Snow surfers

Today’s snowboards have metal edges and bindings, and require specialized boots. Predating the snowboard, however, were a variety of surfboard-like boards that have an attached rope for some element of control. The most famous of these was the Snurfer. A few companies still make versions of these boards.

Novak Snurfboards is based in Muskegon, Michigan, the home of the original Snurfer. Bob Novak, the company founder, built early snowboards for Jake Burton Carpenter. Novak boards are made of high-tech, clear plastic.

SnurferBoards, based in Manchester, Vermont, build replicas of some of the original Snurfers, plus modern variants. It holds the intellectual property to the original Snurfer lineup.

Grell Boards are made in Corralitos, California by Jeff Grell, who played a key role in creating the highback that is an essential part of every snowboard sold today.

Phnx boards, based in Maynard, Massachusetts, claims a simple bindings for the rear foot, plus a brake.

NoBoard, a British Columbia company, sells a kit that converts a standard snowboard into a binderless board for riding in powder.

Snowsnurfer is a new company that will soon be releasing its own version of a snow-snurfing board.

In addition to these companies, at least two snowboard companies have introduced snow-surfing boards. Burton is selling the Throwback Snowboard, while Jeremy Jones has the Jones Mountain Surfer.

Most of these boards–though not all–cost less than today’s standard snowboard, with the extra financial benefit of not requiring the addition of at least $200 for a set of bindings and pair of boots. Since they are designed for back yards, golf courses, and small sledding hills, they also don’t require lift tickets. Lacking edges (as a class) and bindings, they aren’t for use at lift-served resorts. But they can still be a lot of fun.

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