Powdersurfing Chronicles: Part 1 – Grassroots Powdersurfing
Words: Josh Ruggles
In an industry that is blasting new technologies and marketing campaigns out at breakneck pace, some are taking a few steps back to remember why we are here — the simple love of making turns.
In the last few years a handful of innovators have brought the roots of snowboarding back out of the shadows and into the mainstream. Powder surfing is not just a way to snowboard anymore; it has become a niche industry within snowboarding and for some — the new way to get sideways.
Over the next few weeks we will be getting to know a few of the key producers and advocates of powder surfing, starting with Logan Utah’s Grassroots Powdersurfing.
Tucked away in the northern tip of Utah, a few long-time skateboarders and snowboarders have been designing and shaping boards to create their own version of getting sideways — without bindings.
After years of drafting and shaping in a small garage, the boards are now successfully making the long journey around the US and in to Europe, Japan and Canada.
For several years Grassroots was known as a core skateboard company, comprised of a group of friends. Its new focus is powder — more specifically, surfing and skating it. And what started as a pet project has now become the focus of co-owners, Jeremy Jensen and co-developer Craig Stevenson.
“I was stoked on the freedom and limitless progression of skateboarding, the style and feel of surfing and was obsessed with slashing powder, so I just combined my favorite things and started designing boards that would make this combination a reality,” said Jensen.
Staking claim to their share of the emerging niche market, Jensen, Stevenson and crew are constantly looking for ways to improve their product, while still keeping the environment in mind.
“All of our process is currently done by hand,” Jensen said. “We do our best to keep our carbon footprint at a minimum, so we use eco-friendly resins and we make an effort to use or recycle every bit of by-product from our process.”
Grassroots has never been about the hunt for money — more accurately, the hunt for good lines and good times. This mantra still holds true as they gear themselves toward the future of the brand and product Stevenson explained.
“It’s always been about the fun. It’s pretty rewarding to build your own board and shred some bowl. There’s something pretty rad about doing that and that’s what it’s always been about.”
Although there are no straps or gimmicks holding you to the board, the Powder surfers aren’t meant to hold back progression, but take it to new levels. With decades of skating and shredding experience, Grassroots have dialed their line to find the balance between freedom and power.
“What has been fun about snowboarding and skateboarding is progression. With powdersurfing, it’s a way to start the progression over again at square one,” Stevenson said.
These boards are not just for making turns in the deep — geared for the skateboarder and surfer in mind, these things let you bring out the tech side as well. Creating a unique surf-like feel that has as many possibilities as skateboarding and the carving capabilities of a powder board.
Jeremy Jensen's self portrait at sunrise with the Grassroots collection
“The boards are very agile, responsive and you have a surprisingly good amount of precision control. You can pop ollies, shuvits, kickflips, 180s — whatever your heart desires,” explains Jensen. “They make riding big or small terrain more challenging and fun. Every air feels bigger and every line seems steeper when you're not strapped in.”
With the snowboard industry shifting back toward the steep and deep type of riding, more companies are splitting boards down the middle and making alternative shaped boards to be better suited for deep snow. Jensen feels this trend will help get people thinking outside the typical snowboard designs and experience first hand the difference that powder-specific shaped boards make in the overall quality and feel of the ride.
“As snowboarding continues to mature there are more and more people who love it and want to seek out new challenges and feelings, so perhaps powsurfing is the next step for them,” Jensen said.
With six different stock shapes, Grassroots has a healthy first offering. And with the ability to customize boards, they can design and build a board for any rider’s specific needs — making these a killer addition to any quiver.
Get more info about Grassroots Powdersurfing at powsurf.com.
*Verticle photo: Jeremy Jensen | Photo by Drew Hadley