In the premiere episode of the new series Urban Playground, presented by Toyota Tacoma, we meet up with Lindsey Jacobellis. She started snowboarding when she was only 11 years old; like a lot of kids, it was her brother who first introduced her to the sport. And the town she grew up in, Stratton, Vt., was a very friendly place for burgeoning boarders. Four years later, at the age of 15, she was invited to compete in the X Games, and has since gone on to become the winningest female in the event’s history. Not bad for a kid from the Green Mountain State.
But like all great athletes—and great competitors in general—Jacobellis is not content with the successes she’s already had, nor the sports she’s already conquered. Despite being a two-time Olympian—including bringing home the silver in 2006—she’s hungry for more, and not just in the world of snowboarding. Nowadays, Jacobellis likes to come off the mountain for a bit and tackle other things that she loves. And what better change of scenery from a snowy mountain than a beautiful, sunny beach?
Surf’s up, baby.
“It’s almost like riding powder,” says Jacobellis, who learned to surf when she was 19. She was at a point then where her notoriety was growing, and she was meeting a lot of athletes from other sports like skating and surfing. There was something about the notion of riding waves that really clicked with her—as did the idea of a moving west, to California. “I’m always in the cold,” she says of her thought process at the time. “I feel like I need to have that balance, so maybe I should…just try to be a little surfer babe.”
Watching Jacobellis ride, the terms “surfer” and “babe” both definitely seem to fit her well. Though she has definitely not abandoned that other type of boarding which made her a star (she won Gold at this year’s World Championship), she, is definitely enjoying the variety her new life has given her—and not just in terms of elevation level. “Just to have a few months out here of really fun surfing and great workouts really gets me really excited to return to snow.” She also believes that her surfing has a direct and positive impact on her snowboarding performance. “It kind of puts your body in a different state,” she says, citing how much upper body strength surfing helps you develop.
L.A. is quite a ways from Stratton, Vt., but the mountains are never far from Jacobellis’ mind. Each year, the time comes for her to abandon the sunny California shores and head back east. Back to the cold. Back to work. But Lindsey Jacobellis has found something that most athletes—and most people—only ever dream of finding: Balance, both on and off the board.