Ayumu Hirano seemed to come out of nowhere. Last year’s US Open was his first trip overseas, and when he and his brother Eiju showed up to Stratton not too many people knew who they were. It didn’t take long though. Watching a 12 year old poach men’s pipe finals, boosting out of the pipe higher than some of the actual competitors made jaws drop.
The 2011 US Open may have been the first time the world got to know Ayumu, but he’s been part of the Burton crew since he was 8 years old. In 2007, he caught the eye of the Burton Japan Team Manager at the Nippon Open and he’s been part of the team ever since.
Now 13, Ayumu continues on an upward trajectory – his winning run BS AIR, FS1080 CAB720, FS900, BS900 scored him the highest of Junior Jam history with a 98.41. In between popping bottles (don’t worry, it was apple cider) and playing video games, I got the chance to catch up with him quickly on his past season, his favorite candy, and what the future holds for a kid that’s much, much better than most of us…
A lot of people know you as the 13 year old Japanese kid who can boost 20ft out of the pipe, but you’re still pretty new to the limelight. Is this your first interview?
I had an interview with Transworld Japan and some other Japanese snowboard magazines, but this is my first global interview.
Transworld Japan 2009
So first things first. You just won the Junior Jam at the US Open with a 99.48, the highest score in Junior Jam history. Tell me a little bit about your winning run.
My run was a backside air, frontside 1080, cab 720, frontside 900, backside 900. I’m pretty happy with my best run.
2012 Burton US Open. Photo: Kosuke
I remember when I first met you at the US Open last year, I think you told me it was your first time out of the country. What was that like?
That was my first time out of Japan, so I was a little nervous. But people in America are very nice. It makes me happy.
When you’re back home in Japan do you spend most of your time at your home mountain? What’s a normal day on the mountain like for you?
I ride at Oguni resort in Yamagata. There’s a small pipe there and I ride with my brother Eiju.
Do you ever spend any time riding pow in Hokkaido?
I’ve been up to Hokkadio 4 or 5 times while shooting with Burton Japan in 2010.
Photos: Neil Hartman
What music is on your iPod right now?
What set up are you riding?
Protest 142, Custom Bindings, Supreme Boots, and Restricted Outerwear
The 2013 Protest is a new twin-shape kids camber board, available in August 2012.
What’s your favorite candy?
Who is your favorite snowboarder?
Kazu and Danny Davis.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
If I had the chance to compete in the Olympic games, that’d make me so happy.
Sushi, ramen or curry?
Sushi is the best food in the world.
Most kids your age are at home playing video games or getting dropped off at sports practice. What advice do you have for kids your age that dream of being a professional snowboarder?
If you want to go big, the most important thing is basic action and have fun. I always check my drop in action.
2012 Burton US Open Junior Jam.
Training in New Zealand 2011.
Ayumu skating with his brother Eiju.
Tags: us open