You may already heard rumours or seen it reported elsewhere, and although there is no official word out yet it looks pretty certain that Nike will indeed be moving out of snowboarding after this winter to focus their SB department’s efforts on skateboarding.
It’s worrying news indeed when a brand the size of Nike pulls out of our industry, scary that an investment as large as theirs fails to make enough return for it to be worthwhile.
It’s worrying news indeed when a brand the size of Nike pulls out of our industry, scary that an investment as large as theirs apparently fails to make enough return for it to be worthwhile.
Snowboarding will live on, however – regardless of who makes the boots there will still be people buying them. But while there will doubtless be the naysayers that say good riddance to them, it’s worth remembering the good things Nike brought to our sport.
When they made their inroads into snowboarding three years ago, the industry was on its arse. Having the huge initial investment from the swoosh gave many riders proper financial support which lessened pressures on some other brands.
And what a team they built with this cash! No doubt some of the people lauding it over their departure will be the ones that dish out equal scorn on the contest riders – those who spin to win – and ask for style to come back. Well just look at the roster: Nicolas Müller, Gigi Rüf, Halldor Helgason, Austin Smith, Sage Kotsenburg, Jamie Nicholls, Spencer O’Brien, Jed Anderson, Ayumu Hirano, Silje Norendal, Danny Kass…
The list of respected names, style icons, is enormous. And that would not have happened without real snowboarders, such as International Team Manager Jonathan Weaver (a graduate of the UK scene) directing the show. Incidentally, word on the street is that all remaining contracts will be honoured.
Then there was Never Not, a snowboarding tour de force if there ever was one
And aside from the obvious branded swaggery like Never Not it’s worth pointing out that Nike quietly supported various other cool projects: Johanas Brenning has been able to tail the Helgasons for the last few years and run thehegasons.com; Jamie Nicholls’ was able to release Forged in Steel; Absinthe avoided financial troubles… all with help from the Nike dollar.
Not only that but there are now tens of new and/or improved snowparks across the globe thanks to massive investment – Windells on Mt Hood a perfect example – plus their unique contest formats like the Chosen Sessions and Snakes & Hammers pushed both unknown, unsponsored riders and new ways of judging to the masses.
So yes, snowboarding will indeed carry on without Nike, but it’s important to remember what they brought to the table, whatever you thought of them sitting there in the first place.