Snowboarding is about freedom and expression. But as with any sport that's as varied and diverse, there's always another angle. This is the rift from which snow surfing emerges.
Ever since Sherman Poppen invented the "snurfer" back in the sixties, snowboarding has grown to become a global phenomenon. Posters of pros like Shaun White adorn bedroom walls around the world whilst top brands like Oakley and Electric use high-tech science to improve the standard of visual equipment.
Yet, there are some who feel like something has been wrongly added: bindings. Enter the snow surf community. These mountain-conquerors believe that they're taking snowboarding back to its roots. Powder surfers believe that their way is more similar to the "surfing the snow" principal that first spawned snowboarding.
The sport is growing in a popularity as more and more hardened snowboarders are ditching their bindings. However, powder surfing isn't the only sport to offer the experience of riding without being locked-in.
Noboarding burst onto the scene back in 1998, and varies greatly from powder surfing. Riders use ropes to loosely secure themselves to their board. The sport offers the feel of contemporary snowboarding without bindings. Noboards are also very similar to regular snowboards.
Snow skating is believed by many to be older than Noboarding, and as the name suggests, it's more closely aligned with skateboarding. This is arguably the most mainstream of the snowboarding hybrid sports, and top pros regularly pull on their high-tech goggles and hit up big contests such as the Annual Ralston Cup.
Of this trio of alternative ways to shred, snow surfing offers a different vibe. Rather than taking a regular board and stripping the bindings off, the shape of the powder surf board is created from the start to resist strapping in. A rider's movement is controlled by the physics that govern how our planet works. This makes carving more challenging as every slight move can throw you off balance.
Powder surfing arguably freer that Noboarding due riders being completely detached from the board. Although powder surfing and snow skating are more closely related, the riding style and the way the board behaves allows for different tricks and turns.
Strapping in and pulling down your Oakley's before riding off into the distance brings with it a rush of adrenaline that's hard to match. However, giving snow surfing a go will alter your perspective on snowboarding and remind you why you take to the peaks each season.
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