Finding surfboard shapers who’ve successfully made the transition to designing snowboards is rare. Sure, plenty of shapers love to ride snow. Who doesn’t? But …Lost’s Matt Biolos–it could be argued–is making it look kinda easy: he’s had the most core success in the surfing world, and has also found a real foothold in snowboarding with his Lib Tech partnership.
I met Matt years ago in his office on Calle des Los Molinos, the shaping district in north San Clemente, Calif. that has kicked out an insane amount of surfing craftsmanship from under the foam dust piles: Timmy Patterson, Jerry O’Keefe, and Terry Senate to name a few. But Biolos helped create an undeniably rebellious vibe in the district. He told me of the rowdy parties he used to host in the 1990’s at a house he rented there, at the height of surfing’s aerial revolution in which San Clemente was central. Biolos is as interesting a character as you’ll find. And he’s been snowboarding for nearly as long as he’s been surfing, he just doesn’t have to deal with the industry drama on the snow side like he does in surf.
“One of my favorite things about snowboarding is that I’m not in the business,” he told me, chuckling. “I can just put my goggles on and I’m just another middle-aged schmuck. But I love talking snow.”
Biolos and Mervin Manufacturing (Lib Tech) co-founder Pete Saari are longtime friends and had batted the collab idea around for years. And it finally happened in 2015 when Mervin produced a set of surfboards and snowboards for the iconic shaper.
The Lib Tech construction on the surf side is something Biolos says was needed to up the durability for two of his boards to help him compete in certain segments of the industry. And he’s stoked the boards are made in the company’s Seattle factory. “I’m totally happy with it,” he says. “It fits a niche of durable, semi-high performance boards and it helps me compete with the bulletproof market. The bitchin’ thing—and I don’t think Lib Tech gets enough credit for this—is that they’re all made in America and are far more eco-friendly than anything out there.”
Biolos did a powder board this year for snowboarder (and surfer) Jamie Lynn (the Mayhem Short Fat) that looks really fun for deep days and continues to work on designs in his San Clemente lab and in Mammoth, Calif., his second home where he basically lives part-time with his family. But it’s the …Lost Rocket, a directional, and versatile, pow crossover board, that has caught on in the community. “The Rocket is one of my all-time favorite snowboards,” says Jesse Burtner, a legendary filmmaker in the industry now with Lib Tech.
I’ve had the pleasure of riding the Rocket, too, and Burtner’s right. The thing is so fun for big pow slashes but isn’t too wide and girthy to cross over onto hardpack. “Its got real forgiving camber, “ says Biolos. “And people seem to love it. I studied some of the boardercross boards ridden in the Olympics and X Games. It’s basically like two big bike tires for rocker.”
It’s not a park board: more for riding and perfecting your turn. Something, thanks to his surfing background, Biolos is super in to (as is the rest of the snowboarding industry lately, it seems). Despite his pension for staying in the background, Biolos is well-versed in the snow industry and wants to continue to push designs that emphasize the turn, tinkering in his shop then flying up to Seattle to tweak his creations with the Lib Tech team. “Turning and carving,” says Biolos, “as you get older, you have to look for other ways to get your kicks.”