A conversation with 20/20’s Breanna Benz
When he answers the phone and says “hello,” I assume I’ve dialed the wrong number. The deep, low, steady voice that climbs through the receiver after a long journey from his coast to mine can’t be that of the young-looking, tattooed, mural-painting snowboarder whose pictures were shared with 20/20 from Dragon Alliance prior to this call. But it’s him. The line crackles and I dive into a conversation with a luminary well-decorated via any visual: competitor, musician, artist and influencer of slope-and-wave dwelling athletes around the world.
Jamie Lynn is a snow celebrity, a game-changer on the snowboarding scene for 20 years. Through his career, he has given airspace to classic snow trends that still thrive—from his smooth, effortless riding style to personal effects when competing and during downtime. When the relatively young sport was ripe for a leader, Lynn took the reins and still holds the title of true slope-style stalwart and supreme athlete, but also that of an artist, musician and legend, an authority that stays true to the snowboarding industry and his own callings.
Tell me about your connection to Dragon, what is the history there?
They approached me and asked if I wanted to start riding for their brand new sunglass company. I was kind of a young kid at the time, in the infancy of my career. I trusted them, I went with the faith that they wouldn’t steer me wrong. That faith has paid off.
It’s been 16 or 17 years. To be able to grow up with the company, I feel like it’s more family than sponsorship. We had the chance to grow up together. It’s pretty awesome.
Do you feel like your influence has changed the brand at all?
As far as creative direction, they’ve always had a really clear path on where they wanted to go with the brand. A lot of times seeing the stuff they came out with, it was easy to jump on board and go along for the ride.
How are you inspired by Dragon, competitively and with regards to their Rx eyewear collection? What is the role that Dragon plays in your life?
My heart and soul lies in the mountains, and having goggles and protection from the elements gets me down the mountain as fast as possible with the clearest vision. Dragon has allowed me the opportunity to endure days where if I didn’t have that kind of capability, I’d be grounded.
For the optical aspect, I think around the best optics possible to go out and enjoy what you do.
How do you balance all of your passions—music, art, sports, snowboarding, motorcycles?
I think each one plays equal parts in my life and schedule. If you do one thing too long you get burnt on it, so it’s nice to have options. That’s how I approach it. When something is fun, and it is right in front of you and it’s working, then you go with it; when it’s not, shift gears. It’s a variety show. I like to make light about myself. To me, it’s so much fun, I get so much enjoyment doing those things. I’m truly blessed to have the opportunity to call it a life and a great existence. To be able to share that with myself and others, the people that I’ve grown up with around me through my career, it has been amazing.
What is it that you see your sport as?
Something that would spark other dreams, something followed through that’s recognized as an Olympic sport now, providing people like me the opportunity to enjoy it on a world stage.
What would you like the general world to understand about what you do?
The opportunity that snowboarding has given me. I’ve gone through so many different changes. Competitively, now as a spokesperson and a role model for a generation, maybe that helped lay a foundation of what snowboarding is now being built off of.
What other sports do you follow?
Snowboarding came from skateboarding, and surfing is kind of a hybrid spawned off of those two. Each one of them has different environments that I enjoy. The ocean, someplace warm and sunny.
Also, I have transitioned into older Harley-Davidson choppers. We’ve got a couple of pretty old bikes. The old bikes are awesome, but I ride them only as far as I can hitch them home.
Is there anything you’d like to add?
I’ve been a professional athlete for the last 20 years—I’m celebrating my 20th anniversary this year. I’m old, I’m 40. But I still have the opportunity to do what I love with the support from a sponsor like Dragon. Now, in my “elderly” state, it’s even better. I would have had to get contacts, or go to the mall and buy some brand of glasses I’m not into, that I’m not into supporting or their frames are a funky style. With this option and this opportunity, it makes it really easy. I think the frames are the style of what I would go and pay money for. So I’m stoked.
Not one for self-promotion, this superstar stays somewhat hidden in the online and social media stratosphere, adding mystery and letting legend speak for itself. Head to dragonalliance.com to learn more about Jamie Lynn, and when you’re down the coast or up in elevation, keep an eye and ear out for where Lynn has made his indelible mark, in tags, tunes and trails. ■
Images/Dragon Alliance and TransWorld SNOWboarding