The tides are changing in the world of snowboarding. Commonly known to have been born from the desire to bring surfing to the slopes, snowboarding became an outlet for extending one’s summer endeavors deep into the winter months. However, as the sport’s popularity exploded onto the scene (paired with its widely perceived counter-cultural mindset), inspiration quickly shifted from the waves to the streets. For decades snowboarding borrowed tricks, ideology and swagger from its four-wheeled cousin, with one’s style often defined by how high you could huck yourself. But like an awkward teenager, the sport endured the pains of adolescence en route to carving its own identity and direction.
Fast forward a few decades later and we find many snowboarders focusing less on park laps, and instead, taking a more holistic approach to navigating the mountain. 30 years ago there was no such thing as manicured super-pipes or big-air competitions, it was instead hand-dug banked slalom courses that brought the best snowboarders together. Today we have events like the Legendary Banked Slalom & Dirksen Derby that have fueled a resurgence in channeling snowboarding’s earliest origins and the original concept of snow surfing. This isn’t to say gone are the days of big airs and quad-corks, rather that the community as a whole has remembered the foundation on which the sport was built – the idea that epic slashes on snow are extremely fun (and cool!).
It’s that mindset that has led many snowboard manufacturers to turn back to surfing for inspiration. Over the last couple of seasons, we have seen brands from Japan to California team up with the world’s greatest surfboard shapers in order to better understand the relationship between hydrodynamics, and 3 feet of fresh pow. From rocker profiles and swallow tails, to high volume snowboards and tapered shapes, these water-borne designs and technologies have found their way back to the mountains and we couldn’t be more stoked. So hang-loose and check out a few of our favorite surf-inspired snowboards from this year – they may just be worthy of dropping in at Mavericks.
This surf inspired shape channels a loose and flowy feel of a single fin surfboard for the snow. Featuring Burton’s Filet-o-Flex, the Skipjack Surf rolls effortlessly edge to edge while maintaining a fierce bite for whiteroom cutbacks. The fished out tail allows it to sink in deep snow and the nose to lift for maximum float. It’s perfect for flowing your way through the tightest of trees.
If you are really feeling the surf vibes, ditch the bindings and experience true snow surfing with the built-in traction pads. Remember your leash or you might have to swim for your board!
Surfboard bottom contours are slowly making their way into the snow-world. YES. takes the concave hull of a longboard and brings it to the pow. The concave base under the nose increases surface area to keep the nose up in the deep stuff, while the concave tail allows for a smooth release through the turn. Truly a one of a kind shape in the snowboard world right now.
Like a surf longboard, these boards turn smaller days into something special. With a ton of surface area or volume, the Spring Breaks make 6″ of fresh snow feel like a foot. The large surface area prevents the snowboard from sinking deep into the snow, you see. Thus creating a bottomless feeling without the deepest of pow. Available in a 159 (top) and 161 (below).
The Nitro Quiver Pow Snowboard is a powder hound with a shorter, stouter stature — like an English Bulldog powder hound, if you will. Hand designed by Austin Smith to be super-fast and nimble without losing the float necessary for surfing pit-deep powder, the Quiver Pow’s wide nose, aggressively tapered shape, and setback stance lets you ride like a dream through tight tree runs, and surf the natural contours of the mountain in a ridiculously fun, playful fashion.
Based off Japanese twin fins, the Hovercraft brings those elegant surf lines to the snow. With a slight spooned nose, the Hovercraft planes well at speed, while the flat cambered tail holds speed through long turns. The mellow sidecut mimics the shape of the twin surfboard, creating long smooth turns in the fastest sections.
While everyone else is toying with theoretical surf ideas, GNU throws it back to the 80s and puts fins on a snowboard.
Lib Tech and Lost are at it again… This time they are bringing the groveler surf shape to the snow. With plenty of volume and a tight sidecut, this Mayhem packs a punch in a small package. Perfect for big glassy pow days or tight tree cut backs.