Jake Burton Carpenter Obituary, Death – Jake Burton Carpenter, who had been battling cancer for a number of years, passed away earlier this week at the age of 65. He was the driving force behind the eponymous brand, the most successful company in the snowboarding industry. But long before snowboarding was even considered much of a sport at all, Carpenter was already working out of a barn in Londonderry, Vermont, to construct prototypes by hand. His first interest in snowboarding was sparked by a cheap plastic toy called the Snurfer, which was developed by Sherman Poppen in 1965. The Snurfer was a portmanteau word that combined the words “snow” and “surfer.” He founded Burton in 1977. In point of fact, forty years ago, Carpenter was renowned for competing in the 1979 National Snurfing Contest and winning on boards of his own design.
These boards, which he made to be longer, wider, and more flexible than the Snurfer, won the contest. Following his victory, he made the following remark in an article that was published in the Bay Window Collegiate Newspaper: “Snurfing was a fad that faded because the serious competitor didn’t become interested.” It is currently making a comeback thanks to changes in design that make serious competition possible. The Burton archivist Todd Kohlman was quoted in a profile written for Vice as saying, “Jake made 100 different prototypes.” Carpenter experimented in the barn with a variety of snowboard shapes, the early versions of which were shorter, had edges that were more straight, and were styled in a manner that was more reminiscent of the Snurfer. In contrast, he started making wider boards in the early 1980s, which improved their ability to float in powder.
In addition to this, he experimented with curved edges, also known as sidecut, which allowed for more fluid turns. He also hacked together a front binding that was comparable to that of a water-ski and slapped a traction pad underneath the back foot. He also took inspiration from surfing when he designed snowboards by attaching two aluminum fins to the board’s rear lateral edges. These fins allowed snowboards to track across snow in the same way that skegs allow surfboards to track over water. Jake’s modifications made the boards more maneuverable and brought more aggressive turns and faster speeds within reach. The rider still held onto a rope that was attached to the nose (just like on the Snurfer), but these changes made it possible for the rider to go faster and reach higher speeds.