By: Jake DesRoches
Teton Gravity Research
February 22, 2013
From building some of the first snowboards nearly thirty-five years ago, to ending production almost ten years ago, Chuck Barfoot has seen a lot. He’s been around long enough to know the difference between what makes a good board, what makes a mediocre board, and what makes a great board. In re-entering the world of snowboard manufacturing, one thing is certain, Chuck Barfoot is fully committed to crafting great boards.
Beginning in the 2013-14 season, we will once again have the opportunity to ride brand new Barfoot snowboards. The boards will be produced in small batches, not in lots of 10,000, to ensure quality. The boards will also be hand made right here in the USA, in the factory Chuck’s board-building partner, Ernie Delost, owns in San Diego, California.
The benefits of producing at a factory close to home are many, but I say it really comes down to just two, quality and control. Barfoot described it to me in terms of red tape; “We can be building that board and have a few people go, ‘You know what? We’d like to have the flex changed a little.’ And we are able to make that change within minutes, versus months and months of people freaking out. There’s a lot less red tape because it’s Ernie and I making decisions and we can make them on the spot.”
To many, this will come as a relief. A lot of riders (and skiers) out there are simply fed up with cheaply produced (but still expensive) boards and skis that are made in a factory several thousands of miles away, oftentimes in China. But those are big brands that pump out dozens of models of boards, and sell thousands of them worldwide. Luckily for us, that’s just not the Barfoot way.