Kazuhiro Kokubo

JapanJapan

With a stunning halfpipe victory in the Nippon Open at the tender age of 15, Kazu Kokubo launched his meteoric rise to snowboarding stardom. Since then, the 22-year old Japanese transition killer has been making power moves every winter. Last season he stood on the podium in every contest he entered—XGames, NZ Open, and he topped off the year with a victory at the prestigious US Open. In an age of spin-to-win pipe comps, Kazu comes with a stylish, fluid approach that sets his riding instantly apart from the sea of gymnastic huckers. Kazu also represented Japan in the Olympic halfpipe in Vancouver, landing a respectable 8th place. For most riders, the rigors of the competition scene keep them busy and focused all season—not Kazu. For the past six years he’s been working overtime, filming parts with Standard Films and various Burton videos. After the contest circuit wraps up, Kazu gets into film mode. His explosive yet controlled pipe abilities transfer nicely into the parks and especially powder, showing that Kazu is not just motivated, he’s also versatile. With his signature pipe riding style, serious slopestyle skills, and fast-evolving abilities in the backcountry, Kazu Kokubo is basically the prototype for a new breed of do-it-all pro riders.

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