Saturday, June 23, 2018     Volume: 19, Issue: 16

Santa Maria Sun / Athlete of the Week

The following article was posted on September 6th, 2017, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 18, Issue 27 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 18, Issue 27

Troy Hernandez


There’s no such thing as “snowboarding season” on the Central Coast. Sandboarding at the Guadalupe Dunes is the closest thing to the sport Allan Hancock College student Troy Hernandez has found. Hernandez, 23, lives in Nipomo, but his heart and soul reside on the slopes of Mammoth Mountain, he said.

This year, snowboarding season at Mammoth started in the winter and didn’t end until the middle of summer.

Troy Hernandez

“It lasted all the way until July. I’m praying to God for another great season next year,” Hernandez told the Sun.

A quote from Game of Thrones has become Hernandez’s mantra as he awaits snowboarding season to start again—“Winter is coming.”

“I got into snowboarding only out of whim,” Hernandez said. “I got invited to go to Utah with a good group of friends and borrowed someone’s board. I fell a lot at first, of course, but that didn’t stop me from loving it.”

Snowboarding at the Brian Head Ski Resort in Utah was Hernandez’s “maiden voyage.” Since then, he has boarded at destinations closer to home in California such as Big Bear Lake, Snow Valley Mountain Resort, and Mammoth Mountain.

Along with sandboarding at the dunes, Hernandez enjoys skateboarding around town when he’s home in snowless Nipomo.

“Skateboarding has really helped me when it comes to snowboarding, especially with balance,” he said. “It’s no substitute, but it sure helps a lot. Plus it’s just fun on its own.”

For Hernandez, skateboarding is actually more difficult than snowboarding.

“I feel like snowboarding is easier to get away with because you’re always going downhill,” Hernandez explained. “Skateboarding requires a lot more discipline in my opinion.”

One major similarity between the two sports is they both “require” you to fall, he said, at least if you want to get better.

“If you want to be good, you’re going to have to fall a lot,” he said. “It’s the only way you can improve. You have to be willing to risk falling rather than not try anything new.”

Another sport that Hernandez believes helped prepare him for snowboarding is football, he said.

“I’ve literally been playing football since I started walking. My dad put a football in my hands the second I could stand,” Hernandez said. “There’s a certain toughness you need in order to snowboard, and football gave me that.”

Hernandez played football all throughout high school. He compared falling off of a snowboard to the feeling of being tackled in football.

“Being used to football, I don’t mind crashing as much,” he said. “It’s almost therapeutic for me when I fall because I’m constantly learning what works and what doesn’t.”

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