Monday, November 30, 2009

Eco-friendly snowboards

As I have written in a previous blog about the Green Initiative For Tomorrow (G.I.F.T) from Salomon, I think it is really interesting to see all these snowboard companies trying to use recycled and/or green materials.

In Salomon case, all of the G.I.F.T. boards use structural bamboo veeners, a natural lightweight and lively material. ABC Sandwich maximizes the natural pop and quality board feel of bamboo as basic building block material. It lowers weight and uses 25% less plastic content than traditional boards and ABC Wrapper reduces the plastic content of each board by 40%. 5 boards are under the G.I.F.T, the Sick Stick, the Answer and Answer Magnum with ABC wrapper and the Grip and Ivy with ABC sandwich.


Lib Tech (and Gnu) boards feature recycled bases, soy-based elastomer sidewalls, low-VOC epoxy resins, sustainably harvested wood cores, and no toxic finishing clearcoats. Their new Banana Magic model takes it further, incorporating 100 percent Basalt fiber instead of fiberglass, and a topsheet made from castor beans.

Green Mountain Project with Nicolas Muller being on the forefront of the project, "The Eco Nico was the catalyst to create the most environmentally sustainable board ever produced," Todd King, business unit director for boards at Burton. it features recycled content in bases, edges, sidewalls and Burton's Channel plug; certified wood cores; water-based inks for topsheet printing; and sustainable wax.

Arbor has been using Bamboo since 2001 to enhance ther performance and the aesthetism of the boards. Here is a good article talking about the advantages of Bamboo. 14 boards 2010 lineup integrates bamboo as well as paulownia and Forest Stewardship Council certified cores.

For the 2010 season, K2 has expanded the Eco Conscious and Hybrilight Construction into the Gyrator, all new women’s EcoPop, and new powerhouse Slayblade.

At least Bateleon's Project Green is pretty honest and while I don't think they are proactive on being green, they tried to keep up with the trends, such as FSC wood core and recycled ABS sidewalls, non oil based topsheet material, recycled base material and lacquers are solvent free.


Signal's OG boards feature a Flotsam and Jetsam base, using base material that would otherwise end up in a landfill. "These Flotsam and Jetsam bases are all made from high-end sintered base material. A portion of every Flotsam and Jetsam Rescue Project board sold goes to The Snowrider Project at Surfrider.org"


Capita's Green Machine featuring Reforestation Certified Sustainable core, biodegradable bean derivative top sheet, 95% recycled beeswax modified sintered Speed base and a 100% recycled sintered ABS sidewalls

Ride Snowboards launched iPhone application


With iPhone being the new favorite toy for kids and teenagers, it seems natural that businesses want to make their website more user-friendly for iPhone users. My wife has a G1 and I have used iPhone many times, so I know the frustration when you are trying to go over websites to get information and other good stuffs.

On October 1st, Electric Visual was awarded the Accessory Product of the Year for its iPhone application at the SIMA Surf Summit in Cabo San Lucas. The Electric iPhone application showcases our Sunglass and Snow Goggle line as well as up to date news, advertisement previews, videos, downloadable wallpapers, and a dealer locator so that you can find the closet retailer to your actual location.

Ride Snowboards has launched their new free application for all snowboarding iPhone owners. The app features all sorts of Ride products (including boards, bindings, outwear, boots, etc) and also entails some cool live news updates and other interesting features.

"Design wise, the application is ridiculously easy to browse around and uses the iPhone’s gestures to help you flip through from product and product and screen to screen more easily. Snowboard and accessory shopping is a cinch with the application, with descriptions and specs on all sorts of different snowboarding products available within seconds". In addition videos and dealer locator features are a really sweet.


Friday, November 27, 2009

Rome Pureflex sneak peak 2011


Here is what Rome's PM has to say:
"It has locking guides at key points to allow you to adjust tightness at the forefoot, innercuff, ankle and upper zones. It’s also a natural feeling system that doesn’t embed long plastic guides in the body to hinder the “pure” flexibility of the body. Lastly, it’s fast because one of the two laces (see first pic) does up the innercuff and two other zones in one fell swoop. "


Ian Fung goes on to say "Connecting the harness lace with an external lace on the Pureflex Lacing System really makes lacing up your boots go a lot faster. You don’t have to do up two separate pieces of footwear, the liner and the shell. "

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Rick Riffici High Speed Cinematography

Some of the best surf clips I have seen in a long time. It was shoot on Super 16mm cameras ranging from 64fps to 200fps

Rick Rifici High Speed Cinematography from Rick Rifici on Vimeo.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Limited edition

Limited edition goods are always an excellent purchase for those who are looking for uniqueness. Some snowboarders look for group acceptance while others seek authencity and/or self esteem when buying a snowboard, so getting a board featuring distinctive work from influential artists can help fullfil this quest.

Limited edition is not new and has been all over the place for the past couple years from goggles, headphones to snowboard bindings.

The latest artist serie is DH2.3, featuring Shawn O'keefe work will be available in selected stores on December 1st.


Another Brand using the limited edition is Rome SDS with the Shop Kid contest.
"the idea was to let the shop kids create the art for the SK—Designed By Shop Kids, For Shop Kids. More than ever, the idea was to listen to kids on shred.
Meat Justice is the result of Forester’s creative genius on the 2011 SK."

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Park city - Standard films



In this is the second installment of the Black Winter Web series, Torstein Horgmo lays down his Park City top to bottom park run.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Rear entry Binding

I have found regular two-strap binding better suiting my taste for comfort and adjustability. However for those who want to gain few seconds and don't want to get their butt wet, there are several rear-entry bindings on the market. Additional cons would be heavier than standard bindings and while the system is great on flat area you will have to use them as a standard entry in downhill situation.

Flow NXT FRX
, 369euros / 2216g
Since 1996, Flow has developped rear entry binding and have a wide range of bindings (and price).



APO Team, 200euros / 2296g
Most innovative rear entry system, there is a video on the site.


K2 Cinch CTS, 199,95euros / NA
Here is a pretty good video showing how it works, there are three men bindings in the Cinch family : CTX, CTS and CTC.


SP-United /Voelkl Fastec, 199euros / 2140g

Friday, November 20, 2009

Snowboarder participation

In one of my previous blog, I wrote about the latest SIA report and how the number of snowboarders has decreased since 2004.

While an excellent snow season certainly helps boost the sales like in 2008 and be a good equalizer. It is obvious that the snowboard industry is facing numerous threats.

U.S economy
More than one out of every six workers — 17.5 percent — were unemployed or underemployed in October. And it is close to 20% in States that experienced a big housing bubble (like Ca, Az, Fl) or have large manufacturing sectors, like Michigan, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island and South Carolina. Additionally sales in snowboarding have shown a market decrease over the past years. One of the reason is that the initial participant demographic has aged and while there is a new market niche (older snowboarders), O\overall they are not being replaced like-for-like by younger participants.

Generation "Millenial"
It is obviously the most important target for the snowboard industry but it has to compete with other leisure activities such as freeskiing, street sports as well electronic entertainment (online game, videos..).

A bruising sport
15% of people that try snowboard go on to become core snowboarders. Rental equipments are usually pretty bad and so are group instruction. Again before buying all the gear for my wife, the boots and bindings she rented were terrible. Then she went into a 4 hours group lesson while I was hitting the snowpark. After two hours I could see that they couldn't take care of everyone in the group and she didn't make any progress and had numerous bruises. While many of those beginners gave up, I decided to be her instructor and buy her sick equipments.... 4 hours later she was riding by herself.

Demos, Contest & Programs
For the past few years, resort and companies have developped several programs to get the mainstream youth to try the sport and get hooked up such as LTR, SOS, Chill, demo days and big contests. In addition new board designs have stepped up to facilitate the fun and learning curve.

Downtwon Rail Jam contests are an excellent way to reach the wider audience and also show kids that you may not need lift tickets to have fun on a snowboard. Just like skateboarding, find some good rails and build a little kicker could be enough to enjoy this exciting sport.

"Hosted by Salomon Snowboards and The Art Institute of Colorado, the homegrown rail jam brings the best up and coming pros and amateurs from the Rocky Mountain region and beyond to compete in the heart of Denver's Golden Triangle District on November 21st.

Visit the John Jellico Gallery at The Art Institute of Colorado during the event to browse one-of-a-kind snowboards, all individually designed by Art Institute of Colorado students, alumni and potential students as part of a selective design competition. Over 30 designed snowboards will be on display in the gallery.

The event is free, open to the public and will include food, refreshments and a wide range of entertainment options. Games, giveaways, autograph signing with pro riders and a DJ booth will all be a part of the day's activities."

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Graphics on skateboard

I started skateboarding at 6 years old and kindda stopped when I moved to the States. However I clearly remember my differents fashion moves.
Some months I would start incorporating the fashion style of a pro I liked; while other times I would dig board graphics.
I think there are quite a few brands that have been really consistant with their graphics while still being relevant and fresh.

"It all started with Powell Peralta who developed a signature art style with a skeleton motif and their artwork stood out in the market. Arguably, they were the most popular skateboarding company in terms of deck and wheel sales throughout the 1980s. They produced the now famous Tony Hawk Iron Cross deck, as well, as the McGill Skull and Snake, the Caballero Dragon."


"The graphics for World Industries changed the industry because they were different than the usual skulls and gore that were popular at the time. Artists Marc McKee and Sean Cliver introduced an element of wit and pop-culture commentary that would take the entire industry in a different direction." In the 90's WI took a new direction with their devil, flameboy and wet willy graphics, which I am not really keen on.


"Toy Machine is widely known for their unique and twisted, alien-like graphics that are created by Ed Templeton."


"Alien Workshop Skateboards is known for its artistic graphical style with themes of paranoia and futurism often used."

"Almost Board designs may vary considerably from theme to theme, but all are unified by the consistent use of complementary colors and elements that come together as a pleasant manifestation of contemporary art. Designs range from clip-art figures to logo treatments, all displaying a creative mix of black, white and vivid pigments."


Element's graphic style is generally simple, with crisp clean imagery with complementary colors.

"Hook-ups are a brand of skateboard that relies heavily on the manga style of cartoon art.



Girl's logo is the same as the symbol on many women's restrooms."


"Zero probably owns the strongest punk graphic style among the skateboard brands with its trademark white-and-black colors emblazoned with blood and skulls. The brand has incorporated color into the graphic designs as well, but has maintained its dark theme with well-crafted spooky characters, imagery resurrected from horror stories, and with the takeover of Thomas, stark Gothic tones. Zero skateboards definitely have a marketing edge based on what they look like alone."



"Although largely dark, foreboding, and with a hint of violence, the graphics on Blind decks portray meticulous skill in coloring and drawing in characteristic street-graffiti style. Most deck pieces portray a cute little reaper frozen in various angles of sickle-wielding. Or, if not, the reaper relents to a formal pose against a harmless backdrop, all the while emanating a tiny but sinister presence. The artworks mostly appear to be carefully thought out and are pleasingly color-complementary."



And here are others decks that I liked very much, I recommend anyone interested in the skateboarding art to check Disposable and New skateboard graphics.

Old Pro Riders coming out


I am not a pro snowboarder by any means, but I can imagine they wish to keep being involved in the snowboard industry after the golden days. Just look at Grenade, Omatic, Forum, etc...

So with this sluggish economy some pro snowboarders left by choice (or not) their sponsors to start their own projects while they still have a momentum as pros. DCP,JPS and RDM started Yes, Antti Autti started Yeah Baby Yeah and Jeremy Jones started Jones Snowboards.
Their message are similar: bringing back the snowboarder at the center of the industry, going back to the core, saying to the kids support my brand because it's core! pretty much a sugar glazed marketing ploy.

Antti even goes to say in a Transworld interview that having a sponsor "it gets to the point where you start feeling it’s a job". Come on Bro, Sponsors pay you big dough to represent them, they pay you to increase their sales and consequently being a prosnowboarder is a job. Well to most standard, snowboarding most days instead of going in an office is not exactly what we would call a boring job.

To prevent any negative technical curves, they all decided to partner with Nidecker who has a solid manufacturing reputation.

Nidecker's message has never been extremely appealing to the youth, unlike Rome, Ride, Lib Tech. So by creating the NDF Creative umbrella, partnering to these well known pros could help Nidecker's brand. So hopefully those Pro boards will be sold for the core market while Nidecker board could be mainly mainstream market and grab more market share in the core market.

Not all pros have the desire to start a new company but for the most talented it is certainly tempting. However having more and more pros getting their own brand, it will water down the message of "being core, buy from snowboarders" and will minimize the authencity of their messages.

An additional risk is that kids know that those boards are developped by Nidecker, so they have realized that their risks are minimal, it sounds more like a Pro model with an additional "I started my own company" hype. The youth love anti-hero, someone who has the balls to risk everything and start from scratch. While being incredible riders, that may not be enough to give them this anti hero status.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Standard film - Webisodes



Eric Jackson is in the first installment of Black Winter web series.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Urbanears


Coming from Cali, I started to see a lot of hipsters wearing headphones (who doesn't have an ipod?)...but I can't believe it took that long to see kids wearing headphones going to school because 10 years ago I was already wearing those while skateboarding and snowboarding ( I am not at the origin of this cool factor, it was all over the pro snowboarders arena about that time).

With the headphone market booming, it is normal to see new brands coming out. After Nixon entering the market about a year ago, it is now the turn of Urbanears from Scandinavia to offer headphones.

However I find their marketing ads to be really similar to the Nixon ads. Don't get me wrong those are not 100% the same but product positioning and adding non related elements (paints, leaves,etc..) comes from the new Nixon ads.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Monday, November 9, 2009

What are the different reverse camber?

There are a lot of different reverse cambers and before going over those, it is important to note that others ingredients are critical in making a board perform well. You have to look at the glass technology (stiffness, flex, torsion), wood core (pop,how lively and responsive), sidecut (edge hold, transition from edge to edge), the base tech (beveled base, etc..),and the overall construction. By now you must think holly sh#@T, it is already confusing enough (for most snowboarders) to think about the cambers so there are way too many parameters!!!

Well sorry but it is like having a car with a Ferrari engine and tires that are used for a French moped, you are not going to go very far. So even if you are looking at two boards with the same base technology, they may not react the same at all. But hopefully I can make your search easier, that is the only purpose of this post. The best is to try boards and if you can't, try to read reviews, call customer service from the brands you are interested in.


Standard camber: convexe arc between the two contact points (parts that touch the ground when the board lays flat)..what dinausaur like me have ridden for most of snowboarding life.
Pros: transition for edge to edge, control at higher speed, pop, chance to reposition yourself during XXL landing
Cons: takes more effort on the legs to do presses, less forgiving for normal under/over rotated landing, shorter butters, difficult to lock presses.
Tech name: Lib Tech Banana (I am just kidding); Rome positive camber, K2 camber, etc..
Note:Bataleon TBT uses a positive camber but has a triple base technology which gives a lot of added benefits, one of them is that the contact points are raised.



Reverse camber: Rocker the whole length of the board.
Pros: Ease for initiating turns and presses. Great if you want a board specially for practicing your rail killing skills and butter like nobody's business. It creates a more playful ride
Cons: lack stability and edge control giving it a twitchy feel. Loose a bit of initiation and turn exit control at higher speed. May lack pop (but can be compensated by the core and glass tech).
Tech name: Lib Tech Banana, Salomon Pre-sure Rocker, Forum Chilly dog, Technine 9Rocks reverse camber, Flow I-rock ( except flat camber at the tip/tail on the contact points)



Centered Rocker:A long mid-body of reverse camber combined with straight camber in the nose and tail.
Pros: good blend of control on edge and playfulness, good powder ride
Cons: less pop than camber boards or rocker-camber boards
Tech name: Rome Reverse-MTN, Omatic B.S (+beveled edges is another real important factor giving additional charactheristic), Lib Tech Banana BTX


cam-rock: like a standard camber board except it is less pronounced and you add a bit of rocker between the tips and bindings
Pros: like a camber board except gives a bit of a looser feel, better playfulness as well as flotation in powder
Cons: Bit less playful, not as great in powder than reverse camber, flat camber or powder rocker
Tech name: Nidecker CamRock, Yes snowboard, Salomon Wingtips (very light rocker just contact points that have been raised), Rome HybridCamber, Signal Wavelength, K2 catchfree



Rocker-Camber: a light rocker between the bindings and a bit of camber between the tips and bindings (don't rise your eyebrow, it is the exactly what you are thinking of: the contrary of a cam-rock).
Pros:Stability during high speed cruising and solid landing as well as excellent pop for ollies while the rocker gives good control for presses. The pop is usually better than on a CamRock board. and Thanks to the centered rocker this will be enough to make it a great board for powder as well.
Cons: NA except if you are 100% jib, butters you can find a better suited board for that category
Tech name: Nitro Gullwing, Never Summer R.C, Lib Tech Banana C2
Note: Inca used to do two individual camber under each insert..not quite the same than rocker-camber but the idea is the same and I will call that dual camber.




3 stage rocker: a light rocker between the bindings and a bit of rocker between the tips and bindings, which counts for 3 rockers on the whole board
Pros: great for pow,jibs, guffing aroud. A lot like the reverse camber, except there is more edge control
Cons: like reverse camber "lack stability and edge control giving it a twitchy feel. Loose a bit of initiation and turn exit control at higher speed. May lack pop (but can be compensated by the core and glass tech)"
Tech name: Burton Vrocker



Powder rocker: rocker from the tips to the front bindings and then normal camber throughout the rest of the board
Pros: By applying pressure on the tail (camber matches the board set back stance) that leads the entry rocker to lift giving the best control, power & speed in deep snow. If you surf and have the opportunity to ride a lot of pow..that's the board for you, as close as it can get to the surfing experience. The regular camber part allows a lot of snap out of the tail allowing powerful turns completion.
Cons:excels in powder but not the best all terrain board design. Directional design so it can be difficult to ride switch.
Tech name: Capita Mono reverse flat kick, Burton S-rocker, Rome S-camber


Zero Cam: the board is flat (of you course it isn't a door,you still have a tip and a tail). distribute pressure on the snow in a neutral fashion.
Pros: Some people refers the feeling as if the board had been broken in after few season. I would not go as far as some manufacturers saying it is the best of Camber and Rocker board. however I would say it is a fair compromise, with a flat camber you take the pressure off of the contact points but don't pull them away from the snow,so you get somewhat the responsivity & control of a camber board and the playfulness of a reverse one.
Cons: not as good as camber boards for XXL landing, a bit less control at higher speed and you will not get the extrem toy feels of reverse camber boards.
Tech name: K2 Flatline, Salomon Flat profile, Nitro Zero camber



Zero-Rocker: zero camber between the bindings and rocker at the tips & tail
Pros: Zero Camber between your feet focuses control, it gives a solid platform for stability while riding & landing. Subtle rockers lift the tip and tail (the usual contact points on camber board are lifted), giving you the power to press and a hookfree feel in addition to better pow riding than regular camber boards.
Cons: Not as responsive as camber board but at some point you have to decide cuz you can't get a board that is the best in the powder, the hardpack, park and street. So great compromise except if you are a 100% rail freak and you like to put butter on everything you eat.
Tech name:
Capita Dual Reverse flat kick, Burton P-rocker, Ride LowRise rocker, Salomon Pow rocker, Rome Reverse-jib camber, DC Bender Anti-Camber, K2 powder rocker (front rocker more pronounced than back one, see benefit of powder rocker), K2 all terrain rocker (rocker from the inserts to tips/tail), K2 jib rocker (rocker just before the tip/tail)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Hitler goes Banana

I watched earlier this year the same Hitler movie that was dubbed with some football story...It was not funny as this one.

So here is the real translation...it was not about football but F#$king Banana.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Camber Vs. Rocker

If you are looking into buying a new deck for winter and you wonder what board to get? maybe you are interested in reverse camber boards but you head start spinning after looking at all those manufacturers calling it different names, etc..

So let's start with the basic and the next week posts, I will go over some major brands. However until you test different models, you will not know for sure what is the best board matching your style. At least I will try to sum up all the info I can get so you are not as confused.

Before going into all the rocker variations, it is important to understand what we used to ride for over 20 years: cambered boards.



camber is a mellow convex rise from the contact points of the tip and tail inward with an apex at the midpoint. If you lay a cambered board on the ground, you can usually put your finger between the center of the board and the ground (7-12mm). Thanks to the rider weight, the camber will flex under the pressure enhancing edge hold, pop providing lively turns and giving a better stability at higher speed.It will be also better in XXL park, it will give the possibility to readjust your body placement if you landed too much on your tail or tip (but longitunal flex has a lot to do with that too). However it will require more effort to do presses, butters and will be less comfortable for jibs. on smaller jumps, the board will not be as forgiving as a rocker board in the landing if you came short in your rotation (or over rotated).

Rocker is essentially the opposite of a camber, so instead of being convexe, it is a light concave arc from contact point (the centre of the board). Each manufacturer has added its own recipe that will work for certain type of terrain, riders, etc...
the advantages are better powder float, rails, butters and forgivingness. It is easier to initiate turns and tricks.
the disadvantages are less control at higher speed. BUT manufacturers have came up with additional tech to improve the pop and control (mini camber, carbon fiber, variable sidecuts,etc..)


In the next post, I will talk about the different reverse cambers, etc...

Ouch!!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

trick tip FS 720

Here is a good trick to think about for this coming season!!!

Monday, November 2, 2009

This is it ! MJ


That's right "Michael Jackson This is it"was the box-office champion over the Halloween weekend, taking in an estimated $21.3 million in the United States. But even bigger news comes from our Bataleon friends who released MJ's true face with the best no nose job and all the good stuff coming from the Netherlands!