Why Snowboarders Hate Shaun White:

Miles Clark |
Shaun White, the face of snowboarding in America.
Shaun White, the face of snowboarding in America.
***originally published on February 18th, 2014

Both Yahoo Sports & Business Insider magazine have written articles addressing just why snowboarders hate Shaun White.  Below are excerpts from those articles.

Shaun White does seem to be generally resented by the snowboarding community.  Snowboarders that I spend time with constantly disrespect Shaun and pooh-pooh his achievements.  I asked the two snowboarders I live with why they don’t like Shaun White and here’s what they said:

“I hate him because he’s supposedly the biggest representative of our sport and he’s not really a part of the community.  I hate him for riding with a Target sticker on his helmet:  a display of pure money with nothing to do with the sport.  I hate his leather biker outfit.  Before, I always thought he was kinda ridiculous, but I hate him now for taking somebody’s opportunity to compete in the Olympic slopestyle this year.  That could have been such a big chance for some kid; the chance of a lifetime, ya know.” – snowboarder #1

The Flying Tomato in Sochi.
The Flying Tomato in Sochi.

“I don’t like the image of what he stands for:  coming from so much money and support.  I don’t like him being so dominate that it’s taken away from other’s chances to have a fantastic experience in the completive world.  I’ve never met him and I’m sure he’s a totally rad dude.” – snowboarder #2

Shaun White after his final run in Sochi. photo: getty images
Shaun White after his final run in Sochi. photo: getty images

Here’s what  of Yahoo Sports said about why snowboarders don’t like Shaun White:

Shaun White leaves Olympics without a medal, or many snowboarding friends

By the time Shaun White‘s second run through the men’s halfpipe final fell apart and his reign as Olympic champion was over, you could all but feel the joy surge through the mountain air here. Well, at least among some.

Almost no one likes Shaun White anymore. Or so it seems. At least some of his fellow riders act that way, even though they owe the size of their corporate sponsorships to the redhead from San Diego.

Somewhere along the way he became too big, too corporate, too selfish, too good, or too whatever. Or maybe he was always that way, but grew human enough on the board that the others no longer feared taking shots at him. Maybe it’s generational. Whatever it was, in private or public, the feeling here was clear.

“You know it’s good for snowboarding, man,” American teammate Danny Davis said of White finishing fourth, far behind winner Iouri Podladtchikov of Switzerland. “The world knows now that there are other snowboarders besides Shaun. It’s great, man, because there are a bunch of good riders in our sport and they deserve some credit, too.”

Shaun White in happier times after a Gold medal in halfpipe in Vancouver.
Shaun White in happier times after a Gold medal in halfpipe in Vancouver.

Here’s what Business Insider said about why snowboarders don’t like Shuan White:

Shaun White’s Insane Competitiveness Is The Real Reason Why Snowboarders Hate Him

Shaun White is not well-liked among fellow snowboarders. The reasons White’s competitors don’t like him are the same reasons White has dominated the sport for years and why his failure in Sochi is unlikely to be the end of his career.

American Danny Davis, who finished tenth in the halfpipe competition, was a guest on “The Dan Patrick Show” and was asked why snowboarders hate White.

Davis said it may be jealousy for some riders. But more importantly, he pointed out what has long been known about White, that he is just not part of the snowboarding social network.

“Like a lot of my friends, when we learn new tricks, we learn with a big group of us,” said Davis. “Shaun kind of does everything on his own…Unfortunately we don’t get to hang with him much.”

Danny Davis and Shaun White. Danny got 10th at the Olympics in Sochi.
Danny Davis and Shaun White. Danny got 10th at the Olympics in Sochi.

After reading all these answers to the question of why snowboarders don’t like Shaun White, it’s beginning to become clear what the reasons are.  Overall, it feels like Shaun’s overly competitive nature, his commercial prowess (read here:  sell-out), and his desire to do things on his own and in his own way has been his public downfall.

I’m a skier myself, so my opinion doesn’t count here.  That said, I think Shaun’s amazing.  Someone who can focus as intensely as he does and win under pressure impresses me.  Most of us crumble under high pressure.  Shaun uses that same pressure to shine.  The way he competes reminds me of Kelly Slater and Kelly is the best.  Shaun is also the best.  Even the 2 snowboarders I interviewed admitted that they thought Shaun is the best.

You can bet on one thing for sure:  Shaun White will be back on top soon.  He’s not the kinda guy to take losing lightly.

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27 thoughts on “Why Snowboarders Hate Shaun White:

  1. The same thing happened to Tony Hawk and Rodney Mullen at the outset of their time and during. Rodney Mullen also preferred skating on his own to learn and had a massive competitive edge over his peers. Without knowing Shaun at all, it possible he gets that same thing and in a competative sport there will be some sour grapes when someone is so dominant, unless you’re Dave Mirra.

  2. It’s clear why the pros don’t like him, but the reason the rest of the community (not just snowboarding but skateboarding) have turned on him is so crystal clear! In the 2010 Vancouver Olympics he was clearly just having fun hanging with his fellow riders and got the top spot seemingly effortlessly. Everyone called him the “flying tomato” because he had crazy bright orange hair and literally flew through the pipe.
    then he achieves huge stardom, being the #1 featured athlete for that Olympics, and it CLEARLY went to his head. He got a douchey haircut, started wearing douchey leather jackets, and decided everyone should be calling him THE BEAST! (wow.)
    2014 Sochi Olympics rolls around and NBC is promoting this dick like he’s the jesus of snowboarding and he isn’t with his teammates anymore. He just wants to be a lone wolf now, because he’s bought into the media’s hype, believing himself to be the greatest snowboarder who’s ever lived. Seeing him not make it to the podium was such sweet karma, and we hoped this would be the end of him acting this way.
    Here comes the 2018 and the media again is hyping him up. “he’s learned from his mistake and he’s going for gold!” This douchebag hasn’t learned shit. Instead he’s been alone on his personal half pipe for the last 4 years doing 1440 after 1440 OVER AND OVER because he KNOWS that will get him the “points” to crown him “the best snowboarder in the world” again. (is being the best snowboarder really just having the most points on the halfpipe?) The media crowns him the greatest of all time touting it “the perfect comeback story”
    nobody wanted him to “come back”

  3. LOL! Someone who isn’t living in his mother’s basement is a sellout. The guy ROCKS, grow up.

  4. Shaun is fine. Danny hits it on the head with jealousy. I’ve lived and coached in mountains for about 10 years now and hating on Shaun is a “cool kid” thing. At the end of the day snowboarding is a form of self expression. We all use it as a tool to find ourselves.

    Sometimes when we are insecure about our own riding we taking it out on others. “Man, at least I’m better than this nerd.” “Man it doesn’t matter how good this guy it he is still an asshole.” “All he does is spin-no style”

    I think so many great men and women have all used snowboarding as a platform to inspire others. We love Danny because he is a good dude who just happens to be mental with a board strapped to his feet. He is a riders rider like so many of his Frends crew are, but to say Shaun hasn’t influenced every bit of the sport and culture since he was a kid.

    Why can’t we all lift each other up? Why argue with who we think is “cool” or not? The more people that see and are exposed to the wonder of snowboarding the better on my opinion. That one more kid from Georgia who has never seen snow can still be inspired to go be a mountain man. One rich kid addicted to his iPad is inspired to put in down and go outside to see why the mountain are the real magic in our world.

  5. Snowboarders hate Shaun white because he makes a ton of money and His success doesn’t line up with the snowboard/ski bum lifestyle . Jealousy doesn’t look good on anybody.
    Being successful at anything takes hard work and determination, most people are just lazy.
    Haters Don’t strive to be better, they just hate on everyone to make themselves feel better.

  6. i first met shaun when he was 9 and competed on the circuit for over a decade while he blew up. he did not come from ‘so much money’ as stated by roommate #2. but he did come from a loving family full of support. with that and his raw early talents then came the money. but most snowboarders DO come from money…acadamies, coaches, mountain families with the dough to back and shape them, even more so once it became an olympic sport…and it’s easy to resent the sometimes unbalanced opportunities that $$ or even strong family support provide (coming from neither). long before that shaun was in the game developing his raw talents from a young age with a collective passion from his family…who all camped in a van over the summers they could be on the hill and live the lifestyle. in personal experience and observations…haters usually stem from jealousy.

    1. there was a time when ski racing was affordable, too. now, if you don’t go to an academy and have a few sponsors by your 16th birthday, you probably aren’t going anywhere. every sport develops like this, and snowboarders look like every other “niche community” does after losing its grassroots identity. they’re irritated by the success stories that elevated the sport beyond their means. they forget that being an elite athlete means a very strict lifestyle (in most sports). this is articulate petulance. competitive snowboarding will continue to develop, and you can bet that successful programs in the future will ignore these “purists”.

  7. people who hate Shaun White are haters just like in any other realm. Isn’t snowboarding regarded as
    a creative and individual activity? Why does it matter if he’s not interacting amongst the other snowboarders? This counters everything snowboarders seem to value but most people have to follow a leader or whatever is ranked as the coolest even in something like snowboarding which I find my peace and satisfaction in and love doing alone as well as riding with friends; it’s always my choice. (I’m a 22 year snowboard veteran – park, powder, street). The whole “Frends” and “Frendly” branding is so embarrassing its sickening. Too bad other snowboarders can’t be individuals too.

  8. I think its because you asked your 2 emo norcal roommates who are idiots. Community…haha thats a good laugh. Snowboarding community is being spent after all day shredding on the mtn, then throwing back ipa’s in the local happy hour and then going home to take bong rips before starting all over the next a.m…also those idiots are the same idiots who wont ride vail because they are to cooperate…oh wait mammoth and squaw just went cooperate…from one tahoe local to another…dam retards

  9. LOL even the responses here just sound jealous of the guy. I am not a part of the “community” LOL, but sport is competitive, competitions are well competitive. There is nothing wrong with him being competitive and working hard on his own if he so chooses. Why should he conform to your standards? Or you his? To each their own. I know I never knew much about snowboarding or cared until it came to the Olympics and then this crazy long-haired red-headed kid was amazing. Personally from the outside, you all look freaking awesome to me. He got so famous as well because he was the first Olympic snowboarding gold medalist and will always go down in history for that. As time goes on, younger boarders will come along and bigger and better tricks will emerge. Shaun White as done a lot for this sport and taking the knocks for it too. So these younger kids coming up behind him should show more respect. Sorry he’s a Champion and why should he not bank on it. He’s not the only one with big corporate sponsors, most of the top riders do and good on them for it. Plan for your future and if you can build a huge nest egg to take care of you and your family…then go for it.

  10. Next article needs to be “Why skiers hate Lindsey Vonn”

    And the answer….

    She got beat by a snowboarder!

  11. No doubt Shaun White is by far the best and most decorated competitive snowboarder that we have ever seen. Yes he has done a ton for the sport as well, gaining it a ton of publicity and views from a lot of people whom otherwise would have no interest. Can the majority of the snowboard world relate to him? No probably not. I know I can’t. Like Davis pointed out, he does it his way and on his own….Kind of a bummer. While yes some call it a sport, I see it as a community. You can’t have a community of one person.

    He is fun to watch to an extent, goes bigger than anyone else riding against him and is usually 100% flawless. Impressive is an understatement. However when was the last time he snowboarded for him self…not for the target or red bull symbol on his head, but with his friends just out ripping around snowboarding for the pure joy of doing it? I’d bet it’s been a while…

    I’ll be with Lil Pink watching Nico float back 1s.


  12. It’s my opinion that those in tune with snowboarding’s true culture end up writing most contest-type riders off – although many rippers end up doing it, to make cash. It’s the only way. Shaun is a sick park and pipe rider, but there are so many people pushing snowboarding further than 1440 triple corks. Some of us would rather see a styled-out method or a huge BS 180…….. The Olympics don’t mean shit to snowboarding, but that’s Shaune’s niche.

    More power to him, I’d rather watch Neverland or The Community Project or and MFM or Nico Muller part for 2 weeks straight than halfpipe at the Olympics. Lil Pink over and out

  13. He acts exclusively and therefore his peers are not inclusive towards him. I teach 8th grade and see this on the playground everyday. Some student gets elitist and and over the course of a few classes or days they see their circle start to shrink. The student either makes some amendments and the circle grows again or they continue to carry on and the circle continues to shrink.

    I think the bigger picture here is does SW really care what other people think? I have heard this argument for years but never heard him respond. I am guessing he doesn’t.

    Small circle.

  14. There’s also the notion that the world sees Shaun White as the best snowboarder. However, in the snowboard community he wouldn’t even be considered in the top 50. Why? Because he doesn’t represent a well-rounded rider. It’s true he’s one of the best pipe riders in the world, and of all time, but how about street? slopestyle? resort riding? backcountry riding? Nope… not even in the top 100 (1000?).
    Throw in the above reasons mentioned, and it’s obvious why most do not respect him.

    1. I should add… the corporate sponsor thing is a factor, but not as big as one may think. There are many other (respected) riders out there with big corporate sponsors. Example: Mark McMorris (sportchek, mcdonalds, etc).
      What’s the difference? Like Danny Davis says, these riders participate in the snowboard community. Train, ride, have fun, live, and progress with their friends/competitors. A lot different than being alone with your personal halfpipe including an airbag to practice the exact same run over-and-over for 10 months…. sounds like ski training more than snowboarding.
      Wait a minute… I think Shaun represents the ski industry far better than snowboarders! It’s all clear now..

      1. why is training and working harder and more diligently a ski trait? i know plenty of incredibly hard working boarders. and why do you say it like its a detriment to skiers? I get the community thing, and -although i dont care – i also get the commercial aspect, but why is working the hardest a knock on him? also, shaun white is undoubtedly in the top 50 in slopestyle. he chose not to compete in this one, but his practice runs were absurd and he is fully capable.

          1. Trashes hotel rooms, helicopter to train in his private pipe, whiney momma’s boy that took a spot he didn’t deserve and DNSed. That’s pathetic.

  15. This is hilarious. I didn’t know Shaun White was hated so much. Easy to hate the best in the World. The guy kills it.

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