I’ve been working with my friend Jay at Dirty Bird Boards to build my first snowboard. Jay has been manufacturing custom skis and surfboards for the past couple years and recently made the jump to snowboards. The shop may be close to home but that doesn’t mean this is backyard low-tech. Jay works with space-age materials, a CAD-controlled CNC machine, and state-of-the-art press. This is no joke.
When Jay told me we could order a custom top sheet for said board, I knew just who to turn to. I’ve known Erik of Rawr! art for a handful of years, mainly through my comings and goings at a local dark, underground speak-easy. He has has been producing some wild, bright, very original art for as long as I’ve know him (I’m sure long before). Here’s his process showing 4 stages of the top sheet art coming to life.
I’ve always enjoyed making things and the idea of doing it myself. In the off-season, I started making surfboards on the Oregon coast. After learning how to work with fiberglass, why not make a snowboard? Finally, with the help of Dirty Bird Boards and Jay, that dream is happening.
Jay thinks the shaper/surfer relationship has a place in the mountains too. Talk to your shaper? Talk to your ski/snowboard builder. Before we started, Jay and I sat down in his living room and talked about what I was looking for in this particular board. Much like a surfboard shaper, the questions included: how I ride, where I plan to ride, and what conditions this board would be used in. I then took measurements of my entire quiver of snowboards to get an idea of how to quantify the feelings of how each rides. With the help of a secret manual in Jay’s possession, I also had access to the design process and measurements of a very large and well-established snowboard company. Between my notebook measurements, my design intentions, and the secret book of specs, I developed my ultimate shredder. This board will be a day-to-day resort ride for anything from ice to a foot of fresh. I have some brief racing experience and that comes through in my style of riding. More freeride than freestyle, this board is meant to go in one direction, fast and furious. Vertical sidewalls, a 162cm length, a not-too-wide waist width, and double-carbon fiber construction will keep it stable in the hard pack and at high speeds. A very directional shape, moderate taper, scooped-up nose, and blunt swallow-tail will all help when the snow gets deeper. I’m excited for the design, the building process, the art and collaboration, and working with my friends. I’m very excited to ride my own custom board and beyond that to provide feedback as a tester and further the process of design and board building.
Stay tuned for more of the process. I plan to document as much as I can.