Snowboarding History

The First Snowboard: Sherman's Poppin Snurfer

Snowboarding is an obvious fusion of skiing, surfing and skateboarding. Modern snowboards are said to be descendents of “Sherman’s Poppin Snurfer”, a sort of plywood skateboard for the snow, which first appeared, on the slopes in the 1960’s. The Snurfer had a rope attached and steel tacks that held the boarder’s feet in place.

Adventurous snowbunnies were making their own snow-skateboards long before the Snurfer hit the market, but nothing resembling the modern snowboard appeared until the mid 1980s.

What Were Early Snowboards Made From?

The first snowboarding contest was held in 1968 in Muskegon, Michigan. As snowboarding grew in popularity, the board itself improved. The original snowboard was stiff and could not make turns except in very soft snow. While modern snowboards are built of fiberglass and plastic, the originals were made of varnished plywood.

Jack Burton Carpenter

Early snowboarders like Jack Burton Carpenter modified the snowboard to make it easier to ride. Burton, like many snowboarders, was a surfer and based his snowboard designs and style on his surfing experience.

Jack Burton Carpenter’s first modified snowboard had foot-straps made of rubber, as opposed to the inflexible metal straps of the Snurfer. Later, Burton would be the first to develop boards with flexible foot straps and, later, the soft-heeled snowboarding boots used today.

Animosity Toward Snowboarders

In the mid 1980s, snowboarding was only allowed at a handful of ski resorts around the country. Within the next decade snowboarding became so popular that most ski resorts not only allow boarding, but cater to snowboarders.

Early animosity between skiers and snowboarders gave snowboarding a bad reputation as a sport of punks and renegades. Snowboarding has slowly shed its bad reputation as the sport itself has become more popular and accessible.

Snowboarding vs Skiing

While skiing has said to be around for thousands of years, snowboarding has only been in existence for a few decades. Even in its short life, snowboarding has nearly surpassed skiing in popularity and is sure to be around for decades, even centuries, to come.