The Spirit of Snowboarding: Devun Walsh

Comments by Nate Deschenes/

Photo: Jussi Grznar

Photo: Jussi Grznar

To describe what this Canadian rider is to snowboarding might simply be summed up with this: Devun Walsh has been better than everybody else, longer than everybody else. As with some of our legends, injuries, obligations, and other pursuits often diminish their body of work. For Devun though, age has been a strange ally because he’s still going bigger than anyone almost twenty years after picking up his first sponsor.

See Also: The Spirit of Snowboarding – Tom Burt

If he isn’t attempting some ridiculous new flip, it’s only because with one tweak of a flawless backside 180 melon, Devun’s style will crush the dreams of any frivolous acrobats. Though massive airs and unflinching style may be his trademark, his pioneering pursuits in the Whistler backcountry are certainly a further reaching influence.

Not long ago, Walsh and a small group of riders took their snowmobiles as far as they could go into the wilderness outside Whistler, BC. Each year they opened up new terrain, and in the end, new possibilities through which the sport could evolve. In the chronicles of backcountry freestyle, Walsh was the first, and he will probably be the last.

“He’s like a snowboard guru. I think a lot of people have come up under him that don’t even know it. He blazed the path and handed down so much backcountry knowledge.” – Travis Rice

“You definitely get a feeling sometimes like, ‘Holy shit is this really going to happen right now? AND I’m going first!’ But you can’t let those negative thoughts take over. If you are confident and say to yourself, ‘I’ve done this before, I know what I’m doing,’ then every negative thought disappears as you are riding towards it. ‘I got this shit, ya know.’ That’s the thought process. I got to a point where I was starting to hit rails more, and I couldn’t shake those negative thoughts. I would be thinking about bad shit all the way up until I was jumping onto the rail and it NEVER went good, EVER. So I ended that phase pretty quick because I didn’t have the confidence I needed. The most important thing is to know your ability and know what you are doing, if you are confident in that, then you’re good. The moment you start to second-guess it all, then look out man, bad things are about to happen!”
– Devun Walsh