Wojtek Pawlusiak has built a name for himself by hitting some of the biggest street rails ever ridden and in some of the sketchiest locations on Earth. His thirst to ride the gnarly and obscure has seen him single handily put Polish snowboarding on the map. Whilst Wojtek has enjoyed a long career as a pro, it was his stand out parts with Isenseven and the 2014 Pirate Movie productions release, ‘Perceptions’ that really catapulted him into the limelight. Now Wojtek has a new sponsor and subsequent pro model with Polish brand Nobile and he aims to diverse his riding into more backcountry, kickers and pow. We caught up with him at this year’s Snowboard Spring Break to talk about his ski jumping roots, pro models, constant smiles and much more – by Tom Kingsnorth
You started out ski jumping, do you ever still jump and how did you make the transition to snowboarding?
Haha no, I haven’t been jumping since I switched sports but I still have many friends there, so I often come just to see how they doing or in general watch a competition. I don’t deny that I would like to make a project out of these two sports. My head is full of ideas, so there will definitely be something interesting going on
Were you pro at ski jumping at that time?
I would not say I was a pro but I have earned my first money from it in 2001/2002, it was 600 euros and back then for a 17 year old it was a lot of money! I started training with the national team and I definitely had big aspirations to become one of the best in the sport. No matter what, I will never regret my decision about changing the sport for snowboarding. Snowboarding is just the best!
You are constantly smiling, what is your secret to happiness and what brings you down?
I guess there’s no secret, everybody’s looking for happiness and sooner or later you will find it. I have found mine when I started snowboarding and realised you can live your life and just have so much passion for it. So the answer is passion, there’s no life without passion. I cannot see myself choking in the office and for all who feel the same, don’t be afraid to search. What brings me down? I think people who say no more often than yes.
You are known predominantly for riding burly street rails, do you find that this gets tougher with age compared to other types of snowboarding?
Yes, definitely. It’s still the same amount of work you have to put into preparing the spot but maybe it takes a little less energy to ride out a trick because of the experience you have gained over the years. It’s not a walk in the park if you ask me. Street snowboarding is much harder than any other snowboarding, it’s tough on your body and your soul.
Have you plans to transition into backcountry or something similar?
I got myself a Nobile splitboard and I will ride that and do some more backcountry adventures next season. I hope I will have a chance to ride more with experienced riders like my Nixon teammates; Vic Daviet or Sylvian Bourbousson. When I’m snowboarding I feel like a fish in the water, so I want to get out of my rail comfort zone and try out some new things.
You essentially are one of the biggest names from Poland in snowboarding. Are you well known in Poland on a mainstream level?
Well people in Poland have most certainly heard my name before but it’s not that I’m famous or something. From time to time I give an autograph or somebody will take a picture with me but that would be it. I’m also not the kind of a guy who is gonna kiss everybody’s ass to get a bit of attention. I’m not pushy at all.
Which other Polish riders should we look out for?
There are not many young guns on the Polish scene but Kamil Knop is the one to look for in the future. He’s really good on jumps and he feels rails too. So if there’s somebody who wants to help this guy develop just send me e-mail. He has the spark!
After a long sponsorship with Burton you are now riding for Polish brand Nobile and also have a pro model for 17/18. How have you found the transition so far?
Well I always thought that Burton hardwear was the best, I guess I was a little brainwashed because Nobile boards, Union bindings and Deeluxe boots are as good as Burton because it’s not the just gear that rides, it’s also you. Now I know I should have switched from rocker and flat profiles for camber five years ago. The change has opened my eyes and it feels great to be able to create my own board. Nobile is a well-experienced brand with their own factory, we can do everything there and I will make sure to work on my promodel from A to Z in the future. It’s going to be super playful but very responsive at the same time.
You were recently at Snowboard Spring Break, what did you think of the UK scene?
The scene is amazing, it was good to see my old friends that I haven’t seen for ages. I will 100% come next year, the vibe is great!
You have spent a lot of time riding with UK snowboarders, which ones do you look up to and why?
Yeah I have been riding with the Brits a lot back in the days! Obviously Jamie Nicholls is a machine, Will Smith is killing it but I look forward to see Sparrow, he’s just the one and the only. His approach and how he sees snowboarding is very influential.
What are your plans for the upcoming season, will you film another video part?
I will take a part in a few rail contests, I will definitely ride some more backcountry and with a little bit of luck I will film a decent segment. I have a few ideas for a short clip or a project and this will be a strong point of my next season. I will also help Nobile as their team manager. See you soon, snowboarding !