Popular Snowboarding Gurus
Jack Burton Carpenter
The origins of snowboarding are closely tied to one man: Jake Burton Carpenter, founder of Burton Snowboards. If you can think of just one name associated with snowboarding, chances are it is “Burton”. Originally a skier, Jake owned one of the first types of snowboards, called the “Snurfer”. While the Snurfer was a mildly popular toy at the time, it was Jake Burton Carpenter’s modifications that allowed snowboarding to grow to what it is today.
Jake took his relatively primitive Snurfer, removed the metal foot-bindings and replaced them with thick strips of rubber. The rubber allowed more freedom of movement that meant that, for the first time, the snowboard could twist and turn: the birth of the freestyle snowboarder. Since the 1960’s Burton snowboards has had a crucial role in forming snowboarding as we know it today.
Another snowboarding pioneer, Tom Sims, was a famous contemporary of Jake Burton’s. Sims also went on to start his own snowboarding company, which he named after himself: Sims. A skateboarder, Sims set out to find a way to skate all year long. In 1977 he began to build wooden snowboards with aluminum bottoms and sell them under his company name.
Today’s most well known snowboarder may be Olympic free-styler, Todd Richards. Richards participated in the first Olympic snowboarding event in Nagano, Japan in 1998. In 2006 he was the U.S.’s snowboarding commentator for the winter games in Turin, Italy. Probably one of the most renegade Olympic athletes, Richards is known around the world for his half-pipe skills and colorful personality.
It is the un-conventional personalities and styles of the best snowboarders that have made snowboarding the sport it is today. Snowboarders are athletes who are either treated like Rock Stars or criminals and provoke envy wherever they go, because everyone agrees that they really know how to have fun.