Watch: One Board, Two Worlds

Stu Nettle picture
Stu Nettle (stunet)
Swellnet Dispatch

I've been snowboarding maybe five times in my life, and none of those times were in the last twenty years, but I remain mildly fascinated by the surf/snow crossover, so I sat up and watched when this video crossed my desk.

Acclaimed French shaper Axel Lorentz crafted a board to be ridden by Mathieu Crepel in both the snow and the surf. A down home project, between shaping, surfing, and snowboarding the board stayed within a 100km radius of Axel's Basque shaping bay.

It reminds me of the ongoing work by both Taro Tamai of Gentemstick fame, who's been putting an oriental mix on the surf/snow fusion, and our own Mick Mackie, who, inspired by Dimitrije Milovich, makes surfboards that resemble early snowboards, many incorporating Mick's much-loved sidecut planshape.

But did Mick ever do what Axel has done, and shape one board to both surf and snowboard on?

When I called, Mick was standing at the front of a mate's shaping bay on the Far South Coast of NSW. Originally from Cronulla, Mick then spent 31 years at Ulladulla, but found the town was getting too busy for him. So he's gone south, closer to the border, closer to the snowfields too.

"I've never made the one board to surf and ride in the snow, "says Mick. "Taro has asked about it, and I may do it in the future, but it hasn't happened yet."

"The closest that I know of is when Richard Palmer towed one of the boys, maybe Noel McAlary, into a bommie at Wollongong on a Winterstick [the OG snowboard made by Dimitrije Milovich]."

The problem, says Mick, is that the two boards - surf and snowboard - need different thicknesses and different rockers too.

"If a board is thick enough to float - and a surfboard has to be - then it's too thick to get an edge in the snow," explains Mick. "You end up riding too high."

"Also," he continues, "the rockers don't match: snowboard rockers have to be flat through the guts."

What he has found, and will evolve should that project with Taro ever eventuate, is that the planshape curves can match, giving a good starting place for truly hybrid equipment. And there's better than average odds that planshape will include Mick's much-vaunted sidecut rails.

The above video isn't a compelling statement for functionality, but it's a fun experiment for those tinkering around the overlap between snow and surf.

"Make sure you send me the link to the vid," says Mick as the call is coming to an end. "I'll be pretty keen to watch it."

Comments

donweather's picture
donweather's picture
donweather Friday, 8 Oct 2021 at 2:30pm

Super cool concept and very unique board. Seems to go real well in the snow (even without bindings to assist in the turns). Seem to be very sketchy in the surf and required to be nursed. Don’t know why he didn’t allow a removable fin/fins to be put on when surfing?

sideshow's picture
sideshow's picture
sideshow Sunday, 10 Oct 2021 at 9:40am

Yeah a cool concept, and quite an achievement to make a board that is actually rideable in both surf and snow. However, as someone who has both extensively snowboarded and extensively surfed, the board is clearly terrible at either. The rider has to ride very tentatively in both the surf and the snow just to stay on the thing. This is absolutely no surprise if you know even the slightest thing about either surfboard or snowboard design and construction. A fun idea, but has zero chance of catching on.

dewhurst's picture
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dewhurst Friday, 8 Oct 2021 at 2:42pm

Taro and Mick are two unassuming legends.

Redmond Clement's picture
Redmond Clement's picture
Redmond Clement Friday, 8 Oct 2021 at 2:55pm

My board doubles as a cheese grater.

Pat Hollingworth's picture
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Pat Hollingworth Friday, 8 Oct 2021 at 4:05pm

I never tried 'normal' skater-influenced snowboarding but got into snowsurfing about 5 years ago riding one-directional boards with big swallow tails and it's very much akin to surfing. The sidecut rails are a given in snowsurfing so it made sense to try one of Mick's sidecut fishes. Mick's now shaped me a 6'5" and more recently a 7'6" x 3.75" x 22" (a beast) and they are sensational to ride, especially on my backhand. Biggest and longest drawn out backhand bottom turns ever. In my mind sidecut rails bite more into the wave face and actually make more sense than a traditional plan shape. If they didn't look so weird I reckon a lot more surfers would be riding them.

Island Bay's picture
Island Bay's picture
Island Bay Saturday, 9 Oct 2021 at 5:53am

Sidecut on skis and snowboards work because those things flex. Flat rocker - or camber - through the guts - but when weighted the sidecut allows the board to flex, and you follow the radius of the sidecut. The more you lean over, the tighter a radius you can carve.

So Mackie's sidecut flex fishes make sense, whereas non flexing sidecut outlines would have no release. They may "work", but not how a sidecut is designed to work.

Watch that Korua video, or many like them on their website, and you can really get a sense of the dynamics.

Finnbob the terror's picture
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Finnbob the terror Saturday, 9 Oct 2021 at 5:58am

In my mind sidecut rails bite more into the wave face and actually make more sense than a traditional plan shape. If they didn't look so weird I reckon a lot more surfers would be riding them.
100%

sideshow's picture
sideshow's picture
sideshow Sunday, 10 Oct 2021 at 9:44am

Ha ha, good luck!!! I tried one, and it was the worst lemon of a board I've ever ridden. Yeah, maybe "long drawn out turns", but that's because it's not capable of anything else because that stupid shape gets in the way when you want to turn it.

memlasurf's picture
memlasurf's picture
memlasurf Friday, 8 Oct 2021 at 4:24pm

A friend from down here got a board with the rails cut as per a snow board as a quad and loved it. He seemed to make it look good was a weird unit to look at.

Finnbob the terror's picture
Finnbob the terror's picture
Finnbob the terror Saturday, 9 Oct 2021 at 5:48am

Was the board or bloke a weird unit to look at or both?

geoffrey's picture
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geoffrey Friday, 8 Oct 2021 at 5:29pm

did they get any footage of richard towing that bloke onto the bommy on the snowboard?

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet Friday, 8 Oct 2021 at 8:34pm

Apparently all went down without too much fanfare. I'll ask Richard next time I see him.

rooftop's picture
rooftop's picture
rooftop Saturday, 9 Oct 2021 at 2:01am

KORUA Shapes - YEARNING FOR TURNING Vol. 6 - Carve Oddity from KORUA Shapes on Vimeo.

Here's some pretty sick footage of people doing cutties in the snow. Give it a minute.

Solitude's picture
Solitude's picture
Solitude Saturday, 9 Oct 2021 at 6:21am

That is unbelievable. Really gives you inspiration for better technique in the surf.
Can only assume these guys wouldn’t be able to transfer that flawless style to the waves?

Also what are those boards (not a snow man)?

tango's picture
tango's picture
tango Saturday, 9 Oct 2021 at 10:48am

That flawless style, alright....a couple of those carves are mindblowing. That top turn around 1:45 is in the top 3 turns I've ever seen on water or snow. How they hold a rail and maintain that power and flow is a pleasure to watch. Stunning.

Island Bay's picture
Island Bay's picture
Island Bay Saturday, 9 Oct 2021 at 1:13pm

Properly carving turns on a snowboard is a joy. And it is sooooo much easier than surfing. Forget super wide duck stance setups on twin tips, though.

tango's picture
tango's picture
tango Saturday, 9 Oct 2021 at 5:23pm

Yep, agreed....I remember just starting to get the hang of proper carves in the 90s before I fractured a couple of vertebrae in a snow-borne collision and haven't had a crack at it since. Fark it.

Solitude's picture
Solitude's picture
Solitude Saturday, 9 Oct 2021 at 7:15pm

Just had another watch of that snowboard carving vid. Is actually really mind blowing.

I think I’ve worked out why, with surf footage you’re generally seeing it from in front or side on (down the line). The footage here put you right there, some bloke right up the clacka of the rider to really get that sense of speed, slope and rail.
Very difficult to do (film) with surfing and make it look as good as that.

So rare to see a clip so special and that I’d watch over these days. It’s like the old videos or magazines

Bnkref's picture
Bnkref's picture
Bnkref Thursday, 14 Oct 2021 at 1:02pm

I've watched that carving clip 3 times now. So good. Some phenomenal turns in there.

rooftop's picture
rooftop's picture
rooftop Sunday, 10 Oct 2021 at 2:05am

Glad to see you guys liked it as much as I did. Agree with all of the above.

I haven't ridden a snowboard in about 15 years but that film made me remember just how good it is. While I'll always be a surfer at heart, it's often a sport of fleeting, hurried moments. In the snow you have all day. You're flying effortlessly across a vast, beautiful landscape with enough speed to thrill but the reassurance of a powdery landing should you fall. Dressed in a human-shaped sleeping bag, you are comfortable and warm, with a cool breeze on your face. At the bottom you have only to choose between the chairlift and the bar.

The combination of speed, space, effortlessness and comfort makes it the closest thing I know of to those dreams where you're flying and can just zoom anywhere by thinking about it. There's a wonderful kind of disembodied embodiment to it.

Gazbomb's picture
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Gazbomb Saturday, 9 Oct 2021 at 9:19am

This kind of stuff is really inspirational to me. I have a couple of such projects on the go myself. The first is a machine which combines the attributes of an aeroplane and a submarine. I call it The Brick. I also do a fair bit of horse riding and climbing, and seek to combine the two. In order to achieve this, I've crossed a horse with an ordinary house cat. I call it Mongrel Bastard. I'm still ironing out the wrinkles, so to speak. In fact, I always take the iron with me when I'm riding Mongrel Bastard, just in case I need to brain it.

tango's picture
tango's picture
tango Saturday, 9 Oct 2021 at 11:01am

Whatever the relative merits of that shape for either snow or surf, there's no denying it's a work of art. Love to feel those bottom contours and see the rails - seemed like some interesting stuff going on. Wonder if those channels are too pronounced too far forward in the board to allow it to turn properly, though....particularly in water. Be very interested to hear Mick Mackie's thoughts.

Bob Hawke Surf Team's picture
Bob Hawke Surf Team's picture
Bob Hawke Surf Team Saturday, 9 Oct 2021 at 12:01pm

Horses for courses. Sorta like using a drill for a hammer…sure the nail might go in, but wtf?

groundswell's picture
groundswell's picture
groundswell Saturday, 9 Oct 2021 at 12:42pm

I always loved watching Mick Mackie surfing shark island in the 90's and Ulladulla reefs when he lived there..great bloke and friendly as.His boards look amazing too.

Jamyardy's picture
Jamyardy's picture
Jamyardy Saturday, 9 Oct 2021 at 8:13pm

I have an old pic I took, probably close to 30yrs old now, of Mick coming out of a barrel at one of his locals on the south coast.

They used to refer to it as Cronulladulla, which was an apt name for the area at the time.

Tristan Goose's picture
Tristan Goose's picture
Tristan Goose Saturday, 9 Oct 2021 at 1:18pm

was riding my mates split board shaped by chris christenson over the snow season. Always wondered how much cross over would have been possible. crazy how well they made that board work

joeyjojo's picture
joeyjojo's picture
joeyjojo Saturday, 9 Oct 2021 at 8:48pm
zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain Saturday, 9 Oct 2021 at 8:48pm

I've been waiting around to watch this and sorry to say, totally underwhelmed. It's an interesting piece of equipment and nice to look at I guess, but it doesn't work in either. I reckon a front foot strap may help it in the snow a bit better, but those turns would have been way more satisfying on a conventional snowboard. As for the surf? Borderline novelty at best. That carving vid above is where it's at.

Gazbomb- gold!

Island Bay's picture
Island Bay's picture
Island Bay Sunday, 10 Oct 2021 at 5:12am

Let's not forget skiing in all this. While snowboarding got lost in the 'short twin tip freestyle' woods for a while, powder skis developed rapidly. Ironically, they gave up on the radical sidecut and became much more like surfboards: wide and rockered, and sometimes even with reverse sidecut.

Praxis Skis (a small indy factory in Tahoe) made the Powderboards, and then the Protest, and skiing powder on those are a dream. Here's a pic of me on my trusty Protests in the Japanese backcountry. Nicest bottom turns I know how to do.

https://www.praxisskis.com/skis/protest/

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Thursday, 14 Oct 2021 at 1:48pm

Great pic!

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain Sunday, 10 Oct 2021 at 9:34am

Nice IB. Throwing a few buckets there.

A mate of mine, really good skier has a pair of K2's similar to yours. Looks like he's clicked in to a pair of snowboards.

Ps- how's Japan for powder! Maybe not the steepest terrain but for white dust, pretty hard to beat.

Island Bay's picture
Island Bay's picture
Island Bay Sunday, 10 Oct 2021 at 9:54am

I miss it so much, Zen. Indo, Italy, and Japan.

Pic is from Tsugaike near Hakuba. We used to go touring every Jan or Feb, and of course hanging about in the onsen.

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain Sunday, 10 Oct 2021 at 11:02am

IB- this is pretty low tech but basically took a pic from my laptop. Late season winter storm not far from my house. Mate and I bolted up to the hills and practically had the whole hill to ourselves. Up to our nipples in powder all day. Fresh track every run. More faceys than a bukkake video. This is me at my most handsome.

Bnkref's picture
Bnkref's picture
Bnkref Thursday, 14 Oct 2021 at 1:05pm

Nice pic IB. Have been out the back of Tsguaike before. Fun as.

Island Bay's picture
Island Bay's picture
Island Bay Sunday, 10 Oct 2021 at 12:02pm

Yeah you hot!

Island Bay's picture
Island Bay's picture
Island Bay Thursday, 14 Oct 2021 at 2:11pm

Just found a 30yo photo; back when I had lots of hair and snowboarded.

Reasonably low.

Bnkref's picture
Bnkref's picture
Bnkref Thursday, 14 Oct 2021 at 2:25pm

Sick! Is that on a slalom board or normal one?

Island Bay's picture
Island Bay's picture
Island Bay Thursday, 14 Oct 2021 at 2:30pm

From memory it's an asymmetrical Burton board with hard boots.

Hutchy 19's picture
Hutchy 19's picture
Hutchy 19 Thursday, 14 Oct 2021 at 3:34pm

Great thread . Have done a fair bit of snow skiing ( not for 20+ years ) but never tried snow boarding as the conditions in Oz ( ice ) I thought would make learning too hard .

In powder boarding ( like skiing ) looks an amazing experience . Is it hard to learn ?

Skiing is quite easy . In one week I think a beginner could be quite good and do parallel turns .

How long would a surfer take to be having lots of fun in the right conditions ?

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain Thursday, 14 Oct 2021 at 3:41pm

About 5 minutes.

Island Bay's picture
Island Bay's picture
Island Bay Thursday, 14 Oct 2021 at 4:06pm

Snowboarding is the easiest thing you'll ever try.

Skiing is easier the first few hours, but it takes ages to get good. Snowboarding is hard for non surfers the first day or say, then piss easy.

Hutchy 19's picture
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Hutchy 19 Thursday, 14 Oct 2021 at 4:53pm

IB and zen- thanks for the reply . How do you rate boarding v skiing ?

Seems that if I go to Japan ( not much ice ) I should give boarding a try . No paddling or pop up's to worry about .

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain Thursday, 14 Oct 2021 at 5:01pm

I started as as a skier then transitioned into snowboarding in my late 20's so have been snowboarding for about 25 years. I just love the feeling of snowboarding, especially in deep powder or through trees. Having said that, I've actually been thinking of revisiting skiing.

IB is right, while snowboarding is pretty difficult at first, I think the learning curve is pretty flat. Once it sorta clicks, you'll be making your way down the hill in no time. Also, if you surf, you kinda already have that sorta rail to rail hard-wired into you. Skiing on the other hand is pretty easy to pick up, but incredibly difficult to master. When you see good skiers flying down the hill effortlessly, you know they've taken years and years to get there. I respect good skiers.