Arrowtown pro snowboarder Jake Koia (left) really does live the dream.
Since the age of 16, he’s been criss-crossing the globe chasing the white stuff, perfecting his riding and being filmed in action.
His latest exploits are captured in Sandbox’s flick Now You Know which premieres at Revolver Bar tomorrow at 7pm. Queenstown rider Nick Brown also features in the film.
Beneath the glamour of being a pro rider, Koia, 25, insists there’s plenty of hard slog.
“People just don’t understand when they watch a snowboarding movie – three minutes takes me five months to film. It’s crazy,” Koia says.
A “normal day” involves getting out of bed at 3am and driving about three hours, off-loading his snowmobile – his latest cost $20,000 – and searching for worthy terrain.
Up to seven hours are then spent building a jump before the cameras start to roll.
“Filming is definitely hard work … but I love a finished product,” the powder devotee says.
During northern hemisphere winters Koia docks down in Vancouver but heads home from late May till November. While the local terrain doesn’t compare, it’s ideal for a little down time and to snag some fish if possible.
“If I ride on my days off then I would be so burned out,” Koia explains.
Despite being relatively unknown on his own turf, Koia’s been cashing cheques since becoming an Oakley-sponsored snow star at 15. His list of sponsors now also includes Red Bull, Flux Bindings, Grenade and Snow Park New Zealand.
Recently Koia nabbed a spot on the six-man YES snowboards team alongside revered veteran riders David Carrier Porcheron, Romain DeMarchi and JP Solberg.
“They’re riders I’ve watched all my career – and now I’m on the same team. It’s just a privilege … and there’s going to be lots I can learn from them.
“For those guys to take a Kiwi on board – it’s unheard of for sure. And I’ve had so many opportunities like that.”
Koia has recently been clocking up contest glory. In July, he and teammate – fellow Kiwi and Oakley-sponsored rider – Stef Zeestraten, dominated the Dew Hut Jam at Mt Buller, walking away with a hefty $12,000 prize purse.
And earlier this month Koia took out the Billabong Bro Down big air title at Snow Park, bumping him up to 18th place in the Ticket To Ride international snowboarding rankings. Not that Koia’s too concerned.
Riding freestyle back country, building his own kickers and being snapped pulling tricks is more his style.
“There’s something about the filming side that I’m really attracted to. It would be nice to win $100k if you win the TTR tour but that’s a long shot.
“I just choose what I want to do – and so far it’s working out exactly like I have wanted.”
His highlight so far?
“Getting to ride with so many big names and lots of riders that I have always looked up to, personally that’s been my coolest thing,” Koia says.
“Definitely not some cheesy contest result.”