‘Learning to Drown’: The Remarkable Story of Pro Snowboarder Jess Kimura

Reeling from a whirlwind of loss, grief, heartache, and struggles with mental health, Jess Kimura stood back up, determined to heal.

Many athletes have a story with injury, struggle, overcoming something in life. But Jess Kimura’s personal journey was especially difficult. In short, she dealt with the death of her partner, the fallout of grief, and then went on to become one of the most passionate, successful snowboarders of all time.

Jess Kimura is not afraid of falling. This beautiful film showcases her long journey of persistence and determination as she takes on one challenge after the other to become one of the most influential snowboarders of her time. Jess openly shares her deepest fear and suffering and reminds us of the importance of being our best selves,” Banff Film Festival member Bachar Khattar wrote.

“Impactful,” “emotional,” “unapologetic,” and “heartfelt” are all words that come to mind when I think of Kimura and her journey to where she is today.

jess kimura standing on the top of a powdery peak in Whistler, BC as clouds roll in

“[Kimura’s ‘Learning to Drown’] gives the world a look inside the heart of one of the greatest women snowboarders, and her journey with loss, grief, and mental health,” The North Face wrote.

Trust us — you don’t want to miss this story.

Runtime: 40 minutes

Jess Kimura’s full film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and was featured at the Banff Film Festival in 2021.

A female snowboarder sliding on a rail on a sunny day
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Mary Murphy

Mary is the Managing Editor of GearJunkie and is based in GearJunkie's Denver, Colo. office. She has a degree in English and journalism, and has a background in both newspaper and magazine writing. Her outdoor interests span from running to sport climbing, from landscape photography to skiing to pack-paddleboarding. If she's not writing, you can most likely find her at the top of a fourteener, or in a local bakery.

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