Need Help Understanding Snowboarding Origins?
A Quick Film Review
'Snurfing', or surfing on snow, was a pastime concocted in the 1960s with a board similar to surfing with no binding. It took a young Jake Burton, with inspiration also from skateboarding, to develop the first proper snowboard - the 'Burton snowboard'.
Dear Rider, a 2021 documentary from Red Bull Media and HBO Sports that traces Burton's dogged commitment also inherently profiles the growth of the sport itself. I finally - finally! - sat down to watch it.
Burton's passion, plus snowboarding's definitive youth appeal, eventually drove the sport to enough prominence to debut as an Olympic sport at Nagano 1998. And from there, snowboarding exploded - growing to 11 medals events at Beijing 2022 from Nagano's initial four.
Dear Rider, takes us through that growth, with a special focus on the sport's growing pains - alternatively viewed as the "worst new sport" or "the antithesis of skiing" by the traditional winter sports powers that were. And a driving east coast racing vs west coast freestyle rivalry that further defined the sport.
Burton was there through it all, and always understanding that the value and uniqueness of snowboarding lay in the individuality of the athletes. With boarding equipment customizable to reflect the "cultural commentary" of snowboarders as artists. Burton reinforced that this was - is - "not a sport your parents or some coach shoved down your throat".
Dear Rider, is a "love letter" to a driving force of the sport. His legacy - evident through the commentary provided by Olympic stars Shaun White, Kelly Clark, Jamie Anderson, Scotty James, Pat Burgener, and more - is well worth a watch.