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Quick Thoughts: A Profile of Kazu Kokubo

When Kazuhiro Kokubo was the age of a high school freshman, he stood on his first major podium, a silver medal draping below the earflaps of his oversized visor at the 2003 US Open. As a teen, he became a world-renowned and -traveling professional snowboarder, and by his early twenties, he had represented Japan in two Olympics and won the US Open twice. But Kazu wasn’t content as a contest rider. Controversy in home country over his choice of dress and a middle finger at X Games made it apparent. Not long after parting ways with his longtime head-to-toe sponsor, he also ditched the bib.

With three stripes down his sides and a CAPiTA beneath his feet, Kazu prioritized powder and produced his first segment in a major film. But he never lost sight of what carried him to this point, continuing to mentor up-and-coming riders like Ayumu Hirano. Kazu’s contributions to Japan’s next generation are demonstrative of his unwavering passion and ensures his influence will be felt for decades to come. At this point, Kazu is a living legend in the truest sense of that cliché; it would be difficult to name a 29-year-old snowboarder who has attained Kazu’s level of stardom. Below are quick thoughts on a variety of topics from snowboarding’s most mythical current pro.

Hometown

I'm from Ishikari, Hokkaido, Japan

Home mountain

I grew up riding in and around Sapporo at all the mountains.

No one stomps like Kazu. Or should we say Stonps? PHOTO: Adam Moran


Kazu, age 14, blasting his way to second place at the 2003 US Open.

The home mountain influence

I think the people I rode with inspired me more than the mountain.

Current residence

I live in two places: Chitose, Hokkaido and also San Clemente, California.

Kazu in Hokkaido. PHOTO: Adam Moran

Current mountain at home

Anywhere in Hokkaido.

Influences

I like a lot of different riders' styles. There is no one person.


Hondo talks to Kazu after his monumental middle finger moment at X Games in 2013.

Kazu possesses an uncommon capability to navigate natural terrain and adapt in moment. PHOTO: Adam Moran

Inspirations outside of snowboarding

My family.

Younger rider to watch

Nik Baden.

Looking back, contest Kazu seems like a distant memory, but less than seven years ago, he won his second US Open gold in a row. PHOTO: Adam Moran

Longevity in snowboarding

Stay healthy.

Designing product with adidas

adidas lets me give feedback, and they listen to my ideas.

First hit. Style second to none. PHOTO: Adam Moran

Personal preferences

I like to stay warm and nothing tight.

Board: CAPiTA Kazu Kokubo Pro, 154

I like that I don't have to switch boards if I'm riding powder or park.

Think of a current professional snowboarder more iconic than Kazu. PHOTO: Adam Moran

Boots: adidas Samba, 7.5

They're the most comfortable boots I've ever worn.

Bindings: Union Atlas, medium

Same reasons I like my boots. Durable and comfortable.

Goggles: Oakley Fall Line Prizm and A Frame 2.0

Both perfect design.


Kazu’s Video Part of the Year-winning segment from Union Binding Company’s STRONGER.

Everything about this is classic. PHOTO: Adam Moran

Pants: adidas Major Stretchin It, medium

They're comfortable and not tight.

Jacket: adidas Major Stretchin It, medium

No stress.