Austrian powder slayer and all-round legend Gigi Rüf has announced he is launching his own snowboard company. The brand, named 'Slash', will draw on his vast experience riding for both Burton (where Gigi was involved in the UnInc board project) and more recently Volcom. Presumably he's staying on Volcom outerwear (when we interviewed him last year, he told us Volcom were like family) but having seen the success of YES (which was founded by his old UnInc buddies DCP, JP Solberg and Romain de Marchi) and of course the Helgasons' Lobster brand, Gigi has decided to join them in the board-making game. Here's the official skinny from the man himself:
"The SLASH has a natural presence in snowboarding. It is elementary to a skillful approach. It is to navigate with power and style.
From early on in my pro career I have always had an interest and fortunately an opportunity to design the boards I rode. From the artwork to the technologies and construction techniques, since the days of Burton/Seven/Un Inc., the very essence of my pro models has been about creating a medium that expresses my personality. This is has been very important to me. More recently, having worked with Nidecker Mfg. the past two years on the Volcom board project I became comfortable with their commitment to advancing board technology. All that I have learned has only allowed more room for me to create – this is the platform of SLASH.
Now, I continue this path, building a platform dedicated to progression, individuality and standards. Through the Nidecker laboratory we will facilitate the highest demands of quality through a quiver of boards designed for a variety of conditions constructed at a new level of precision. Joining me on this venture is Jonnie Paxson who next to me will receive his own pro model and embody the SLASH as something uniquely his own.
Drop in, gain speed and SLASH."
It's interesting of course that the boards will be made by Nidecker – this is the same Swiss snowboard factory who produce YES and Jones (big mountain Jeremy's freeride-specific project). Did Romain and friends encourage him to join the party? Either way, the once old-school Nidecker brand is successfully re-inventing itself through these big name collaborations – not to mention some eye-catchingly sexy graphics. We've yet to see the new 'Slash' boards in the flesh but, knowing Gigi, they'll aim to reflect his creative approach to the mountain and, of course, kick ass at backcountry freestyle. Coming hot on the heels of the Switchback binding unveiling, it looks like the forthcoming 2012 ISPO tradeshow is going to be very interesting indeed. Rest assured WL will be there to bring you the juiciest photos and the full lowdown on all the new gear.