Most every surfer on the planet has at one time hit the mountain on a powder day and tried to recreate the same turns they make on a wave. There’s something about standing on a wall of water that’s incomparable. And while sinking into armpit-deep fluff and leaving massive rooster tails in your wake feels incredible, it’s just…different.
This, of course, might be the inspiration behind the pow surfing revolution. But still, it’s always been just…different. Put any type of board used in the snow next to a surfboard and the design differences are obvious. Where skis and snowboards are designed with two contact points, the bottom of a surfboard has rocker from the tail to the nose. The rails on surfboards are usually more than two inches thick, while the other two don’t have rails but edges. One activity you’re cutting through a static solid. The other, you’re planing over moving water. Physics won’t always let us make surf-like turns on snow. But still, we hope and we try.
“One of the things that aren’t being addressed is why the ‘pow surfing’ boards still essentially look like snowboards,” says Corran Addison of Soul Waterman. “Yes, they have wider drawn-out tips and back set stances, but they are essentially still based on camber and sidecut. Why don’t they look like a surfboard, and turn like a surfboard (rather than a snowboard)?”
Addison is a longtime designer who during the course of his career has built kayaks, surfboards, SUPs as well as things to ride on snow. He thinks he’s onto something with his newest creation, a “pow surfer” that actually does look like a surfboard. “There were some key design elements that had to be adapted,” he explains. “A split tail allows you to flex it like you’re burying the tail in a wave, and also acts a little like fins to help hold the line. Narrower than a surfboard (14.2″ at the waist), since flotation to paddle in isn’t required, we can get a more responsive feel despite being on a surface that doesn’t have the cohesive forces of water.”
So, will this thing turn like you’re coming off the top of a head high, right-hand point break? I have no actual idea. But I’m sure I’m not the only one (pow)mindsurfing it that way.