fun.

If snowboard competitors were like racehorses, what would some of the top riders names be?

Minna Hesso¿Bright Eyes, Stine Brun Kjeldaas¿Jazzy Dancer, Mike Michalchuck¿Blinded By The Hair, and Ross Powers¿The Jolly Taxpayer.

What would your name be?

I guess I’d be Dateless For The Prom.

What would you title your autobiography?

O.C.D. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and me.

How do you deal with fear?

Sometimes I can’t deal with fear and it overpowers me. I can’t say I have a guaranteed recipe to battle fear. A lot of the time I have managed to overcome fear by practicing what I want to do first in my head, and then trying the trick on a trampoline or in the water. You know, building up to it.

How about the “Holy shit! I’m on a 70-foot cliff and the photographer wants me to jump this!” fear?

Most of the time that situation isn’t scary. Usually I don’t put myself into situations that will get me scared.

How many more years do you think you have until retirement?

Ten years. If you look at the pros in their thirties, they’re still ripping it up. I believe I can be that way when I’m in my thirties, too.

So you don’t think you can snowboard longer than ten years?

No, I think I’ll be over it after ten years. I’ll probably want to settle down and have a family.

What do you think will make you quit first, your mind or your body?

My mind. I’ll finally want to stay in one place for more than two weeks, have a family, and pump out some puppies. That’s pretty much the reason why I’d quit riding. Maybe I’ll want to go to school, too.

When do you think the end of the world will be, and what do you think will happen?

It’s possible the end of the world will come in 2012, but I can’t really fathom how. I suspect the world will just blow up. It will probably have to do with nuclear weapons or something.

What’s one question you would like a reporter to ask you?

That would have to be, “Would you like to take a break from this interview and have some lemonade?”

That sounds divine. Would you like to thank anyone first before we end this interview and have some lemonade?

I want to say hi and thank you to all the people I love: Barbara, Chris, Agata, Cory, Yuho, Ariel, Grant, Laura, Tui, Tara, Andrew times two, Iza, Eva, Kjuba, and my sponsors, Burton and Arnette.