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Grace & Grit Photos by Gabe L’Heureux

Shaun White Wins America's 100th Gold and Curates Rare Event

“Competition is a chance to access a deep part of yourself that is going to achieve something you never thought you could do. It changes ‘I want to’ into ‘I have to.’”

Shaun White, record breaking gold medalist and former Rancho Santa fe Resident, recently produced another majestic moment in history. Known for his robust agility, fluid style and Spartan spirit, Shaun curated his latest event at Expo Park in Los Angeles to inspire the next generation. ‘Air + Style’ is an amalgamation of Shauns passions designed to encourage millennials to find their own style in sports, fashion and music.

The event originated in Austria and progressed to Beijing before changing course in 2015 where Shaun influenced a new location. He designed a 16-story, snow covered jump at The Rose Bowl in Pasadena, carving a spot in event history. It has since moved to downtown L.A. and is ever evolving. This year, Snowboard Street Style and Skateboard DIY Park, 20 bands and two stages were added. The event will also expand to Sydney Australia (Aug 3-5th) and Beijing later this year.

Shaun is a San Diego native who grew up in Del Mar and Carlsbad eventually moving to Rancho Santa Fe. He discovered his passion for snowboarding at an early age. Tony Hawk noticed Shaun’s natural ability when he was just nine years old and recognized the isolation from his peers due to his skill level.

Tony had endured a similar experience and began sharing his distilled knowledge with Shaun preparing him for the next chapter. With Tony’s encouragement, Shaun honed a seamless style that propelled him lightyears ahead of his older peers. He turned pro at 13 which spawned an avalanche of success to follow.

Shaun solidified gold in the 2006 and 2010 Olympics. With his first attempt in Vancouver, Shaun achieved a 46.8 on his first run, which proved a high enough score to secure the gold medal without a second run. The final run he chose captivated the crowd and revealed the core of his character. Shaun aced one of the most dangerous tricks in snowboarding, the Double Mctwist 1260, a combination of three twists and two flips completed in one jump.

The experience activated his love of blurring the line between possible and impossible. Shaun continued to grow and his rapid progression pushed snowboarding into another realm. Shaun has won a total of three Olympic gold medals and is the only athlete at the Winter X Games to score a perfect 100 in the men's Snowboard Superpipe. He also has been listed in Forbes magazine as a ‘Top 30 under 30,’ and donated his time to the Make-a-Wish Foundation, St Jude’s and Boys and Girls Club.

Shaun is a serial entrepreneur who took a major stake in the ‘Air + Style’. The 16 story jump was such a hit, it galvanized a spot in the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea as an official competition along with the Halfpipe and Slopestyle. ‘Big Air” is now an Olympic competition that gives the athletes a chance to reach enormous heights.

The jump was not the only supernova at the 2018 Winter Olympics, Shaun also reached soaring heights of his own. His final run proved another first in Olympic history, 1st American male to win three golds which was a personal triumph for Shaun. Prior to his final run for the gold, he looked certain to cement second place.

Shaun approached his final run with enough pressure to create a diamond. He had to score over 97 to win gold. He also had waited four years to overcome his loss at Sochi in 2014. “It was a big internal battle of these feelings but you gotta overcome them,” Shaun insisted.

Ultimately, the real comeback for Shaun was attempting the same trick he missed in New Zealand earlier this year which ended in a pool of blood and 62 stitches. As Shaun approached the top of the ski lift, his inner dialogue casted some doubt. He flew down the halfpipe with residue from his recent injury eclipsing his confidence. Shaun noticed the flags at the top of the halfpipe were calm, indicating low wind renewing his determination.

Shaun launched into a stunning symphony of tricks he’d never conquered before in a sequence. His final run scored 97 points winning the 100th gold medal for America becoming his proudest moment to date. “I was crippled with overwhelming joy and happiness,” he said.

Immediately after the 2018 Olympics, Shaun produced the latest ‘Air + Style.’ His vision for this event is to reflect his versatility and to transform the sport by inspiring fans to look beyond snowboarding as spectators. “It’s like Coachella meets X-Games” he said passionately. “Kids under 10 get in for free so they can become inspired and learn to ride. It’s a great experience you can have with the family.“

The learning stations drew in an eclectic mix of young minds eager to try snowboarding, skateboarding, art and music. Girls dressed in sequins endured helmet hair to explore riding while other kids rocked out to ‘Cream’ playing over the vert ramp speakers.

“Snowboarding is a part of my life but it's definitely not all that I am,“ said Shaun in a profound interview conducted by Tom Bilyeu. “I feel like my thing that I would leave is that I really didn’t see the boundaries of what you should and shouldn’t do. I did the road less traveled. I did the things that people said couldn’t be done.”

“If I can inspire that for the next generation, that’s pretty amazing,” said Shaun humbly. We suspect Air+Style has already spawned future athletes and visionaries. Kudo’s Shaun, your hometown locals couldn’t be prouder of your resilience and magnanimous spirit.

Quotes are credited to the following in alphabetical order; Air + Style Channel, ‘Under 30 Summit’ by Forbes, ‘Impact Theory’ by Tom Bilyeu, ‘Legends Live On’ by The Olympics Channel, ‘On Air’ with Ryan Seacrest, Time and The Today Show.

Shaun White curating Air and Style for the next generation to become inspired by extreme sports, fashion and music

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