Hidden Treasures: Newfoundland’s Dru Kennedy Captures Hometown Beauty, No Matter the Season

Newfoundland, or BC? Hard to say, and that’s a good thing.
words :: Ben Osborne

The thing that stood out first was Dru Kennedy’s photography. A smattering of epic snowboard and bike shots, scenery shots from his home turf in Newfoundland, and a healthy dose of aurora borealis. What struck me next was that almost all of his photography is taken in an area not well known for adventure—Newfoundland.

The best part? He’s not a protective local—you’ll notice all his posts are geo-tagged, and he welcomes visitors from all over to visit his homeland. Inspired by inclusivity, we sat down with the photographer and Newfoundland ambassador to learn more about him, his hometown, and how he captures the beauty of the coast. —ML

Hey Dru! Tell the world a bit about yourself.

The man behind the photos, Dru Kennedy.

I’m Dru, a professional photographer and full-time snowboarder from the beautiful west coast of Newfoundland and I’m just trying to have more fun today than I did yesterday! I bought a camera as a young teenager to film some snowboarding/skateboarding and that quickly evolved into where I’m at now.

Were you raised as a snowboarder and biker, or was that something you got into later in life?

I was raised as a snowboarder, with my parents pulling me out of school for pow days and allowing me to travel for contests. I made up for the lost time in the classroom during the summer months.

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Started on dirt bikes, and had a blast with that but one day I nabbed an old DH bike from a friend and with only a helmet on followed him down an old section of singletrack. I was all in from that point. Bought a mountain bike that week, and haven’t looked back since.

I’ve seen some sled-accessed snowboarding shots on your feed—what’s that like in Newfoundland?

Newfoundland, or BC? Hard to say, and that’s a good thing.

Sled-boarding here on the island is wild, I can leave my house and within 15-20 minutes I’m in the backcountry banging out some laps with an incredible group of friends. The terrain varies, mellow fun slopes to some pretty gnarly faces. It’s rare to see others in these zones, and if you do end up bumping into someone chances are, you’re already friends or will soon be, haha!

You’re always geo-tagging locations, whereas a lot of people in other places like to hide their spots with the ol’ ‘Zippermouth Lake’ geotag. Is that because there are so few people doing what you’re doing in Newfoundland?

Normally, locals would want to keep this sort of zone a secret. For Dru, it’s a treat to share such an epic local treasure.

As far as geo-tagging my locations goes, these areas are big and can be super fickle. I generally watch the weather and wind for days, planning for when that window opens. NL is big, and somehow our backcountry is bigger. Trying to share that we have world-class terrain here too! Come hang out, I’ll show you around!

The biking in Newfoundland looks insane too! Do you think it’s a bit overlooked? 

Biking in NL is very similar to snowboarding, but new to the area. Trail networks are being built with many people (especially with COVID giving people some free time) getting into it. It’s so awesome to see!

Supernatural BC? More like supernatural NL.

Again, the terrain is just begging to be shaped into a trail. Beautiful single tracks that skirt the ocean with views of whales and icebergs (on the east coast) to longer descents in mature forests in the Humber Valley (west coast). We could be the next Squamish—at least I think so!

Same question, but for boarding—think it’s a bit overlooked?

No lift-lines and tree-corridors like this? Yes please.

Snowboarding has way more history and publication here than biking, but I do think it’s overlooked. Not that I’m complaining – the only chairlift lines I ever see have been on trips off-island. Our local hill (Marble Mountain) is a big hill and we get amazing snow. It’s a tight little family where everyone is here to have fun! Newfoundland is a bit of a challenge to get to. The ferry is always delayed, flights are expensive and again, the weather is fickle!

Endless winter, or endless summer in Newfoundland—choose one, and tell us why. 

Endless winter, or endless summer hey? That is a tough one! I have to say endless winter tho. Things slow down for winter. The gatherings, conversations, the community gets tighter. We plan out trips, access is easier with sleds and the months turn into just one big session.

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The heat from a wood stove after a big day splitting and shooting the shit with the boys is the best. Summer is way faster, busier and I try to ride every day but that’s usually for 2-3 hours instead of a full day out. But ask me that again in 5 years – hah!

You obviously love getting after it, but you have stuck around Newfoundland—why? Why not move out to BC, Alberta in search of bigger mountains and adventures?

Wild country in Newfoundland.

Newfoundland is home, my family is here. My job is here, and there is so much left to do here! The landscape changes with every season and I’m still finding new images to shoot, faces to ride, or trails to dig. I love travelling but exploring my home is unreal! We have it so good here, I honestly feel spoiled. Go ahead and ask anyone who’s been here!

Thanks for chatting, Dru. You’ve got me drooling for a visit!