Published in Onboard Magazine Issue 117, November 2010

Words: Anna Langer

We’ve already highlighted the strong link between snowboarding and art in the last few issues of this season. For ride Snowboards this was true rightfrom the brand’s inception in the early Nineties, long before it became fashionable to spice up a collection with the odd bit of artist work and use the added marketing value.


Using artists’ work for their board graphics has a long tradition with Ride; to them they are “free thinkers" who express themselves through their art as we do through snowboarding. And just like there are almost as many different steezes out there as there are snowboarders, the artists and their backgrounds, techniques and styles couldn’t be more diverse.

Spacecraft, founded by Stefan Hofmann (a passionate snowboarder who spent his time at art school living on a couch in a studio and riding whenever he had any spare time) and fellow artist and traveller Sarah O’Brien Parker, have already made quite a name for themselves in the boardsports scene. They spend summers creating beanies and designing epic stickers and t-shirts, but move back to Cascade Mountains in Canada come winter to hibernate. As the all-rounders they are themselves, they gave an all-mountain board, the Highlife, a brand new look with one of their iconic, detailed drawings on the topsheet.

Art Chantry may not be that big player a in the snowboard world, but he sure is in the fi eld of art and design. His graphic designs were even shown in the Louvre, which probably makes him the most well-known snowboard graphic collaborator in history. His roots are deep in the punk rock scene of the late 70s and early 80s, though, and in the 90s he did cover art for bands such as Nirvana, Hole and The Sonics. His lowtech style is the perfect fi t for Ride’s DH, their classic freestyle board, which he’s pimped with one of his signature collage designs.

In contrast, Prefab 77 is a collective of artists and they don’t really have any direct connection to boardsports or snow. But their slogan “Time to stop believing in authority and start believing in each other!" and sarcastic statements such as “the fl ammability (of our pieces) makes them a sound investment for the future as fuel prices increase to rise," are more than clear proof of the free thinking that Ride sees connecting art and snowboarding. Their wild designs, mixing acrylic, spray-paint, varnish and inks, work more than well on the freestyle gun, the Machete.

Number 4 in the collab pond isn’t exactly the biggest fish, but certainly is the biggest enigma. Based in LA and called Tastes Like Gold (a phrase this artist uses to describe the peak of an artistic career), that’s about all you’ll fi nd out about this person. But the artwork speaks for itself, especially in the case of the Crush where the graphics are only really visible in the cold – where a snowboard belongs. It’s also the only design in this line of collabs that has a slightly different top sheet on each length; a closer look will reveal that they’re all part of one bigger picture. Apparently that is still neither enough art nor enough exclusivity for Ride, so this year’s collection also includes two special limited edition highlight boards.

The DH 2.4 (that was released 1st of Oct) and 2.5 (to be released 1st of Nov) were so top secret that no matter how much we squeezed our buddies at Ride, they wouldn’t tell us anything about them. So while one mystery should be solved by now, the second is still to come.