Powdersurfing Chronicles: Part 2 – The Wolle Nyvelt Project
Words: Josh Ruggles
Photos: Chris Owen
For several years Nyvelt has been getting us used to the idea of surfing and skating snow. In his video parts with Absinthe Films it has become commonplace for him to have at least a few shots of bindingless pow turns.
In the next dosage of Powdersurfing Chronicles we take a look at the legendary Austrian's latest project, Asmo. The powder surfers that everyone wants to get their hands on are soon enough going to be available to more than just homies, Nyvelt explains.
“We have been giving them out to close friends and people we respect… Right now though, we think we found a good balance on shapes and want to make some boards for people next season.”
In the winter of 2006, Nyvelt and long time friend Steve Green began shaping boards. An idea sparked from 70’s snowboard designs and the more recent Salomon Pow Skate and Burton Fish.
“We just wanted to catch that feeling of shaping our own boards and then riding them,” Nyvelt said.
Terje Haakonsen putting down a nice slash in Niseko, Japan | Photo: Owen | FULL GALLERY
Being arguably the closest snowboarding has ever come to surfing, the process in construction is also more surf inspired. No bindings, no clips — just shaped wood and padded tops make Nyvelt's designs a new way to get pitted. More similar to building a hull of a boat than a snowboard, many of the shapes are pintail or swallow to allow maximum control and front end float.
“Because you ride without bindings, the lines you draw are different and you have to plan your line down a mountain; much like riding a wave,” adds Nyvelt.
Depending upon the technicality of the shape, one board can take six to eight hours of pressing and shaping. And after roughly 40 shapes, Nyvelt and Green have 15 or so solid shapes capable of riding a wide range of conditions.
“The steeper it gets, the more control you want and the flatter it is, the more speed you want. It’s a balancing act depending where and what you want to ride,” said Nyvelt.
The potential for the niche industry is still unknown, but one could be sure that the snowboard community will be seeing more powder surfing in the years to come. When it comes down to it, in the minds of the riders like Nyvelt and Green, it’s just about making turns.
Nyvelt adds, “I always liked that quote from Steve Lis, were he said ‘We’re just gonna keep surfing and keep making boards and it doesn’t matter what the media or industry thinks because it wasn’t about them to begin with.’”
As snowboarding makes its way into every corner of the snow capable world, it is clear there will always be a demand for new and innovative products. While some fall to the wayside like those ridiculous jester snow hats, powder surfing has the potential to be something that sticks around.
“Snowboarding is getting older and our history is getting more and more interesting. All in all, people and the industry got way more open minded, I think. And if you look at some places in Japan, this could be something we see more around the globe,” explains Nyvelt.
Keep your eyes and ears open as Nyvelt and Green are currently gearing up their product lines and will be selling their boards this fall.
Vertical sequence: Terje Haakonsen in Niseko, Japan | Photo: Owen
Want more? Check out part one of the Powdersurfing Chronicles with Grassroots Powdersurfing.