At the recent ISPO trade show in Munich we saw that for the second year running ‘weird’ board shapes are making an impact on the design market. It put us in mind of this article by Andrew Duthie, published in Whitelines 108. Sit back, read and enjoy.
For a period at the end of the ’90s, I was mildly obsessed with the shape of my snowboard. As an easily-distracted, shred-daft youngling I would draw it on schoolbooks, desks, the back of my own hand, and whatever else was readily available. Sometimes it would be filled with a detailed fantasy pro-model graphic; others would be no more than a single unbroken black line. Think that scene in Superbad, but with decks instead of dicks. God knows what any uninitiated persons coming across my handiwork must have thought I was into. However, to those in the know, it would be obvious; as iconic and instantly recognisable as a Coke bottle, or Marilyn Monroe. That shape is easily the most enduring visual constant in snowboarding, having gone virtually unchanged for years. Compared to bindings – once merely functional, now seemingly reverse-engineered from the Eurofighter – there has been minimal deviation for the best part of the last two decades. On the surface most modern snowboards look no different to the one Ingemar Backman used for his famous backside air at Riksgransen in 1996. So is this it? As is the case with skateboards, has the shape debate been pretty much put to bed, minor tweaking all that’s required from here on in? Or, after so many years of the same thing, isn’t it about time for some fresh ideas?