Industry Profile: Pro Snowboarder Gabe Taylor
13 Sep, 2011
Job Title: Professional Snowboarder/Dragon Ambassador/Creative Director for 2 of Mammoth’s Snowboarding videos/Writer
Employer: Artec Snowboards, Billabong, Dragon, Mammoth, Val Surf, 32, Etnies, HDX, Purl, Coal, Grenade,
Years on snow: 13
Days on snow: 150ish
Currently Riding: At Mammoth on a Gabe Taylor 151 and sometimes 155
Currently I am: Golfing and riding my bicycle. Looking forward to a surf trip in October. Mexico bound for a few weeks before winter.
Shay: Tell us a little bit about yourself
Gabe: I grew up in Encinitas and didn’t think much about snowboarding, or snow for that matter, until I spent some time in Colorado. Moved to Mammoth the next year (1998), and got addicted to snowboarding. Good things happened and a career no one could have foreseen was underway. I love my wife, family, snowboarding and surfing more than anything.
Shay: How has snowboarding changed your life?
Gabe: It has given me some of the most memorable experiences of my life. It’s crazy how passionate and obsessive compulsive you can become over something as silly as riding a piece of wood down some snow. But that’s exactly what snowboarding has done to me.
Shay: How did you get your start in the industry, who or what opened up more opportunities for you?
Gabe: Romey Thornton and Blaise Rosenthal had my back from the beginning and between the two of them have put me in the right situations for me to perform my best with the support I’ve needed. Working my way up the professional snowboarding ladder was a lot of being in the right place at the right time but it also had a lot to do with me making the most of the situations that I was given. Looking back there has been some pretty incredible decisions that effected me more than i would have ever thought, but I guess that’s how life works.
Shay: How has your previous education or work experience helped you in your current job?
Gabe: With snowboarding experience helps a lot with filming video parts and knowing how and when to get work done. As far as my work with Dragon and Mammoth, I think being in the industry for a bit has given me a good perspective on things. And I’ve been able to meet thousands of people, and much of business is simply creating lasting relationships with those that you are looking to do business with.
Photo: Kevin Westenbarger
Shay: Tell us about your role as a professional snowboarder and a description of the work you do?
Gabe: In the winter it’s all about filming and shooting photos, with a number of events thrown in where appearances and or contest results are required. I’ve learned that decision making plays a large roll in what I do, being in the right place at the right time. Amateur weather man is also a possible job description I could put down. trying to figure out which trips are going to produce material. Also knowing what days to take advantage of is huge. There are only so many days the weather/jump/crew/snow and timing align to even get a legit video clip or photo. So you have to take advantage of it, and realizing you’re in the midst of one of those days is both super exciting and a touch nerve racking. You don’t want to blow it.
Shay: What’s an average day like at work for you?
Gabe: Wake up at 5:45, drive to a spot, snowmobile or hike for an hour or two or three, build the jump, hit the jump, hopefully repeat, get back to the car at dark, go to sleep early so as to do it the next day. Super exciting.
Photo: Kevin Westenbarger
Shay: What are some memorable experiences from working in the industry?
Gabe: Japan on a pretty amazing team trip, Norway in June, watching our old distributors fall asleep at a strip club in Vegas (while getting lap dances), filming some pretty cool jumps/lines every year but more than anything being able to free ride a bit with friends early season.
Shay: What do you think are the biggest challenges that the snowboard industry faces and what changes would you like to see for the future?
Gabe: Like much of the world the snowboard industry is in a recession after blowing up throughout the 90′s. Finding a working balance seems very important, and difficult. I’d like to see all of my friends get sick jobs in the industry and be able to keep livin the dream!
Photo: Peter Morning
Shay: Education vs Experience…which do you think is more important?
Gabe: Educated experiences. I don’t know, different people react differently to both. I could go buy an expensive education and not get anything out of it, where as the guy sitting next to me in class could learn how to be the next Apple CEO. For me experiences are necessary where as an education is not. It is very important and helpful, but there are people changing the world without them.
Shay: What advice would you give to people wanting to work in the industry?
Gabe: Work hard and try not to burn too many bridges. The snowboard industry is very small and you never know who you’ll be coming into contact with in the future.
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