Sebastien Toutant aka “Seb Toots” is a snowboarding phenomenon and one of the top names to watch for in the competitive circuit. The 19-year-old snowboarder hailing from Montreal, Canada has been on the scene for several years now, basically growning up within the professional athlete lifestyle. Back in 2011, Seb grabbed the entire action sports industry’s full, undivided attention when he posted a 97 during the Winter X Games Slopestyle competition. Not only did he become the first rookie to win the discipline since Travis Rice in 2002, but earned the highest score ever awarded in Winter X Games slopestyle history! Since then, he has gone on to take Silver at the European Winter X Games and Bronze in this year’s Big Air competition at the 2012 X Games in Aspen.
Toutant took the experience of participating in the games to the web through the revolutionary online series dubbed The O’Neill Experience. Fans were invited to tag along with Seb as he journeyed through this year’s X Games in Aspen. Camera crews documented the young athlete’s thoughts, off-slope activities and on-slope performances for the entire world to experience.
Needless to say, there’s a lot to be stoked about when it comes to Seb Toots and his exploits in the professional snowboarding realm. He’s one of the leading members of the next generation of elite action sports athletes. In a short time, he has accomplished more and progressed the sport further than many of his predecessors have in their entire careers. We got a chance to catch up with Seb in between competitions to talk about his professional snowboarder lifestyle.
The Ski Channel: You’ve been competing in pro-level snowboarding competitions since you were 13. What’s it like growing up in the pro-athlete lifestyle?
Seb Toots: It’s really exciting to travel all over the world and meet a bunch of people. Everyday is a new challenge and adventure, so I love it and wouldn’t ask for a better lifestyle!
TSC: Athletes such as Tanner Hall have talked about the potential for kids to grow up too fast. Do you do anything special to stay a kid, or hold on to normalcy?
ST: Yes, when I’m home, I do everything that a normal kid does — like skating, video games and hang out with friends.
TSC: Were there times that you got wrapped into the scene and things got a little crazy?
ST: Sure, at 15 years old — that’s probably the time when the lifestyle got a little too crazy, but now I’m getting used to it.
TSC: When it comes to being a sponsored pro-athlete, you’ve got some of the raddest names in the game backing you up such as O’Neill and Red Bull. What kind of opportunities has being a part of these action sport families afforded you?
ST: Working with both O’Neill and Red Bull have allowed me to travel around the world and show fans what I can do on a snowboard.
It means a lot since O’Neill and Red Bull are two of my favorite companies and among the biggest names in action sports. When you are wearing O’Neill signature apparel or the Red Bull logo, you know it’s because you’re one of the best athletes out there, and that feels great.
TSC: Any specific past highlights or upcoming collaborations you are most excited about?
ST: Yeah, my signature Seb Toots jacket with O’Neill and my Red Bull helmet!
TSC: We caught a sneak peek at your new signature series at the O’Neill booth during this year’s SIA — what’s it like to design your own gear?
ST: It’s fun to work with the O’Neill team every year on a different jacket that has my name on it. I get to work with O’Neill designers on colors, technical features, fabrics and other different things I like, so it has a personal touch for sure. I’m stoked that my jacket gets better and better every year.
TSC: After breaking your ankle two years ago, you’ve talked about your unwavering passion for getting back on your board. Drawing upon these sentiments, what is your take on this past season’s many tragic injuries and losses among your peer athletes? What can the action sports community gain or take away from these losses?
ST: I think it’s really sad what happened this season. Firstly, it makes you understand how important it is to wear a helmet and the right protective gear. For both the community, and myself we need to make sure the courses and ramps are set up safely for the riders and we have more weather days. It’s also another reminder to live your life to the fullest, because you never know what could happen.
TSC: We’ve seen you shred in Big Air, Slopestyle and even on backyard urban features. What style or setting do you have the most fun riding in?
ST: They’re all really fun to ride; it just depends on my mood and the conditions. Some days, I just want to get some air, while others I prefer to land some cool tricks, you know?
TSC: What is your favorite discipline to compete in?
ST: Slopestyle, because you have to be creative and consistent through the whole run. It combines a bit of Big Air and technical tricks, so you have to be a well-rounded rider to be successful in Slopestyle.
TSC: How was your overall experience at the X Games in Aspen and in Tignes? How did they compare?
ST: Both were really good this year. I like Winter X Games in Aspen a little more because Aspen is a really fun place that has lots to offer outside of the X Games venue. I even got to go dog sledding this year, which was something new for me.
TSC: We all followed your journey thanks to The O’Neill Experience during this year’s X Games in Aspen, Colorado. What was it like to share your experience at the games with millions of online followers?
ST: I was stoked to show the world what I’m actually doing during a contest like X Games. The O’Neill Experience gave my fans and O’Neill social media followers a different perspective on the X Games experience, both on and off the mountain.
TSC: How did it feel to share the excitement of your Big Air victory? And how did it feel to share the disappointment of the Slopestyle loss?
ST: I was happy to be on the podium for Big Air, even if I didn’t do my Triple Cork. Maybe next year…
I was a little disappointed about the Slopestyle finish, because I rode really well and the score they gave me was a little low. But it was great to come back from that and have more success in Slopestyle later in the season at Dew Tour and the U.S. Open.
TSC: You’re still so young, yet you’ve already done so much to progress the sport of snowboarding. What is it like to hold veteran status?
ST: Hopefully I’m not a veteran yet, haha. But yeah, I’ve had a few years of competing and hopefully influencing younger riders, which is really cool. After last year’s Winter X Games gold and silver, people have begun recognizing me a lot more. I’m still getting used to that.
TSC: You were the 3rd person to stick a triple cork last spring — are you developing any new maneuvers or concentrating on nailing down anything specific?
ST: I want to learn different variations of triple cork in the future, and hopefully bring that out at an upcoming event. Our sport is constantly progressing, so you have to keep up and try new things if you want to impress your peers, fans and judges.
TSC: Any upcoming film projects you are stoked on?
ST: My own video that will be on my Web site (www.sebtoots.com) at the end of this summer. I’ll make sure to let you know when that comes out.
TSC: What are you main goals for your riding career going forward?
ST: Qualify for the 2014 Olympics and represent Canada!
- End of Interview
Shortly after this interview, Seb killed it in the Ride Shakedown competition to take this year’s title. Check out the action in the video below:
Photography provided courtesy of O’Neill Snow