Snowboards have changed a lot since Sherman Poppen first knocked one together for his daughters to mess around on in their garden back in the 60s. Soon after, brands like Burton and Sims rushed to dream up the most innovative snowboards that they could and snowboard design accelerated.
The snowboards we see today are the result of over 40 years of gradual improvement – adding new features and leaving behind the ones that didn’t quite work out. Nevertheless, a few rogue inventors have tried to shake things up over the years with some hilarious and/or horrible results. One day, they’ll hopefully clock onto the fact that on the whole, snowboards already work pretty well as they are.
Here are eleven snowboard inventions that were probably best left on the cutting room floor…
1. PIVIT BINDINGS
Pivit bindings were invented a while ago by American snowboarder Christopher Scott Hassell. The concept? A pair of bindings that hinge laterally so that you can poke the shit out of your grabs. In principal, they sound like they could just about work but we’re definitely a little sceptical as to how solid they would feel on say, a 30ft kicker in park. We quite like our ankles and knees you know.
2. The Snowboard Pole
Snowboarders frown upon skiing for a few different reasons, one of them being that they frolic around with poles that appear to have very little real function other than for whacking us with and punting along the flats. Some bright spark thought it’d be a great idea to bring that most hated piece of ski hardware to snowboarding. It wasn’t.
3. Rotary Ah Bindings
Swivel bindings have been invented several times by several groups of people and they still don’t seem to be getting the point. Bindings work as they are and there really is nobody who wants to swivel their front foot so it’s parallel with their board. It just creates a bunch more problems that didn’t exist in the first place, like having to explain to your girlfriend why you couldn’t keep up with her traversing one-foot to get to the apres bar. No surprise then that eBay didn't implode from all of the bidding activity when the patent for the design was put on there for a modest 196 grand
“The short but wide blades are fitted with snowboard bindings meaning you can wear comfortable snowboard boots and clothing. You will also have no end of people asking you about your Fatblades, everybody wants to know what it’s like to ride short, light, fun blades while wearing comfortable snowboard clothes and boots."
Just stop it.
5. LED Snowboards
Remember when everyone used to do up their cars with neons, spoilers and leopard print interiors? Well someone figured that there might be a market for it in snowboarding. Presumably they thought that by putting LED’s into their snowboard bases, they’d gain ‘nuff respect from the mountain pimps and have bitchez bowing down to dem like dey is god-or-summin. Innit.
6. Screw Propelled Snowboard
This bizarre screw propellered snowboard was conjured up by two enthusiastic French students for a school project, and is presumably designed to save riders from having to take the lift back up the hill. Which is all well and good if you plan on reading the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy on the way up.
7. Snow Sails
Some of the best inventions come about when you mix together two things that work perfectly on their own to create something new, like sporks. Or unicorns. Sadly, Snow Sails are not one of those things. #Keepwindsurfingoutofsnowboarding.
8. Yibb Boards
If I had a dollar for everytime I’d wished my snowboard had handles I’d be as rich as homeless harry outside the liquor store. Yibb boards (presumably a shit play of words on the jib board), sadly, never took off as hoped but we probably could have called that when they first appeared in the mid 2000s. Somehow, the hotel-lobby soft jazz used in the video doesn’t really help sell it either.
If there is one video in this list that you should watch for pure comedy value alone, this is it. Hangboards combine snowboards with, of all things, hang-gliding, and the result is nothing short of genius. Let’s just say that we’ll never think of hang-gliding the same way again. These things dropped in 2007 and 6 years on we’ve still got our white flags on hand for when we have to “surrender to the hangboard".
10. Dual Snowboards
Dual snowboards could easily take the number one spot on this list as being the most horrible ‘snowboard’ invention of all time. In principal we don’t really have anything against people wanting to try these things out but the fact that the brand attempts to market itself as a legit snowboard brand when the product is essentially a fat pair of ski blades is pretty deluded in our eyes.
11. Snowboard Scooters
The basic principle behind these ones are that handles would be a better way to control a snowboard than bindings. In reality, they're not. And the day we see scooter kids clogging up the terrain parks and doing scooter whips 3 inches from our skulls, could very well be the day we hang up our boots for good.