Well, for once the news is not of riders being dropped from the Burton snowboard team but of riders being kept on. Two of the brand’s longest-serving pros, Mikey Rencz and Kazuhiro ‘Kazu’ Kokobu, have just announced that the ink is drying on a pair of fresh deals. Here’s what Kazu had to say:
When my recent contract with Burton was up, I had a lot of choices as far as sponsors go. But I wanted to stay with Burton because they are so dedicated to snowboarding and their team riders, along with making the best product and supporting the sport. All of these things are very important to me.
What with his sky-high profile back home in Japan, and the media attention he gained at the Olympic Games in Vancouver for both his riding and his anti-establishment antics, it’s not really surprising that Jake decided to tie Kazu down to a new contract. It’s a little more surprising to hear that Rencz, who hasn’t really made a splash internationally since the 2004 film Promo Copy, is deemed essential to the team. I guess at the sharp end of snowboarding politics, it all comes down to a simple equation of wages vs local profile. So whereas Romain de Marchi probably cost a fortune and Burton perhaps felt they had enough superstar Euros to fill the gap, Mikey is most likely a little less expensive and ticks the box for Canadian riders nicely (in fact he scored a cover on Snowboard Canada this year). And to be fair, he’s still a damned good rider in his own right – just check out this part from Transworld’s Get Real:
And if that’s whetted your appetite for a little Kazu action, you can check out some of the skills that earned him his new deal here…