[Marcus Kleveland on his way to winning the first contest of the season down under. Photo: Graham Murray/Red Bull Content Pool.]
Voted into second place in the Men's category of our European Rider of the Year Awards is the kid from Norway who effortlessly pulls off mind-bending tricks you'd struggle to put down in a video game...
“Without doubt the most technical rider in the world at the moment"
– Sven Thorgren
The legendary Manchester United manager, Sir Matt Busby, had a famous quote that can still be seen on the dressing room wall today: “If you’re good enough, you’re old enough."
Nowhere in snowboarding does that apply more than the case of 18-year-old Norwegian Marcus Kleveland, who finds himself at number two on this overall list, having dominated our Rookie category already.
“He's riding way beyond his age and is up there with all the biggest names," explains Nico Pfabe from Blue Tomato, “I love that he keeps getting inventive on regular days between contests and doesn’t just practice triples that he’s got on lock anyways."
Ah yes, creativity. Marcus is blessed with the kind of board control that most of us can only dream of. Like Messi with a football or John John Florence with a thruster, Kleveland’s snowboard is an extension of his body that he can manipulate at will. Knuckles, rails, tranny finders or money booters: this boy genius from the small village of Dombås does extraordinary things almost every time he straps in. If you’re even the slightest bit interested in seeing snowboarding’s creative boundaries explored, then following his regular Instagram posts is mandatory.
“Yes, he’s won heaps of prestigious events and landed a quad cork, but Marcus is also progressing the sport in a different direction," explains Austrian rider Benny Wetscher. “That back 7 Melon brought back to 540 was insane – super technical, yet playful and inventive. I really like that. Progression doesn’t have to mean adding another 180 or cork."
Amen to that. In an era when contest kids regularly get accused of killing the sport through ‘gymnastiboarding’, Kleveland proves it’s possible to marry computer-game tricks with improvised soul shredding – and gives us a glimpse of the future in the process.