Surf Inspired Snowboards

As a California Native growing up with access to both the coast and the mountains, I was drawn to thrills of surfing and snowboarding. In recent years, the two sports have collided and are bringing inspiration to each other. After living in Colorado these last few years, I have noticed how the surfing industry has directly influenced the snowboarding industry specifically in regards to board shapes. These shapes are influencing riding styles and after an era of double, triple, and even quadruple corks and mindless spins snowboarding is beginning to go back to focusing on the carve. In November 2015, one rider and photographer even tried to simulate a classic blue ocean wave turn but on snow and received the cover shot on the popular Transworld Snowboarding Magazine.

Christian Haller on the cover for Transworld’s November 2015 issue

Snowboarding originally started  back in 60’s and 70’s and was inspired by from surfing and skateboarding. Men like Tom Sims and Jake Burton were some of the original pioneers taking their love of surfing and skateboarding and bringing it to the slopes by inventing boards capable of floating and gliding on snow.

One of the original snowboards by SIMS

Today, companies are teaming up with surf shapers and collaborating on designs in order to create the ultimate powder boards and some slick carving sticks utilizing many features seen on surf boards.

Surf Shaper Bill Stewart holding two snowboards he helped design using his surf shaping skills

Jones Snowboard company teamed up with Chris Christenson, a legendary surf shaper with a resume long enough to convince anyone of his expertise. Utilizing his surf knowledge, he helped shape some amazing powder boards including some that are ridden without bindings and some with the option of traditional snowboard bindings.

Jones surf inspired snowboards with old school hook bindings
Jones surf inspired snowboards with traditional binding options

You will notice the unique side rails that are long and smooth similar to a surfboard. The new surf-era boards also tend to be one directional rather than twin tipped and usually display a sharpe front point allowing the board to seamlessly cut through snow. Most of the boards are shorter than a typical snowboard but with the design of set back bindings and foot positions, riders are able to effortlessly float on top of the deepest snow giving the rider a very similar feeling to surfing. To top the classic design off, the tail is usually unique with a fishtail look, swallowtail indent, and even some extremely unique and pin tail and split tail designs. These tail designs allow a rider to hold an edge in loose snow in order to make long and smooth carves as well as short aggressive slashes. Many of these boards are designed specifically for deep powder while some are focused more on the daily groomer runs seen at most resorts. It is astonishing to see the progression with this new style of boards on the market and the creativity combining old school carving and surfing style with modern technical spins and flips.

Spring Break surf inspired snowboard
Spring Break surf inspired snowboard


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2 Comments. Leave new

  • These surf-inspired designs are a perfect example of the intersection of functionality and design. The swallow tail is just so striking visually – it makes the viewer imagine riding on snowy waves. Although most snowboards don’t have this feature since most occasionally ride switch, its awesome how the I have seen the surf inspired design is great in deep powder.

  • Elizabeth Whitman
    January 31, 2016 12:50 pm

    Cool post. I was just in Malibu over Christmas break and I had the chance to talk to someone who was very close friends with Jake Burton during the advent of snowboarding. It was really awesome to hear his stories about some of the first people snowboarding. Interesting to think that it is such a young sport!


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