Watch: A Surf Edit From A Professional Snowboarder That Will Make You Curse Your Genes
Brock Crouch is his own species.
On April 22, 2018, Brock Crouch almost died.
He was in the Canadian backcountry, doing his job — filming for a snowboard movie — and got caught in an avalanche. Brock was buried by snow for six minutes. He ruptured his pancreas, broke his L1, L2, T12 vertebrae, and sustained a concussion.
“I compared it to being in the whitewash surfing, it was just like that for the next… it felt like the next five minutes,” he said in an interview shortly after the incident. Imagine that.
Luckily, Brock made it — he attributes his survival to the amalgamation of a few lucky things, including the swift action of a helicopter pilot named Josh and a protective metal bar in his backpack. These days, Brock’s main focus is chasing results in events like the Dew Tour. Unlike the rest of the competitors, he’s also dropping surf edits like this.
Brock’s the first person we’d ever heard of who has separate contracts to surf and snowboard. In the snow world, he’s got giants like Burton and Red Bull in his corner. And in surfing, well, he’s at least got something cooking.
“I recently signed a deal with Salty Crew. It’s not even close to what I’m doing with my snowboarding stuff, but I get some budget for surf trips and stuff in the summer. I also get some surf travel budget from Dragon and flowed some stuff. I feel so fortunate to be in the position that I’m in.”
Brock plans on taking an Indo boat trip this summer. Eventually, his goal is to make a movie traveling with two board bags.
Until then, let’s get familiar.
Tell us a bit about your upbringing.
I was born in San Diego and I’ve been snowboarding since I was about 3 years old and competing since I was 5, but I didn’t really surf until I was 12 or 13. I was kind of scared of the ocean but, eventually, I got some sketchy board and it started clicking so fast. I was on a shortboard within a few months. Then I started doing amateur surf comps, watching guys like Griffin Colapinto and Jake Marshall go HAM while I was just trying to make a few heats. I won a Surfing America Prime event and had a couple of other results but nothing crazy. Mostly, I think it just helped my snowboarding competitive mindset.
Do you feel like there’s a good bit of crossover between the two?
I think riding powder feels similar to surfing, for sure. On a deep pow day, you’re floating on snow, surfing the earth. To me, it feels like the exact same thing as when you’re on a wave at a nice clean pointbreak. I just want to keep experiencing that until the day I die.
And how about airs?
I was super into gymnastics and air awareness growing up. In snowboarding, you really need to get the snap in order to spin a lot. I think that translates a little. But I also think it’s cool that surfing isn’t all about how much you rotate. I’d love to see people get more creative — there’s plenty of room to try different grabs and stuff like that. I have no idea how guys like Gabriel and Italo get so much speed and pop, though. And, even though I snowboard, I’m not too down on Kai Lenny’s strapped-in airs.
How do you feel about wave pools in surfing?
I’ve been to a few and it’s insane how many reps you get. That’s the quickest way to progress really fast and learn new things. I think that alone will have a big impact on surfing. But then again, it’s in a pool. I think it’s cool that you still need to figure out how to make it happen in the ocean.
Do you pull inspiration from surfers?
For sure. I don’t know how you couldn’t be into Mason Ho’s surfing. I hang with Mark McMorris and Coco a bunch, so I’ve been getting to know Mason a bit which has been incredible. I like watching Eithan Osborne and Griffin Colapinto, too. And like everyone else, I’ve always loved Dane Reynolds’ stuff.
How about CT events — you watch those?
Oh yeah. I’m in fantasy leagues where money’s getting thrown around. I even watched the Challenger Series a bunch this past year.
What are some of the biggest similarities and differences between snow and surf culture?
They’re similar for sure. In snowboarding, there’s about 90 of us going from contest to contest. Then you have the side where kids are just filming, raging, kinda talking shit on all the contest kids. I get the vibe that it’s similar in surfing — some people are on the WSL with huge sponsors and all that, and then there’s the complete opposite side with free surfers.
All up, snowboarding feels like more of a community though. It seems like there are more rivalries and shit in surfing. For example, in snow, we’re all going to be riding together for fun at the end of the season — it’s almost like if you got all the top surfers went on a boat trip together right after the CT finished. I think surfing could use more of that.
When you’re on a surf trip, do you take it seriously and try to perform your best or just kick back and enjoy it?
It’s more relaxing. I try to have as much fun as possible. I got in a crazy avalanche when I was 18 and was buried for six minutes. I almost lost my life. So, ever since then, I’ve been trying to live every day to the fullest. When I’m on a surf trip, I just try to be in the water as much as I can. I’ll surf three or four times a day. I’ve been on trips with filmers who are like, “Dude, you surf way too much.” And I’m like, “I’m just here to have fun. Thanks for trying to get a few clips of me, but you don’t have to film every session.” [Laughs]
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