With a few rare exceptions, the westward migration has been a rite of passage for aspiring snowboarders since the beginning. The East is a good place for young rippers to cut their teeth and pay some dues, but at a certain point, they have to jet and head west. Eddie Wall is another kid who hit the road and laid it on the line to pursue snowboarding. Straight out of high school he fled the rolling hills of Pennsylvania in search of Animal Chin.

Forsaking college for the time being and concentrating 100 percent on riding, he’s taken crappy jobs at odd hours and laughed all the way. At present, his mission has delivered him to Mammoth, California, the sport’s current hotbed. It’s the perfect place¿a community of hungry riders are pushing each other and the known limits of freestyle riding daily. The snowboard scene has never been more progressive, so it’s to Eddie’s credit that he’s making some noise. Eddie works overtime, pushing and punishing himself on handrails. “I love jumping and pipe and everything, really,” he reasons, “But with jumps, it’s like the same tricks, just going bigger. With rails there’s still a lot that no one has done yet. That’s the thing I like about riding rails.” In his downtime Eddie draws and paints, quite well in fact, which plays into his overall emphasis on style. To create the ultimate style, Eddie offers the following combination: “I would take Eric Koston, because he is just the best in the world. He does the most technical stuff down big handrails. JP Walker, because he’s got the jib thing going on. And then I’d add Kevin Jones, because he’s the most familiar with his board. Watching him ride around, buttering the muffin, he has so much control. He makes it look fun.”

Where Eddie Wall fits into the big picture remains to be seen. For now he’s happy to be riding all the time and building on his success thus far. Eddie has set some goals for himself for the season: “I don’t know if it sounds corny, but I want to do switch backside lipslides down a set of steps bigger than 23.”

With the momentum of firm sponsorship and some media attention, Eddie’s in a good position to go full-bore with his riding. But he insists he’d be nowhere without all the support he’s gotten:

“I want to thank K2¿if it weren’t for them, I’d still be a janitor right now. Thanks to all my sponsors: Grenade gloves, Smith goggles, and DC boots. Thanks to Torey Piro and Empire for taking me out filming. I think it’s good for the average kid who lives in a small town to know they can become pro. You don’t have to be raised at the bottom of a ski slope and have rich parents to do any of this. My parents have given me support, but money-wise, I’ve done this on my own. To any kid anywhere¿if you want it bad enough, you can get it.”