Thursday, November 14, 2013

Confessions of a Vintage Snowboard Trader

Traditionally snowboarding has been seen as a young person's game, but snowboarding has been knocking around now for a generation, and as the snowboarders have aged the demographics of the sport has skewed dramatically. A decade ago only a quarter of snowboarders were over twenty four, but today almost half of snowboarders are. It's a trend that gets surprisingly little coverage considering these older snowboarders are by far the fastest growing group of snowboarders. One of the results of the interests and increasing influence of these older snowboarders has been the emergence of an ever more active snowboarding memorabilia market. I've not seen anyone cover this growing part of snowboarding before, so this week I got in touch with the guy who runs the Vintage Snowboard Trader group on the Facebook to find out more...

--- About Dave ---

Who are you and what got you into the collecting of vintage snowboards?

My name is Dave Martin, I live in a secluded little corner of the West Kootenays in BC Canada. I'm a snowboarder, snowmobiler, part time redneck, and to finance it all, I'm a journeyman industrial electrician.

I found snowboarding in 1992 and I was instantly hooked on it. It's been a part of my lifestyle and my personality ever since the day I first strapped in. During those early years I obsessed over anything to do with snowboarding. I read every page of every mag I could get my hands on, and watched the videos hundreds of times. In highschool, my bros and I would watch videos on every lunch break, and went out riding every spare moment we had. Those were fond memories, and every time I see an old board from that era, it takes me back to that time. So I've always wanted to have a few of those old school boards that I felt were really iconic, but never actively started collecting till a few years ago when Terje's original sword board came up for sale in my local classifieds. That triggered it for me.

Terje's rather impressive sword

Which is you most prized snowboard?
I really have a hard time choosing just one. I could maybe narrow it down to a top 5 or something. It's not as easy as just saying "this one is worth the most, so it's my crown jewel". It's more about what memories are attached to those boards.

Bollocks. You side stepped that question like a well-oiled politician. Let me put it another way: If some guy set your house was on fire and you could only grab one board what would it be? I need an answer or I'll be the guy setting the fire. 
Not gonna let me slide on this one, eh? ok, well this is tough because I have a handful of boards that I brought with me when I crashed the Red Bull Supernatural, and again for the Ultranatural. I tracked down Bryan Iguchi, Jamie Lynn, Terje, Devun Walsh, and Peter Line, and had them sign their boards for me. I mean, we are talking about most of my teenage heroes here, and it was a lot of hard work to get up there with all those boards.

Dave getting very familiar with Devun Walsh

& reenacting the infamous Scotty Lago Olympic medal incident with Travis Rice

& Dave meeting a very excited Peter Line

However, if I had to make the choice of saving just one board from total loss, it would have to be one that both means a lot to me AND is irreplaceable. The only one I can think of like that is my Aggression Tarquin Robbins with the shotgun base graphic. I think I could find all those other boards again, and probably get them signed again. But that shotgun board is one that I just never ever see for sale in all my searching. And not only that, but I wanted that board more than any other board in it's day. It looks awesome, and Tarquin just had the best style. My bro's and I would all be trying to do the latest fs 180's possible, just like Tarquin. And I actually modified my Kemper Fantom at the time to look like that board. I rounded out the nose and tail, painted the topsheet the same baby blue, and t-nutted a 26" stance on it. yup, that would be the one.

Tarquin Robbins - famous for being the only professional snowboarder to ever be called Tarquin.

How many snowboards do you have and how much money do you think you have spent over the years?
I'm not even sure I want to admit that to myself...Currently I have somewhere between 60 and 70 snowboards. I'd have to count to be sure. But lets say each board averaged at around $100 and you'd be looking at $6,000 to $7,000... That would be in the ballpark. But what the fuck, right? it's like fine art. The shit is priceless. (Actually in truth I think it's more like a midlife crisis.)

This man has a lot of snowboards...and garage doors.

What is the one snowboard you still really want to get hold of and is there a reason for your choice?
I've only got 3 more boards left on my wishlist that I'd really like to find. A Joyride Gabe Crane, because his part in Simple Pleasures was soooo good, and his method could rival Jamie Lynn's. A Caution 143cm Street from 1996, because it was a board I rode. And the Japanese release of Jamie Lynn's first pro model, AKA the octopus board.

If I had to choose just one from that list, it would be the Lynn. I'm a big fan of his, and the challenge of tracking down a board that wasn't even released in North America is pretty fun. I'd have all 4 of his 1st year pro models if I got one.
If anyone can get their tentacles on one of these you'll be able to ransom it to Dave for a shit load of money

What are your feelings about this Pottery Barn product? 

I'd be bummed if it were a real board, but since it's not I think it's pretty cool. There are a lot of benches out there made of old boards, and I just cringe when they're good boards. But with the vast majority of boards, they really couldn't be put to a better use than as a bench or a light fixture. I wish I could think of a good use for old bindings. I've got a shitload I'd like to get rid of.

What is the one vintage snowboard you wouldn't touch with someone else's?
Without a doubt, the Burton Safari's with the zebra print. I can't stand looking at those things. I wouldn't even want a bench made out of one. You couldn't give me one.

If you were a snowboard which one would you be and why?
Ummm, maybe an Aggression board, or which ever one that was really awesome in it's day, but never went anywhere in the industry, and is still givin'er whatever it has left to this day.

--- Dave on Vintage Snowboard Trading ---

In 2010 Terry Kidewell was hoping to sell one of his old snowboards. The auction got some good coverage but I don't think it reached the asking price (which I vaguely remember was $10,000). Why do you think he didn't manage to get the sale?
There's no doubt that there is more value in a board if it can be personally tied back to a pro rider like Kidwell, or a builder like Tom Sims. But in the case of when Kidwell was selling his boards, I think the snowboard community in general didn't want to see Terry separated from his personal collection. Those boards belong with him. So I think buyers backed off for that reason. At the time, I did hear about a group or a museum that was proposing to take donations from the community to buy the boards, and then planned to give them right back. I have no idea if that actually happened, but in my mind that would have been the ideal solution.

Do you think people collecting snowboards as investment or are people more interested in producing collections?
In this game you've got your guys that buy boards for nostalgia, some that buy out of compulsion, some that do it to flip a profit, and some that do some combination of all three. But I think the majority do it for the nostalgic/personal reasons, rather than to turn a profit. In most cases guys start out looking for a few cool boards they remember from back in the day, then 1 turns into 2, 2 into 4, 4 into 8, and so-on. It can definitely get addicting.

Some of the current prices people are selling snowboards for seem high. Do you ever get concerned that there is a market bubble?
I don't really get concerned about that possibility myself, but in some cases it could happen. Craig Kelly boards come to mind. there are like millions of those things out there, many still hiding away in closets and garages. Yet they seem to pull a premium all the time. Sure Craig deserves the respect, but in reality the supply outweighs the demand. If the masses all found out that their old CK board was worth a few hundred bucks all at the same time, we'd be swimming in CK boards overnight. Some guys have talked to me about drawing too much attention to old boards, and driving up prices as a consequence, but I think it's a necessary evil that will bring a lot of old boards out of hiding that would have never been available if they were never worth anything. If there's a bubble, it's gonna swell and subside based on supply and demand. Patience everyone.

I remember being surprised at the prices some old Burtons have recently sold for and I think they might be the most expensive snowboards ever sold. Was there something funky going on there with the bidding?

This Burton BB1 Londonderry sold on eBay in March 2012 for $11,211

This was Jake Burton's personal board, and he verified that before the sale. I heard this was a charity auction, so since it was charity, and a tax write-off for someone's business, and it had the proper provenance, the price went through the roof.

This 1984 Burton Performer "Black Widow" signed by Bob Novak sold on eBay in February 2013 for $11,732

To be honest, I don't pay much attention to anything prior to 92. I've got no personal attachment to those boards, because I wasn't riding at that time, and I'm not in this game as an investor. However, I do pick up on a few things just by scanning the group, and this board is definitely throwing up some red flags for me.

I heard a story of an old Burton like this that sold for something like $13k USD and it turned out to be a fake. YES there are fakes out there! I'm not 100% sure if the price was for real or not, but I'm sure the fact that it was fake was true. Be sure to get the facts if you are buying that really old stuff. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Anyhow, the common thread between all the fakes, were the amazing condition, the year 1984, and the supposed direct connection to this Bob Novak guy. Makes me sick to know there are scumbags out there that would rip people off like that.

Do you think Dual Snowboards are worth investing in?
Snowboarding's answer to snowblades! Oh definitely. If you were ever not having a good day snowboarding, you could switch to your Dual Snowboards and instantly be reminded that "hey, things could be worse". Future collector value? Don't even get me started!

Are there any legendary Vintage Snowboard Traders?
Dennis Nazari from Salty Peaks/Utah Snowboard Museum comes to mind. Apparently his boards number in the thousands. I'd love to see that some day. Pat Bridges from Snowboarder Magazine has a decent sized quiver, and what makes him stand out is that he actually rides all of them. A few guys from Vintage Snowboard Traders really stand out, whether it be because they buy up lots of boards, or just have amazing quality or rare boards. Jon Thompson, Tim MacKenzie, Kurt Heine, Scott Serfas, Hugues Beauchamp, Jeff Patterson and Steve Lestikow are notable collectors from the Vintage Snowboard Traders group. Todd pretty probably has the most complete Chris Roach collection ever, and Tim Peacock in the UK has the most amazing Jamie Lynn collection. I know I'm forgetting some. There are so many.

Kurt Heine, Dave, Pat Moore and Tim Peare

--- The Vintage Snowboard Traders Group ---

How did you end up setting-up the Vintage Snowboard Traders Facebook group?
When I started collecting, I was searching all over the web for boards. I tried a couple of snowboarding forums before I wondered if there were any other collectors on Facebook. I found the groups Dig My Quiver and History of Snowboarding. I was blown away when I got into those groups, cuz there are a lot of the old pros, photographers, filmers, and company owners there. I went from having almost no exposure to these people that I had only read about, to interacting with them directly, overnight. I was chatting with fucking Tom Sims for christ sake. Fuckin, Terje was "liking" my pictures. I talk with guys like Ranquet, Roach, Rehberg, Russell Winfield, Tarquin, Kurt Heine, Bud Fawcett, Scott Serfas...  the list goes on.
ANYWAY, I was searching craigslist like crazy for old boards, and there were a lot that were awesome boards, but they weren't on my wish list. I'd sometimes post them up in DMQ or History, in case other guys wanted them, but DMQ is a place to post pics of boards you already own, and History is a place where you post old pics and tell stories. I felt like I was detracting from these groups when I was posting all these craigslist ads, so I opened up Vintage Snowboard Trader, invited a few people, and just went nuts with posting craigslist ads. Pretty soon other guys were posting up what they found, and we were all helping each other build our collections. The more action that took place in the group, the more people it attracted, and it has been snowballing this way ever since.

I often see people asking if others in the group can pick up a snowboard for them. What are the rules to this? there seems to be a lot of trust between a number of people in the group.
We have a goon squad that beats the shit out of anyone that doesn't hold up their end of a deal. Haha.

The community that has developed around the group is so awesome, in that we can all really trust each other. It's such an awesome collection of like minded people. Guys are genuinely stoked to help each other out, and once you really get a sense of that, it's easy to trust everyone there. There aren't really any rules when arranging someone to help with a pick-up and shipping, but it's always good form to offer up some extra money for gas and beer.

Where else do Vintage Snowboard Traders hang out? Was there something before the Facebook Group? Are there other places on the Internet and do they meet in real life?
Mainly just the Facebook groups. "History of Snowboarding" to bullshit, "Dig my Quiver" to show off your boards, "Snowboarders in Exile, Old Skool films" to post about videos, "Lib Tech Snowboard Collectors", and "93/94 Boardshop" focuses on the 90's specifically. That's the general format, but there's a lot of crossover topics happening in all the groups.  It's the easiest way to connect online.

There are a few on-snow retro days that take place around the States, and there are usually a few of our members there. Retro Fools Day at Steven's Pass WA looks like a great event. I think legends of Tahoe is an annual event. But this summer one of the Vintage Snowboard Traders member suggested we do a group ride together, and they decided to come right out to my back yard, and ride Baldface! The owner of the lodge, Jeff Pensiaro, is a member of the group and he opened up a special session just for us, and is organizing a swap meet. He's also invited a bunch of historical pro riders and famous industry dudes to make guest appearances. We're stoked to say the least!

Terje stands awkwardly next to Dave in his Phantom costume

What do the guys from the Vintage Snowboard Trader group hate most about the guys from the History of Snowboarding group?
They are all a bunch of kook, wannabe, snowbladers. Just kidding. It's pretty much the same people in both groups, so I guess it's just self loathing.

Do you have a special handshake? 
The initiator of the handshake does a "jerk-off" motion on the other guy's thumb.

An unsuspecting Jamie Lynn about to get "initiated"

What does your average vintage snowboard trader look like?
Huge beards, massive cocks.

--- The End ---

You Might Also Like...

If you have a massive cock and an impressive beard you can stalk or join the Vintage Snowboard Traders Facebook group here

These photos of Dave stalking the snowboard legends are from the time that he gate crashed the Red Bull Supernatural and if you'd like to read more about it, here's his write-up.

And finally, here's some snowboarding demographics showing the continuing growth of older snowboarders.


  1. I also have an Octopuss board... Mint condition!

  2. Hey, I've got a Jamie Lynn Pro model from 1992 in mint condition if you're interested.

  3. Is 5150 DK TV good? From 90's

  4. Anyone interested in purchasing an unused and very rare Beavis & Butthead Snowboard? (only 10 ever made). If so, check out my board on ebay by searching for it.

  5. I have the Jamie Lynn Pro Model Octopus Board, great condition, if you know of anyone still looking. Let me know!

  6. Too bad he didn't get his first pro model until 1995

  7. Check out my original FLITE competition 80s snowboard on EBay this week

  8. Ricardo Silva E SousaOctober 26, 2014 at 3:49 PM

    A Snowboards. Serge Vitelli model 164 circa 1996 in good riding condition. My first love but would let it go for some serious bidding

  9. Stephanie Chao-ParkesJanuary 16, 2015 at 8:11 PM

    I have a Burton Custom Superfly II from year 2000 Brand new never used with stickers does anyone know what its worth?

  10. I have the Aggression Tarquin Robbins 155 first board actually and is in good condition

  11. Kim McGinness FrostJuly 2, 2015 at 4:21 PM

    Anyone know if there is any other 1983 Burton Powdergun Experimental Series signed by Bob Novak out there ?


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

© 1896. Design by Main-Blogger - Tinkering by Zhang - Colouring in by Illicit