Riders to Watch

Brandon Cocard

Birth Date: January 12, 1988

Hometown: Truckee, California

Sponsors: Capita, Airblaster, Union, Porters

Video: Absinthe Resonance

Interviewed by Mark Dangler

Brandon is an incredibly diverse rider, one who can walk the fine line between “fun” and “gnarly” all with a style that makes you forget there could ever be a division between the two. While he embodies a carefree, vagabond sort of attitude that has helped make past Airblaster segments memorable, he has also been able to lock down a standout segment the past two years, the most recent amongst an Absinthe crew stocked with veteran heavyweights. —Mark Dangler

Holy shit this is a big 50-50. Thyon, Switzerland. PHOTO: Silvano Zieter PORTRAIT: Scott Serfas

When you were coming up were you thinking of it as “I want to be a pro snowboarder,” or did it just happen for you?

No, I always wanted to be a pro snowboarder. It’s kind of weird. One fall, before I even had a snowboard, my dad brought home Simple Pleasures and Decade and after that I was like, “Whoa, man. People do this for a living? I want to do that!”

So you had never seen snowboarding until your dad brought home those Mack Dawg videos?

I mean, I had probably seen it on a Butterfinger commercial or something, you know? [Laughs] But seeing those videos, and what those guys did, it definitely opened another world to me—one that I really wanted to be a part of.

Was there ever any frustrating times when you were coming up?

Totally, man. My parents really wanted me to go to school and I wanted to go to school, too. So I tried to go to college and that was definitely hard and frustrating. School took up all my time. I just wasn’t able to put everything I had into snowboarding to give it a good shot. Eventually I had to make the decision: school or snowboarding. I remember the defining moment. I got an e-mail from Blue [Montgomery] like, “Hey, you want to go to Superpark?” That was my first real chance, you know? In my head it was a done deal, but it turned out that week was also the week of finals. So it was like, “Superpark or finals? Superpark or finals?” I bailed on my finals, dude. I went and I ended up getting my first published photo.

What’s been your approach to get where you are now? 

Up until now my approach has been to keep doing what I’ve been doing. That’s what everyone would always tell me. I would ask my friends on the chairlift who were sponsored, “How’d you get sponsored? What’s the next step to make it in snowboarding?” Their answer was just to keep doing what you’ve been doing. I’ve been keeping that in the back of my head.

What’s your approach to filming video parts?

Put action in the frame. Get in front of the lens and seeing what’s going to make a shot. When you have a lot of options it’s good to take a step back and do a quick survey, see what’s going to be a shot, and what I have to do to make it happen.

Has that method changed throughout the years as you’ve gone from filming for Airblaster, then Capita, and now Absinthe?

I learned that whole action in the frame thing from Travis Parker. He said that one day and I was just like, “That makes so much sense.” That’s what you’re giving people, just something cool to look at. If you can find anything that’s going to translate through the lens and onto the TV how it felt—that’s what gets people stoked, if they can feel it, too. But yeah, it’s been different through the years. Starting out with Airblaster, everything was fun and goofy. Then Capita was the first step into the real video part scene, especially filming with dudes who have been doing it for so long. To take a step back, and look at how they approach it was definitely a good learning experience. Then with Absinthe it’s like these guys have had it down forever. So being a part of that you learn quickly.

How was it coming into the Absinthe group as one of the young guys?

It was kind of a mellow transition because I got on with Shane Charlebois and traveled with him all winter. Bode [Merrill] and Cale [Zima], those guys are my friends anyway. Immediately, I had a couple ideas of how it would go. All of those ideas were stressful and crazy, but as soon as I jumped in with that crew it was a good feeling right off the bat. As soon as we started getting shots, everybody was on the same page.

Where are you trying to take your snowboarding?

I want to learn new tricks every year, and I want to ride good snow. I guess what I want to become is a well-educated snowboarder. I want to learn about the backcountry, how to be safe, and how to have a good time every time I go out there. It definitely takes a lot of work. There is a lot to study up on.

So are you just going to bail on the streets? Are you trying to get away from that?

No, no, I’m not trying to phase out the streets. I like it. I like the missions. It’s just a different side of snowboarding and it’s good to have both, you know?

Continue to next page to read the interview with Danimals…