Rocco van Straten
To put it simply, Rocco van Straten's talent for sliding sideways can't be denied. Known for his unique sense of style and technical riding ability, Rocco was just born to shred anything and everything. Supported by his family, this remarkable young charger from Nieuwegein has spent the last couple of years blowing minds on both snow and water, impressing judges and spectators alike whenever he straps in. Raised hundreds of miles from the nearest ski resorts, the Dutchman has nevertheless become an increasingly serious threat on the FIS World Cup Big Air circuit during the winter months. On his wakeboard in the summer months, Rocco serves up more of the same effortless riding ability, and scored a memorable double last year when he claimed two European Championship titles in the same week. With those kind of performances and his unwavering sense of determination in reserve, it's easy to understand why so many are tipping the ever-positive Rocco to be one of the next best talents to emerge from the European continent.
Q: What has been the biggest highlight of the past 12 months for you?
A: For wakeboarding, it has to be my double gold for the European boot and cable. And then for snowboarding, I was stoked with my 11th place in a World Cup Big Air, and also getting through to the semi-finals at the Burton European Open put a big smile on my face.
Q: What's the best thing about riding for a living?
A: It's my passion to ride, so I'm happy just to be able to ride every day. To me, that's what freedom feels like. And that's why I wakeboard and snowboard like I do - I can't stop riding.
Q: Who do you enjoy riding with the most, and why?
A: I always get stoked when riding with my national and international teammates, especially those with whom I can mess around with and do funny stuff on my board. Dimi de Jong and Mike van de Ende are super fun to ride with on snow, and then in the water Nils Kroon and Dirk Gideon are a blast to ride with.
Q: Other than home, where is your favorite place to ride, and why?
A: Wakeboard: Turkey good weather and good training with obstacles Snowboard: Copper Mountain in Colorado, good training facility and Woodward playground
Q: What are your main goals and plans for the next 12 months?
A: I'm going to keep training and getting better so I can learn new trick and master them. I'm also aiming to podium at contests.
Q: How do you see your sport evolving in the next few years?
A: Wakeboard: would be nice if this become Olympic sport. It becomes bigger and more people over the world start to do it Snowboard: It wil be bigger than ski schans springen. People going to look more to extreme sports.
Q: Have you got any plans to film a new video part, and if yes, with which film company?
A: I haven't got any film plans at the moment, but I would definitely like to nail a part someday soon. To all the filmers out there: please get in touch if you have plans to make either a snowboard or wakeboard film. I'm ready and waiting to step up to the plate.
Q: What do you do for fun when you are not riding?
A: I like to play games and hang around with friends when I'm at home, which is not very often actually. If I'm not at home, my laptop is my best friend. That way I can chat and stay in touch with all my buddies no matter where they are in the world.
Q: What achievement are you most proud of so far in your career?
A: It was pretty sweet to be crowned double European Wakeboarding Champion in the same week. I also got 4th place at the Junior World Championships - that was pretty special.
Q: If you didn't ride for a living, what would you have liked to be doing now for an occupation?
A: I'm really interested in technique, and specifically pneumatic. I got my diploma in mechatronics last year. I'd like to learn more about pneumatic and maybe become a specialist in that one day.
Q: What trick do you enjoy the most?
A: For wakeboarding, maybe a crowmobe. And I'd say maybe a super stylish backside 720 for snowboarding. It's hard to choose.