Industry Profile: O-matic Co-owner & Professional Snowboarder Todd Richards
16 Sep, 2008
Industry Profile: O-matic Co-Owner, Team Manager, Professional Snowboarder, Janitor, Receptionist, and Marketing Director Todd Richards
Todd: Well I’m 38 years old, have two kids and live in Encinitas, California. I have been riding snowboards for a living for a hair under 20 years (09 will be my 20 year mark) and co own a snowboard company called O-matic.
Shay: What is your job title?
Todd: My job title? Hmmm, that’s a good one. I guess brand direction, team mis-management, cheerleader, art director, gross youtube video finder, etc.
Shay: Did your parents question your job choice?
Todd: You know they more questioned my life choices. At that point in the sports evolution there was not anyone that was really making a solid living snowboarding. It really was not until I started getting enough money to sustain life without the help of the parental unit that they kind of got off my back and realized it was something that I could do and survive. They didn’t see it as a job until I was making decent money.
Shay: What was your first set up?
Todd: Oh, good one. Flight comp-rocket 165.
Shay: What is your current set up?
Todd: I am going between the 156 Awesome, and the 154 Extr-emo.
Shay: What was your first job?
Todd: I was a dishwasher at this little restaurant in my home town, I lasted exactly half a night.
Shay: What’s a great day of snowboarding to you?
Todd: These days, it’s waking up in my own bed in Breckenridge. Coffee at clints, maybe a fresh 6 inches on top of soft snow, then 3 or 4 hours in Park Lane on Peak 8.
Shay: Who are your influences?
Todd: Well I really look up to Bob Mcknight the CEO of Quiksilver, he has done it right. Bob is a great business man, and still finds time to surf exotic locations. I would love to do the same in the snow world.
Shay: How long have you been snowboarding?
Todd: I have been snowboarding since 1985, my sophomore year in high school.
Shay: It’s been a long successful career in snowboarding, what do you feel has helped you last in this industry so far?
Todd: Being humble, and never burning bridges. Also really taking care of my body and riding smart. Scoping landings and taking calculated risks instead of fucking diving in with both hands behind my back.
Shay: How many days do you get to ride a year?
Todd: Not enough, I would say 120 or so…give er take.
Shay: What’s your trick of choice?
Todd: These days I really love to do back 7’s. Favorite trick is a mute Japanish back 7. Feels so good and when they are done off a big jump they can be so slow and controlled.
Shay: How is working with your sponsors?
Todd: Amazing, I have a great relationship with all the people that I represent.
Shay: What is your favorite mountain to ride?
Todd: A toss up between Breckenridge and Northstar.
Shay: Is being pro more about talent or hard work?
Todd: A combo of both and don’t forget passion, passion is what keeps you motivated. I always had to work for it. Some things came naturally but a lot of it I had to really work it out and try hard over and over.
Shay: What are your thoughts on pro hoes?
Todd: Guys and girls get stoked on people who excel at sports, what can you say? More of a self-esteem thing I think. Do you think that Tiger Woods has pro hoe’s? They are probably all men in their 40’s.
Shay: Do you find it’s harder for kids to become pro than in the past?
Todd: Yes, because most kids have the tricks now. It really takes something special to get kids to want to emulate the way you dress and the tricks you do. That’s why there are only probably 6 to 8 pros in the entire industry that their names actually move product.
Shay: How do you keep snowboarding cool?
Todd: By not wondering how to keep it cool.
Shay: What made you create your autobiography P3?
Todd: It was actually someone else’s idea. I never thought my story would be all that entertaining. The best thing about doing that whole book was that kids would tell me that they have never read a whole book in their lives couldn’t put mine down. That made me feel like I actually made a difference. Getting a kid to read is kind of a better feeling than getting a kid to wear your signature beanie.
Shay: What is your favorite story from P3?
Todd: Well, I guess the one that has been told the most is me shitting my pants at A-Basin. That’s always a good one around the ole campfire.
Shay: Any plans for another P3 book since the last one left off?
Todd: Who knows, I am in the process of doing my movie version based loosely off the books stories. The director that did Tara Dakides movie is doing mine. Hers was the drama, mine is the comedy.
Shay: What is your favorite product you have stamped your name on?
Todd: Hmmm, it would have to be my first pro model from Morrow back in 94. I worked so hard for that.
Shay: How do you see the industry different as a co-owner than when you were a professional snowboarder?
Todd: Seeing as how I am still doing both, they go hand in hand. It’s actually easier to make team decisions and make marketing choices being so directly involved with the industry still.
Shay: What’s the story behind the motto for O-matic Snowboards, “handcrafted by expensive machines”?
Todd: It’s supposed to be funny. Very future-based. Kind of what the future seemed to people in the 50’s.
Shay: What influence do you see yourself having on snowboarding?
Todd: Man I don’t know, maybe hard work and dedication to something you love. Longevity? Never have been good at tooting my own horn.
Shay: What was it like to co-commentate with Willie McMillion at Quiksilver’s Natural Selection?
Todd: Have you ever had that dream where you go back to high school and you totally forgot to wear clothes? Kind of like that…but real.
Shay: Is it difficult being a commentator or host for contests?
Todd: Nah, I’m going to run my mouth anyhow might as well get paid to do it.
Shay: What do you feel is your most earned win in a contest and why?
Todd: Hmm, I don’t know they are all just who did what in the judges eyes. I think I’m the most proud of my 2nd place in the 2000 slopestyle at the Mt. Snow X Games. I worked hard for that one, really went out and put my mind to a task.
Shay: What’s a typical day in your life?
Todd: Wake up with the kids, make them breakfast, check the surf cams, go and get a coffee, then head out into the water for an hour or so. Head into work and see what needs to be taken care of. Go home around 3 or 4, take the kids to the beach or my son to go skate, then dinner at 6, then bath time, then bedtime.
Todd: We are actually going to make this one a real event. Doing a few here and there. The whole premise of the contest is to make fun of yourself and to laugh until milk shoots out of your nose.
Morrow – Billy Anderson going to jail in Japan.
Rossignol – Going to the Forum premier in Anse France with the whole Rossi team and having to run and hide from the police because JF destroyed everything.
O-matic – The first time I saw a board on the hill that I didn’t actually give to someone.
Todd: I went to school for graphic design for a couple years (whole education was replaced by 4 keystrokes in illustrator) and just being in the industry and having the warewithall for doing things the right way.
Shay: What’s the best perk you’ve gotten from your job?
Shay: Any disadvantages of your job?
Todd: The constant travel. After 20 years of living out of a duffel bag it can get a bit taxing on the old cerebellum. Having kids that get on the phone and tell you to come home because you are gone too much is rough.
Shay: Since you started in the snowboard industry, what’s been the biggest change?
Todd: The way the whole sport has been judged by outside media and industry. I still can’t believe we have riders sponsored by department stores and deodorant companies.
Shay: What’s the busiest time of year for you?
Todd: I think that it’s probably Dec through Feb. Those are the contest months for me.
Todd: Experience for sure. There are a lot of successful business people in life with little to no formal education. It’s 80% hard work, 10% capitalization, and 10% luck.
Shay: What advice would you give to people wanting to become a professional snowboarder?
Todd: Don’t worry about the outcome, just concentrate on what it takes to get there.