In 1997 Gabe Crane was at the top of his game. A member of the infamous World team (Marc Frank Montoya, Rob “Sluggo” Boyce, Sean Johnson, Gabe Linn) and heavily supported by DC boots, Dub, and Arnette, Gabe was rollin' deep. Mack Dawg's Simple Pleasures release firmly established him as one of the premier freestyle riders worldwide. And then he was gone.

Gabe, what's up with the disappearing act?

My last year at Tahoe was probably my best year ever. Dawger called me late in the season saying there was a big kicker up at Mount Hood, and he wanted JP and I to go up and shoot it. It sounded good, but I really didn't want to go. I had a good part already, I was tired, and deep down inside I was over it he went anyway. I just didn't feel super “on” that day. I was doing some trick, and I caught my back edge, blew out my ankle, and broke my eardrum all in one crash. I stacked really bad.

You know you've hit your head hard when your eardrum pops. You straight packed it.

Yeah, I knew my heart was out of it that day–that's why I fell, that's why I slammed so hard. That was my first big red flag.

So how were you feeling the beginning of the next year?

After a month-and-a-half off, I was feeling pretty good. Then the first time I went to shoot photos, I was doing some stupid thing off a cat track. I slammed, broke my ribs, and punctured my lung.

And then?

I was out riding with my friends one day and tore my other ankle.

Oh no.

And that was like the final …

… straw that broke the camel's back?

I think that was about it. I realized that it was my time to leave snowboarding, so I did.

You weren't feeling the fire?

I guess it was just losing my love for it, and I had a string of injuries. I started fizzling out on the inside, and I started thinking about being back home in Santa Barbara.

But you were a player. You could've thrown powder turns and made a lot of money for years.

I remember coming up in snowboarding and thinking that some of those guys were milking it. I always told myself I would never do that. It's just not me. If I'm gonna do it, I want to go all out.

So instead of “milking it,” you turned down all the cash and cut?

Exactly. That whole time would have been time wasted for my new career. The last three years have given me a head start in real estate.

Turning down large amounts of money's a brave move. So then you went back to school?

Full-time, every day, eighteen units a semester. I went for my associates degree in business. When I was almost done, I started thinking about what I really wanted to do. Whatever I started, I wanted that to be what I did for the rest of my life. I don't know, I'm just weird like that. I didn't want to waste time doing something I might not be stoked on down the road. I love it here and I wanted to be involved closely with the lands. So I decided to take on something that would put me in that position.

How are real estate sales in Santa Barbara?

It's a good business. You're assisting people to either buy or sell properties that are worth several-million dollars. It's an important aspect of people's lives, and a pretty big component of our economy. You're dealing with people who need to confide in you and know that you can represent them professionally.

I never thought of you as very extroverted or the talkative type.

I was never like that. Snowboarding taught me a lot about myself. I realized from snowboarding as long as there is a satisfaction in what I'm doing, I'll do well. I know whatever I take on–and real estate is a really big challenge, especially here where it's really competitive–I know that I can do it, be successful, and havee fun in the process.