Photo by Matt Georges
What’s your favourite pet? Do you go curling often? Enjoy knitting? Do you own a butt plug? Your questions this month go to the one and only pro snowboarder from Tahiti, who also finished in 6th place at the last Olympics in Turin, Gary Zebrowski.
Hope your season is getting off to as good a start as ours. In 2004, you became halfpipe Junior World Champion, and won the 2005 halfpipe world cup final in Tandadalen (Sweden)! How did these wins compare to your adventures at the Olympics in Italy?
I think those two victories were a big part of my preparation for the Olympics, but it’s difficult to compare them. You always compete for yourself, of course, but in the Olympics you also get that other dimension where you do it for your country. It’s something that every sportsman wants to experience once, I think.
Bonjour Gary. I read in some interview that you’re kind of a mix of nationalities. Which are they? Do you have family all over the world, then?
I’m French, American and Tahitian. As you said, I do have family all over the world: in the Pacific, Tahiti my native island, in La Réunion in the Indian Ocean. My mum is from Colorado, then I’ve also got family in Montreal. And of course in France, where I’m based most of my time, in Les 2 Alpes, my favourite resort. Laters man!
I attended your contest once in Les Deux Alps, not as a competitor but as a spectator. Someone told me that you were from Tahiti then. So how is it that you came to be ripping on a snowboard? Did you surf before in Tahiti?
Cool, I hope you enjoyed it because last year was the last edition, no more this season! It was a great satisfaction for me to be able to involve my native island, my origins, in a sport that is so far away from it. There are not too many Tahitian people who would leave the island to go to some cold place to freeze his balls off. But that’s what I did and I have never regretted it. It demonstrates to a lot of Tahitian sportsmen that everything is possible when you really want it.
I never really surfed in Tahiti back in the days. I would go to the beach with my family but I only did bodyboarding. Now I surf, and I love it. I never miss an opportunity to surf!
Hey Gary! Is it ever hard to leave the tropical beaches to head for colder climates?
For me it didn’t feel too hard to leave the beach, Tahiti, the hot temperatures, coco trees and all that, to go into cold places. What is hard is when I’m there and it’s time to go back to France to start the season, and there’s no snow. It’s the worst feeling!
Hello Gary. What made you think about doing the Taravana Freestyle contest? And are you still doing it?
It’s pretty simple: when I arrived in Les 2 Alpes, the resort offered me a chance to launch an event. It was a great opportunity and a pretty natural thing for me to involve my original island, and to get it known in the snowboard world. And I was pretty sure that people would dig the beach atmosphere that I wanted to give. Everybody can feel on holiday before their holidays, isn’t it magic? But alas, everything comes to an end. I regret it but last year’s one was the last edition.
Salut Gary. You’re one of the rare black snowboarders that made it to the high level. You and Keir Dillon represent us proudly, so big up! Why do you think it’s so rare in our sport?
Thanks, ni**a! I think it’s all about the cold, man! Maybe we are generally more built for basketball or running ah ah!
What would you least want to miss: a perfectly shaped pipe in Les 2 Alpes, a waist-deep powder day or a 6ft offshore reefbreak in Tahiti?
That’s a good question! So to be honest, I think I would go for surfing. I would rest my snowboard, just for that day. I really got into surfing real bad, so if you offer me a great day of surfing, with 6ft offshore and glassy, there’s no discussion. Take your boardshorts and your wax, and let’s go for the barrels, dude!
Hey man, after seeing your interview on Onboard TV that Aymeric Tonin did, is there any revenge that you want to take? If so, dish the dirt on him here. Ha ha!. Stephane, Valence
Revenge is a dish best served cold… Don’t worry, Stephane. I will kick his ass sooner or later.