By Nathan Mayberg
BRIDGEVILLE July 30, 2004 Rock Hill snowboarder Kyle Sullivan received a helping hand in his quest to compete nationally when he was recently signed by Defiant Distribution.
The company will create a custom snowboard for Sullivans use based on his own design. Sullivan said the company will then put the snowboard on the market.
In addition, the company will provide him with clothes from its own line.
The 22-year-old Sullivan won nearly all of the snowboarding competitions at Holiday Mountain two years ago. He has also won a number of events in Alaska for his jumping ability and rail-riding skills.
This winter, he will compete with the U.S. Amateur Snowboarding Association in the Catskill Mountain Series competitions. The competitions will take place at such mountains as Hunter and Ski Windham. Sullivan will compete in the big/air slope style division, which is a combination of jumps and rails. The winner will move on to nationals.
In addition, Sullivan plans to compete elsewhere, including at a large competition in Mountain Creek, New Jersey.
Although he was born in Port Jervis, Sullivan spent most of his life in Alaska. He still prefers Alaska, although his present home has allowed him visibility he does not believe he would gain otherwise.
He calls Alaska a beautiful place.
It is also more laid back, Sullivan said.
One drawback, however, is that you are in the middle of nowhere.
There is more opportunity here, he said.
He began snowboarding at the age of 9, learning his craft from a friend who went on to become a famous snowboarder himself. Sullivan is now an international boarder for K2, an acclaimed snowboard company. He makes videos with them, specializing in rail boarding.
Sullivan started competing seriously at the age of 17. The farthest he has gone off a jump was 80 feet off a 20-ft. high jump at a competition in Alaska.
Since signing with Defiant, he has been a salesman for them on the East Coast. Sullivan has been traveling the Northeast, promoting his company.
When the company builds his customized board, Sullivan noted that it will have a tip-tail, like a diving board to allow him to jump higher. The board will be made out of poplar core wood, and tri-axle laminate fiberglass to hold the wood to the base. Cap construction should support his board more during landings.
If he continues to improve, Sullivan could be signed by the company to perform at trade shows.
So what is Sullivans ultimate goal?
To do well enough this year to get my name out there, and get recognized as a competitive snowboarder and hopefully make it to nationals, he said.
Although the Olympics would be his dream come true, Sullivan said the games do not offer medals for jumping.