Signal Snowboards creates a hybrid surf-snowboard


February 19, 2012

Nelson, BC provides the ultimate powder testing grounds

Nelson, BC provides the ultimate powder testing grounds

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California-based Signal Snowboards recently fulfilled the dreams of board sports enthusiasts everywhere in its "Every Third Thursday" Web series by building a hybrid board capable of surfing both waves and powder stashes. If you think that the board can't possibly shred on both water and snow proficiently, Signal took it to the beach and mountains to prove it.

Since surfing predates snowboarding by thousands of years, snowboarders have long been taking inspiration from their beach-bound brethren, attempting to replicate the feeling of surfing on snow. The invention recognized as the first snowboard was called the "Snurfer" and, more recently, binding-less snowboards referred to as noboards have been used to mimic the free-form nature of riding the sea with nothing more than bare feet, a little wax and a long piece of foam.

Near as we can tell, not nearly as much time has been spent on developing a board that can actually surf the snow, pack up for the shoreline and surf the breaks without missing a beat. Signal seems to have developed its very own niche. And when you have a snowboard factory and plenty of connections in the greater board sports world, you come out with a high-end piece of gear with the perfect name: Fish Out Of Water.

"What if you could create this cool feeling where you felt like you were surfing," Signal founder Dave Lee explained to us. "There's this whole group of snowboarders out there that definitely don't leave the ground and do feel like they just want to go out and carve. Let's take it back to the surfboard idea - it has to float and it has to be surfed, so that it pushes us to be more surf-like, you know, and get us out of using our own materials."

Signal had the idea in the hopper for around a year and eventually got some friends from the surf industry to help out. The team made the vision come to life by essentially injecting snowboard edges and binding inserts into a surfboard, building a board with a surfing body and snowboard soul. They then made the necessary tweaks to give the board the proper characteristics for each sport. According to Lee, it was the longest of Signal's many "Every Third Thursday" projects, taking about a week overall.

Not being content to just create a piece of art and hang it on the wall, Signal got some help from pro surfer Rob Machado and the waves of southern California in demonstrating the board's abilities in the surf. They then headed north of the border, where pro rider Curtis Ciszek and the Signal crew tested the board in the powder-drunk haven of Nelson, British Columbia. Certainly, having two professional athletes at the top of their game made the board look extra functional, but it appears to legitimately handle both snow and water with ease. And no one's left complaining.

"Immediately when you drop in on that thing, it feels really good in powder," Lee said. "Because it has rails and it really was more of a surfboard than a snowboard, it definitely needed a decent amount of snow. I could ride it on the cat track, and it was fun, but it was most fun with a good foot [of snow]. Then it felt like you were surfing."

This video gives a narrated walk-through of the entire R&D; process.

Source: Signal Snowboards

About the Author
C.C. Weiss Upon graduating college with a poli sci degree, Chris toiled in the political world for several years. Realizing he was better off making cynical comments from afar than actually getting involved in all that mess, he turned away from matters of government and news to cover the things that really matter: outdoor recreation, cool cars, technology, wild gadgets and all forms of other toys. He's happily following the wisdom of his father who told him that if you find something you love to do, it won't really be work. All articles by C.C. Weiss

\"fulfilled the dreams of board sports enthusiasts everywhere\"

Please. No more writing like this.

Bob Humbly

It\'s inconceivable that this thing functions as well in either capacity as boards specialised for one terrain or the other would. It\'s a gimmick, and a pretty ordinary one at that. A prediction for the most common summary? \"It surfs like a brick and I snapped it the first time I got air on a firm base.\"

I agree about the writing - the article and gallery captions read like a advertorial. Very ordinary.

Marcus Carr

It\'s a concept, not meant to perform as good as the surfboard or snowboard. Sounds like it was just an experimental project and the guy even admitted it doesn\'t perform equally to a snowboard. Doesn\'t appear to \"surf like a brick or snap on the first air,\" though, if you watch the video.

I think it\'s cool that a company isn\'t afraid to try something new. Too bad some folks have their noses too high up in the air to appreciate.

Joe F

@Joe F yeah, you're so right! I guess I was just expressing my frustration that they didn't put wheels on it and make it into a skateboard as well... and solar panels, so I could use it to charge my phone, while I'm en route between the mountains and the sea...

At least with my nose high up, I'm getting fresh air

Marcus Carr

I've seen Rob Machado surf a guitar case, so surfing that couldn't be too hard.

Tyler Kimball
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