Questions answered by Burton’s VP of Hardgoods Scott Barbieri
What are the biggest forces shaping the changes and developments you've made to your boards?
The biggest driver behind our board development are our riders. We continue to focus on the needs of our riders for 2014 – from professional riders to riders who go a few times a season. The common thread is shapes, materials, and technologies that truly impact the ride of the board.
One of our most significant changes to the line this year has been an increased focus on our Channel Technology. The Channel has revolutionized how our riders can achieve their stance. Setting up your stance isn't just about setting up some measurements, it's about finding the right stance for you. The Channel allows our riders to easily find their stance and quickly make adjustments until they find what is most comfortable. This is only possible with Channel Technology. New in 2014, you will now find Channel expanded throughout the adult line, including our popular Clash and Feather models, as well as into the youth line with the Protest. Inserts are becoming a thing of the past. Our Channel also increases the strength and durability of our boards so we are adding a three-year warranty on all boards with the new feature. The Channel is not just better, it is much stronger!
In addition to The Channel, a lot of energy this season has gone into designing new shapes with our team. This will be the second season for our Family Tree line, and we have an entirely new line-up of shapes designed with Terje, Masa, John Jackson, Jussi Oksanen, Kimmy Fasani and Mark Sollors that offer new ways of thinking about freeride shaping. Also, check out the new surf-inspired Fish shape found in our extended family of freeride boards.
As for the rest of our line, we continue to focus on building a line that dealers and riders can more easily navigate and understand. We cleaned up a lot of the shapes we no longer needed, evolved the shapes that we kept, and continued to trickle technologies and materials down in price. This is by far, the most exciting line to date.
To what degree are you emphasizing camber shape and core profiles in your lineup?
Core profiling is a key competency of Burton Snowboards that we are very proud of. For the last few seasons, we have introduced and expanded our patent-pending core profiling technology known as Squeeze Box and TrueFlex throughout the Men's and Women's line. Both provide increased flex underfoot with more pop from stiffer, more stable profiles outside of the feet. Therefore, no matter what camber line you are riding our boards have insane pop.
More recently, we introduced an asymmetrical version called Off-Axis Squeezebox that was on the award-winning Parkitect last season. In 2014, we will be expanding both Squeezebox and Off-Axis Squeezebox to additional models and lower price points.
With regard to bends, bend shapes have become an enormously important characteristic in board design as they have a huge effect on ride. As bend shapes have evolved over the last few seasons, we have focused on developing shapes that are directly aimed at providing certain ride characteristics. This allows us to create a clear and consistent alignment with who the board is for and how it will ride.
On our boards geared towards a softer, more playful ride, we have V-Rocker and Flat Top bend shapes. For the more precise and powerful rider, we have a traditional camber shape. And for the rider who wants a blend of camber precision and rocker forgiveness we offer our Flying-V hybrid shape. The goal is to keep our offering easy to understand while offering the right bend shapes for each board.
With regards to camber specifically, this continues to be a very important bend shape in our product offering, and one of our team's favorites. Unlike other brands, we never abandoned camber during the rocker craze, and are now seeing this bend regain momentum with riders looking for a more precise and lively ride. For 2014, you will continue to find camber throughout our product offering in nearly all pricepoints.
Are you cooking up any new materials or construction techniques?
We are always cooking up new materials and constructions. That is what we do, and every year our engineering gurus are working in the background to continuously improve our material matrices.
For 2014, we continue to focus on our glass matrix, particularly our new highlights glass that we introduced in 2013. For 2014, highlights will be expanding to new price points, significantly dropping the weight in some of our most iconic boards in the line like our Custom and Custom Restricted. For those boards with Highlights Hi-voltage like Custom X, Antler and the all new Cloudsplitter, we've sourced an improved and even lighter weight carbon matrix that creates a faster, more responsive board that is easier to maneuver.
As for construction techniques, we are excited to introduce an entirely new snowboard construction design called Filet 'O Flex. In this design, we are building some of the thinnest designs ever, with core profiles that are 40% thinner than traditional board constructions. Through this, we are able to break the rules with regards to the strength, durability and grip that you can get from a soft playful flexing board. In addition, integrated into each of these boards is 3mm of suspension under foot. The ride of these boards is simply amazing. You'll find this construction throughout the line on the new Family Tree Fishcuit, Hate, Social Restricted, and Protest.
What themes are you seeing for graphics?
Each model we produce has it's own graphic theme that relates to the positioning of that particular board series. Each board has a graphic that it owns, and the overall trend for 2014 is pushing the limits on production techniques and attention to detail in our graphics. When we develop a concept that will work, we are always looking for ways to improve graphically on future lines. We do a lot of graphic testing and are always trying to add depth and substance to each graphic through different printing techniques and by embracing the different layers of materials within the board itself. For example, in some cases we are embracing the natural materials and highlighting internal components within the board through strategically placed transparent areas within the graphic.
Each graphic has it's own unique development story behind it. For example, when we developed the Process graphic for 14, we really wanted to explore turning the two-dimensional surface of the snowboard into a three-dimensional world that lives under your feet.
On the women's side, the Feelgood graphic basically consists of a container of soap and water that was well lit and carefully photographed to capture as many different colors as possible.
For 2014, we have also had the pleasure of working on some exciting board collaborations including working with the Jimi Hendrix estate/Authentic Hendrix, LLC, as well as Salt-N-Pepa alongside Lifebeat, Music Fights HIV/AIDS to name a couple.