Tuesday, January 12, 2010 Updated: January 21, 11:36 AM ET
Isaac Sherbine gets schooled
Sherbine flaunts what he's learned in the Russian Federation. February, 2009.
When sled freestyler Heath Frisby retires from hucking sled in comps and demos, he might make a living as an action sports coach/mentor. The 25-year-old Idahoan has an eye for talent.
Frisby has already shepherded one of his students to the top: A few years ago, he helped Joe Parsons get his start in sled freestyle. Just a few months later as a rookie at Winter X12, Parsons scored a silver medal in Snowmobile Freestyle. He returned in 2009 and snared gold. Parsons even used Heath's signature Frisby Air as a key component in his runs.
Now, Frisby has a new project: 20-year-old Isaac Sherbine from Bellevue, Idaho, one of the top up-and-coming sled freestylers who, like Parsons, has learned much from Frisby. The two met about five years ago while Sherbine was racing snocross on a western circuit. With the cost of snocross soaring, Sherbine wasn't sure if he wanted to continue racing, and when he met Frisby and saw him tricking on his sled, Sherbine saw his future.
"One day I saw Heath do freestyle and it looked like fun and I got into it with him," Sherbine says. "Heath said I looked pretty good with my talent from snocross and he just said, 'Try freestyle.' Once I did, I picked it up pretty fast."
In 2006, Sherbine transitioned fully to freestyle. The first trick he dialed in was the standard bar hop. His arsenal progressed from there to a stripper, double grab, Shaolin, Hart Attack and Superman seat grab. Though he didn't ride at demos or compete for two years, he rode with Frisby and learned.
The two lived together for several months in 2008 at Sherbine's parents' house in Bellevue, Idaho, where they built a gigantic 48-foot by 48-foot foam pit and followed that with a massive ramp dubbed the Big Ass Ramp (BAR). The 33-foot long, 13-foot tall ramp with a 45-degree angle at the tip was the centerpiece of the sled freestyle course in 2009, sending riders more than 100 feet from take-off to landing.
Sherbine's first sled freestyle competition took place in March 2008 in Jackson, Wyo. He finished fifth behind Winter X Snowmobile Freestyle veterans Parsons, Daniel Bodin and Sam Rogers. Though he had limited tricks in comparison to those heavy hitters, Sherbine was happy with his results.
"I didn't know what to expect," Sherbine said in January 2009. "I'd never been in a competition. I've always just ridden with Heath. [Fifth] isn't the best, but I was definitely stoked about it."
If you had to choose a snowmobile freestyle coach, wouldn't you choose Heath Frisby?
Continuing to hone his skills after that first comp, Sherbine was invited to WX13 as an alternate. Just two weeks before the event, Sherbine stuck his first backflip and then added a one-handed variation. At Winter X, he spent more time than any other athlete on the course during the practice sessions dialing in tricks and getting seat time should he be called upon to compete.
"When I first showed up, it was pretty nerve wracking," Sherbine says. "Once practice started, everything just went back to like I was at my house."
Just before the elimination round, the opportunity arose for Sherbine to compete. But there was one catch: Already riding on a bruised right heel from a crash a few weeks before WX, Sherbine augured a landing in WX practice and sprained his left ankle.
"It hurt so bad I thought it was broken and I said I can't ride right now," Sherbine recounts. "Heath told me, 'Just put your boot on. You have like two minutes. Just go out there and do it.'"
Sherbine did, and though he had a couple bobbles, he laid down a good, smooth run. He didn't advance to the semifinals, but he finished sixth ahead of Winter X11 Snowmobile Freestyle gold medalist Chris Burandt and Winter X11 Speed & Style silver medalist and freestyle athlete Sam Rogers.
After Winter X, the trio of Frisby, Parsons and Sherbine spent February of 2009 in Russia performing at three sled freestyle demos in three cities. Upon returning, Sherbine competed in Jackson again in March and took fourth in the Best Non-Flip Trick category behind Parsons, Frisby and Matt Tingstad.
With three comps under his belt and continued training with Frisby, Sherbine returns to WX14 to compete in Freestyle. With his confidence high and a growing stable of tricks, he thinks he's got a shot at doing well.
"One of my goals is to try to get in the top three this year," he says. "I'd be pretty stoked."