Snowboarding Was Almost Called 'Snurfing'
The man who first patented a "surf-type snow ski" ultimately lost the battle to name the sport.
Poppen had two daughters, and on this Christmas Day, they were antsy and wanted to play outside. The way the story goes, as he told flakezine—" the world's only honest critique of advertising, marketing, and greed gone silly in the world of snowboarding"—in 1994, he decided to try an experiment. He took:
...two 36-inch skis that came in a bubble pack that came at the corner drug store. They had a little leather strap over the top of them that kids could slide their shoes into. Then I put 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.
So far as anyone locally knew, the only way you could snurf was on a 'Snurfer.'
That all changed late last week when an unassuming young man named Jake Burton Carpenter walked into the Jayhawk Room and asked to register for this year's National Snurfing Contest.
He would race, he said, riding a 'Burton Board'…
When he got started and Burton was calling his board Snurfboards, and mine was a Snurfer, and I didn't like that because he was taking my name away and I hired an attorney to tell him that, hey, that name is trademarked. Well, I wish I hadn't done it now, because that's when the sport became snowboarding. He couldn't use the word Snurfer or Snurf anywhere in his stuff so he called it the Burton Snowboard and that kicked off the whole sport.