Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Influences of Snowboarding

 
According the Daily Mail, sometime next year the first child with three biological parents could be born in the UK. As a result of this news the Daily Mail audience is as usual going mental, but I’m not sure they need to get their knickers in quite so much of a twist. There just might be something in this technique. It did after all work out well for snowboarding. 
Snowboarding evolved from three sports; skiing, surfing and skateboarding. We wanted to show what snowboarding had inherited from those sports and what it’s given back, and to do that we created this handy infographic…
Click on the image if you want to see a larger version
There’s more after the break

If you are looking for some clarification of just what the hell is going on then this might help. Let’s work our way through the different rings.

People
In days of yore, when folks were cobbling together the very first snowboards, the different inventors of the sport were heavily influenced by some of the three sports and their resulting contraptions mirrored that. Some inventors were influenced by a single sport and a few were influenced by two which is why we’ve ended up with the natty overlapping Venn diagram-like design in the top half of the circle. Most of the names at the top of this chart come from this period and if you want to know more about each person’s contribution then take a look at another handy infographic, our snowboarding history timeline
The other names in the outside band are people who were or are both professional snowboarders and skateboarders. There’s a great article by Chris Moran on Whitelines about the historical cross over between skateboarding and snowboarding and it’s worth a read. 
It’s interesting that although there are plenty of people who practice more than one sport we couldn’t think of another example of a professional representing both snowboarding and either of the two other sports.

Brands
Our very first infographic is exactly what you’re looking for if you want more information on the brands featured on this chart. Take a look at the corporations that run snowboarding
Down at the bottom Skullcandy is one the one brand we could think of that has grown from being a snowboard specific brand into a global brand, but we decided to whack it in the ski category here to keep things pretty. 

Tech
A lot of the technical foundations of snowboarding came directly from skiing, but skiing’s biggest contribution was perhaps the resort infrastructure, which allowed snowboarding to grow so rapidly – once they allowed us to play. Still, I’d have preferred it if button lifts didn’t come as part of the package.
In return snowboarding took the inherited technology and added a burst of invention to a previously fairly stagnant industry, and helped revolutionise ski technology. In the space of just ten years skis that for over a hundred years had been single-directional and straight-edged were completely phased out and replaced by twin-tip carving skis mirroring the shape of snowboards.
On the left of the chart is an odd little arrow showing an interesting little development loop. Snowboarding gave the originators of big-wave surfing the inspiration to ride shorter boards with bindings and in return snowboarding adopted the other feature of big-wave riding, the tow-in, to give us the ability to take on obstacles with short or flat run-ins.
If you want to know what Noboarding is, take a look at last week’s article

Skills
So much of the snowboarding trick catalogue was taken straight from skateboarding and again the Whitelines article gives a great insight. 
And the techniques we learned from skateboarding then influenced skiing, reinventing freestyle skiing and reinvigorating the sport. Freestyle skiing used to mean something quite different…

Overall
Snowboarding as the youngest sport has taken a lot of influences from skiing, surfing and skateboarding and as a result the top of the chart has a lot more content. But even in the short time snowboarding has been around it has managed to make a major contribution back to skiing, helping to turn around the fortunes of that sport. As yet though there hasn’t been a similar impact on surfing and all skateboarding has got back so far is a bit of Shaun White’s time.
There are already at least four entirely new sports that were influenced by snowboarding; sandboarding, wakeboarding, flowboarding and mountainboarding, and it will be interesting to see what else will be produced by this cross-fertilisation of sports in the future.


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