Kazu Kokubo was born on August 16, 1988, in Ishikari on Japan's northernmost main island of Hokkaido, a paradise for winter sports enthusiasts. Currently based in San Clemente, California, he competes with support from such sponsors as G-SHOCK, Monster Energy, Skullcandy, Oakley, Stonp, Armourdillo Belts, WEND Wax, Park City Mountain Resort, SHIFT Tuning and Shy Dental Lab.
"G-SHOCK is about style and being the best technically.
I pursue this same philosophy in my snowboarding."
-What led you to take up snowboarding?
I was just 4 years old when I told my dad I wanted to snowboard. They didn't have kids' boards in 1992, so he made me a board with ski boots and no edges. My dad would hike into the hills of Hokkaido with me on his shoulders and just let me go.
-What's special about your riding style that sets you apart?
I ride how I want to ride, not how others expect me to ride. Style is not something you create. There's no recipe for style. It's something that comes naturally. When I ride, I don't think about style. I just ride and let myself move naturally. Virtually anyone can learn the same tricks. The thing that sets one rider apart from another is how good the moves look. If I can't do something that looks good, I don't do it at all."
-What makes being a G-SHOCK brand ambassador special to you, especially with the 30th Anniversary coming up?
I've liked G-SHOCK since I was a kid. I consider it an honor to be a associated with a brand with so much tradition.
-What does G-SHOCK mean to you personally, and how does it fit into your daily life?
G-SHOCK is about style and being the best technically. I pursue this same philosophy in my snowboarding.
-G-SHOCK's design philosophy centers on the pursuit of “Absolute Toughness." What does this philosophy mean to you?
I just wish my body were as tough as my G-SHOCK.
-What are your goals for 2012 and beyond, and what challenges will you need to overcome to achieve them?
My goal is to continue to progress as a snowboarder and to raise awareness among other riders that there's no need to compromise style in pursuit of technical tricks.