Nov 28, 2014

Snurfing and Snowboards

Sherman Poppen from Muskegon, Michigan took two 36-inch skis that had a little leather strap over the top of them that kids could slide their shoes into. He added a couple of cross pieces across them about five of six inches apart. The cross pieces were actually molding so you could put your feet up against it. His wife called it the 'snurfer'.

He kept improving the design, patented it as a "surf-type snow ski," and sold it to Brunswick. By 1970, almost a million of the boards had been sold.

Jake Burton Carpenter had a competing product he called the 'Burton Board'. Carpenter's Burton Snowboards would go on to become one of the largest snowboard brands in the world.

Snowboarders might be riding "snurfboards" today, if Poppen hadn't been so possessive of his trademark. When he got started and Burton was calling his board Snurfboards, and his was a Snurfer. He did not like his name being used so he hired an attorney to protect his trademark. The sport became snowboarding because Carpenter could not use the word Snurfer or Snurf.