In team sports, a rookie year is player’s first season playing professionally. But in snowboarding, how do you define a ‘rookie’? The definition is not black and white. If you’re paying attention, however, you know it when you see it. The three young riders nominated—Red Gerard, Severin Van Der Meer, and Jesse Paul—each had breakout seasons with standout parts in major video projects, one with contest results and achievements to note as well, and people took note, landing them with this coveted nomination. In the end, Jesse Paul took it home for the Midwest.
Before this season, the snowboarding community knew Jesse Paul was good. We’d seen his cat-like reflexes on Hood’s Palmer Glacer in the summer, in Working for the City 2 and the Impaler videos. But this was Jesse’s year to show everyone who was paying attention, and those that weren’t, just what he is capable of. With a nod from Bode Merrill, Salomon got behind him, and he spent his winter with Merrill and Jon Ray creating an undeniably ‘Rookie of the Year’ part.