Red Bull Switchboard unites athletes and students

by Hannah Beausang

Dustin Michelson, senior staff photographer
Dustin Michelson, senior staff photographer
Dustin Michelson, senior staff photographer
Dustin Michelson, senior staff photographer
Dustin Michelson, senior staff photographer
Dustin Michelson, senior staff photographer
Dustin Michelson, senior staff photographer
Dustin Michelson, senior staff photographer

The early morning fog draped La Jolla Shores in a sullen blanket of gray and a chilling wind swept across the sand. The beach stretched out bleakly, interrupted only by a solitary red-and-blue Red Bull tent. Wired by Red Bulls and adrenaline, local college students flooded the tent to sign up for the annual Red Bull Switchboard, an all-day action sports event beginning with surfing at La Jolla Shores and Huntington Beach and wrapping up with an afternoon of snowboarding in Bear Mountain. Unlike the rest of the scenery, the atmosphere surrounding the tent was hyperactive. With rap blaring and an immense stockpile of free energy drinks, the general vibe of the participants could be summed up with one word: stoked.

Switchboard gave 600 college students from more than 25 Southern California colleges the chance to celebrate the cultural and natural diversity of California—sand and snow all in one day, with a twinge of caffeine-induced mania. Participants included members of the San Diego State Ski and Snowboard Team and Red Bull professional athletes snowboarder John Jackson, surfer Jamie Sterling and newly signed 13-year-old snowboarder, Brock Crouch. SDSU students were excited to have a chance to board alongside the famous athletes. Management senior Ryan Kuenzi sums up the event.

“Red Bull Switchboard is a really awesome event for scholars to be able to surf and snowboard in the same day,” Kuenzi said. “Living in Southern California and having the chance to go to Big Bear from the beach is a pretty amazing experience.”

After a morning of surfing, hundreds of students crammed into buses for the journey to Big Bear, Red Bulls in hand.

Jackson, who sat out from the event because of an injury, said the event is a chance for college kids to have fun and make the most of the California experience. Jackson was inspired by the volume of participation.

“It’s grouping together a bunch of awesome kids who are so psyched to go snowboard and surf,” Jackson said. “They’re getting the best of both worlds in one day. These are the kids pushing the sport and keeping this dream alive for me and all of us that are making a career from snowboarding. These are the people I respect and I’m stoked that they want to snowboard.”

Crouch said the event was a good opportunity for students to experience the outdoors.

“I think I’m going to go skate later, just to say I did all three in one day,” Crouch said. “It’s cool for college kids to be able to do this.”

As the day wound down, everyone filed back on the busses, exhausted but fulfilled from an intense day of sports in California’s different regions.