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Snowboard with built-in brake gives novice riders Kontrol

By

February 11, 2013

The Boarder Kontrol's curved blade allows the rider to carve and turn

The Boarder Kontrol's curved blade allows the rider to carve and turn

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For years, snowboarding novices have been forced to meet the sport with a combination of terror and pain. Even the smallest bunny hill is horrifying to look at when your legs are locked into a device that you have no idea how to use. One wrong move and you're eating an unpleasant mix of snow, ice and pride. The new Streetboardz Boarder Kontrol takes some of the intimidation out of learning by giving beginners something they've always wanted: instant braking.

Stopping a snowboard really isn't that difficult. However, unlike in a car or on a bike where you have an intuitive brake that slows you down instantly, carving into a stop on a snowboard requires a little bit of athleticism and technique – athleticism and technique that most people are not born with but can develop over time. In short, almost every beginner has trouble stopping.

The Boarder Kontrol board gives beginner snowboarders a key advantage that they've always been missing: a brake that requires no real technique or training. The rider holds a leash while descending and can pull up on it at any time to activate the rear-mounted brake. Similar to the brakes used on some sleds, the Boarder Kontrol brake digs into the snow and brings the board to a stop. It can also be used as a speed check. The brake stops the rider in a straight line, but the curve on the metal blade allows the rider to carve and turn while he's slowing down, which should help build technique. The leash can also be removed so that the board can be ridden without the "emergency" brake.

The removable leash allows for easy brake activation

Streetboardz says that the brake blade is easy to remove so that the boards can be easily stacked and stored. We'd imagine the large slit across the width would prevent it from ever functioning as smooth as a standard snowboard, brake on or off, however.

Australia-based Streetboardz designed the Boarder Kontrol system specifically for beginners. Obviously, once a rider learns how to carve and stop, he'll have no use for the added hardware. As such, the company isn't focusing on a retail model, but hopes to supply schools and rental shops at ski resorts around the world. It has been testing the board in conjunction with Australian resort Thredbo and plans to launch a fleet there this upcoming winter. It has also been talking to ski resorts in North America and Japan. With sizes ranging from 110 cm to 155 cm, the boards will be available to both children and adult beginners. While the application of the Boarder Kontrol is very limited (i.e. the first day or few of learning), it seems like it could prove a valuable training tool.

Source: Streetboardz

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
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10 Comments

I don't find this to be a very good idea at all. This will simply make it more difficult for people to learn and would shy them away from learning the most basic of snowboarding skills. For safety, the first thing you learn is to stop. Then you learn to ride. Not the other way around.

Brian Maxwell
11th February, 2013 @ 09:32 pm PST

NOO this will joust destroy the ski slopes.

Tomaž Šuen
12th February, 2013 @ 12:55 am PST

Looks like the ruin of many a good snowboard. Far better to teach beginners to board safely on a bunny slope than rely on a gadget. In my humble opinion, JT

Jules Tipler
12th February, 2013 @ 01:12 am PST

Uhhhhh...my girlfriend (32 years old) and I (42 years old) just decided we were going to learn to snowboard. We have been 4 times for about 2 hours each time and we are both able to ride already. After shelling out a ton of cash to get all the gear we needed, I'm sure glad I didn't waste money on this device which I would now want to replace with a board that doesn't have a hole in it.

Totally unnecessary. If two grown adults (one who weighs 270 lbs) can figure it out in 8 hours with absolutely no prior skiing, skateboarding, or snowboarding experience, I'd say just about anybody can.

chomper
12th February, 2013 @ 08:36 am PST

It's bad enough that many diamond runs are constantly being "re-groomed" by riders who plow down the hill instead of carve. Now, let's add a whole new crowd who will simply gouge their way down. To that, I ask, "Why stop there?"

Introducing the device that will revolutionize the sport where even users who cannot be bothered to take a lesson to learn how to use the "snowboard with brakes" can safely negotiate any slope of any difficulty. I present to you...the snow shoe.

sk8dad
12th February, 2013 @ 12:31 pm PST

Brian you're totally right. Exactly like training wheels prevent people from learning how to bicycle and those ski tip holders prevent kids from skiing properly. Oh no, those are actually tools that have helped a lot of us to learn. Nobody's forcing anyone to use this board, it would just be an option for the first time or two.

As for destroying the slopes, a board like this shouldn't ever get past the bunny hill, which is already getting destroyed by crowds and newbies.

Joe F
12th February, 2013 @ 01:40 pm PST

Training wheels are a disaster my nephew carries scares because they do not provide an adequately wide base to prevent the bike turning over. Keep the kids on a tricycle until they have learned to steer and pedal and the get them a bike small, and slow enough for them to put their foot down until they master balancing on the bike; probably less than 2 weeks. I taught my little brother in fifteen minutes by putting him on a gentile hill so he would not have to pedal while mastering balance.

As for the brake limited to the beginners slope maybe.

Slowburn
14th February, 2013 @ 07:44 am PST

There seems to be sprouting controversy regarding this revolutionary snowboard teaching method. Some competent boarders seem offended by it.

The popular Thredbo Alpine Resort in Australia are an experienced and professional business which operates a large ski school. Thredbo would not have gone near Boarder Kontrol if it had no merit. They also were sceptical at first, but testing put all concerns behind them.

Boarder Kontrol forces this discipline of a trailing hand. For years before, particularly when teaching surfboard riders, instructors would tie rider's hands to their back leg to prevent their shoulders from instinctively spinning the board out of control.

Engaging the leash also naturally puts the beginner's weight over the front foot, forcing the beginner into the correct body position. The most common habit of beginners is to lean back into the mountain to seek security. They then, pick up speed and never get themselves into a position where they can effectively execute a turn. Add the ability for a beginner to control their speed, and the beginner is now miles in front.

When the time comes to attempt that first turn, the commitment woes and fear of that little whip of speed are put to rest. BK allows the rider to control their speed coming into the turn, gives them an "out" if they want to abort half-way through the turn without falling over, and then allows them to control their speed as they pick up speed coming out of the turn. Normally beginners lean back again or fall 10 to 200 hundred times, depending on the ability level, before they conquer turning. Or in many cases, they just give it away.

Boarder Kontrol takes the the beginner to 'heel-side and toe-side' turn level without all the anguish.

Boarder Kontrol has the potential to decrease dropouts, attract female and younger participants, keep family groups together and even widen the market to the risk averse.

It is truly a phenomenon!

Boarder Kontrol
17th February, 2013 @ 05:46 pm PST

Fat foam rubber doughnut around the chest and back with arms snuck inside and kneepads, you're set to go improving your control without broken wrists until you've gotten your footing. Or big eggshape covering the torso. Fun all around.

Andrej Radoš
27th February, 2013 @ 12:18 pm PST

Sorry but this is a dump idea, learning to stop on a board should be done by side slipping and not going straight down the hill holding a break.

I can say that I had a go in Japan on such a board.

The snow in Japan was to soft and the break kept burying in the snow and did not release afterwards unless you jumped and which snowboarder can jump before stopping especially if they are scared of speed or snow?

Second the snowboard is a normal camber and no TBT or reverse camber so non off the modern snowboard technologies are implied to this board to help Beginners.

While pulling on the break I tend to lean back which brought me into a position I don't want to be as a Beginner.

Thank you for the Idea but sorry it doesn't work.

Bjoern Aeschlimann
22nd May, 2013 @ 02:44 pm PDT
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