Moving the needle on the international snowboard scene these days is tough -- and coming from the UK doesn't exactly heap advantage on a rider trying to make it. When we threw up a quick video of Brit ripper Billy Morgan stomping the first-ever triple backside rodeo at Keystone, Colo. last week, we knew it'd inspire a lot of "Who?" comments. We tracked the man down to find out who he is and what we should expect from him this season and beyond.
"I think he is blown away that he is actually the first snowboarder to do a triple backside rodeo," says fellow Brit/multi-Winter X slopestyle gold winner, Jenny Jones. "All his mates back home are stoked and there is a definite buzz amongst British riders. Billy isn't just a one trick wonder -- this boy can snowboard. Although, as Billy would point out, not quite up there with the international big guns in contests yet. I think he totally has the potential and the enthusiasm. For a young lad coming from dry-slope in the UK I think the boy done good!"
ESPN: So what, exactly, is the trick you are stomping in this video? Looks like a rodeo, but some people have been calling it an underflip.
Billy Morgan: I'm pretty sure it's a triple rodeo as I put an extra rotation in my double heelside rodeo.
What other tricks would you compare it to re: difficulty and approach?
I'm guessing a triple frontside/cab underflip would be in the same category.
What's the most important trick to have in your bag before stepping to this?
Definitely double rodeos.
To your knowledge, is this the first time this trick has been landed?
I wasn't sure if I was the first until lots of industry names started claiming it. I had a search on YouTube and couldn't find any snowboarders who had done one, just skiers. There's been a handful of triple corks that have gone down which I think are a fair bit harder and more technical. I don't know why it hadn't been done before...
From a U.S. perspective, it kind of feels like you came "out of nowhere." What's your story?
I started snowboarding in Southampton, UK on a dendix dry-slope. A friend, Luke Paul, had done a few seasons in Avoriaz, France so I decided to head out. I loved it so much I went back for two more. Last season, I came out to Tahoe/ NorthStar to hit the awesome U.S. parks. After going to the British Championships in 2009 and 2010, winning Big Air and picking up some sponsors, I realized I had some potential and started taking things more seriously. I have recently been hooked up by Quiksilver, Ride and Monster which is helping me travel and progress. I joined the British team at the beginning of this season to get a more structured training program which brought me to Colorado. It's been super fun moving around and getting to experience more.
How do you plan to capitalize on your newfound "fame" from this triple video?
I haven't really had time to think about it -- it's all been a little too much. I'm not used to people really taking any notice. I still have a long way to go to compete with the big names out there but am hoping to put in the training I need to get up there.
What are your competitive plans for the season?
I've been kind of playing it as it comes as it all depends on the rankings and points I need to get into competitions. As I haven't been on the circuit much it's hard to get the invites... The next on my list is O'Neill Evolution which will be my first major competition.
What's more natural to you, big air contests or slopestyle?
I guess I've been more of a Big Air rider as I have had some big tricks, but as I've been riding I've picked up some more to put in my bag. Hopefully, with more training, I will have enough to put a good slopestyle run together and get to some bigger competitions.
What makes British shredders special?
There is always a super chill, fun and friendly environment when riding back home. Everyone rides together and gets along. It's awesome to see all the amazing riders that the UK produces with what we're given. The British scene is pretty small... It's based around the snow-domes and a handful of good dry-slopes but, without getting abroad to ride the real thing, the UK restricts riders. It's the guys that get out and do seasons that have the real chance to excel.