Created: 21 January 2021

A few days before the world shut down due to COVID-19, 23-year-old Senna Leith stepped onto his first SBX World Cup Podium at Big White, BC. Now, months later, as the World Cup Circuit is back up and running, we caught a few moments with Senna and to hear about his journey from Rocky Mountain grom to World Cup rockstar and how he is bringing a little custom Aloha to Donek’s quiver of boards.  

You’re fresh off a World Cup podium but how did you go from USASA grom to World Cup athlete?
USASA was definitely the start of my career in competitive snowboarding, I started in the Rocky Mountain Series. USASA was a massive part of my development as an athlete. USASA introduced me to a healthy competitive environment, created countless friendships over many many years, and taught me the value of true sportsmanship and work ethic. 

I worked my way up through the USASA ranks for multiple years until it was time for me to start racing on the NorAm cup tour and start doing FIS events. After a few years on the NorAm tour, I won the tour overall title and made my way onto the World Cup circuit. I split my time between the World Cup tour and the NorAm tour for another year as I developed the skillset required to race full time on the World Cup circuit.

Podium bound. Senna rides to his first World Cup podium on the shoulders of US Snowboarding teammates Mick Dierdorff and Nick Baumgartner

What was your first USASA Nationals like? 
My first USASA Nationals experience was walking in the parade with my team and region back at USASA Nationals in 2008 at Copper. I remember that USASA Nationals vividly as it was my first experience being a part of such a massive event and feeling that energy and community.

How did you get connected with Donek and start riding and designing boards for them?
A couple of years after first stepping onto the World Cup tour, my coach started working together with Donek to make a World Cup level race board, as there wasn’t an American-made board that could compete with the European boards on the World Cup. After testing the boards a bunch with him over a season, I decided to make the move to Donek and become part of the team as the B-1 was first unveiled. The first World Cup that I rode the B-1 in, I got a top-6 result, so that move was a massive success. From there I continued to have lots of success and eventually got my first World Cup podium, which was also the first World Cup podium for Donek. It is definitely safe to say that making the move to Donek was a great decision, and I love being a part of the team. Being in that position with Donek is a huge part of how I was able to have the opportunity to make the Aloha board. 

Yeah, tell us about the Aloha and how this board design came about?
This board design came about because I was in search of the perfect board for my preferred style of freeriding, and could never find it. Thankfully I had the opportunity to work together with Donek designing some customs boards and was able to make that perfect board a reality for me - and for those who enjoy a similar ride.

I use the Aloha for everything from ripping carves on groomers to powder days. It is definitely a directional board, but it isn’t limited. It has the aggression to handle lots of varied terrain, but it is also playful enough to make mellow terrain super enjoyable and fun. I can trust the stability of the board on anything. It has a perfect shape to make a splitboard version of as well. The taper and setback on the board is ideal for any level of snow you might find yourself in, and the camber profile combined with the nose shape allows the board to have stability and playfulness in any snow conditions. 

Fresh of the press. Senna at the Donek Snowboard factory with his latest snowboard creation, the Aloha.

Why is the board called the Aloha? 
I chose the name Aloha because it is my favorite word. Aloha stands for a lot about how I live my life and who I am, and also represents an ideology that I think we all need. When I needed a name, Aloha definitely came to mind, and the spirit behind aloha definitely lives through the board with the fun and surfy feel it provides to the rider. Aloha was also the perfect name for the graphic scheme that I had in mind.

How are you staying focused and motivated during COVID-19?
Staying focused on my goals during this pandemic is definitely tough at times. I haven’t been inside a gym for over a year now, which is crazy to think about. I have had to get creative with my training techniques due to various limitations and situations that this pandemic has given us. In the end though, when you want something bad enough, you find ways to achieve it and to work around obstacles that are in your way. Just gotta keep myself driven and focused on the long-term because these times will pass. 

Can you share some advice for our up and coming USASA athletes?
The best advice I can give for the up and coming athletes is to train hard and truly trust in the process. If you follow and believe in the process, and take the steps necessary to achieve a goal, you will achieve your goals - simple as that. Stay hopeful, stay dedicated, work hard, and think long term. 


Follow Senna on his journey via Instagram and check out his brand new Donek Aloha here


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