Christmas morning, 1965, Sherman Poppen walked outside in Muskegon, MI and looked at the snow-covered hill in front of his home. He saw a wave. Ladies and gentlemen: Welcome to the birth of the snowboard.
Sherman made the first snowboard, known as the “Snurfer” (his wife came up with this by combining snow and surfer) by screwing two pairs of children’s skis together with some doweling and fashioned a surf board for the snow.
Over the next ten years, more than a million Snurfer’s were produced and sold through chain sporting good stores and toy stores.
There has been some speculation over the years as to who may have been the real inventor of the “Snurfer” style toy. There are accounts of WWI soldiers standing sideways on barrel staves and sliding down snow-swept hills while they were stationed in Europe. Also, while at a garage sale, Jake Burton (founder and owner of Burton Snowboards) found a board similar to this style that dated back to the 1920’s. Although this does add some significant historical depth to snowboarding, it was Poppen’s Snurfer that first brought the idea to the masses.
Although the Snurfer was popular during the 1970’s it really hit it big in 1985 when the first magazine dedicated to snowboarding hit the newsstands. The magazine was originally titled: Absolutely Radical and was published by Yom Hseih, and was changed to International Snowboard Magazine six months later.
Skiers started to wonder “Where did all these snowboarders come from?” For such staunch traditionalists, snowboarders came straight out of their nightmares. To them, snowboarders were the bad boys and girls of winter who, according to a 1994 televisions episode of American Journal, were “knocking down skiers like bowling pins.” But that same year, the May 5th cover of Wall Street Journal proclaimed “Snowboarding scores as the fastest growing sport with participation up 50% since the previous winter.” Appropriately, a day later, Ride Snowboards became the first...