Remembering Evo Senior Buyer Won Suh
Won Suh, a senior buyer at Evo and well-known colleague across the broader snowboard and action sports industry, passed away last month following a mountain biking accident.
Suh, a business major at the University of Notre Dame, initially began working at accounting firms before pivoting into the action sports world in late 2001 when he took on a web developer role at outerwear company 686.
Suh went on to work at Parks Pipes Powder (P3) and LeftLane Sports before finding his way to Evo in 2015, where he started off as a hardgoods buyer. Three years later he was made senior buyer at the Seattle-based company.
“What really struck me was that he was incredibly passionate about the mountains and loved snowboarding,” Evo founder and CEO Bryce Phillips recalled. “He had a statistics degree at Notre Dame, so a super sharp, highly educated guy who was just super soulful.”
Suh had been living in Mammoth for several years but was in the process of moving out of California when he applied for the snowboard buyer job at Evo.
“At that stage, I didn’t know as much about him personally, but it was very quickly evident how very, very special he was,” Phillips said. “The guy was a pure snowboarder, who loved everything about it – the camaraderie, the product, and being in the mountains. He didn’t care if it was the best conditions ever or the worst.”
Suh is survived by his brother and mother.
Here, industry executives share their memories of Suh.
“The most striking thing has been the response since his passing. He touched so many people in his life. The amount of respect he had for all people – it wasn’t about what your job was or your title or your abilities. People got a sense of calm from him, and that’s been articulated the past few days.
“He’s the ultimate embodiment of community. He wasn’t the guy to light up the room with a loud voice, but he was the guy to just revel in the camaraderie, whether around the dinner table or on the hill on a mountain bike. That was Won.” – Bryce Phillips, Evo co-founder and CEO
“Won worked at 686 technical apparel 22 years ago. He came in offering solutions to our web platform. The term, ‘you don’t know, what you don’t know’ rang true to our young company but Won set the stage for where we are today.
“I remained friends with him when he moved to Mammoth/P3 and eventually to Seattle/Evo. Won was probably one of the most intelligent, yet humble dudes out there. More importantly, he lived the mountain lifestyle 24/7. From shredding to biking, he did it all.
“I’ll always remember the quirky smile he had that was just Won.” – Michael West, Westlife Distribution LLC founder
“We met Won presenting our board line to him as the Evo snowboard buyer. He always brought his enthusiastic, calm, thoughtful, caring presence.
“At first, I thought it was his work demeanor, but as we got to know him over the years we realized that was him everywhere all the time – snowboarding, mountain biking, working, coffee meeting, three-hour line meeting. You always got the same, awesome Won. His presence brought calm sensibility and understated fun to a room or every shred experience.
“We are still shocked by his sudden passing. We were fortunate to have him with us for a five-day Holy Bowly event and product focus event. We got five days of Won, all day long, every day. Coffee with Won, car rides with Won, chair rides and runs with Won, hot springs with Won, dinner with Won, product meetings with Won. Our entire Mervin crew came away saying the same thing: Won was the MVP of the trip.
“He gave us awesome, educated feedback on product during line meetings, giggling with glee when he liked something and offering thoughtful insight when he thought something could be better. I cherish that trip and that we got the time with him.
“We have dedicated our lives to building boards and product, and are product nerds. And Won was one of us; he loved his job, he loved product, loved the people he worked with, and the toys we get to design and play with.
“I’m missing his presence and trying to bring or manifest some of his awesomeness in the world going forward. He has been showing up to visit in my head on every bike ride and surf session. I picture him off and frothing on another adventure with some sweet gear he is super stoked on.” – Pete Saari, Mervin Manufacturing co-founder
“Won Suh was a special dude. We were introduced to each other from a supplier and retailer relationship in 2017, but it became way more than that.
“Won and I began a mountain biking friendship in 2020, during the pandemic. He coined the phrase ‘talking pace’ as a way to keep the climbs up friendly and talkative, instead of competitive and exhausting. He wasn’t trying to be the best at exercise, he just wanted to have a good time.
“We solved a lot of the world’s problems on those climbs, though. He was at home on the trails, extremely confident and competent. And while the rides were the main attraction, it was the parking lot hang after that always had him smiling. The connections and conversations were where it was at for him, sitting in his red fold-up chair and sipping on a White Claw.
“Thinking about the time with him, hanging at the trail head, on a chair lift, or in a meeting room, I remember that Won was always present. He never, ever pulled a phone out to answer a call, look at a text, or check his Strava when he was with his friends. He was in the moment, with his people enjoying every minute of it.
“Rip In Peace, Won Suh. Our cup is full from having the privilege of your friendship.” – Johan Malkoski, C3 co-founder and head of sales
“Won’s passion for snowboarding and his love for people were extraordinary, and his contagious smile brought happiness to every moment we shared.
“From shredding the slopes in Switzerland a few months ago to the advice he generously shared with our teams, we were blessed to have him by our side.
“Won, you will be deeply missed, but your spirit will live on, inspiring us always. Rest in peace, dear friend.” – Henry Nidecker, Nidecker Group founder
A donation drive through The Service Board, in which Suh was an active participant, has been set up in his memory. The Seattle-based non-profit focuses on mentorship and giving kids from underserved communities the chance to get out on the mountain.
To donate in Suh’s honor, click here.
For details on the Celebration of Life service planned for June 17 in Snoqualmie Pass, Washington, visit here.
Kari Hamanaka can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.