Riding with the Snurfer

17 Jun, 2009

Every snowboarder should know the name of Sherman Poppen, thanks to him we can call ourselves snowboarders. It was before the time of Burton when Poppen built the snurfer for his daughter that would start the creation and evolution of the snowboard that we love today. Soon the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC will have a display with 3 of the original snurfers for everyone to see.

I was told on twitter about a video that shows the earliest snurfer riding from 1968 to 1978 filmed in Utah and Wyoming on super 8mm film.  Looking at the snurfing, they make it look so easy and beautiful especially in the light fluffy deep powder they are enjoying. Thanks to RickHacket on twitter for showing me this gem of a video.

Sherman Poppen now lives in Steamboat Springs where I currently reside and it’s a cool feeling to live in a town with people who have had such an impact on a sport I love and when I enjoy a powder day it’s because of them.

About the author


From the beginning of time, I was Shannon. From the beginning of snowboarding, I was Shay. From the beginning of online communities, I was Shayboarder. In the end, I’m the writer, photographer, editor, publisher, guru of sorts, product tester, curvy girl, and most importantly the snowboarder behind it all. Follow me on this journey through snowboarding, mountain biking, traveling and fun experiences!

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  1. June 17, 2009

    This looks like a hoax…. I don’t believe this is actually from the 1963-78. Shayboarder can you look into the validity of the vid?

  2. leigh
    June 17, 2009

    Wow- they look so graceful!

  3. June 17, 2009

    Travel, I am checking on that as well.

    They do look really graceful and make it look so easy.

  4. June 17, 2009

    Yeah, for a minute I had that same thought about the validity. But the video is so rad, and I fully believe that there are millions of feet of sweet Super 8mm film sitting in closets and basements and garages around the world just waiting for someone to convert to video and post online. So I hope it’s real.

    Either way, it’s real Snurfing. And if it is a hoax, it’s a well-done hoax. Also, the video says it’s from 1968-1973, not 1963.

    I really enjoyed the non-marketing aspect of it. Not a corporate name to be found. So refreshing.

  5. June 17, 2009

    rad footie! snurfing is awesome. Shred Betties (shredbetties.com) posted an article on it a couple years back. i’ve got 3 snurfers hanging on my wall right in front of me and 3 in the basement, just waiting for the first day of freshies this winter. check out tag sales this summer—best place to find them! Our traction wax is perfect if the grip is worn.

  6. dan
    June 18, 2009

    This is real, It would be rad to know who these guys are, where they are now, what they do , interview them, there thoughts on snowboarding today, etc etc, I mean really these guys are the true pioneers

  7. June 18, 2009

    Sorry yeah it’s 1968 to 1973. I agree with Rick, imagine all the old films that are finally making their way online. It’s real snurfing and I doubt they would lie about the years but still researching into it. It would be sweet to find more about them.

    I watched it with a co-worker who told me that red is a color that smears and in the film you see some of the red jacket footage where it is smeared around the edges but you can also make films look old. I think for the snurfing footage, it’s fun to watch.

  8. fluffytufts
    June 19, 2009

    Snurfer was not an invention. Two years ago Jeremy Jones of Quiksilver team went to the Black Sea coast of Turkey for heli-riding. The people of the region had been riding some kind of primitive boards for more then 100 years. Google or search Youtube for “lazboard”.

  9. Jake Sorensen
    June 22, 2009

    There have been people questioning the validity of this video. I can assure you that it is valid. I am the video’s editor and son of Howard Sorensen, (The man in the bowler hat). My dad and his friend were helping to market them by shooting promo videos.


  10. Brian Tai
    June 22, 2009

    haha that’s sweet!

  11. Gags
    June 22, 2009

    This is real enough to make me salivate about powder turns now….what a rad video! Better than the packed down golf course anytime…..1968 or 2009!

  12. Travis
    July 03, 2009

    i totally bought a snufer from some lawn sale for 5 dollars the guy did not even know what it was but i did. its pretty sweet and in really goood condition.