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THE CORE

Team Snowboarding Brand

Tell us about the core of Ride Snowboards.

Jim: We think that there are three things in Ride Snowboards. No. 1 is the team. Since 1992, it’s always been a team driven brand. Started with Dale, and Russel, Jason Ford... Core of the brand is "Team Snowboarding". And then the second thing is that Ride is funny. We are willing to make a joke. Rough. Not serious. And specially didn’t take itself too seriously. Third thing is the product. The product has to be the best product available. And having real engineers who went to school and learned how to make good product. Our board engineer, Michael, he'll do an eight foot, twelve foot frontside air out of a half pipe. He is really good. Even Troy, the boots engineer, is into streets. Now he is rocking super tight pants.

Left: The Brand Director, Jim Linnberg. Right: Marketing Manager, Tanner McCarty. Photo: Yoshi Josef Toomuch

I got so mad and had a K2 t-shirt. And I took a black marker, and wrote "SUCKS".

So Jim, How did you get into snowboarding?

Jim: Maybe like in '95. The Thrasher magazine used to have in the back one page "Cold Snap." It was one page and had one picture of a snowboarder. And I remember I was a skateboarder and knew a little bit about snowboarding and I liked it. I flipped through and I saw that and like "Fuck, Snowboarding is so cool!!!" So I told my dad "I want a snowboard." And he was like "Are you crazy!?" because we lived in Iowa. Flat, not much snow. And he bought me a cheap snowboard from Walmart (laughs). That’s how I started.

How did you start your career in this industry?

Jim: When I graduated high school I said "I'm gonna snowboard. No matter what." So I ended up moving to Montana. And I had a K2 snowboard. Fat Bag, cause I got big feet. And I broke it. So I sent back to K2 warranty, and they were like "No." Wouldn't warrant. I got so mad that I had a K2 t-shirt. And I took a black marker and wrote "SUCKS". For one year, almost everyday I wore K2 snowboard sucks t-shirt. I was at a bar drinking and this guy came in and he's like "Dude, what the fucks up with the t-shirt?" So I told him about the story and he goes "...Well, I'm the rep." And I was like "Fuck you." And he's like "If I give you a snowboard, will you take the shirt off?” And I was like "Yup." So after that I worked for him. Since then, I became a K2 fan, again, and ended up with working for him. After a while, I started working for Ride Snowboards.

Tanner, how did you get into snowboarding?

Tanner: My whole family grew up skiing and I would just fan out on every person snowboarding. I didn't know any snowboarders, but I was just like "That guy is so much cooler than what I'm doing. I wanna do that." I got my first board in 2000. When I was ten years old. And I rode that and I was hooked from there on. Then just snowboarding became a huge part of everything. In college, I still wanted to snowboard and I started little magazine called East Snowboard Magazine. It was just...talk about everything happening on the east cost.

Who have you featured on your magazine?

Tanner: Mike Rav played a huge part and he was in one of our interviews. It's funny, we were just good friends. I’m like "Okay, now I'm gonna interview you." It never went over very well. You know we get too drunk or something and not available to finish it. Jonny O'Conner was like another one. I was younger. There were plenty of people who have been coming out of the east coast. One of those guys was Pat Moore. I grew up idolizing him. I was dressing like him; I would buy a Forum snowboard because of him. I ended up riding for the Forum rep at the time because I found who it was and I wanted to work for him. And then actually huge part is working at the snowboard shop Eastern Border.

You have worked at Eastern Boarder. And you move to Ride Snowboards after?

Tanner: I have gone through the whole... rep rider and staying at school, trying to do both. And then when I finish school I was looking for a job. And then I heard that Ride was hiring the new position as they changed their direction. So I applied to be a part of the new wave.

THE TEAM

Quality over quantity.

From contests and streets to big mountain riding. There are various kinds of snowboarders at Ride team. Tanner, the team manager at Ride Snowboards, says, “We do have variety of snowboarders. But we also share the same approach and mind in snowboarding.”

I think you guys have fresh and good riders on your team. How do you select team members?

Tanner: I think a point of view is a great place to start. It's like the quality over quantity. It's easier to say “Okay I want to be pro, I'm going to go film.” Every single thing I do I'm going to spend as much as possible. I'm going to go do as many contests as possible. But really I think what we all enjoy is someone who thinks about what snowboarding they want to do and what they can have the most fun at. And ultimately be good at it and follow through that way. All the team riders that we have right now kind of think that way. All of our team riders have the same idea in their mind. Because everything has been done already, you know? Snowboarding, there are so many people doing it, which is so sick. It's awesome that everyone's out there getting it, but in order to push it forward in a good direction you have to think about the quality and the little things. Little things matter.

Yeah, I hear it. It’s all about the detail, especially if they want full part on snowboard films.

Tanner: A lot of the changes and the new things came from looking at guys and the dudes who are thinking about where they want to go. And I think it shows in a lot of their video parts, a lot of the photos that they get. The stuff that Ride releases as a whole is a good representation of what we kind of want, what we believe and we think that the right customer would enjoy. Because that's what we want to do. We want to put out footage and put out photos that stoke people out to want to go snowboarding, want to ride the boards that these guys are riding.

So Jim, As a Brand Director, what do team riders mean to you?

Jim: Ultimately it all comes back to that passion, even the team. Tanner would come up and say “Ah this guy's sick, this is cool.” I'm like “Yeah, cool.” But I know I can trust what he says when he sees the right guy. But once you get into it, what you realize, or what I realize every time is like “This dude fucking loves snowboarding.” When you watch them it's real. Like you see it and you're like “Fuck!” You see Jake Blauvelt. You're like “Fuck, crazy!” You know? Like just a one single turn, it's a fucking crazy rail and you're like “Fuck!” Crazy, crazy. It's not just a rail or just a jump; it's the whole thing. There's like energy to snowboarding. It's the same as all of us in the room. Like all of us have seen it or we wouldn't be here. If we didn't feel that, we'd be selling stocks or washing machines or whatever, you know?

The short film condenses the perspective of the Ride Team: “Ride team Rewind”

BACK TO THE ROOTS

What we decided was “to do what we want to do.”

What’s the story behind that Ride Snowboards has become much more core brand than before?

Jim: When I became the director of the US sales team, probably it was the peak of Ride Snowboards. I had to take care of many indispensable works to keep Ride rolling, from team riders to board design. Ride had kind of come to this point where it just wasn't working at all anymore. Customers didn't want it. The core snowboarders that it was supposed to be for that Ride started for, were bored. We're just like, "Yeah, that's not good." We were on the edge of making the major decision. At that point it was me and Tanner and Tedore. Basically that was it, and some engineers too. We all worked together, we're like “What do we want?” What's cool for us? What do we like? So that was the start of it.

Did it affect graphics and designs?

Jim: Of course it did. We like simple designs. And we decided to use simple black and white, or dark colors that we like.

I think there were some changes on board line-ups too, like you guys have released all-mountain boards and free ride boards. What’s the story behind it?

Jim: It all started when we welcomed Jake Blauvelt on our team. His style was… At the time, everything was natural. He had spent all his time on building park jumps and hitting those. So he wanted to do something natural. I think that was the start of it, with the first Berzerker, that's kind of the resurgence. Then from the Berzerker came Alter Ego. And then from the Alter Ego... The Warpig and the Timeless.

Warpig and Timeless. They both have really good shape.

Jim: When Michael came to me with the Warpig idea I was like “What the fuck?” Like “No, I can't sell this. What is it?” I don't understand, you know? At the time that shit, it didn't exist. You're talking two or three years before the Warpig came out. So there was really nothing like it on the market. But I could see Michael's passion. I could see the passion for it and I was like “you know what dude? Fuck it, we'll sell some.” Let's do it, like let's make it.

That’s rad. And then, it became one of the popular models?

Jim: We never thought like, honestly I'm still shocked at how... One, I'm shocked at how it rides. I ride it and I'm like “Oh my God this thing's insane.” But on top of that, I'm shocked at how well it's been received. Where it comes from is a passion. It goes back to the start of it. The tapered directional shapes, the fun shapes, the art of the shape builds passion for like doing this different type of riding. Then it expanded and I think that's how passion works. Like if you see somebody with passion, you want that passion. Fuck, okay let's do it. And then it grows and it builds and it becomes something then everybody's into it.

Jake Blauvelt. He is the trigger of current free-ride boards from Ride Snowboards. He shows amazing style on natural terrains in this film.

It’s a tapered shape that will float on powder without sinking your tip. When you can’t be hyped on powder, you can still ride it without setback. It’s the ideal directional rocker board that you have never experienced. From powder to park, this magical board will promise you the awesome day, no matter where you ride.

THE PASSION

Just to go snowboarding.

What do you value when you decide the direction of the brand?

Tanner: Passion

Jim: I think we all have the same passion. Our team riders, engineers, Artists, sales team, we all do. So this is our first chance to meet team Japan. Right? Nono, Andy, Matsu and Mackie, It's a Japanese Ride team. And we can see it already with just spending one or two days with them is the same thing. Passion for snowboarding, they all love snowboarding. We are all the same species! We get to hang out with the same kind of people with same passion even in totally different culture where I have no idea what they say. I love this. I love how we're doing this as Ride. I think that's an important part of it.

Tanner: When you're riding, you can see it. Everyone is hyping off of each other. It's like the one thing that brings so many different people together.

Jim: It’s not like we can sell so much products. If there is no snow, we can’t sell shit. It’s a tough business. It’s all about passion for sure.

For Ride Snowboards, what will never change in the future?

Jim: We’re just gonna do what we want to do. We can get lost while we run our business and decide our direction. But in the end, it’s always best to do what we want to do.

Tanner: We don’t do it if we don’t want to. We could be on the beach, we could be rich, we could be anywhere but we’ve always sacrificed ourselves and that won't change. As long as we're all here, everyone at Ride right now and everyone in the industry too. Because we all sacrificed so much. We are cold, we are scared, we are wet, and we are broke. We do all these things that we don't have to be doing just to go snowboarding. Just to go snowboarding and that's fucking crazy. We're all crazy people, we’re not normal.

INFORMATION