Words by Josh Ruggles
Photos: Alice Davis
Innovations aren’t always created to dominate the market, blanket the industry with product or even compete at all. Some are just created as a result of bad snow, boredom and an artistic view of the world.
COMUNE Art Director and veteran rider, Corey Smith, was tired of waiting for a bad winter to turn good and created something that no one else in the industry had even contemplated — snowboards as pieces of art, aka Spring Break Snowboards.
After building them by hand, Smith rides them, signs them and ships them to not just snowboard collectors, but contemporary art collectors as well.
“I’m not doing this to reach any market in the winter sports industry. Spring Break is an art project and an experiment in snowboard design,” said Smith.
Based out of L.A. and Tahoe, Smith is working on producing a full-length video for Spring Break boards with nothing but deep snow, good shredders and rideable art. With riders like Eric Messier and Smith himself on their “partier” team, it shouldn’t disappoint.
Made of strictly wood, fiberglass — and in some cases metal edges and fins for aesthetic reasons, Spring Break has made roughly 30 boards with designs ranging from unique to flat out ridiculous. Putting out such innovations as ‘powder holes’ and the ‘spider web swallow tails,’ Spring Break is definitely pushing the envelope of snowboard shapes and design. Built for supreme float, most boards are in the 165-size range and use reverse side cut and reverse camber.
“The powder pill shape I’ve been refining for some time now is incredible in powder. It has reverse side cut and reverse camber throughout. It’s really soft, snappy and wide,” explained Smith. “I just built a smaller version of the ‘Beetlejuice’ pill shape board for a trip to Chile this past month and it was my favorite shape so far.”
In hopes to lower the level of intensity that the snowboard industry has reached, Smith just wants snowboarders to be grateful for what they have and not what they can get from snowboarding.
“Hopefully I can get people to look at the mountain in a different way and not focus on the ‘Extreme sports,’ or seriousness of snowboarding, and just truly enjoy what a privilege it is to be able to ride a snowboard,” adds Smith. “I’ve always felt snowboarding was a physical outlet of creativity rather than a sport.”
In a consumer age, where everything is made dirt cheap and sold at top dollar, Smith could care less about that way of business — or way of life in general.
“I think that snowboard companies and ski resorts will be a thing of the past and we’ll all be hiking powder hills with our friends, drinking wine and building our own custom hand made snowboards. At least that’s what I’ll be doing [laughs].”