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Snoplanks | Manufacturing


by james nicol November 14, 2016

Its 5am and I am covered from head to toe in dust and sweat. My hands are sore, my back aches, and I’m hungry, really hungry. Through the window the first signs of morning light are visible, illuminating the fiberglass particles dancing in the air. Bob Marley is playing on the record player, barely audible above the hum of an old Milwaukee sander that is on its last legs but just refuses to quit. Don’t quit me now old friend, one more hour, one more board. Then I need to go to work...

When I shaped my first snowboard in 2012 I never thought that I would get addicted. Its just one board right? Just this one time and I swear that’s it. At least that’s what I told my wife as I spent hours in the garage covering nearly every possession we owned in a thick layer of dust and resin. Soon one became three, became eight, became...well you get the point, full on addiction. But as each shape came to life I was filled with a kind of peacefulness and calm I had only known through riding waves or snow. That moment of dropping into a line, when thought disappears, time slows, and the world is illuminated.

It seems that we are indeed in a golden age of shaping. The lines have been blurred between surf and snow and shapers are bringing aspects from both sports to their designs in search of new feelings. Wide and short? Man that thing was fun! Edgeless? Why the hell not! No bindings? Yep. This is a revolution in snow sliding and there is no end to the creativity and progression that could come from this next generation of small batch craft shapers. Ours is a rowdy bunch that could give two shits about an IPO or a contract with Wal-Mart and care more about building a quality product for the core of the sport.

This openness to new shapes and blend of surf inspired design will have an incredible effect on the sport of snowboarding but the most dynamic may very well be the idea of having a quiver of boards for variable conditions. Do you grovel on your 5’11” thruster when the waves are one foot? No, you grab the long board or fish and have a blast. This principle holds true in the mountains as well. Is it waist deep and dumping? Go grab your powder board don’t hop down the mountain on your park deck. You might just remember how fun it is to turn again and your mind will be opened to new possibilities as a rider.

Four years gone and hundreds of boards later I still find peace in those early morning sessions. Dust particles dancing in the twilight as the world wakes up. Luckily these days I don’t have to rush off to work because I’m already here, coaching that old Milwaukee through one more board and loving every minute of it.

-James Nicol
Co-Founder of SnoPlanks Manufacturing - Bend Oregon USA




james nicol
james nicol

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