7 Riders Who Are Shit-Hot At More Than One Sport
Because one sport just isn't enough for some professionals
Action sports pros are just like the rest of us - OK they might happen to be really, really good at one thing, but that doesn't mean they don't have other interests.
The thing is, pro riders are by definition naturally driven and/or naturally competitive people. So when they take up a hobby, they tend to get really, really good at it.
"When they take up a hobby, pro-riders tend to get really, really good at it."
It'll be no surprise to learn then, that there are some pro's out there who absolutely rip in more than one sport. For many, it's a simple enough transition - from surfing to snowboarding for example, or from Moto X to other motorsports.
For others it is a way of putting their lives back together after huge accidents, or it's simply a way of staying in touch with the sports scene once the knees have started to give way in later life.
Whatever the case, here are a few folk who are stupidly talented at more than one sport. Makes you feel a bit sick doesn't it?
[part title="Shaun White"]
The 'Flying Tomato' is a prime example of an athlete that has killed it in two sports. He's won 13 Winter X-Games gold medals for snowboarding, across both slopestyle and halfpipe and two Summer X-Games gold medals for skateboarding.
He got his first snowboard sponsor at eight and his first video part at twelve. The whole time he was also being coached by none other than Tony Hawk at his local skatepark!
"He got his first snowboard sponsor at eight, his first video part at twelve and turned pro in skateboarding at 17."
He turned pro in skateboarding at 17 and has basically smashed everyone out the park in both side-sliding and four-wheel riding (at least when it comes to vert) for the last decade.
Love him or hate him, there's no denying Shaun White is a force to be reckoned with when he's on form. That said, I imagine we'll be seeing less of him in the immediate future as he's currently concentrating on his bad Bad Things.
[part title="Duke Kahanamoku"]
You may not have heard of this man unless you're a Hawaiian native or have a keen interest in the history of surfing. But back in the day, Duke Kahanamoku was a true legend.
First and foremost, he was a prolific swimmer, earning five Olympic medals between 1912 and 1924.
"He was the first person to take surfing to Australia"
At the time surfing was still a very niche past-time in Hawaii and it was largely thanks to Duke's efforts that it spread around the world: Between swimming competitions he toured internationally putting on exhibitions and also sharing surfing with the world.
He was the first person to take surfing to Australia, putting on an event at Freshwater Beach just north of Sydney in 1914 - an event that lit the surfing spark down under and introduced Aussies to their national sport.
[part title="Ian Walsh"]
Ian Walsh has been riding big waves off the coast of Maui since he was 16. By the time he blew the candles out on his 21st birthday cake, he had charged down the face of the infamous Jaws, and been nominated for Wave of the Year at the Billabong XXL Awards for riding a 70ft monster.
Several years and several Wave of the Year nominations later and he's decided to turn his hand to surfing white fluffy powder in the Alaskan backcountry instead.
"He's decided to turn his hand to surfing white fluffy powder in the Alaskan backcountry instead."
And he's not just your average surfer-turned-snowboarder either. He's gone straight to the top, hooking up with the likes of Eric and John Jackson, Travis Rice and Jeremy Jones to ride some of the gnarliest terrain North America has to offer.
Here he is holding his own and riding some huge Alaskan lines in 'Brothers on the Run' with the Jackson brothers and T-Rice. The man knows how to shred pow.
[part title="Evan Strong"]
It's fair to say Evan Strong is a pretty inspirational character.
He is an example of a skateboarder-turned-snowboarder more out of necessity than choice. After gaining his first sponsorship at the age of 13, he won skate competitions around Hawaii and his future was looking bright.
And then, at the age of 17, he was hit by a drunk driver at 65mph and had to have his left leg amputated.
"He was hit by a drunk driver at 65mph and had to have his left leg amputated."
Feeling the need to get the stoke back in his life, he turned his attention to snowboarding and now competes around the globe. This year he won the first ever Para-Snowboard Cross medal at the Sochi Paralympics.
Oh, and he still skates too!
[part title="Cara-Beth Burnside"]
We recently featured Cara-Beth Burnside, or CB as she's better known, as one of the top 8 female skaters to change history, so it's only right she should also make our list of athletes that can shred across multiple sports.
CB doesn't just rip it on concrete, she's also a shit hot snowboarder too - she was part of the first ever US Olympic Halfpipe team in Nagano in 1998. Pretty good going, no?
"CB has won both summer and winter X Games medals."
Not only has she won numerous Summer X Games gold medals for vert, but she's also finished on top of the podium in the halfpipe event at the Winter X Games.
And to top it all off, she's was the first female skater to get her own signature shoe. Dope!
[part title="Shaun Palmer"]
If you were a true child of the 90s then you'd have no doubt played Shaun Palmer Pro Snowboarder on your PlayStation. I know I spent many hours ripping huge mountain lines on that game!
At the time, Shaun Palmer was to snowboarding what Tony Hawk was to skateboarding. He was the man.
Since then, Palmer has gone on to compete in not one, not two, but three other action sports at a professional level - skiing, motocross and mountain biking, and he hasn't done half badly.
"Palmer has gone on to compete in not one, not two, but three other action sports at a professional level.
In 1996, a year after taking up mountain biking during the summer months, he was competing on the professional mountain bike circuit.
He placed seventh in his first world cup downhill event and second at that year's World Championships before going on to finish fifth in the overall World Cup rankings. A fair effort for his first year in the sport!
At one point, he was the highest paid mountain biker in the world, with an annual contract earning him $300,000 a year.
At the 2001 X Games Shaun switched his snowboard for skis and ended up winning the gold in the ski cross event.
If that wasn't enough for the man, in 2006 he decided that motocross was his new favourite sport, dubbing it "the best sport in the world". He qualified for the Supercross Tour at his very first attempt. Surely that's just showing off?
But although Shaun was insanely talented (one USA Today article asked: "Is this the World's Most Talented Athlete?") he was battling some serious personal demons too.
The documentary about his life and career, Shaun Palmer: The Miserable Champion, is well worth a watch.
[part title="Travis Pastrana"]
This list would't be complete without Mr Travis Pastrana. If it's got an engine and goes fast, chances are he's competed in it. This mans' CV is literally bulging.
Pastrana has won 10 X Games gold medals across Moto X Freestyle, Moto X Best Trick, Moto X Speed and Style and Rally Car Racing.
Not only that but he's competed in NASCAR, albeit not with the sort of success he's used to.
In 2003 he became a fully-fledged rally driver for Subaru, competing in the Race of Champions alongside the late, great Colin McRae, and winning numerous events along the way.
For a man who has broken more bones than you've got in your body, he's had one hell of a career!