Watch: One Board, Two Worlds
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."