Thursday, August 21, 2014

Gary Harbon, from Carmarthen, built a snowboard, out of carbon.

This year there's a new British snowboard company on the block called Snow Candy. We interviewed them to try and find out just what the hell was going on...

Who are you and what made you want to start your own snowboard company?

Simply put we are just a bunch of snowboarders who wanted something that we couldn't get our hands on so we decided to take matters into our own hands. We spent about 2 years thinking about how we could come up with a board that would be unique, having failed more than once over that course of time.
We really started the company for a huge list of reasons but the best reason for us is we love nothing more that hitting the slopes.

What you're gong to see here is that the team behind Snow Candy answer questions like they're politicians; answering them without actually saying anything. The guy I'm interviewing here is called Gary Harbon, the aforementioned fella from Carmarthen. I can tell you why he started this company, because he has the finest aptronym in all of snowboarding and he was pre-determined to build something out of carbon. He was as destined to build this snowboard as William Wordsworth was to be a poet, Usain Bolt was to be a spinter, Marina Stepanova a hurdler, and Shaun White to be a snowboarder.

Gary Harbon, from Carmarthen, with his car, in his peculiarly limited garden.

Going back to his answer, a hell of a lot of people love "hitting the slopes", but very few think the next logical step is to build a carbon fibre snowboard company. I tried to dig a little deeper...

What makes your company truly different? One of the things you say on your site is that the snowboards are "designed by snowboarders", but I don't know of any snowboards that aren't designed by snowboarders. 

This is true :)
The materials we use in our boards and the way they are constructed is what makes us truly unique as well as our philosophy in listening to what people want.
To be fair what we really want to get across is we want to get across [sic] that these boards haven't been put together with just the pros in mind but the average boarder.

The only videos of these boards in action are the Snow Candy team riding them in a UK snow dome, and I'm going to have to assume this is them running some testing specifically for their target market of the "average boarder"...

They have a pretty strange definition of 'pow'

And of course there isn't a single snowboard company that doesn't listen to what people want or build boards for the average person. I wasn't getting anywhere with this, so I thought I'd help out a little...

To the best of my knowledge you might be the first ever snowboarding company based in Wales. Do you think that is the case and what does that add into the mix?

As far as we know yes we are the only snowboarding company based in Wales and the welsh [sic] are well know for coming up with some mad ideas as well as the sheep that can be added into the mix lol :)

From that I was expecting some awesome graphics like the 2012/13 DC PBJ graphic...

But the Snow Candy board graphics are a little more understated...

Are you making the snowboards in Wales or are they built by someone else to your specifications?

At the moment the boards aren't made here in wales [sic] but are made to our specification.
We will be be looking to move production to Wales as soon as we are able as we currently looking for [sic] bigger premises to set up shop in.

How would you compare yourself to Douk? (the only company manufacturing snowboards in the UK)

In all honesty.... we love what they do! Douk make fantastic boards and the fact that they are based in the UK is amazing as far we are concerned. It just goes to show what guys here in britain [sic] really have to offer.
Not that were trying to avoid the question but as for a direct comparison goes we both make boards but from very different materials and until people really go out and ride our boards on mass [sic] who’s to say which construction is better.

You are avoiding the question.

How much has it cost to set-up the brand in the UK and what's been the hardest part of the process so far?

We have spend [sic] a little over £15k so far, all out our own pockets but the reality is we have only just started to scratch the surface of the UK and we know that we have a serious amount of work to do to get the brand out there.
The hardest part for us was trying to get the boards construction right which was such a pain as we wanted it to be made entirely out of carbon fibre! In the end we had to combine some elements of a more traditional construction such as a bamboo core.
I don’t think any single part of the process has been all that easy, but having spent all our time on the boards themselves we have only just started to our teeth [sic] into the marketing side of the business.

And the initial investment in marketing will be spent on correcting the spelling and grammar of all the previous marketing output. The best example being this video on their YouTube channel, where they've even managed to spell Gary's name wrong...

How many boards have you sold so far, and how many are you hoping to shift this season?

We have only sold just sort [sic] of a hundred so far but since we haven't really done enough to market them which are working on [sic] we are hoping to really drive the numbers over the course of this season. Fingers crossed :)

What's the reasons behind the name Snow Candy? Were you in some way influenced by the hit song from the presumably transvestite South Korean pop band Starship Planet? 

Ha, we have never seen that video but god dame [sic] that was funny!
The name came from us having a few beers one night after a day on the slopes and one of the guys just came out with it! We all thought it was a bit cheesy if Im [sic] honest but it somehow stuck.

It's also easily confused with Snow Candy the chalet company.

How you you integrate the carbon fibre and what does it add to the snowboard?

This was one interesting challenge for us as we wanted to add a few characteristics  to the boards that have perviously [sic] been a problem.
The entire board with exception of the base, steel edges, and the core, is made out of carbon fibre as we wanted to not only make the board light but also more flexible which was one of our primary goals compared to traditional constructions and also less prone to delimitation [sic].

What is a BamBoom! core when it's at home?

Top Secret!!!

Only Kidding! We changed the construction of the bamboo core so rather than using a load of bamboo all in the same direction we decided to weave each individual strip in different direction [sic] so that the core will also flex to a degree in every direction.

Finally, your site recommends Union, RuRoc and GoPro. What's the link with them?

We will shortly be stocking Union Bindings on our site and as for the RuRoc and GoPro we simple [sic] love these companies and all our team use them. A good lid is a real essential for the slopes and what better to catch the action with than with a GoPro.

They really do love their RuRocs...

A brace of RuRocs

RuRocs to the right

RuRocs staring lovingly into each other's lenses

A RuRoc-skin rug

RuRoc on a picnic bench

A RuRoc selfie, of a RoRoc selfie, of a RuRoc selfie, of a RuRoc selfie, of a....

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