WITH the sun and the surf so prevalent on the Coffs Coast, it's highly unusual for a local to be chasing a Winter Olympics dream.
But when Matty Cox took out the Jossi Wells Invitational Big Air in New Zealand on one of the largest Big Air jumps seen on the World Snowboard Tour for 2016, the 18-year-old clinched the right to try to qualify for the Australian team competing in Pyeongchang in 2018.
It capped off an interesting U-turn year for the former Jetty High student, who, in the past, has been considered a halfpipe competitor.
Halfpipe and Big Air are very different disciplines and few compete in both.
Yet last year, fate intervened while Cox started training with the NSWIS team in Perisher, where there is no competition-sized halfpipe to train in.
In the winter the young gun trained predominantly with slopestyle competitors and discovered a new side to his riding. Matty became more comfortable on big jumps and his trick repertoire grew.
Now, with the confidence of strong results behind him, Matty has raised his ranking on the WSPL (World Snowboarding Points List).
The national body has granted him a discretionary placement in the first World Cup event of the Olympic qualification period in Milan.
He isn't guaranteed a start at this event - Matty is the fifth reserve at this stage.
It's 16 months until the Winter Olympics in South Korea but this snowboarder is a big chance of getting there.