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.
I’m from Ishikari, Hokkaido, Japan
I grew up riding in and around Sapporo at all the mountains.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.
I live in two places: Chitose, Hokkaido and also San Clemente, California.
Current mountain at home
Anywhere in Hokkaido.
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.
Inspirations outside of snowboarding
Younger rider to watch
Longevity in snowboarding
Designing product with adidas
adidas lets me give feedback, and they listen to my ideas.
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.
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.
Pants: adidas Major Stretchin It, medium
They’re comfortable and not tight.
Jacket: adidas Major Stretchin It, medium
Source: TransWorld SNOWBoarding