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Featured Rider: wjeong

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  • Featured Rider: wjeong

    The Featured Rider in this segment is wjeong. I had the pleasure of riding with Wendell the better part of 3 days at Shredfest V when he was serving as one of the mountain guides for the event. Nice guy, very skilled rider and an excellent guide. I trusted his judgment and run selections completely. Never had to look at a trail map when I was with his group except for figure out what parts of a resort we had hit. Wendell has skied the Tahoe area for a long time and knows many of the resorts in the area very well. If you get a chance to go to a Shredfest, spend a day in his group and you will be guaranteed to have a great day.

    SBOL: We know your real name is Wendell. Can you tell us a little bit about where you live in the San Francisco Bay Area? You recently retired – how are you enjoying retirement so far and what do you do to keep busy?

    I live in Castro Valley an unincorporated area close to the city of Hayward, Calif. I’m about 30 minutes from San Francisco. My retirement doesn’t seem so recent anymore. I’ve been retired for over 4 years now. I am really enjoying not working anymore. I didn’t miss work at all. It took no adjustment for me to get up in the morning and not have anything I had to do. I keep myself busy fishing, Kayaking, hiking, biking, and playing music. I play guitar, bass, and a little mandolin. I just recently purchased a baritone ukulele that caught my attention while browsing at a music store that had a big selection of ukes. Music takes a lot of practice so I now have plenty of time to play.

    SBOL: You have been a forum member since 2008 so you have been around the sport for a while now. How do you think skiboarding has changed since you have been involved with the sport? Where do you think skiboarding is headed in the future?

    I think the biggest change is the attitude of what is acceptable to ride. When I first started out, there was so much controversy as to what a real skiboard was. Many felt the Sub 100 length symmetrical board was the only true skiboard. I was glad to see the issue put to rest over the years. Now we have the choices of many lengths and widths in symmetrical and asymmetrical boards. I think anything new Jeff or Greco designs now will be accepted with open arms and judged by performance rather than some norm or it’s appearance. I see future skiboard design developing along side developments in skis and snowboards. We got the rocker and zero camber from the innovations in ski design. I think future changes to skis and snowboards will be incorporated into skiboard designs if Jeff or Greco find the changes also make skiboards work better.

    SBOL: How did you get into the sport of skiboarding? What keeps you involved in the sport?

    I was skiing at Boreal in the mid 90’s with my wife and son who was around 13 at the time. At the rental shop, they had a pair of Kneissl skiboards for rent. They were the same length as Big Feet. My son wanted to try them. He was an intermediate skier. Once he put these on, he did so much better that he could ski a black run with me. He skied that run over and over with perfect control. At lunch time, I decided to try them out myself while my son and wife were eating. After one run, I was hooked. I loved the skate feel and not using poles. I bought two pairs of Atomic Shortys when I found them at a ski shop when I got back to the bay area. What I also noticed when spent the day on skiboards is that my knees felt so much better. Skis used to really stressed my knees they are so much harder to turn. One problem with these early short skiboards though was that they were terrible in powder. That started me looking for anything longer and wider. That’s how I ended up skiing short skis in addition to skiboards. I will be skiing as long as physically can. I love being able to get out to do something fun when the weather is bad. Skiboarding forces me to stay in good physical shape.

    SBOL: You and jjue are friends - how long have you known jjue, how did you guys meet and what is the craziest thing jjue has talked you into while skiboarding?

    I met jjue on the forum. That was before I joined the forum on this site probably around 2006. I was skiing Head 94’s and Atomic 120’s at the time which I bought from Doc. When we found out that we lived pretty close each other, we decided to meet up for a day at Sugar Bowl. That started a great friendship. He was always buying something new and offering to let me try it. He introduced me to the Hagan which I loved skiing. I also skied his ALP and Rossi. We would meet up when we could. There’s no single thing that is crazy that I’ve done with him. Just following him is crazy as many who have followed him at Shredfest know. It’s really fun though. He really knows where the stashes of good snow are at all the resorts. I’ve followed him many times through off piste stuff and that really pushed my ability.

    SBOL: What are some of your favorite places to ride? If you had to pick one place, what is your favorite and why?

    My favorite skiing is tree skiing. I also like moguls, but I don’t have the stamina to ski them all day. I like mogul runs because of the challenge and that they are never crowded. I get a little bored just blasting down groomers. As far as local resorts go, I like Northstar the best. It doesn’t have the most challenging terrain, but I like the trees on the backside and Martis and how wind sheltered the resort is. There are always good moguls at Northstar. As far as out-of-state resorts, Whistler, Beaver Creek, Vail and Steamboat Springs are some of my favorites.

    SBOL: If you could only pick 2 skiboards to ride the rest of your life which boards would they be and why would you choose them?

    That’s an easy choice. The Sherpa and LE’s. I have 3 pairs of Sherpas and 2 pairs of LE’s. With these 2 boards, I never feel under gunned anymore regardless of the conditions. I used to love skiing my Hagans which are short skis. These 2 skiboards have me neglecting my Hagans. I didn’t ski the Hagans at all this year. I’ll get back on them next year. It’s always nice to revisit good friends.

    SBOL: Anyone who has ridden in your group at Shredfest knows you are a great mountain guide. Why do you go to Shredfest? What are the key things you pay attention to when being a Shredfest guide? What do you enjoy about being a guide?

    I really love the people I’ve met at Shredfest. That’s what keeps me going. It’s been so great to meet such good people. I really enjoyed meeting the young riders starting out and doing well in life. I’ve been to the UK to visit Valmorel. Without Shredfest, I would never have had the opportunity to do so. It has also been great to have the opportunity to meet Greco and Jeff. How often do you get to meet the owners of companies that make the products you like to use? They really listen to you if you have something to say about skiboards. I’m also really enjoying seeing more women participating in Shredfest. We have women that can really ride hard and fast. Being a guide is somewhat scary. I really have to pay attention to how well people can ski and how far ahead I am. I’m always afraid of getting someone in over their head or someone getting separated and lost. Fortunately, that hasn’t happened. Thanks to people like Slow and Craig, I’ve always had great help with the guiding.

    SBOL: You have shared some photos of you fishing and of your new travel trailer. Can you tell us about the things you enjoy doing in the offseason?

    I bike a lot. I have a mountain bike, but don’t use it much. I started road biking 3 years ago. It’s really helped my fitness and weight control. I bike as much as 80 miles in a week over 3 or 4 days. Biking is something I can enjoy doing by myself. I bike a lot in the Livermore wine country. I’ve just started to wine taste after my bike rides. There are over 60 wineries there. I have 2 kayaks. The first is an Ocean Kayak sit on top. The second is an 11 ft Hobie with the Mirage drive (pedals). I like to fish from the Hobie. I’ll also kayak 5 miles to the dam at my local reservoir to fish from the bank. I have a bass boat, but I seem to be using that less and less. Music is one of my greatest passions. I have 4 guitars, 3 basses, a mandolin and the new baritone uke. I have 3 guitar amps, and two bass amps. Unlike skiboards, this collection takes up a lot of space in my house. At Shredfest, Mrs. Sempai told me that Sempai had discovered one of my YouTube videos while surfing the internet. I had totally forgotten about them. I jam with friends twice a month. We’ve even done a few gigs. I’m not big on gigging as the practice it a lot of work. I also like to garden and grow vegetables. Lately, I’ve also been studying Spanish using Pimsleur Spanish lessons. I would like to learn what is now the most dominant language around us.

    SBOL: Can you share a few of your favorite winter sports photos with us?

    Wendell (on left), Marianne and their friend Fred at Beaver Creek, CO

    In pursuit of Peace, Harmony and Flow.....
    Think Like a Mountain

    Boards ridden, some owned: Sherpas, Spruce 120 "STS", Blunts, DS110 custom prototypes, Rockered Condors, Revolts, DLPs, Summit Custom 110s, Summit Marauders, Head 94s, Raptor prototypes, Osprey prototypes.

  • #2
    Awesome interview about a first class rider and gentleman.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

    Osprey, Sherpa, Custom Coda 120WT, Custom DS110, Condor (Green), Spliff

    Custom Twist Out duck foot bindings, Bombers (custom duck foot base plate and 3 pads), releasable S810ti on custom duck foot riser

    Nordica N3 NXT ski boots (best so far)

    Wife: 104 SII & 100 Blunt XL with S810ti bindings on custom "adjustable duck foot" risers

    Loaners: 125LE, 105 EMP, 101 KTP, 100 Blunt XL, 98 Slapdash, 88 Blunts


    • #3
      Wendell is one great guy! Loved reading your interview.
      64 CM Bigfoot’s
      100 CM '15 Blunt XL 2 pair
      110 CM Rockered Condors
      130 CM Spruce Osprey prototype


      • #4
        Very cool!
        2016 Spruce tuned Head Jr. Caddys - 131cm
        2013 Spruce "CTS" 120s
        2010 Spruce "Yellow/Red" 120s
        2018 Spruce "CTS" Crossbows - 115cm
        2016 RVL8 Spliffs - 109cm
        2008 RVL8 Revolt "City" - 105cm
        2017 RVL8 Sticky Icky Icky - 104cm
        2011 Defiance Blades - 101cm


        • #5
          Wendell and Marianne also opened up their home to everyone at Shredfest and hosted a couple of pot luck evenings. Very hospitable, generous people. Tracey and I had never met them before but the welcomed us in and made us feel right at home.
          Just these, nothing else !


          • #6
            Missed it

            Wendell, Great Interview!

            I'm sorry I missed it first time around!

            looking forward to seeing you Marianne and Fred at SF!


            ~ KTP ~ Revolts (mucho) ~ ALP/DLP ~ BCP ~ RC's ~ Blunt~ Blunt XL~ Spliff ~ Sticky ii~ Spruce LE /Osprey~ Crossbow ~ Bomber E2 Bindings / RVL8 Receptors
            ~ Full Tilt Boots

            ~ Your 1 ply guy

            Big or Small I Ride them All !