The Jake Burton Carpenter Interview | “I was a better businessman than Tom Sims, and he was a better snowboarder than I was.”
Pat Bridges interviewing the godfather of snowboarding – Jake Burton Carpenter. You know this is gonna be a good read. Burton snowboards gets unfairly – in my opinion – shit on from snowboarders since they are the biggest snowboard brand. Guess what though, they have done more for snowboarding than any other company, are STILL privately owned by a snowboarder, and aren’t owned by a ski company. Not many other brands that give back to the lifestyle can say that.
Burton started because Jake was a closet surfer, so he switched over from skiing to snurfing. The rest is history. Pat’s interview starts easy, the beginnings with Craig Kelly, putting edges and sidecut on snowboards, and so on, but quickly delves deep into the hard stuff. The rivalry and lawsuit with the deceased Tom Sims. Near death illnesses, testicular cancer, heart surgery, Miller Fisher Syndrome, illegal activities, the most important moment in snowboard history, Jake’s biggest fuck up, suicidal feelings, what riders visited him the most in the hospital (Mark McMorris and Danny Davis), his love for Vermont over Southern California, etc. Then they go into the Burton product itself and how Jake would be controlling even sitting in the hospital bed. How he deals with tragedies that happen to team riders like Craig Kelly and Kevin Pearce.
Here’s a couple choice quotes:
“I purely believe it was my idea to put highbacks on a binding.”
“God bless the dead, but without Tom Sims to compete with in every sense, and vice versa, snowboarding wouldn’t be where it is today.”
“Well, I get pissed off at Steve Jobs when I can’t move an iTunes song, like personally, and the poor guy is fucking dead.”
“I can’t even smoke weed anymore. It is tough when I see a nice bowl of Afghani hash because I loved that shit.”
“But being suicidal… There are a lot of people that live with being suicidal, but even that became completely normal. I never saw a way out. I never bought that I was going to get well.”
There is a lot of very insightful commentary about snowboarding in here. The only thing it’s missing is inside gossip about the great Greg Dacyshyn! The man everyone is pinning the downfall of Burton on.
“In the 40 years since Jake Burton Carpenter crafted his first namesake ride he has above all else been a champion of our sport and lifestyle. During his long tenure as one of snowboarding’s true patriarchs, Jake has courted praise and controversy, overcome professional and personal adversity and reaped the bottomless benefits of being a constant visionary. The following is a frank discussion with the man who has impacted the riding life more than any other.” -Pat Bridges