Standup paddle ... snowboarding? Kahuna Creations' snow-ready paddle
By C.C. Weiss
December 9, 2011
The sport of snowboarding has needed its own version of the ski pole for a long time. When ski slopes suddenly turn to flat traverses, snowboarders are left hopping, crawling and rolling their way to the lip of the next hill while skiers simply push on by with their poles.
The Snow Stick may not be the perfect solution for that age-old problem due to its large size, but it does provide a push whenever you need one. More to the point, the stick transforms your snowboard into snow-slashing paddleboard, changing the game of downhill snowboarding and increasing the things you can do on the snow.
Not long after Kahuna launched its Big Stick for longboarding in 2009, it came up with a new, crazy idea: snow stick. While that might sound as simple as using the Big Stick in the snow, the company's designers spent the past two years coming up with the perfect snow-surfing implement.
The secret is in the patent-pending Snow Grip, the polycarbonate head that has seven snow fins designed to propel you through all types of snow. I don't know that you'd want to slog through thigh-deep drifts without the upper body strength of a primate, but the grip is designed work in everything from powder to packing snow to hardpack.
So now that you know you can paddleboard through snow, the question remains: Do you want to? Snowboarding is pretty exhilarating on its own, do you really need a paddle?
Kahuna's marketing manager Cory McBride describes the attraction: "It's the whole paddleboard wave mentality. With the Kahuna Snow Stick, you get seriously deep carves. The stick lets you really crank on your turns till you're almost laying flat in the snow - it emphasizes your carving power by letting you push harder on your turns without losing control."
In addition to its role in making big, aesthetic carves and powering you through flats, the Snow Stick also gives you the possibility of "cross country snowboarding." Paddling uphill might be a little too taxing to be any fun, but you can use the stick to travel across flat, snow-covered terrain. Give your legs a rest for the day and enjoy the winter scenery while working your upper body vigorously.
The possibilities go onward and outward from there. Kahuna is still in the early stages of really unlocking the stick's potential - something it's sure to have plenty of help with when customers start taking it to the snow - but McBride threw out some ideas like head-to-head racing and endurance events. Bring this thing to the park or halfpipe and you have a whole new generation of tricks just waiting to be discovered.
The Ogden, Utah-based company has already been talking to a few of the local ski resorts, which have been quite receptive to the idea.
You can purchase the complete Snow Stick for USD$119 or just the Snow Grip, which can be easily mounted to one of Kahuna's Big Sticks, for USD$39. Both products are available through Kahuna's website.