Riders to Watch

 Name:Johnny LazzBirth Date:May 5, 1991Hometown:Carnelian Bay, CaliforniaSponsors:Rome, Volcom, Arnette, Celtek, ThirtyTwo, Active, HoboVideo: People’s Pretty WiseInterviewed by HondoThere aren’t a lot of people on Planet Earth, let alone in snowboarding, like Johnny Lazz. He says what he wants, does what he wants, and doesn’t really give a shit if you’re down or not. It’s pretty refreshing if you ask us. —Hondo

Velociraptors have big noses and big lips. Johnny Lazz is doing a big nosegrab to backside lipslide. Coincidence? We think not. Quebec City, Quebec. PHOTO: Oli Croteau PORTRAIT: Ashley Barker

So you’ve filmed video parts before, you had the opener in Rome’s The Shred Remains, yet this year your riding really stood out. What made this year different? 

This year honestly I was just trying to be patient. I was just trying to take my time and stay positive and healthy. I told myself that I was going to snowboard on stuff that I wanted to snowboard on, and I was going to snowboard when I wanted to snowboard. Like, any group of kids can just hop in a van and drive across the country, and hit every rail and go to Canada and hit those rails, and like, have every single trick. Everyone’s doing that, but there’s no personal part, like nothing stands out for yourself. But at the same time you have to balance having fun and maintaining your attitude and keep f—king ripping. Just going for it. ’Cause it’s just that gut feeling that makes your palms sweat, that puts a smile on your face. It makes you put your hands in the air when you stomp something that you’ve never stomped before. You get a shot and it’s just like, “Hell yeah. F—k yeah. Awesome. Shit.”

Did you ever think that you would make it to where you are right now in snowboarding? 

Dude, when I was a little kid all I would do was dream about being a pro snowboarder. Everyday I would walk out the door with my snowboard, my little 135 Burton Punch, just dreaming about becoming pro. I just had it in my head, man—growing up in Tahoe, it was around me. It was in my life every single day. And some things came easy, and some things I had to work my ass off for. But to get that out of it, to have that feeling of knowing that I worked hard, it’s paying off. It took me a long time to realize that it’s actually happening. It’s just a dream feeling, man.

Do you ever get worried that too much partying could cut your career short? 

Yeah, I totally get worried. Every day I think about this. But dude, I party on my snowboard all the time. It doesn’t have to mean drinking or drugs. It could just mean bullshitting with your friends on the hill—that’s still partying. But yeah, I get worried about getting injured because of partying all the time because it happens all the time. Look at Danny Davis or even Jeff Anderson. It can happen. I’m like ultra paranoid about it. I think I stress about it so much because I care about it so much.

Do you ever worry that because you’re so animated and have so much fun all the time people look at you in a different light? Like, they look at you almost like a cartoon character and not a snowboarder? 

No. ’Cause I am a snowboarder. I was born and raised a snowboarder. I think people see who I am. And if they don’t see who I am then I guess I am a character. But when they get to know me they’ll find out that I’m a snowboarder, and I’m a human being. I’m a human being with a tongue, hair, and a dick just like everyone else [laughs].

What was it like filming with a video crew this year rather than filming for a team video?

Well, the main difference was that I didn’t know anyone at the start of last year. It was all new people except for Shaun McKay. The rail kids that I was rolling around with were Scot Brown, Jason Robinson, and Jason Dubois. It’s funny, though, when I was younger Scot Brown and I didn’t like each other at all. Then I didn’t see him for years, and we were both little punks, but when we started filming together we got along great. We even had our own handshake. But dude, don’t even get me started on how sick it was filming with Pierre. One time Corey Koniniec, when he was filming for People, invited me over to their office in Tahoe City and I thought that was such an opportunity. I just remember walking in and the lights were off, and there was like five computer screens. Pierre had his back turned to me like he’s Darth Vader or just some bad guy in some movie. And he’s just geeking out, making it work, making it happen. And now for him to be sitting in front of my footage, making my part, it’s just so sick.

Continue to next page to read the interview with Rusty Ockenden…