Event Review: Red Bull Switchboard
By: Tyler Sivero
Red Bull Switchboard
29 March, 2014
Living in beautiful San Diego allows for opportunities that one might not be able to find in the rest of the country. One of these opportunities is the chance to surf in the morning and snowboard in the afternoon. The people at Red Bull saw this opportunity and decided to take it a few steps further.
Red Bull Switchboard has become an annual event put on by Red Bull that takes students in Southern California up to the slopes of Big Bear after a morning of surfing. The event is exclusive to college students in the Southern California region. When I say “Southern California region”, I mean 25 different schools participated in the event. Anywhere from San Diego State to UC Santa Barbara. Students surf in LA, Orange County or San Diego before all 600 students are bused up to Big Bear for an afternoon on the slopes. Oh, and the whole event is only $25. That price includes breakfast burritos, surfboard rental if youneed it, transportation to the slopes and a lift ticket. Rental gear at Big Bear was half-off as well. Red Bull definitely catered to the college student for this event. Who could pass this up?
After arriving in La Jolla around 8 am. I got to see a bit of the surfing while I checked in and what not. I surfed the night before and wasn’t really liking the idea of getting into a wet wetsuit that early. The morning was beautiful with clear skies and small but clean waves. Seeing people arrive to the beach with snowboard gear was an odd sight. Around 9 am everybody boarded the buses and we begun the trip up there. The whole trip up students from different schools are meeting each other, jams are pumping and spirits are high in anticipation for the slopes. Upon arrival, students traded their bikinis for snow pants and wet hair was put in a pony tail. Some left their shirts off since the weather was so nice on the mountain as well. This however did contribute to a lack of snow. It was the second to last day of season so only two lifts were open and it was pretty slushy. This didn’t stop the good vibes. Red Bull brought out their giant truck equipped with speakers and a great DJ that could still be heard halfway up the lift. I overheard one guy ask why we couldn’t just have speakers up the whole lift. People were definitely having a great time.
I got the chance to talk with Ian Walsh, a Red Bull sponsored big wave surfer who participated in the event as well. He explained the event as “just fun. The whole atmosphere of college kids having a good time contributes to what feels like one big day party”. Walsh also told me that “It’s easy to feed off their [the students] energy and it makes it super entertaining. It’s a fun day from start to finish and over in the blink of an eye”.
One of the coolest things Walsh told me about were the opportunities that Red Bull creates to cross-train with athletes from other sports. He explained that he’s trained with professionals in skydiving, golf, motocross, skateboarding and even auto racing. “Some of the projects I’ve done with other athletes in completely different sports have allowed me to meet some of my closest friends that I never would have been able to meet elsewhere”.
All in all the day was a blast. Perfect weather and the chance to hang out with college kids across Southern California all while surfing and snowboarding is adream I know I share with many. SDSU freshmen Isabel Dieste told me “you get caught in your own little cults at each individual school. It’s cool to meet a lot of other people.” Isabel herself was invited by a fifth year student at SDSU, Royce Ramos, which just further shows the diversity at the event. Big thanks to Red Bull for putting on such an event. Be on the lookout for the same event next spring. It’s definitely not one to pass up if you have any interest in surfing and snowboarding.