I heard the news of Chumpy’s passing yesterday afternoon. I knew I had to make a post, but what I wanted to say, how I was going to write it. I needed a little more time to be sure. So forgive me for being a little late, I needed to make sure what I was saying was right. That it was meaningful because the passing of a good friend is nothing to take lightly.
After hours of thinking last night, about how best to deliver my respects I settled on writing a note directly to you, Chump, hopefully you will read it wherever you are now and take some comfort in knowing we’re all hurting, but we are also celebrating the great things you have done, the things you achieved and the great person we all knew you were.
I was sitting in my car in Cooma when I heard the news. I thought it was a joke or someone had made some kind of fake news account. I called my dad, I talked to Harald, I spent the next 20 minutes sitting there in my car trying to figure out what had happened, how it could have happened. I don’t think it really sunk in, I still don’t think it has really sunk in even writing this letter to you now.
I think you would feel honoured by the volume of support that is flowing in for you, if not a little overwhelmed. Your passing has brought out the best in our community. Differences were put aside to honour your legacy, your career and we remembered the man behind the board, not just the headlines and the Redbull helmet. You touched the lives of more people than you know. People from all walks of life. From the casual Olympic viewers that watched you race in 3 Olympics, cheering you on, sharing the highs and lows from that small part of your life. To the young Aussie kids you inspired every year in Hotham, the teenagers who lined up next to you in the start gate, who couldn’t believe they were about to race a world champion. You inspired, you led, and most importantly you loved what you did.
I was one of those kids, you always said you remembered me as the shy kid in the corner, although I changed that perception. Regardless of what you saw in me, I always saw you as an inspiration, I grew up watching you race, I had shirts, papers and snowboards signed by you every year at the SSA Futures, I pulled out next to you in my first ever FIS Snowboardcross event. Whether you knew it or not you were there pushing me to become better.
Over the years you became more than just an inspiration, more than just an idol, you became a friend. We traveled the world together, complained about shit hotel food, shared rooms, shredded pow. You were there for my first podium, you were there at my first Olympics, we shared some of the biggest moments in my life and it will never be the same without you. You were one of the greats, and you will be remembered.
I hope you’re carving it up wherever you are. Sick waves and deep pow.