Words: Jesse Loomis
Photos: Shem Roose
On the morning of February 20, far from any major mountains, but within sight of the beautiful blue Pacific, eight strangers stood around a tent in a parking lot getting acquainted. They were gathered there behind the Patagonia store in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, CA, bound by a common love of snowboarding and commitment to creativity. The PowderJet Speed of Sawdust class was a long time coming, and it was a loud one.
Patagonia had set up a large white tent over a corner of their back lot, should any inclement weather blow through. It proved to be unnecessary, though, as the California sun brought the temperature up to about 80 degrees, and there were no clouds in site. A nice break from the temps we’ve been experiencing back in New England.
Soon the jigsaws were buzzing, slowly revealing the shapes of eight different, yet related snowboard shapes, like cousins from a common family tree. Even more pointed, most of the wood making up the eight blanks actually came from the same single American Poplar tree. Steel edges were polished with the help of a belt sander, or cut through with a hacksaw to facilitate a particular nose or tail shape. P-Tex bases were trimmed and shaped, and the board shapes began to come more clearly into focus. Now it was clear to see that each board was a very particular vision held in the mind’s eye of each creator. Nose and tail shapes varied greatly, along with the reasons for picking said shapes.
On Sunday, when it was time for art to be applied to the boards, still more varied visions were carried out. Some had a plan they’d been formulating for weeks; others decided to wing it. The difference in all these finishes were striking and all completely unique. Just like a signature or a snowflake —or a person — no two were the same. The character of each builder shone through clearly.
At the end of the long, loud and dusty weekend, eight proud men cradled their creations, the clear coat still wet, for a group photo. Hugs, handshakes and high-fives went around, and phone numbers were exchanged in anticipation of shredding the boards together. What could be better?
The next stop on the Speed of Sawdust tour is Portland, OR on April 23-24.
Many thanks to everyone at Patagonia Cardiff, who were the greatest hosts ever imaginable. Thanks also to Nixon, Homeschool Outerwear, Nemo Equipment, GoPro and Kind Snacks for helping out on this project.
Want to make your own Powderjet? Get more info on the Speed of Sawdust tour at powderjets.com.
Check out the recap from the Brooklyn stop of the Speed of Sawdust tour here.