History of the Snowboard
In 1939, Vern Wicklund, at the age of 13, fashioned a shred deck in Cloquet, Minnesota. This modified sled was dubbed a “bunker” by Vern and his friends. He, along with relatives Harvey and Gunnar Burgeson, patented the very first snowboard twenty two years later.
However, a man by the name of Sherman Poppen, from Muskegon, MI, came up with what most consider the first “snowboard” in 1965 and was called the Snurfer (a blend of “snow” and “surfer”) who sold his first 4 “snurfers” to Randall Baldwin Lee of Muskegon, MI who worked at Outdoorsman Sports Center 605 Ottawa Street in Muskegon, MI (owned by Justin and Richard Frey or Muskegon). Randy believes that Sherman took an old water ski and made it into the snurfer for his children who were bored in the winter. He added bindings to keep their boots secure. (Randy Lee October 14, 2014) The Snurfer was believed to be fairly simple and had no bindings, but this is debatable. It is widely accepted that Jake Burton Carpenter (founder of Burton Snowboards) and/or Tom Sims (founder of Sims Snowboards) invented modern snowboarding.
In 1981, a couple of Winterstick team riders went to France at the invitation of Alain Gaimard, marketing director at Les Arcs. After seeing an early film of this event, French skiers/surfers Augustin Coppey, Olivier Lehaneur, Olivier Roland and Antoine Yarmola made their first successful attempts during the winter of 1983 in France (Val Thorens), using primitive, home-made clones of the Winterstick. Starting with pure powder, skateboard-shaped wooden-boards equipped with aluminium fins, foot-straps and leashes, their technology evolved within a few years to pressed wood/fiber composite boards fitted with polyethylene soles, steel edges and modified ski boot shells. These were more suitable for the mixed conditions encountered while snowboarding mainly off-piste, but having to get back to ski lifts on packed snow. In 1985, James Bond popularized snowboarding in the movie A View to a Kill. In the scene, he escapes Soviet agents who are on skis. The snowboard he used was from the debris of a snowmobile that exploded.
By 1986, although still very much a minority sport, commercial snowboards started appearing in leading French ski resorts.
In 2008, selling snowboarding equipment was a $487 million industry. In 2008, average equipment ran about $540 including board, boots, and bindings.
*Wikipedia, Creative Commons