Take a step back in time with this historic footage of the earliest snowboarders. Filmed in 1939, the short, which just may be the world’s first snowboard film, was designed to market the Sno-Surf, a patented invention by Vern Wicklund and brothers Harvey and Gunnar Burgeson.
It shows the Sno-Surf, basically a standing sled, as it slides and glides its way down hills in the Midwest.
According to Gunnar's son, Don, the sport was called bunker-boarding at the time. It never really caught on, and despite having a patent, much of the Sno-Surf history was unknown until this footage popped up on YouTube. Before that Tom Sims was credited with the invention in the 1970s.
While it can still be argued that Sims created the modern snowboard, it is easy to see the parallels between the two downhill contraptions. For one, the Sno-Surf had metal blades on the bottom similar to the rails on the sides of snowboards for turning and control. Also, the early invention had a back foot strap to keep riders on the board, a strap that was later adopted on both the back and front foot for modern boards.
Whatever the verdict on who invented snowboarding, it is very clear after watching the footage that the Sno-Surf was on the right track, and it wouldn't be a surprise if history were rewritten thanks to some YouTube publicity.
For those interested in learning more about the Sno-Surf, explore this article, or go see a board for yourself at the Colorado Ski and Snowboard Museum in Vail, Colorado.
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