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- January 10, 2013
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 26-year old Japanese transition-slayer has been making power moves every winter. He’s stood on the podium at every contest—X Games, NZ Open, 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 as long as he’s been competitive he’s been working overtime, filming video parts, most recently closing out the Capita team movie. 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.