Eagle vs Sharka

Celebrating her first World Snowboard Tour Slopetyle Champion title, here's our cover girl interview with her back from winter 2011/2012!

Sarka (pronounced Sharka) Pancochova is progressive, fearless and fond of soaring like an eagle off a kicker. When she burst onto the TTR in 2008 some would say she shook up the Euro girls scene from a little slumber it was having. Just before our exclusive cover shoot for the December/January issue 2012, the 21-year-old Czech rider talked humble origins, feeling no love for the FIS and why a good poop prank rules

Interview by Sam Haddad, lifestyle photos by Ellis Scott, action shots by Jefd Brockmeyer

Style is the number one thing for me.

How was your summer?

My summer has been amazing. I spent most of the time in USA with the One Life girls road tripping the country. I spent some time in Chanelle Sladics's house in California. She has a mini-ramp in backyard and surf is few blocks from her house so it’s the best location I could possibly choose. I can’t complain about my summer. It was fun!!!!

What is the One Life crew about and how did you get involved with it?

One Life is trying to inspire people to care about the earth more and take life more light-heartedly. We have this new section called One Body One Earth. The first episode is going to be about bringing your reusable bag into the grocery store so you don’t have to take a plastic bag. In One Life we are all best friends travelling together and supporting each other. I love being part of it. It’s really special to me!!!!

Eagle vs Sharka

We love the pranks, what’s the best one you’ve pulled so far?

The One Take with poop in Chanelle's glove is really good I was proud of that one. Me and Marie [France Roy] totally killed it haha. There are so many stupid things we do all the time. We film them all so we have stuff to put up all the time.

I’m just getting a couple more one takes ready to release. They are pretty funny. Me slacklining at the airport and getting cut by a cop for trying to earn money in my hat. That one is gonna be good one!

How would you describe yourself as a kid?

I was super-hyperactive. Well I’m still super-hyper haha. I would climb every tree, look for trouble and I wasn’t really good in school until high school when my school always sent me to represent in all kinds of sports like soccer, ping pong, basketball, running, jumping pretty much everything.

My parents were always super-supportive in everything I did and I’m glad I had them. I probably wouldn’t be snowboarding without them. Description: Trouble Maker haha.

My parents were always super-supportive in everything I did and I’m glad I had them. I probably wouldn’t be snowboarding without them. Description: Trouble Maker haha.

What was the place like where you grew up?

I grew up in a really small village. There were probably five families and the village was like 10km from the city separated by forest. So me and my friends

had the ultimate playground – running around chasing animals, building tree houses all the time, that place were I grew up is amazing. One day when I have kids I hope they can grow up in the zone like that. I don’t live there anymore but I go back at least once a year. I do a little hike just to remind myself of all the fun times I had there.

What’s your first memory of snow and your first memory of snowboarding?

Riding down hill on plastic bags with my friends. We were trying to race and push each other off the plastic bags. So much fun. That was my favourite winter game. Maybe that wasn’t my first memory but definitely the most fun one.

Snowboarding memory – when I got my first board. That was a Christmas night and I set up my board my self. I had a step in binding, which I thought was the sickest thing ever.

I took my snowboard and ran up the hill next to our house and shred until I made it all the way down the hill without falling. This memory is really strong and I can remember every detail.

Eagle vs Sharka

Did you love it right away?

I was skateboarding before snowboarding and I loved skateboarding so I had a little foundation. And I always wished I could skateboard in wintertime. So snowboarding was my thing right away. And the first time I strapped in to my binding I knew I was gonna love it. From then I just tried to take every opportunity to go ride anywhere, anytime. I still do that.

SnowboarderMag in the US described you as “the best overall female in the world today". How did that feel and were they right?

Well that’s great they think that but I am just doing my best . I’m trying to ride everything pipe, slopestyle to be creative and to get some powder experiences as well. It doesn’t really matter if they were right or wrong. The only thing that really matters is if I’m happy with what I do. Which I am!!!

When I get the trick I always start to work on my style so everything is perfect and I enjoy the trick way better if I poke it couple times in the air

Eagle vs Sharka

Style is the number one thing for me. I have my own style in every trick I do. I never just send some crazy spin without style. Of course the first couple tries are a little karate sometimes, haha. But when I get the trick I always start to work on my style so everything is perfect and I enjoy the trick way better if I poke it couple times in the air.

In the past riding like a girl was seen as a negative thing but a lot of girls have sick style now. Do you think girls’ style is getting better and which riders do you think have good style?

For sure girls riding is getting much better these days. There are lots of good girls riders now. I love Kjersti Buaas’s style. She is one of my fave riders for sure and Jamie Anderson is riding unbelievable good right now. I personally don’t really like double corks that much, I would rather see some crail fs7, or double nosegrab bs5 instead of double corks. But I’m kinda curious to try some doubles as I’m sure it’s really fun to go up side down twice.

Which parts of your personality come from the fact that you’re Czech?

I don’t really give poop like a little Honey Badger super-bad ass haha. No just kidding. I think I can deal with every hard situation pretty easy because I grew up in hard conditions with no money for travelling so I always had to find a way of getting to the mountains without knowing where I was gonna stay. Always kinda freestyle. My quote: Czech it out!!!

I think I can deal with every hard situation pretty easy because I grew up in hard conditions with no money for travelling so I always had to find a way of getting to the mountains without knowing where I was gonna stay.

What is your favourite kind of contest and why?

I love riding slopestyle. Flying like an eagle. That’s my thing hanging in the air over the jump is the best feeling ever. I do like pipe too but I’ve never been really training for pipe so I’m not consistent at my runs and I fall a lot, that’s why I don’t enjoy it as much. My most favourite kind of contest is challenging myself. Anytime I’m a little bit scared and I can find a way to overpower my fear I’m a winner.

And what contests do you not like?

I don’t like FIS contests.

Eagle vs Sharka

And your favourite snow movie?

I really like Travis's new movie Art of Flight. That movie catches all parts of our sport. Nature with amazing animals, huge mountains, every part of the world we travel. It is 80mins long and by the end of it I wanted more. For sure my new favourite movie.

Where is your dream place to ride?

Alaska was my dream place to ride. I went there last year and I’m coming back this year again for sure. But my new place where I’d like to go is Nepal. Nepal is a really unique place and it would be an amazing story to tell.

When I was a kid I used to do stupid stuff and break my bones all the time. So now when I get hurt I just stand up and keep going.

Do you get scared or worry about injuries much?

It takes me some time to get back but when I was a kid I used to do stupid stuff and break my bones all the time. So now when I get hurt I just stand up and keep going. I learn from my mistakes every time and every time I’m stronger after.

Where are you on the whole slopestyle in the Olympics debate?

I’m stoked about slopestyle being at the Olympics but I wish the TTR could do the qualification. FIS events are always a shit show. I really don’t like riding FIS events. The only thing they care about is TV and riders are always the last thing on their minds.

Eagle vs Sharka

I never thought about that. But I really like 80s music a lot. That’s my jam. Otherwise I was never really good at history so that’s all I got. Haha

What do you like doing when you’re not snowboarding?

I love yoga, skating, surfing and now I got into a rock climbing and that’s my new favorite thing. I try to climb wherever I can like a little monkey. I like to read books to relax, that calms me down. I watch documentaries sometimes but usually I’m so exhausted from the activities I do that I just go sleep super-early.

What are you looking forward to most this winter and are there any new tricks from you we should look out for?

I’m looking forward to pre-season in Breckenridge that’s my favourite time of the year. I’m gonna do a lot of competitions and lot of travelling. See new places and meet new people. That’s exciting. I’m gonna film new episodes with One Life. That’s gonna be real fun. And of course I wanna ride as much powder as possible. Tricks are gonna go down so keep an eye on me people (-:

Sarka is sponsored by Volcom, Red Bull, Flow, and Nugget.