Rider Wolle Nyvelt Photo Andreas Monsberger

POWSURFING

- the global movement at the root of board sports

Text Miikka Hast

“Powsurfing gave me a new stoke and made me feel like a kid again”

-Jeremy Jensen, founder of Grassroots Powdersurfing

The first boards made for snow were originally just kid’s toys that were used for fooling around on. There were no bindings — just a bit of rope attached to the nose to give some control. They were called “snurfers”.  But the link with skateboarding and surfing was strong and people’s interest grew. Then came bindings and board technology took giant steps. The snowboarding movement was born and it quickly evolved into a sport and lifestyle, just like skateboarding and surfing. Now, all three are Olympic sports, as well as billion dollar industries. Some even say they got serious along the way and lost some of the authentic stoke that started the movements – pure fun with no strings attached.

     But a new snow movement has been cooking in mountains, hills and backyards everywhere, that makes men and women of all ages giggle again. People have ditched the bindings once more and are looking to emulate a surf and skate feeling on snow. But even though this movement has been around for over a decade now, the riders are still not unanimous on what to call it. 

Their beloved child has many names: noboarding, snowsurfing, powsurfing, and some still use snurfing too. But all refer to the same binding-free boarding on powder snow.

Photo Name of Photographer

In a way, powsurfing (let’s call it that in this story), takes us back to the birth of snowboarding, when the very first riders were exploring what it meant to go down a mountain sideways on a piece of plywood, with just a bit of rope attached to the nose. Now though, the rope has been ditched and the plywood has been switched for fine wood in various 3D shapes. Powsurfboards resemble surfboards more than snowboards these days. People are making their own boards again in their garages because it is fun and fairly easy to shape one yourself (the internet is full of instructions and tips), and simply because there have been no boards for sale —until now.

As the powsurfing movement grows, so does the market for boards. Not everyone is a handyman or has the equipment to build these DIY boards. They’d rather buy one. And a few of the powsurfers have recognised this as a possibility to turn their passion into a business and their garages into shops. Spine Mag interviewed four of these pioneers, who want to share the stoke and sell a few boards on the side, to find out what powsurfing and their boards are all about.

GRASSROOTS POWDERSURFING

Jeremy Jensen, www.powsurf.com

When and how did you get into powsurfing?

– In the late 80s my first “snowboarding” experience was on a skateboard deck without the trucks. Not exactly powsurfing, but kind of close, haha!

The earliest years of powsurfing for me were in 1999, when I started experimenting with riding different snowboards without bindings. I equipped my snowboards with stomp pads between the bindings and on the tail so I could “surf” them without bindings. From there I started cutting up snowboards to try to make them work better, but without much luck. They didn’t perform very well.  So I started shaping powsurfers from scratch in 2007 and performance immediately got much better. That was the beginning of Grassroots Powdersurfing.

How did you start crafting boards and when?

– I started crafting in 1999 by cutting up older snowboards and experimenting with ways I could try to make them work, but they are just not designed well for powsurfing.  I had a vision of what I wanted to do with riding binding-free in powder, but nothing out there worked well.  I wanted to float really well, ride in full control with great agility, and be able to pop airs similar to ollies on a skateboard, because that is the root of nearly all board sport tricks.  So in 2007, I crafted my first powsurfers from scratch and within the first few prototypes my vision was realized.

I shaped all-wood boards so that I could easily shape, test, re-shape and test again many times to refine various profiles and outlines. Within a year I was making powsurfers with ptex bases for better speed and durability. A lot has changed since then with materials, weight, profiles, and three-dimensional shapes.

 

Did you have any woodwork experience/education when you started?

– I had very little woodworking experience when I started. So the desire to create something that could ride powder without bindings was really the only thing that put me on a woodworking path.

Education-wise I have a BFA (Bachelor of Fine Arts) and a MFA (Master of Fine Arts) in Graphic Design and Film from Utah State University (so 8 years of school at the University). One of my other jobs is teaching at the University.

 

Where do you draw your inspiration from for powsurfing?

– I draw a lot of my inspiration from nature.  The terrain, the snow conditions and the weather all inspire me to take different directions and different lines each and every day. I am just a product of my environment and my history as a skateboarder, snowboarder and surfer.

I am influenced by people like Danny Way and Dane Reynolds, who have pushed skateboarding/surfing beyond what anyone imagined possible and taken them in new directions. Also people like John Cardiel when it comes to overcoming major injury and keeping passionate about what they love and doing it in any way they can.

I take inspiration from surfboard shapers and the more I learn about snowboard history the more I see great design ideas to explore that have been forgotten in these modern times. Dmitrije Milovich, the man who started Winterstick snowboards is a big inspiration. He is the true father of snowboarding in my eyes.

There are so many snowboarders and skateboarders who inspire me it is impossible to name them all.  I am also inspired by my father, who taught me a love for snow and mountains and has worked multiple jobs his entire life to support our family.  Running Grassroots is just one of my 3 jobs. I work as hard as I possibly can to try to make my dreams come true. One day I hope to just have one job, and that’s Grassroots Powdersurfing.

 

What is the single best thing about powsurfing?

– It’s the best feeling on earth. Real freedom, real challenge and real surfing snow!

 

What drives the shaping process?

Performance is what drives the shaping.  Anyone can make a cool looking shape but not many people can make one that performs well. The boards need to be fast, durable, float well and turn really well. I let function and performance lead that process.  There are infinitely many qualities of powder and snow, so creating designs that excel in specific snow conditions is always driving me.  This is why we have over 15 shapes in the Grassroots line.  Snow is different every day and it varies all over the world so if you have a quiver to pick from, you will have the best experience.

Also, I want to shape boards for everyone.  Kids, ladies, big guys and small guys. One board does NOT fit all, so I shape boards for every size and shape of rider in every type of soft snow condition on earth.

 

Snowboarding, surfing or skateboarding. Which inspires the shapes the most?

– Surfing and snowboarding inspire the shapes more than skateboarding, but it is a mix of all 3 really.  Shape technique from surfing water doesn’t translate into surfing snow but there are lessons to be learned there. The same goes for snowboarding. Snowboards are designed to be ridden with bindings so the cuts, stances, shapes & materials used don’t always translate well into powsurfing. But again there are some lessons to be learned from snowboarding.

 

How can a customer find the right board?

– Our webstore goes into detail about the performance of each design in particular snow conditions and recommended boot sizes, so that is a good start.  Customers can email or call me personally to discuss the best board options for them and I am happy to offer advice on where to start building your quiver.

Every board is handcrafted and customized to fit the rider, so input from the customer on where they ride, the type of terrain, their style, quality of snow, foot size, and weight all help me fit them with the best powsurfer for them.

 

What inspires the graphics?

– The graphics are inspired by nature, beautiful things I see, and my history/background.  Some of the graphics I create nod to some of the snowboarding and skateboarding legends who have influenced me throughout my life.  Other graphics are created by artists who I admire, or who reach out with a great design that works well with our aesthetic.

For me, powsurfing takes me back to my roots.  It reminds me of my youth, when I was learning to skateboard and snowboard, so the look of Grassroots is intended to remind people of their youth and where they came from. Powsurfing has injected the stoke of a child back into me and that is priceless.  I want others to feel that, so the look and graphics hint back to the good old days.

The mountain silhouette on the top sheets is a special peak that looked over us as we discovered powsurfing and grew it over the past decade. The symbol we use is a character symbolizing happiness, good fortune and a long, fulfilling life. Powsurfing makes you a child again and it is not so hard on your body, like going huge on a snowboard is. So, people who surf powder will be rich in spirit, have a life full of happiness, be healthy from hiking for their turns, and be smiling from great runs.

 

There are several brands on the market already. How do your boards differ from the others?

– Grassroots was the first company to bring powsurfers to the market, quite a few years ahead of any other brands. We started the powsurfing revolution and have fuelled the world with media and stoke to inspire all of these other brands.  So that speaks volumes in itself.  We are the original powsurfing company, so many people attempt to imitate us, but it’s refreshing to see when a company actually brings something unique to the table. There are only a few of these that I have seen, but it’s nice when it happens.

Every powsurfer is locally handcrafted, signed, numbered and the 3D traction is customized to the rider’s boot size. We have a huge variety of boards that feature various three-dimensional ptex bases depending on the model and style. They also have different flex patterns and profiles that will excel with certain types of riding and conditions. We shape and size for all types and sizes of riders and riding styles. Performance-wise, our boards are extremely versatile in all types of conditions whether its deep, shallow, wet or dry powder. In terms of usability, durability and performance our boards are the best you can buy and they are priced much more affordably than most other brands.

We also craft multiple models of custom split-surfers to help with backcountry access.

We ride truly binding-free. We are not using any bungi ropes as they do in “noboarding” and we don’t try to fool anyone by using magnets, velcro or any other types of “invisible binding”.  We believe that riding without any form of binding is the entire point of powsurfing, so we stay true to that.

Nobody has anywhere near the experience shaping powsurfers that we do, and nobody has anywhere near the riding and developing experience.  Lots of companies post pictures of cool looking boards on social media, but not many actually put them in to action so we can see how and if they ride. We make it a point to show people what can be done on our boards. If you look at our media, it is very clear how well our boards perform and how they can ride in various types of snow conditions.

 

Do you consider the environmental impacts when choosing materials or production methods?

– Absolutely. We craft with fast growing renewable woods, earth-friendly bio-resins, earth-friendly inks, and we recycle and re-use nearly all wood and foam scraps. I believe that the health of the environment is crucial to the longevity of powsurfing, and of course all life in general.

 

In what direction do you want to take powsurfing and what kind of future do you see for the movement?

– I want to continue to push powsurfing progression in all directions and styles.  I want to keep going bigger, faster and riding steeps and gnarly featured terrain. I want to take bigger airs, grabs and spins just like snowboarding (but without the bindings) and incorporating kickflips and shuvits into those airs just like in skateboarding. We have all seen what is possible without bindings in skateboarding and surfing and this often makes some styles of snowboarding look kind of silly in a way. I believe that over time, powsurfing can rise up and become an activity that stands tall and more on par with the skills and devotion it takes to surf and skateboard.

The difficulty and gnar factor is cool, but I still want to show the world how much fun can be had on small and simple terrain. Using your own two feet and your imagination to have fun instead of having to pay ridiculous amounts of money at ski resorts. I don’t like how the snowboarding and skiing industry are pricing people out because they don’t have a lot of money. I think powsurfing can help combat this. I also want to show how this is an incredible way to teach young riders proper balance that will help them in snowboarding as well as other areas. Powsurfing teaches balance, hard work, sacrifice and persistence. And all this for the greatest reward and feeling.  These are characteristics that apply to all things in life to make people happier and more successful in all they do.

I want to see the movement stay in the hands of real shapers and riders. I don’t want to see it cheapened and commercialised by big companies, mass producing poorly designed and constructed products in sweatshop factories just to try to make a buck of the “next big thing”.  There are a couple of companies who have started to do this already and it is so shameful. This takes the soul out of a beautiful thing and everyone loses in the end. I believe that boards should be created by experienced shapers who really care about what they are making and they should care about the rider’s experience and the powsurfing community as a whole.  I think we should keep it personal, keep it pure and keep the greedy soul-sucking vampires out.

"I want to see the movement stay in the hands of real shapers and riders."

Shaper Jeremy Jensen Photo Sean Kerrick Sullivan

Rider Jeremy Jensen Photo Jason Sazama

Rider Wolle Nyvelt Photo Andreas Monsberger

ÄSMO

Wolfgang Nyvelt (interviewed) & Stefan Gruber, www.aesmo.at

When and how did you get into powsurfing?

- Well, we started building Äsmo Boards in my garage in 2006, while we were bored waiting for the snow to arrive. Before that I rode the Salomon Pow Skate for a couple of years and built some concrete molds so that I could make wider top decks. I just pretty much fucked around, but that got the the whole thing going.

 

Why powsurfing?

- Whatever you want to call it really, snowsurfing, powsurfing…..I like noboarding because those guys have been out there and it’s a way to remember GT (Greg Todd).

The name noboarding makes me laugh and really that's what it's about. Whatever you name it, it’s all snowboarding in the end, but you are right, the term snowsurfing gets used a lot these days. In a way, it’s a reference to our history and about showing respect but it’s also the way you ride in between tricks, linking turns, and adapting to the mountain.

Photo Andreas Monsberger

Rider Wolle Nyvelt Photo Andreas Monsberger

"If you don’t have bindings for a day and then you go back to having them, it’s such a rad feeling to launch ollies off wherever you want..."

Rider Wolle Nyvelt Photo Andreas Monsberger

How did you start crafting boards and when?

Steve Gruber saw those decks I built for the Pow Skates and we made plans how to build single deck boards that could be ridden without bindings.

We had the idea for channels early on, to make a single deck turn as well as the Pow Skate. So we started with that quest and tried to realise it over the next couple of years.

The thing that got us going was not only learning those techniques, but also learning about the history of snowboarding and surfing. We knew how our board should look but it was interesting to find out along the way where all those concepts came from. For example, the concept of the fish with the swallow tail.

The main idea of our boards is that they should be as wide as possible, while remaining epic to control. If you start to study Winterstick and what Dimitrije did early on, it’s pretty amazing. Snowboarding had to fight to get accepted, so around that time all those guys raced surf-inspired powshapes between gates. Around the same time, Dimitrije was getting rid of his edges because they weren’t needed in pow.

Anyway, there are just tons of interesting and funny things which I like. People who came up with rad shit early on, and things that got forgotten because they were ahead of their time, like Bob Simmons in surfing.

 

Did you have any woodwork experience/education when you started?

- I went to a technical school but we didn’t work much with wood apart from building all the skate ramps. Steve went to the same school and his dad has a pretty sweet workshop, so early on he was doing a lot of stuff by himself. He was the main dude to get our first mini ramp going in town, and to this day is involved in all the projects.

We didn’t have any experience with the materials we started working with but over the years we learnt a lot. We spent quite some time testing and building little test presses to determine flex and torsion, and to learn about all the layers we put together. It really took a lot of time to make the product into what it is right now.

 

Where do you draw your inspiration from for powsurfing?

- From what we do. I love snowboarding, skateboarding and surfing and I have been absolutely hooked and obsessed with going sideways ever since I started  to skateboard. It’s hard to keep your mind off it.

So I got to a point were there was a need to find a different kind of truth within and there are so many awesome things I didn’t know when we started to fool around with our boards.

I had heard about George Greenough and Steve Lis, but I had never really studied what they did. There are so many things like that, you know. When we built our first board, which I rode in Optimistic, we got to meet Taro a few months after the season and saw that the outline of his boards almost looked like ours. We used bamboo top sheets and came to the same conclusion on the outline. I wrote to him and told him about it and we became friends. He has an awesome philosophy of snowboarding and to me that was always important. Dedication and happiness in what they do. I always knew I wanted to do this all my life and to see that there are so many ways you can snowboard. You realize it’s never going to be boring.

 

What is the single best thing about powsurfing?

- What I like best is that it got me so much more fired up again, to ride every kind of board and bindings for that matter. If you don’t have bindings for a day and then you go back to having them, it’s such a rad feeling to launch ollies off wherever you want...

 

What drives the shaping process?

- The current state of Äsmo is to fuse skate tricks with that snowsurf approach. Over the years we’ve tried everything from hooks to magnets, and it opened up different doors. It’s not really natural if you are a purist but we don’t really care what people think — it’s more about how entertained we are in what we do.

 

Snowboarding, surfing or skateboarding. Which inspires the shapes the most?

- I’d say surfing. It always goes back to surfing.

 

How can a customer find the right board?

- Look at our website www.aesmo.at and drop me a mail at info@aesmo.at and we can help you find out what you are after.

 

What inspires the graphics?

- There are no graphics really. Form follows function, I guess defines the look of our boards. Everything has a purpose like the top wood veneer. Its all about the flex, torsion and how it works for production.

 

There are several brands on the market already. How do your boards differ from the others?

- There are several sick brands out there for sure and we promote the same kind of fun. Everybody has their own approach and it makes for a wide variety of boards. To me, our boards are unique because of the channels and bottom contour really.

It allows you to build wide boards which float amazingly but you still have control. Even on the slope you are able to navigate to your powline.

 

Do you consider the environmental impacts when choosing materials or production methods?

- We try to be conscious about it. We recycle, and every step of the process is tuned so as not to waste any material, but of course we are working with materials that are not particularly “nature friendly”. So for now, our main focus is on good quality and durability. We are working on stuff but we are not satisfied enough yet to apply it to the line.

 

In what direction do you want to take powsurfing and what kind of future do you see for the movement?

- We’re not sure at all. What we want is to spread the fun. As a company, our goal is to survive for now. It’s a hobby for us and we enjoy it.

We’re also doing some other interesting stuff, like working with Salomon on next year’s snowboards. I have been involved in testing and designing boards for years and years with them and we took that to a new level by building their first prototypes. We are focusing on new features together with the design team.

It’s beneficial because everything happens a lot faster than in China or elsewhere, and we get to test the small changes within a week, for example.

Playing that developmental role has been epic and is something that we also do on a couple of other secret products for another customer.

We definitely try to stay busy and keep Äsmo going….that’s the plan.

Rider Teemu Lahtinen Photo Jani Kärppä

NADASURF POWDERBOARDS

Kosti Simula

www.nadasurfpowderboards.com

When and how did you get into powsurfing?

- I built my first rideable prototype in 2011. At first I just wanted to experiment with riding binding-less boards on the small hills that Finland has to offer. I have always loved backcountry riding more than park/slopes, so it was natural to search for something new to do on pow.

 

Why powsurfing?

- Because of the freedom and challenges it gives you when riding compared to a board with bindings. You really have to read and use the terrain when powsurfing.

 

How did you start crafting boards and when? 

- I have been developing and building my boards and accessories since 2011, when I first rode a prototype made out of a recycled, wooden machinery container.

"I like the solitude. I do not like to ride alone ever, but I hate crowds and lining up."

Rider Kosti Simula Photo Jani Kärppä

Did you have any woodwork experience/education when you started?

- Yes, I studied industrial design and my main subject was woodwork. I graduated from Rovaniemi College of Arts & Crafts in 1998. I have been working with wood since I was a kid, carving and sanding rifle stocks for example, which my uncles gave me to finish.

 

Where do you draw your inspiration from for powsurfing?

- Skateboards, surfboards, snowboards, nature and art in any form.

 

What is the single best thing about powsurfing?

- A couple of things come to mind, but personally I like the solitude. I do not like to ride alone ever, but I hate crowds and lining up. Riding while making the smallest possible impact on nature makes me happy.

 

What drives the shaping process?

- The shaping process is one of the things I really like most when designing boards, but the problem is that I always want to adjust things. Endlessly. It is hard for me to decide that a shape is “ready” and be happy about it. Nothing is ever done in my mind — there’s always something that can be better.

 

Snowboarding, surfing or skateboarding. Which inspires the shapes the most?

- Snowboarding.

 

How can a customer find the right board?

- I like to discuss the rider’s weight, height, shoe size, riding style and what kind of terrain he or she mainly uses the board for. After knowing some details, I can recommend what to get. Nothing beats a demo ride and I hope I can arrange more of them next winter. I also love doing custom projects!

 

What inspires the graphics?

- Skateboard art, nature, graffiti, tattoos, photography...

 

There are several brands on the market already. How do your boards differ from the others?

- They are designed to work better than a simple piece of bent plywood with a rubber mat on top. That being said, that’s all it takes to build yourself a snowsurf. Anybody can do it and they should!  I am using channeling and concave on the base to get more control and “edge” hold on turns. It is also designed to control the flex on the board. With this I can make it thin, light and strong by using wood.

Nordic snow conditions are not always that ideal for powder riding, so making a board which works on less than ideal snow too has always been a goal for me.

 

Do you consider the environmental impact when choosing materials or production methods?

- Yes, of course. I would like to think that I am doing my share, for example choosing to use only Finnish birch for my boards. Trying to source materials and methods domestically is challenging but not impossible, and I am constantly seeking new and better ways.

 

In what direction do you want to take powsurfing and what kind of future do you see for the movement?

- I would like to see powsurfing, and backcountry riding in general, move in a greener direction. All those helicopter slo-mos, and I’m just thinking is it really necessary?  Hopefully, the hype goes in the right direction and it doesn’t end up going the way snowboarding is sadly going. I wish everybody who tried snowboarding would find their own natural way to enjoy it, and not ruin a really nice hobby with too much seriousness. Keep it fun, keep it real. Do not let anyone else tell you what to do and how.

Rider Teemu Lahtinen Photo Jani Kärppä

ILAHU

Jan Erik Leutola & Maxim Narbrough,

www.ilahu.fi

When and how did you get into powsurfing?

- We started thinking about powsurfing around the time we were setting up our design company in Lapland, in late 2010. It was a logical progression after years of skateboarding, snowboarding and surfing. The lack of surfable breaks nearby, and the abundance of snow, awoke a strong itch in us to try surfing on snow. Our wood workshop provided the ideal playground for combining our interests in woodcraft and a life-long love of boards of all kinds. We talked a lot about board designs and ideas influenced by the small but vibrant powsurf scene. At some point we just had to stop talking and start doing, so we quickly drafted a shape we thought would work. After a few iterations, the boards worked like a dream, and we were hooked.

 

Why powsurfing?

- Powsurfing hits the mark in so many respects. First, it provides the pure stoke any surfer, skater or snowboarder knows and lives for. The experience of hiking and gliding through awe-inspiring winter scenery in Lapland is something that you don’t get tired of. Exploring the fells and mountains for new lines much resembles the search for the ultimate beach, break or wave. It provides those moments where everything falls away and you are simply living in the moment, then you fall off, get a face full of snow and laugh your arse off like a little kid. The irresistible craving to surf fresh powder drove us to make boards.

Photo Jani Kärppä

Photo Jani Kärppä

"The possibility of manufacturing 100 % bio-based boards is getting closer to reality."

How did you start crafting boards and when?

- We made our first quick and dirty prototypes in the spring of 2013. They were crudely made but provided us with the vital insights needed to refine our shapes. Once we realized which outlines worked best, we refined our moulding process to make lighter three-dimensionally curved boards. Our construction method is similar to how skateboard decks are made, whereas the shapes are more heavily influenced by the rich history of surfboard design. We worked to adapt the shapes for snow, based on our experience in snowboarding.

 

Did you have any woodwork experience/education when you started?

- Jan qualified as a carpenter/cabinetmaker in 1999, trained in boat-building and ran his own carpentry business for 10 years in Spain. Maxim has worked extensively with wood as a designer, on projects ranging from furniture to architecture.

 

Where do you draw your inspiration from for powsurfing?

- The inspiration for snowsurf comes from many directions, major ones being the ocean, surfing perfect breaks and Lapland’s wilderness. Equally important are the pioneers of surf- snow- and skateboard culture, who have shown the way.

We were hyped to see how snowsurfing excites people from all walks of life and at all levels, from first-timers to surf-veterans. Having fun, seeking adventure and respect for nature seem to be the key ingredients that bring this community together. It’s an awesome way to explore nature together.

 

What is the single best thing about powsurfing?

- Sharing the stoke is what makes it all so rewarding.

 

What drives the shaping process?

- There is so much good information about shaping available these days, it’s like being a kid in a candy store. We were keen to start with proven surfboard outlines and bottom contours that we thought would translate well to snow. When we test the shapes, the snow and the ride tell us what needs tweaking. Sometimes it is the hand and the eye that tell us that something should be a certain way. Shaping is as much an art as a science. We strive for simplicity, elegance and functionality.

 

Snowboarding, surfing or skateboarding. Which inspires the shapes the most?

- Surfing is the core influence, both in terms of the shape and the ride we are after. Skateboarding and snowboarding definitely also influence the mix.

 

How can a customer find the right board?

- Info is available on our webpage at ilahu.fi and more detailed questions are answered via email and Facebook. We are also going to write articles about snowsurfing, to make it more accessible to newcomers.

 

What inspires the graphics?

- Our graphics are currently limited to the subtle textures of wood and veneers.

Although we have plans for making boards with graphics at some point, this has not been a main concern, as we are not trying to differentiate our boards using graphics.

We prefer to let the materials speak for themselves, which is an influence from our background in crafting wood. It also feels appropriate for boards that are used in the wilderness.

 

There are several brands on the market already. How do your boards differ from the others?

- Our shapes are clearly oriented towards outlines influenced by surfboard design (reverse sidecut), while other brands have boards featuring sidecuts similar to those seen on snowboards. Beside the aesthetic, we are convinced that this gives our boards the surfboard feel and functionality we are after. Once you start riding deep pow, the principles of hydrodynamics come into play. Reverse sidecut has less drag and putting the engaging point between your feet gives you more control over the board. It also provides more float and a much tighter turning radius at higher speeds, yet improves the ability to draw out long turns. Together with our subtle 3D contours and flex characteristics, this results in quick planing and is much more stable and directional at higher speeds. Our delicate and evenly flowing spoon nose to single concave tail is inspired from legendary surfboards made by master shapers, shapes that have been tested and approved by surfers worldwide.

 

Do you consider the environmental impacts when choosing materials or production methods?

- We have been keen to consider the impacts of our boards from the outset.

Birch from sustainably managed Finnish forests was an obvious starting point, the adhesives we use are also certified to be toxicologically safe. The waxes we are making are all natural.

The reason for looking into biocomposites in the first place was to find materials that offer the benefits of composites (excellent strength-to-weight ratio) without the unfortunate toxic side-effects. There are still a few technical challenges to overcome, but the possibility of manufacturing 100 % bio-based boards is getting closer to reality. The environmental implications are really exciting.

 

In what direction do you want to take powsurfing and what kind of future do you see for the movement?

- There is clearly a growing interest in enjoying the backcountry and exploring local spots. Ilahu’s purpose is to help people make the most of it, by working closely with the community. We also want to bring variety into the game, as we have noticed that many riders want boards tuned to their tastes. One way we plan to satisfy this need is to hold shape & surf workshops. Participants can shape their boards exactly as they desire.

Ilahu aims to be at the forefront of developing ecological snowsurfing boards. We want to harness the technical possibilities offered by biocomposites and state-of-the-art manufacturing methods, guided by master craftsmanship. Equally important is to evolve our attitude towards nature, which is why we have teamed up with Protect Our Winters.

Riders Jan Leutola and Maxim Narbrough Photo Jani Kärppä