When I was sixteen years old when I first met Russ. I lived with my parents in Pleasanton, California while Russ lived in a neighboring city. Roughly once a week we would meet up and session a local spot. I remember the first time that I realized that Russ can ride switch. My egocentric sixteen year old self was in disbelief that this older guy has skills far better than my own. The years have passed and Russ continues riding despite a few major injuries. I asked the man a few questions to piece together this article..
Who are you?
Russ Richerson AKA Switch-up or Shred Grandpa, 59 years old, from Livermore, CA.
When did you start riding?
I started Freebording Dec 25 2002, 14 1/2 years ago.
What got you going?
I started snowboarding with my older son Marcus when he was 12. He is 32 now. We would go a few days a year. I saw a video of Freebording with in a sample bord at the old Tri-City Sporting goods in Fremont when I was buying something for snowboarding. I thought “That is really cool, but I could never figure that out on the pavement.” I am glad that my wife had more confidence in me than I did. She saw an add in a Central Coast Surfboards flyer and decided to buy one for me for Christmas. She had no idea that it would become such a big part on our lives. I still ride Freebord because it is so much fun. I can have a really long and stressful day at my job as an engineer. I stop on my way home to ride for about an hour and I always feel great.
How do you battle injuries?
Fitness, fitness, fitness. The recovery is so much better when you are in good shape. Do all the PT exercise that the Dr. recommends.
Surgeries & recoveries ?
I had knee meniscus surgery twice (neither injury from Freebording). The knee gets sore when I work it hard, but it is hanging in there.
The neck surgery from an injury on the flow barrel in San Diego was very serious. Fortunately, the neck is fully recovered and feels as good as new. The setbacks from injury are difficult to overcome. They are humbling and can slap you down once in a while. Having a positive outlook helps in the recovery.
How many board sports do you play?
Five. Windsurfing used to be my main sport for 20+ years; now I windsurf only a few times a year. Freebord, snowboard, wakeboard, and the flowrider are my main board sports now.
Expectations for your 60th birthday party?
In late June we will have board day: Two hours at Wake Island cable park near Sacramento in the morning, an hour at the flowrider on the way home, a few freebord runs, then food and drinks back at the house. I have many friends and family planning to join me. Only a few will ride all 3 of the boards. Looking forward to it.
Any advice for the older guys?
Ride a lot and stay fit. Boarding offers a unique opportunity to get good exercise while you are having a blast. It keeps you young.
Whats your history with urethane?
I have probably ridden over 30 different edge wheels over the years. From the old standard Krypto blues to the gold standard Da Blues. By the way, thank you for all the development work you did on the Da Blues.
Whats your take on the Haight Privilege?
Haight Privilege wheels are awesome. I like them just as much as Da Blues. They have a little softer feel than Da Blues, but perform top notch.