Alex ‘Chumpy’ Pullin became the first Australian wintersport athlete to win consecutive world championships when he secured a second snowboard cross title in Stoneham, Canada, on Australia Day.
In winning back-to-back world championships, the 25-year-old Eden resident and Australian Institute of Sport scholarship holder outclassed the world’s best which included a dual Olympic gold medallist and a former two-time world champion, with a flawless performance.
Not only has Pullin rewritten the record books, he did it so emphatically.
Chumpy’s triumphant path to becoming a dual world champion hit top gear when he set the fastest time during the qualification session.
He then stamped his supremacy on the world championships by winning each of his four races on his way to standing on the top step of the podium, a feat he first did two years ago in La Molina, Spain.
The Australian finished ahead of Austrian and former dual world champion Markus Schairer, with Norwegian Stian Sivertzen in the bronze medal position.
Chumpy said this win had exceeded the euphoria he felt after winning his first World title, describing the victory as a “text book” result.
“The first world championship was obviously the best day of my life, to put a title beside my name, but the sport has developed a lot,” he said.
“I rode this event exactly the way I dreamed. Coming out and qualifying first, winning all my heats through to the final and winning the final from the hole shot to take the championship could not have been better. It was a text book win for me.
Chumpy could call Eden home if we was in the country long enough but the Winter Olympic hopeful spends much of the year chasing good snow, not in Eden where his parents Chris and Sally now live at Eden Cove.
Chris and Sally are Chumpy’s biggest fans and it was without question that they would nervously rise in the middle of the night to watch the action on pay TV.
“We bought pay TV just for it so we found out immediately,” Chris said.
“When he won we opened a bottle of champagne and had a bit of a party, by 6am we were buggered.”
Snowboarding is huge in Europe and for an Australian to win one world championship, let alone dominate the sport, is an amazing feat.
“In France and Austria they may identify 200 kids with potential and they will whittle that number down until there are two guys left,” Chris said.
“So those guys are pretty bloody good, they don’t go to school, they’re tutored privately. Then Chumpy comes up and kicks their bum.”
“It’s that real Aussie thing. When an Australian board rider gets out there they’re so creative, and when something needs to happen, they make it happen.”
Chumpy also has leading edge technology and tuning of his equipment on his side, thanks to dad Chris.
The Pullins recently sold their ski equipment and tuning shop at Mansfield after 33 years.
Their expertise means Chumpy’s Austrian-made boards are shipped to Australia for Chris to tune, before he rides them in competitions.
“Race tuning of ski gear is really, really hard, I can’t tell you how hard it is,” Chris said.
“Chumpy’s coach in Europe said they’re (boards) are incredibly fast, I’m really proud of that.”
Chumpy is currently in Toronto and his next event will be at Blue Mountain for a World Cup event.
He will then head to Russia for precursor event for the Winter Olympics.
Chris said the Olympics is something they don’t really like to talk about that this early stage.
“I think if you asked somebody in Ski and Snowboard Australia they would say he’s the best medal chance we have, not the only one they have,” he said.
“It’s something we don’t discuss because a lot of things can change and go wrong.”
Chumpy is also first person in the world in his discipline to attract Red Bull as a partner.
He’ll back in Eden for Easter to spend time with his family, then start the build-up for the Winter Olympics.