Pete Long Interview

December 14th, 2009

 

Intro Image – Portrait by Jonesy / Sequence by Sean Radich

By Paul Colby

Pete Long is that guy, you know that guy that will lap the hill all day, every day, rain, hail, powder or shine, he will be there, enjoying life. He was also that guy 8 years ago, dropping Mctwist 9’s in the Perisher pipe while everyone else was still learning 7’s. However his age does not represent his time on the hill.

“Longy” made the call at the age of 19 to say goodbye to a promising rugby league career and to follow the snow. While there have been ups and downs throughout his career his decision 11 years ago, has never been in doubt, nor has his passion for snowboarding.
He let us into his world, and explained how it is all just about balance.

Age: 30
Stance: Goofy
Sponsors: Dinosaurs Will Die, Airblaster, Ashbury, Thirty Two, Elm, Celtek, Etnies, Eesa layering & ‘Go Natural’ snack bars & natural food products.
Hometown: Sydney
Home Resort: Thredbo

Favorite overseas destination, and why: California for its parks and sunshine, and the Northwest Washington State area (Mt Baker and Stevens Pass) for the steep and deep.

 

What have you been up to between our chairlifts stopping and the northern chairs starting? Been pretty chill, just catching up with the fam and good friends who I hope miss me a bunch when I’m away in the mountains ha ha ha. But seriously I’ve definitely been trying to stay fit and enjoy each day as the gift it is, skating vert as much as possible and just recently my homie Jon built a new mini ramp so we’ve been chillin’ pretty hard on that. It is super FUN, I love skateboarding! The fitness and balance elements keep me in the shred mode ya know?

So you were destined for a life of fast cars, fast girls and fast money with a promising rugby league career, at what point did you throw it all in and follow the shred dream? Growing up in the Western suburbs of Sydney rugby league was a massive part of my life and was something I enjoyed very much. It also seemed to keep me out of trouble in school, I was attending a school where sport was a major player, and what principal in there right mind would hassle the captain of the league team right ? ha ha ha boom! Around this same time ‘Super League’ was being introduced and it seemed there was a whole bunch of cash getting thrown around willy nilly, and after playing with the Bulldogs for a while a couple of other clubs showed interest. This is when it went a bit sour for me, the politics involved and the false promises made to my family and I just tainted it all, and one day I remember waking up and saying ‘screw this’ I’m out of here.
Having stayed true to my love of skateboarding through it all, I sent my energy back in it’s direction. Yet skateboarding was in a massive lull at this time and all the other boys had stepped back or headed to the states to have a crack, one day a mate asked if I wanted to head to Jindabyne for a snow season to get away from the city and all the nonsense going on. I must admit it is still one of the best decisions I have ever made.


Nose tap Mammoth Mountain – Photo by Sean Radich

Did you cop some flack form your rugby league teammates for choosing to snowboard instead of playing football? Well not really as I have never stepped foot on a rugby field since. Over the next few years it was kinda hard seeing the boys out and about knowing that they had all just bought houses, nice cars and were living the dream so to speak. But I guess in some way I may have inspired them a bit through stepping out of the comfort zone to pursue a gypsies life of sorts in just traveling with no commitments and ties, just the endless pursuit of fun and happiness.

 

Did your rugby league skills bring anything to your snowboarding? Only now in the last few years have I realised that the attitude required in team sports differs a lot to individual activities like shredding, skating and surfing. Yet the desire to be the best you can be and the power of the human spirit to never give up seems to cross boarders between our lifestyle and that of big commercial sports like cricket and football. If only the government would see the importance of ‘action sports’ as a way for kids to express their individuality and have a healthy lifestyle, then maybe, just maybe they would start feeding some money into action sports. I think they may be pleasantly surprised with the results and its reflection in local communities.

You have been in the Australian snowboard scene for a few years now yet you still have the passion and drive of someone who is just starting their career. Other than an obvious love of snowboarding how do you not get burnt out? Well yeah I guess the passion comes directly from my love for the shred, and not getting on a board until a lot later in my life helped too, my age definitely does not reflect the time in which I’ve had a snowboard under my feet. Only in the past couple of years have I taken it more seriously in that it is now the centre piece of my life, and I plan on being involved with snowboarding for as long as possible in some shape or form. Ultimately it is the fact that I still have a lot I want to prove to myself in the sport before I could be truly content in my heart. Life is all about balance, the rhythm of life goes up and down yeah? Balancing it all, be it your work, your passions or simply spending time with your loved ones is something we are all trying to master, and this balancing act for me still remains a key player in keeping snowboarding super fresh and fun.


A Stale Fish in a spring time pipe at Mammoth Mountain – Photo by Sean Radich

Do you feel you have got the recognition for your riding ability during your career? Honestly, I’m most definitely a firm believer that you get back what you put into this life and at times I have to admit in my early sponsored days my work ethic wasn’t really up to scratch. In such a small industry you really have to be on the grind 24/7 selling yourself as a marketing tool, which seems to go against my nature, but it is something I have worked on over the years for sure.
Also the idea of making it on the international scene a few years back seemed a task of great magnitude, which may have also brought on some grandstanding of sorts. So yeah I guess I am super happy with the recognition I have received and feel at ease with the fact that people may know who I am and realise how much I love riding, and I only hope this shines through and inspires others in some way to keep chasing their dreams.

Looking back at your snowboarding career so far do you have any regrets from missed opportunities? Well I guess everyone has regrets in life right? It is how they are stored and/or cleared that truly affect us in the current moment and that is important to me. The opportunities I have been blessed with and the people I have met through the shred will always outweigh any negative thought patterns when it comes to chances I may have missed.

The last few seasons you have been a coach at The Camp in Japan what has coaching bought to your riding? Last year in Japan was epic, I had worked the two previous seasons for the same program, but we were then based in North Vancouver shredding both Seymour and Whistler. I feel that the key thing was the hours on snow, even on days when you normally wouldn’t leave the house due to crazy weather off we would go and shred for hours on end. The energy and innocence of youth can’t be denied, and also through teaching the art you become more of an art critic if that makes some sense, which in turn brings to light your own artworks and the room for improvement on that next jump, jib or blank powder canvas.

 

Is coaching something you want to move more into? Oh yeah for sure. I have been coaching skateboarding for years now and worked closely with South Sydney youth services in Redfern a couple years back providing coaching for programs they ran in the school holidays, taking disadvantaged yet highly talented kids on skate camps. It was through this, and my profile as a sponsored snowboarder, that opened doors with some guest coaching positions. I found it to be highly fulfilling whilst also being a great way to supplement the ‘income’ of being a pro shred here in Oz. Also with the support of one of my new sponsors ‘Go Natural’ we aim to bring awareness to kids that getting outside, exercising and eating healthy plays such an important role in a happy, fun filled life and my coaching gives me the platform on which to be a good role model.

Not being based in Japan coaching this northern hemisphere winter what trips do you have planned? I’m super excited about this northern winter, I’m stepping back from the coaching a bit and intend on working really hard on getting some good shots for my sponsors and the magazines. I’m also super keen to put together a well rounded video part as I think this is one of my strong points in today’s market, I want to be the best all round snowboarder I can possible be. With these things in mind it makes sense to head for the sunny parks, pipes and backcountry of California/ Nevada.

Any specific projects you will be working on or is it more about just riding and getting shots? No specific project as such, just super motivated to shred, film and will be going out of my way to try and meet up with the heads of some of the companies being distributed here in Oz that support my snowboarding. Nima and the Ashbury guys in L.A seem very approachable and super down to earth so meeting up with them is on the hit list, as well as Mr Travis Parker and the gang at Airblaster… as we all know how much fun that would be!

Snowboard crews are part and parcel of the snowboard world do you have a local snowboard crew? Yeah for sure, I believe that sharing life’s magic moments is as important as enjoying it for one self. Over the past few years they come and go but through being a part of the infamous Thredbo Massive rarely will a day go by when I’m not shredding with a homie as this crew truly runs deep ha ha ha. But of late the boys are getting busy with both Matty Wrobel’s and Jordan Merlino’s riding really stepping up to the next level and my boy Hasta is making a tonne of progress both in front of and behind the still camera lens. I guess one thing we all have in common is the pure love for snowboarding and a somewhat underground or laidback approach, and above all they do it for themselves, which is grounding and refreshing in a day and age ‘when who you are seen’ with and ‘what you look like’ can unfortunately take priority.

Who else is holding down that crew? My homie Webby, got sweet ass filming and editing skills as well as the odd double backflip or rodeo, Dyl Champion is always on his game, as is the man himself Gus St Leon! J.J has the eye for it and is shooting some amazing photos, Jai West is a force to be reckoned with and is just one of those naturally talented cats ya know? He is now involved in the industry repping 3 of the labels that sponsor me in DWD, Elm and Ashbury. It is a pleasure to know that people like him are still excited about the scene and understand the importance of smaller core labels in a flooded and sometimes exploited market.

As you will be coaching yourself this northern hemisphere what trick do you want to have taught yourself by the time you land back home? I’m not sure there is one particular trick, yet the lure of the double cork seems inviting. I’ve been working on both the backside and cab 10 double corks on park jumps, so yeah, that is definitely something I want into powder. I am also super keen to get back in the pipe as much as possible as I feel it helps a whole deal with edge control on jumps.


See kids you coach can skate. Bondi Bowl – Photo by Jonesy

Top 5 coaching tips for the grommets.

  1. Have FUN!
  2. Get back to basics and don’t rush, each trick steps into another, and that’s a fact.
  3. Watch others in the park, there is a lot to be said about imitation.
  4. Visualise the trick, if you can visualize it you are generally halfway there
  5. Did I mention Fun? If you are enjoying what you do, the progression will flow.

Top 5 What’s Hot & What’s Not

Hot

  1. Happiness
  2. Friends & family
  3. Meditation
  4. Tattoos
  5. Skateboarding

Not

  1. War – just doesn’t make sense really?
  2. Global warming – we can run, but can we hide?
  3. The price of fresh produce in Australia- enough said.
  4. Injuries- although part of the game.. still not cool.
  5. Not speaking the truth- no good comes of this.