By Beau Flemister
"The second I met Manu," said pro-snowboarder/Froth Puppy, Alex Andrews, "I knew we would be friends. He's a radical human and someone we all strive to be like. He showed us around and opened up his home to us, which I think says a lot about a person. The guy just has awesome style on and off his snowboard." And we concur. From his home in Bariloche, somewhere between the DIY skate features, eclectic trinkets and lush garden overlooking the lake, we caught up with Manu before our journey into the mountains.
Talk to me about your home and what that's like growing up as a snowboarder in Argentina...
Manu: It’s crazy, because besides being a really big country, the snowboard community in Argentina is super small. Everyone knows each other and rides together. So, everywhere you go, you'll have a friend to ride with, not a stranger. Essentially, what makes snowboarding in Argentina special is our small community of people that do it. But as far as home, Argentinian landscape and weather is so drastic. In Patagonia, for instance, the land is so rugged and beautiful and the weather is as raw as it gets. One minute it could be sunny, and the next, the strongest wind could bring the heaviest storm. You really have to just surrender to the elements here and adjust, which is both humbling and amazing.
Unreal. What would you say your favorite places to ride in Argentina would be?
I grew up riding Catedral in Bariloche, and after many years I keep finding new spots and it doesn't stop to amaze me how good it is. So that’s still my favorite zone. Second, I would say Ushuaia, which is not exactly known for its ski resort, but more for the streets and the mountains around the southernmost city on the planet. Plus, the snowboard community down there is the best. Third, I would say Cerro Bayo, because whenever you go ride over there it’s a good time. A small ski resort with unbelievable backcountry.
Is it pretty tough to have a career as a pro snowboarder in South America?
[Laughs] Sure, you could say that. I think actually having a career at it must be my greatest accomplishment. But I stay busy. Filming, producing and riding in a film called "RS: Fin del Mundo" was a favorite of mine. We worked and rode super hard for that one. Filming for the "Will Film For Food" movies was also something I'm proud of to tell you the truth.
And what are you into when you're not riding?
Besides spending time with my girl and my daughter, I actually love skateboarding as much as snowboarding. Surfing as well, even though I don't get to do it as much as I would like to. I love growing food, filming Super8, riding and working on bikes, building random stuff, listening to records, hiking and generally being outside.
Anywhere you've always wanted to go outside of Argentina?
Man, I would love to go on a hot water surfing trip. I have never surfed without a wetsuit. Indonesia maybe? I don't know, anywhere, my body needs it after so many years of snowboarding!