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Meet Rodeo Bird. Image: Colin Hansel

Introducing Rodeo Bird. Image: Colin Hansel


The Inertia

This project originated with the will to find the factors that connect both surfing and snowboarding. We did so by extensively researching the past trends and technological developments of each of the respective sports. By taking inspiration from finless surfboards as well as explorations into flexible surf hulls, we found similar shape concepts that could potentially be applied on the wave and the mountain thus connecting both sports further than just a board under your feet.

Kevlar Innegra plain weave.

Kevlar and Innegra plain weave.

While talking to craftsmen working on ways to push both sports like Ryan Lovelace and Jeremy Jensen, we gained valuable insight into various board craft techniques. In regards to how we wish to approach snowboarding, we attempted to create a feeling that snowboarding originally set out to do which is to mimic the feeling of riding a wave on the mountain. With the increased popularity of technical snowboarding, there seemed to be a decrease of interest in binding-less boards.

This disinterest led to a decrease in development in that area of snowboarding. By combining the technology of today and the boards of the early days, a lot can be improved upon. Companies like Almond Manufacturing, Grassroots Powder Surfing, and Getemnstick are pushing the boundaries of shape in order to expand the limits of snowboarding into the area known as powder surfing. These manufacturers are using swallow tail shapes, surfboard-like rockers, and even the binding-less feel from the sport of surfing to snowboarding. Finless surfboards, we believe, offer much to be learned from in order to gain control in the powder on the mountains. By attempting to build on the knowledge that is already out there, we hope to do some new and innovative things with snowboards.

The development of flexible surfboards has been around for a while with names like George Greenough essentially jumpstarting the shortboard revolution. His theories and surfboards were way ahead of their time. The skill and specific wave needed to ride them made the demand almost non-existent. Stand up surfing has taken cues from these theories about flex and articulation but have not left a mark like that of the ’60s.

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New core materials like EPS give you the ability to control flex though restricting it in areas like a pivot. Flex panels are the same, although many manufacturers see these as more of an aesthetic than anything, the panel acts as a hinge and causes a cavitation as you make a turn which causes the board to slow you down.

Carbon and Innegra twill weave.

Carbon and Innegra twill weave.

Creating a board that goes back to the flex revolution and thinking of introducing a new composite technology as well as core material, we were really looking to start a conversation which is, “does surfing need to be a balance between speed and control,” as well as, “why do boards need to remain static in their construction?” Shapers like Ryan Lovelace have returned to this conversation, creating boards that feel and interact with a wave that is different than that of current performance shortboarding.

This project, while still in its infancy, has attracted some names like Resin Research, Innegra Technologies and Shape 3D that are really supporting us throughout the entire process. Throughout our materials testing, we are looking to find a link between materials and processes that will benefit the boards in a new way. With various structural patterns as well as materials, we are confident that this round of testing will create something that will positively impact the surf and snowboard community.

The brands roots lie within our senior thesis project at Philadelphia University as a requirement to complete our Industrial Design degree and we are looking forward to completing this as well as create a young business post-graduation. The company “Rodeo Bird” focuses on the interaction of rider and board and will ultimately bring a unique look to both sports.

The other half of the dynamic duo–Morgan Gaumann.

The other half of Rodeo Bird–Morgan Gaumann.

Meet Colin’s partner in Rodeo Bird, Morgan Gaumann. Morgan is a Philadelphia suburbanite born and raised. From Havertown originally, he has since moved into the city to study at Philadelphia University to get his degree in Industrial Design. Morgan knew he wanted to work with his hands ever since he was a kid making car models and tearing apart RC cars to see what makes them tick. Snowboarding has been a part of life for as long as he can remember. Being so close to the Poconos makes it easy to get up there when there’s actually some snow. He has tried his hand at most board sports and when he had the chance to tie both of these together for his senior thesis, he jumped at the opportunity. Making boards is something he has always been interested in being involved with.

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