Snowboard Iskola

When I first met Joe Sexton, it was 2022 and we were in Duluth, Minnesota — a weird little city that I had dubbed the perfect setting for a coming-of-age teen romance film. But we weren’t there to film any teen romance; we were there for a snowboard contest. He was busy running around, we probably only shook hands and said hello, but I had always known about Joe from my brother who grew up watching him, idolizing him as a snowboarder. And you know, they say don’t meet your heroes, but sometimes you really should meet your heroes, or your brothers heroes at least.

Because since that day in Duluth years ago, Joe and I have become friends. We caught up on the phone recently and we got right into the good stuff before I was even able to hit record (which is par for the course when conversing with a guy like Joe). But when I got around to clicking the record button is neither here nor there, because you’ll still get a taste for Joe’s brilliance, humility, and industriousness in this interview. I think it’s the reason he’s been able to succeed in any job opportunity that has come his way. And if you think his mind is alluring, just wait until you see his skill for style.

Joe. p: PUBLIC

So Joe, yesterday was your birthday. How was the big day for ya?
It went well. Kind of celebrated over the weekend and my actual birthday was on a Monday, so mainly just did my normal routine. Worked in the morning/afternoon. A highlight for me was having a cigar with Jake OE. Overall, it was a great day.

Lovely. What kinda new stuff are you into now that you're another year older?
Time blocking I’ve been super into—even if it’s just carving out time for personal stuff. I’ve been blocking social media on my phone for maybe eight hours of the day, and then I have a certain amount of time that I look at it. I treat it more like a treat instead of a necessity, where it’s like, “Oh, I have an hour and I can look at this and I don’t feel guilty for looking at it because I’ve made the time for it.” And then I have this app that shows me how much of the day I spend offline. I just notice it makes me feel better to not constantly be glued to my phone.

You and I have talked a lot about mindset. Previously, before this time blocking practice, were you finding it hard to balance your time with all the things you have going on?
Yeah, I mean I kind of had to figure that out a longer time ago because being a pro snowboarder, you really don’t have many responsibilities beyond filming a video part. So learning how to get back to emails on time with the business was something I had to figure out. But now I feel like it’s more, I like working and I like being busy, so I put maybe a lot on my plate but if I can manage it right, it doesn’t feel like a lot.

You focus a lot on self-development in your personal life. Do you want to touch on the importance of that for you?
I’m down, I just don’t know how to articulate it very well. It’s like it has become a hobby of its own. I think it’s cool to get curious about yourself and why you act the way you do. I’m learning that I’m actually just interested in why I react to things the way I do or the people around me and all these different things… And also, everyone is just trying to feel good in their body. I’m just finding the things that make me feel good, whether it’s exercising a ton, or blocking these apps, or just doing the little things that I need to feel good. With work, I like that it’s spread out between Red Bull work and Public and personal snowboarding stuff. They all feel like they fit in the right spots in my life. Like they’re all kind of connected but they’re different parts of my brain that I’m working at the same time.

You’ve evolved from rider to business owner to having more involvement in other areas of the industry, like competition director for Red Bull Heavy Metal. How has that process been for you?
I think the only word that comes to mind is organic, as cheesy as that sounds. I was a rider and I wasn’t like, “Okay, I’m gonna snowboard until I’m 27 and then I’m gonna start a company.” It was literally like I got to a place with my past sponsor, had this opportunity to do this company, and realized I actually liked how it felt. I always looked up to Mikey LeBlanc and Darrell Mathes and guys that have transitioned into doing their own thing and remaining in the industry with the companies that they started, so I always had that in my mind, always thought that was cool.

Tradeshow season. p: PUBLIC

You’re making it sound easy.
No, it’s just like anything else. When I decided to start a brand, it was like Okay, I’m going to go at this like I went at being a pro snowboarder. To become a pro, it took a lot of hard work and trying stuff and dedication and all that. So I was like, If I am going to do a company, I am going to put as much work into this as I did as a rider. And then fast forward to getting a random call originally to ride in Heavy Metal and then to judge Heavy Metal and then they were like, “There’s actually another role of competition director that is open.” So I’m proud of myself for just saying yes to the opportunities; I’ll at least take the meeting and see. I just said yes to a lot of that stuff, and I’m glad I didn’t just go, “I’m not a competition director. I’m not a judge.” I think I just am glad that I am open to those opportunities instead of being closed off to them. So it has just lead to more. And it all still uses a little bit of the same entrepreneurial brain that you have to have to be creative and problem solve and all that. I really like everything that I’m doing right now.

Crossovers between being a pro snowboarder, owning a business, and now being in this position with Red Bull. You would say entrepreneurial brain is number one?
Yeah, and I’m always kind of thinking of other things and not trying to put too much on my plate, but I am so interested in how things start and where they go. I think the main theme would just be being open to opportunities. I think that’s been the biggest thing that I feel like I’ve done right. I’ve never been like, “That’s not my identity, so no.” It’s more like, “Oh that could be interesting,” and none of them ever really become my identity. I think it’s just an overarching want to always stay busy, and do stuff and create.

I think a lot of people would feel imposter syndrome in that regard. Have you ever struggled with that?
Yeah, 100 percent, of course. That’s why I’m saying I’m not a competition director, but if you just keep putting one foot in front of the other and keep learning things and try to not be so hard on yourself—that’s kind of what I’ve been working on too. I think a lot of people struggle with imposter syndrome, and it’s better than thinking you’re the shit. I think it’s good to be humble. To look at these things and learn from the people who are more accomplished than you and who are in higher up roles. That’s where it’s fun — like everyone I work with has been in these roles for a long time and I am just kinda getting started, so I just have a ton to learn.

What have you learned so far since you were only a pro snowboarder? That may be too broad of a question.
No, I think there are a couple things that come to mind.

One, things are always going to take longer than you think they are going to.

Two, you can’t control how people think, feel, and act.

Three, Oren [Tanzer] said an awesome quote one time. “Never tell anybody you don’t know how to do something.”

I’m trying to think of a way to button that all up. What have I learned in 10 years? I don’t want to say it’s harder than you think, but just like, be easy on yourself. If you’re not at a place that you wanted things to be after a certain amount of time — things take time. I think if you are patient, it will come.

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A post shared by Joe Sexton (@joesexton1817)

The most rewarding thing so far about where you’re at in your current position in the industry?
I honestly think just getting to remain in it. Usually my age of a pro would be sort of aging out at this point, and that’s okay. I think the fact that I’ve been able to have a second life in this through these things is really important to me and has given me a lot of appreciation for the career that I’ve had, but also now a lot of excitement for the future of just getting to be involved and seeing where snowboarding goes and getting to have a tiny little hand in there. It feels good.

Anything new for Public that we can look forward to?
Our new line is coming out beginning of this winter. We have another collab with Howl that’s coming out. We’re doing a guest pro model with somebody that is going to come out in the winter, which will be really cool. Going to do more stuff with events and on hill stuff next year. Just want to stay busy and constantly trying to evolve and better ourselves as a brand!

Love it, can't wait. Thanks, Joe. Talk to you soon.
See ya, Jules.

Check out Joe on Instagram here and follow Public here.