Jean Nerva – born in 1959 – was one a small group of riders who helped propel European snowboarding onto the global stage in the 80’s and 90’s. Along with names such as Peter Bauer and Serge Vitelli, Jean Nerva popularised carving, and more specifically Eurocarving, which was typified by neon clothing, hard boots and what looked like a hell of a lot of fun. Jean Nerva was one of the stars of the early Oxbow years, marked by the brand’s flower logo, tight pants and oversized jumpers, which were de riguer in French snowboarding at the time.
While carving lost it’s popularity as freestyle grew, there are few things in snowboarding as beautiful as a properly executed carved turn, something that Nerva excelled at and which has been repopularised in the last few years, thanks in part to crews like Yawgoons.
Nerva was a musician and professor at the Villeurbanne school of music and after his career in snowboarding, he returned to music, as well as motorcycles and journalism. Following an illness, Jean lost much of his physical strength, but continued to live and love the Alpine way of life. He died on Wednesday 13 September 2017 at the age of 58.
Martin Drayton, ex-British slalom Champion, skater, snowboard coach (he taught me to ride on Bracknell dryslope back in 91/92) met and rode with Jean when they were both on Chiemsee and paid this tribute on his Instagram page
‘This makes me so very sad. Such a lovely guy, I have such fun, fond memories of our Chiemsee Team photo shoot in Switzerland. He made me ride snow bikes for the first time, and pushed me to go flat out, dragging me round the mountain at terrifying speeds… only afterwards did he mention he’d been a motorbike world champion! He had a wicked sense of humor. An alpine snowboarding pioneer, furthering race board design along with teammate Peter Bauer, they changed the face of the sport forever… and for the better. RIP Jean… one of my snowboarding heroes now, and forever 😢 “You carve, you carve, you carve…no slide, even when it’s icy!”