The truth is, Sean should have made this list last year. The only reason he didn’t? None of us believed he met the age requirement, given all he's contributed to snowboarding. But, lo and behold, Sean Black is under 30.
From snowboarder to marketing director, team manager, producer, photographer, and filmer, there are very few roles the Flying Tomato’s dark alter ego hasn’t had his hands in. And not only has he done it all, he's done it with an uncommon dedication to quality. Just recently he contributed significantly to the re-branding of Arbor Snowboards and fearlessly led the charge with producing the brand’s first ever full-length feature film, Cosa Nostra. At this rate, we’re sure that we will be seeing much more out of Sean in years to come. With that said, it is our honor to acknowledge Sean and what he’s done. Sorry it took so long. - Owen Ringwall
Birthdate: July 13th, 1989
Current Title: Marketing Director
What does your current position in the snowboarding industry entail? Describe a typical day on the job.
Working for a smaller company requires you to wear many hats. In general, my job is to put in place the marketing, advertising and communications strategy for Arbor Snowboards and that means doing a different job almost every day.
Where are you from and where do you currently call home?
In the summertime and fall, I'm based out of Venice, CA so that I can work out of the Arbor Collective Headquarters. I still technically live here in the winter, but this year I'll probably be living out of a van. Actually, I will be living out of a van. Frothagonia, USA.
How did you start snowboarding?
My mom brought my brother Brent and me up to Killington, Vermont when I was 7 years old for a family vacation. I think it’s because I was already skateboarding, but there was no conversation in my mind as to whether I would ski or snowboard. I just knew it had to be snowboarding.
At what point did you realize that you wanted to work in the snowboard industry?
When I look back on my life, every major decision I've ever made has hinged on snowboarding in one way or another...where I worked, studied, lived, and traveled. My dream as a kid was to become a pro snowboarder, but I always had a backup plan in place. I attended the University of Utah, where I earned a double major in Strategic Communications and French. I somehow managed to convince a few snowboard companies to help pay my bills during college, but when the injuries starting racking up, I had my education to fall back on and help me get a job in the industry.
And how did you make that happen?
I graduated college in the fall of 2011 and spent the following year filming my last video part with Think Thank for Brain Dead Heart Attack. When I was finished with that part, I knew I wanted to make the transition to a marketing position in the industry, so I started reaching out to all of my sponsors and asking if I could intern with them. I moved to NYC for a few months, interned with WeSC and then moved to Venice, CA when I got an offer for an entry level marketing position at Arbor Snowboards.
Who did you look up to in the industry for inspiration?
So many people…Matt Patti, who was my first boss at Arbor has been a huge mentor for me. His guidance, discipline and strategic thinking have had a huge impact on my professional development. I always looked up to Preston Strout, Jesse Burtner, and Java Fernandez for the way they’ve mixed creativity and humor with impactful execution.
What do you feel has been your biggest impact in your line of work?
Having the ability to work on the re-branding of Arbor Snowboards, in general, has been extremely rewarding. From building Arbor's pro and am teams, to producing the culmination of those efforts with Arbor's first full-length team video, Cosa Nostra, I've been extremely fortunate to have the support of a company who believes in my vision. The most impactful work I've done, however, is always with retailers and consumers. Creating on-snow and pre-season events that spread the stoke of snowboarding and having a positive impact on people's lives is by far the most rewarding aspect of the job.
What do you want to accomplish that you haven't yet?
Sometimes it can be difficult to outline specific goals when you don't know exactly how opportunities will manifest themselves in the future. I think the key is to continue striving forward and to never be complacent or comfortable with where you're at. Filming, directing, and producing Cosa Nostra so far was my biggest accomplishment so far. Once you do something like that, you set the bar for yourself personally and know that you have to surpass it the next time around.
Anyone you'd like to thank?
Too many people! My mom, my dad for getting my mom pregnant, my brother Brent, all of my friends, Matt Patti, Bob Carlson, Brad Farmer, Dakota, Guch, Carter, Marie, Frank, Scotty and everyone on the Arbor Team, Paul Heran, Sammy Spiteri, Tracy Anderson, Jesse Burtner, every filmer who had to deal with my mental breakdowns while filming a video part, Sean Lucey in particular, Eddie Grams, Josh Fisher, Alex Andrews, John Chorlton, Christian Robertson, Jason Pogoloff, High Cascade, Milosport, the state of Utah, the resort of Brighton, yadda yadda yadda. Thanks!