Snowboarding has come a long way since its humble beginnings in the 1950s. Among the several brands that manufacture snowboards today, a handful continue to remain unparalleled.
Did You Know?
Tom Sims, world-champion competitor and manufacturer of SIMS Snowboards is credited with having built the first snowboard in his seventh-grade wood shop class. He called it the ski board.
Snowboards have evolved tremendously over the years. Having started as a fad by surf and skate enthusiasts during the 1950s, it is hard to pinpoint the invention of this sport on any one individual. Sherman Poppen’s Snurfer (1965) was perhaps the first commercially sold snowboard which combined the design of a sled with that of the skateboard. As snowboarding grew more popular during the 70s and 80s, more innovative snowboards began to be designed by pioneers such as Dimitrije Milovich and Jake Burton Carpenter. This ThrillSpire article discusses the 10 best brands that are respected throughout the world for their snowboards.
Restricted Nug Flying V, Barracuda, Family Tree Juice Wagon, Restricted Ration, and The White Collection Pro
Founded by Jake Burton in 1977, Burton Snowboards was the first exclusive snowboarding factory in the world. Today, this brand has become synonymous with snowboarding. Burton is also biggest snowboarding brand is the world. They were the first ones to introduce equipment and instructions to help beginners learn this sport. Burton has extended its market reach in more than 30 countries, and owns several specialty shops and factories in Vermont, Austria, and Japan.
This venture was established in 1987 by Bill Kirschner and is a subsidiary company of K2 Sports, which was founded in 1962. Based on snowboard sales volume, it still ranks among the top five brands in the US. The revolutionary ‘Clicker’, a step-in-binding system was introduced by K2 on their snowboards in 1995. Their recent line of snowboards come with Bambooyah core that are made of bamboo ply and have fiberglass construction.
Cygnus X-1, Travis Rice Splits, Holy Bowly, Skunk Apes Horsepower, and Slippery Banana Banana
An American snowboarding company, it is one of the subsidiaries of Mervin Manufacturing. Their snowboards are known for their Magne-Traction Serrated edges (2002) and unique Banana Tech Rocker (2006). They are famous for their environmental sustainable methods of manufacturing, such as using bamboo cores and sustainable polymer top sheets since 1995.
Gateway, Smart Pickle, Billy Goat, and B-Pro Series
The American snowboarding company, Mervin Manufacturing is the parent company of other snowboarding brands such as GNU, Lib Tech, Roxy, and Bent Metal. Mervin Manufacturing was bought in 1997 by Quiksilver. GNU was founded by Mike Olson during the early 1980s. Each of GNU’s snowboards are handbuilt in the US and are equipped with Magne-Traction, which provides more edge control to the riders in all types of snow conditions.
Whiskey, Wasteland, Element, Abacus, Westmark, Draft, and Swoon
Founded in 1995, The Arbor Collective has rapidly risen to become one of the most radical and groundbreaking snowboarding brands in the US. They were the winners of 2013 Snowboarder’s ‘Battle of the Brands 2’, where Arbor won against Never Summer in the last and final round. Their snowboard Arbor Whiskey, done by artist Dave Sheets, was featured in Snowboard Magazine’s Top 10 snowboard graphics of 2014. Their snowboards, Arbor Westmark and Arbor Cadence won the 2014 Transworld Snowboarding Magazine’s ‘Good Wood Awards’. For the third time in a row, the company also won the ‘Angry Snowboarder’s Legacy Award’ for their Arbor Blacklist snowboard.
For Men: Cobra, Evo, Legacy, and Heritage
For Women: Infinity, Onyx, and Raven
Never Summer was founded in 1983 in Denver, Colorado by Tracey and Tim Canaday. Since then, they have become one of the pioneers in snowboarding design and technology. They are renowned for their 2010 US patented R.C. (Rocker & Camber) technology and their four profiles. They also introduced Vario Power Grip to their original patent and added this sidecut technology and design to their snowboards. They are all set for the early release of Limited Edition Never Summer Ripsaw CR (Chamber Rocker) in early 2014/15.
This is an American-based company that has its manufacturing unit in Taiwan. They were founded in 1990 and have a broad product range which include snowboards, boots, bindings, bags, outerwear, and apparel. They have their own technical research center in Germany, which has introduced snowboards with new design and technical modifications known as Standard camber, Roof chop camber, Zero camber, Gullwing, and Hotwing camber.
Split, Protocol, XLT, Sickstick, and Rancho
Salomon Snowboards is a subsidiary company of the sports equipment manufacturing company Salomon Group. Salomon Snowboards was founded in 1995 and has since become a trusted snowboarding brand in the US. Their SickStick snowboard won the Volvo SportsDesign “EcoDesign” Awards 2008. They also won the TransWorld Snowboarding’s Team Shoot Out and featured in their September issue.
Buck Up, Slackcountry, Crook, Hellcat, and Baretta
Ride Snowboards was founded in 1992 in Redmond, WA. In 1995, they acquired the renowned Canadian snowboard manufacturers, Thermal Snowboards Inc. Ride has a manufacturing facility in Asia. Over the years, Ride has incorporated several dynamic technologies into their snowboards such as Cleave Edge, Slimewalls, Carbon Array, Membrain topsheets, Pop Rods, and Pop Stixs.
The Whale, Origin, Pride, Dominion, Virgo, Reverse, and The Kapow
Unity Snowboards have been building boards since 1995. They have their manufacturing headquarters in Summit County, Colorado. They are known for their pow-shaped Whale boards and Dominion boards. They recently introduced their newest snowboard The Kapow, which has an elongated tip and tail that enables rapid and fluid turns.
Although the best brand always boils down to personal preferences, the aforementioned snowboarding brands have been around for decades, and continue to churn out some of the best boards in the world.