The Rider Driven Snowboard Brands You Need To Know
Disillusioned with big brands moving away from the core values of snowboarding more and more professional riders are deciding to take the plunge and start their own companies. Freedom to create snowboards they want to ride, the ability to collaborate with friends and print whatever graphics they can dream up are a few of the perks tempting riders into becoming their own boss.
Here are four rad groups of pros who have flourished since they decided to go it alone.
Dinosaurs Will Die (DWD)
Jeff Keenan - Middle | Sean Genovese - far right
It was 2005 when Sean Genovese and Jeff Keenan decided to leave their sponsors (Lib Tech and Option) and start their own company; Dinosaurs Will Die. Named after a ‘NOFX’ song that references the cutthroat music industry; this duo was off to do things their way.
In their first winter, they had a single board on sale, the ‘OG’. The two of them were the stand-alone riders, owners, distributors and pretty much everything else. Their passion for snowboarding and desire to produce high-quality boards soon won them some loyal fans (rats) and enough orders to carry on next season.
A front blunt going down on a rainbow
Over the coming years, their board line-up grew as well as the team, attracting names like Chris Larson and Ben Bogart. The guys were able to widen their distribution channels, shipping boards across Europe, and work with the team at Capita MFG on production.
The crew of riders and friends involved in DWD continue to do things their way - steadily building on their success ready for the next challenge.
- Poplar Core with Birch Reinforcing
- Bi-Ax Glass
- Radial Sidecut
- Elliptical Sidecut
- Stiffness 7/10
This stunning all-terrain destroyer has become the board of choice for discerning riders who are looking for high-end performance without having to break the bank to get it. Built around a versatile directional shape the Kwon ticks all the all-terrain boxes.
Gigi Ruf and team
Gigi Ruf has always set himself apart from the crowd with his unique style and ability to consistently deliver ground-breaking video parts. Since his days as part of Burton’s UNINC team, he has been involved in board production learning about construction techniques, manufacturing and graphics. This love for learning continued at his time with Volcom, cumulating in the creation of Slash in 2011.
Gigi chose to work with Nidecker (in Switzerland) for production of his boards. Apart from having a ridiculously high-tech factory, insane R&D lab and 100+ years of snowsports heritage, Nidecker already make Jones and YES snowboards (ex UNINC riders).
Team rider Colin Whealen tweaking out a grab
His second year into production and his boards were winning multiple industry awards and starring in numerous video parts. Since then it has been much of the same - producing tech-filled, innovative boards for backcountry, park and everything in-between.
- Slash Twin Shape
- Progressive Sidecut
- Ultimate Traction Edges
- Pop Woodcore
- Sintered Base
- Stiffness 5/10
Slash’s Happy-Place has firmly established itself as one of the very best price point all-terrain freestyle boards on the market. No matter if you're a newcomer to the sport or a veteran after a nimble freestyle board, the happy place will have you covered.
Eiki, Hallador and some of the Lobster team
Icelandic brothers Eiki and Hallador had both come to the end of the board deals with DC when an opportunity to work with Bataleon on a project arose. They decided to give it a go and impart their fast-living, full-throttle enthusiasm into a new company, Lobster Snowboards.
Eiki and crew riding back in Iceland at the local hocky rink
With a helping hand from Bataleon’s 3BT and Capita MFG they created their first line of boards aimed at park and jib riding. Solid boards and no f**ks given graphics proved popular and started them off on their journey to today’s line-up of seven different boards and a legit team of Pro’s and Am’s.
“We started Lobster because we wanted to be able to create our own boards exactly the way we wanted, with our own style and our own flavour graphics on quality boards. And of course we use 3BT Because nothing else makes sense if you think about it! Hell Yeah!“
Eiki & Halldor Helgason
- Freestyle 3BT with SideKicks
- True Twin Shape
- Flex Wall Sidewalls
- Traditional Camber
- Super Slick X Base
- Stiffness 4/10
The Driver is aimed at riders who are looking for a playful easy-going board that delivers a jibby park orientated ride, but which is still versatile enough to hit the rest of the mountain. Whether your out hitting rails and boxes or cruising the corduroy, you can push yourself knowing that this board won't punish your mistakes.
DCP, Romain De Marchi and JP Solberg
YES Snowboards was created from the ashes of the defunct Burton UNINC team which came to an abrupt end in 2009 and left DCP, Romain de Marchi and JP Solberg without a board sponsor.
Rather than call it a day, the riders took the decision to not seek another big name brand, but form their own company, boards and team.
Thanks to help from the Nidecker family, YES quickly established a range of excellent boards, coupled with some stunning press releases and film parts. This led to the brand quickly becoming a respected name within the industry, and they continue to produce some of our favourite and most versatile boards to date.
- CamRock 3-4-3
- Directional Twin
- Flex Wall Sidewalls
- Poplar/Paulownia/Bamboo Core + Slamback Stance
- MidBite Edges
- Stiffness 7/10
The best selling YES standard is the perfect choice for more experienced riders looking for a board to conquer the whole mountain. Thanks to a state of the art directional twin chassis combining CamRock with YES innovative MidBite sidecut, the board is agile and stable but carves like it's on rails and floats like a dream.