While there is evidence of humans enjoying winter snow sports for thousands of years, Sherman Poppen is typically credited with creating the sport of snowboarding in 1965. He joined two wooden planks together in order for his young daughters to stand and glide down a snow hill while holding onto a fastened rope. The activity grew popular with neighborhood youngsters as well. So, Poppen’s wife saw the potential for creating a prosperous business opportunity. The contraption was reduced to one shaped board and a nylon rope, which came to be known as the snurfer. Poppen sold his idea to the Brunswick Corporation, which began mass production.
At about the same time, Tom Sims created his version of the snowboard, which consisted of wood, aluminum, and carpet. By 1976, Sims founded his Sims Snowboards company. One year later, Jake Burton Carpenter established Burton Snowboards. His innovation included the means to attach the rider’s feet to the board. Beginning in the next decade, boards were being manufactured from fiberglass, laminated wood, or plastic. The modernized boards included the addition of metal fins. Bungee cords enabled the rider to tuck their toes and remain on the board. Metal edges and a turned-up nose allowed the boards to glide faster.
Bungee cord loops transformed into adjustable binders. Boards became wider. While not merely content to slide down the slopes, boarders began developing tricks that included popping 360s and spinning 720s. Thus, boards once again underwent upgrading. Newer products featured concave decks, which enabled the boards to bend and flex during turns. The latest models also had wide noses and tails along with a thin waist and curved edges.
As the sport grew in popularity and joined the world of competitive sports, further board renovations occurred. Companies began recognizing the need for boards that suited athletes of various skill levels. Some boards were developed, boasting heavier cambers. Others had flat bottoms, soft edges, and symmetric outlines. Boards with floating noses and hardtails gained recognition for plowing backcountry areas. In the mid-90s, ski company Voile developed the splitboard for backcountry fun. Today, boards are designed in a variety of styles and patterns in order to accommodate riding styles and terrain types.