Ethan Morgan on Breaking Through

Published in Onboard Magazine Issue 119, January 2011

WORDS : Uli KÖhler

ETHAN MORGAN GREW UP IN VIRGINIA AND GERMANY, SHREDDING SINCE HE WAS A SEVEN YEAR-OLD. HE HAS SINCE BECOME ONE OF THE BEST GERMAN SNOWBOARDERS. hOWEVER, HIS NAME IS NOT (YET) A HOUSEHOLD TERM IN SNOWBOARDING, AND HIS CURRENT VIDEO PART WAS RELEASED ONLY ONLINE – LAST SEASON HE DID NOT FILM WITH ANY OF THE BIGGER CREWS. ABOUT TIME TO HAVE A CHAT WITH HIM ABOUT HIS PLANS TO MAKE IT BIG THIS WINTER!

Ethan Morgan
Ethan Morgan, Photo: Sami Tuoriniemi

Hey Ethan, you just released your ‘online video part’, which is rather unusual for a pro rider. What has been the response so far?

The stuff got posted on Transworld, Facebook, everywhere. You get a lot of comments, and I have been really happy about them so far. They have only been complaining about the editing. But that was my point of view – I did the editing. I take the blame for that [laughs]. Otherwise I think people were really stoked on it. It’s always cool for people. You have these shots and you don’t know what to do with them. You didn’t film for a production so what do you do with that? You might as well post it online where more than 8,000 people watch it. And 8,000 people watching it is probably the best thing that can happen.

You recently switched sponsors and now ride for Rome. What made you take that decision?

First of all, my main sponsor is Nike 6.0 Outerwear. I changed completely to them. That’s why I had to leave Forum boards; they don’t push riders only on boards and bindings. I contacted a few companies to see what they wanted and if they would want someone like me, and eventually I was pretty stoked about Rome. Rome’s got a really good name in the industry, a lot of kids in the US really like it, it’s got this rail rider image… I thought it is probably smarter to go for a good image than for big money or whatever. I was really stoked, and they are stoked that I ride for them!

You have been part of the German national team. How did that help your riding and your personality?

I’ve learnt a lot of things through them. Travelling with Christophe [Schmidt] and my coach David has been a great experience. I had so many good times with them, and I learnt a lot of lessons. At my age you learn a lot through experience. And I’ve got to say, over the last few years this has changed my personality, and of course my riding, too. Training with the best German pipe rider, Christophe, and with Xaver [Hoffmann] back in the days was really motivating, and it was a lot of fun. If you have fun riding with someone then you can learn a lot. We had good sessions, good times… it was only pipe riding, but through pipe riding my slopestyle riding has changed a lot as well.

Just the other day you told me you wanted to approach this season differently. What’s your plan of action?

This year I’m going to start off riding as many contests as possible, doing all the TTR stuff. I want to see if I can get a good placing in the TTR ranking and if I can push my name out there. I want to see if I can get my name higher up in the contest range. Then I will also start fi lming with Isenseven, this way I can push my name on a European level, too. With my video part I can show them what I’ve got.

How important do you think is the ttR for progressing as a rider?

I think the TTR is good. The thing with the FIS is, you have to be in the Olympics to push your name out there. But being in the Olympics is one thing, making top ten is another. That is something big, and that way you can push your name so far out there, but only doing the World Cup tour all the time doesn’t help that much. Doing the Dew Tour and the TTR tour helps way more. Maybe the TTR is a bit more mainstream than the Dew Tour. If you enter all the contests and do your best it will show and people start recognising your efforts. Maybe I win something this year, you never know, with a bit of luck… that would be cool. You just push it slowly through every contest. If you only fi lm a video part you can’t show exactly that you are a professional rider, always on point, all the time. If you do both, filming video parts and doing contests, it shows that you are a professional rider. If you’re good at it, of course. [laughs]

Will this lead to your breakthrough?

I think what it takes to make it is just to show in as many ways as possible how good you are at riding. I have to show it in video productions for all those people who don’t give a shit about contests. They watch only videos, they go through all of them and are like ‘oh that kid’s good, but that kid’s not good’. Then there are contests, because there are kids who are only into contests, and they check them all out… take the Air&Stlye for example,
kids just love to watch that. And fi nally you’ve got the Olympics, and 50-year-old mums who don’t have an idea about snowboarding but zap around and watch it on Eurosport… this widens the audience even more… The more all-round you go, the better is your visibility. Take other riders, even Shaun White did fi lm video parts, he did win a lot of contests, and through that he is now going big in Hollywood. And then you have people like Torstein Horgmo or Peetu [Piiroinen] who are out there because of the TTR, because of the Dew Tour, whatever, and you got people who make it because of the Olympics. You need to do a little bit of everything, but focus your energy on one thing, and this way you can make it big
out there.

Ethan rides for: Nike 6.0, Rome snowboards, Electric, Planet sports.

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