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Do Snowboard Graphics Matter?

By September 18, 2008

2006 Burton un...inc 156 snowboard
2006 Burton un...inc 156.
Photo by Chris Del Sole
Click on image for larger view

Do snowboard graphics matter? Like the wristbands that NFL players have taken to wearing above their elbows, the graphics on a snowboard serve no practical function.

Depending on one's perspective, a board's design may or may not reflect positively on its owner. But unless your name is Jake Burton or Shaun White, you don't have much control over the artwork gracing your snowboard, which begs the question: Do snowboard graphics matter?

As I point out in my piece, "Before You Buy a Snowboard," there are several demands a board must meet in order to be considered the right board for you...but you won't find graphics on that list. Sometimes a board is just right for you, making its appearance non-negotiable. I'm a perfect example of this. Last year, I walked into a friend's shop (The Alpine Haus in Wethersfield, Conn.) looking for a new pair of skis. They didn't have the skis I wanted, but they did have an '06 Burton un...inc 156, a board I had tried several times the previous season and loved. The graphic is...interesting, but the price was right. I bought the board.

As for that graphic? The nose of the board features a boar's head connected to what appears to be a human heart. Below that is a sci-fi looking woman, her upper torso nearly nude save for two "pasties" (think Janet Jackson & the Wardrobe Malfunction) attached to tentacles. The tail of the board features the names of eight women, which isn't strange except the names could all easily be construed as "stage names" for exotic dancers. I won't even get into the design on the board's base!

The graphics on my board never affected me, save for one thing: I never used the board when teaching kid's lessons. Oh, and I think I offended a guy on the chair when he overheard me telling someone I thought the names on the tail of the board were all stripper's names. Turns out his wife was also named Candi! My bad bro...my...bad.

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September 18, 2008 at 1:25 pm
(1) Sukhmandir Kaur says:

I voted YES, I know it doesn’t matter for performance, but I just couldn’t/wouldn’t buy an abominable hoochie mama looking snowboard no matter how well it performed. Give me Hawaiian flowers or even the abominable snow man.

September 18, 2008 at 3:02 pm
(2) Deb says:

I voted no as long as she’s covered…lol. As a former competitive waterskier, I know how important it is to choose the ski that’s right for you. I would try every trick ski available when it came time to buy a new one. Some felt like toys, some were uncontrollable, and some were the wrong size. Only one was a good match. I didn’t care what it looked like. I wanted to win on it. :-)

September 19, 2008 at 9:42 pm
(3) Alx says:

The board has to be for you. That’s all that matters.


September 20, 2008 at 10:49 pm
(4) Brandon says:

This question is why I started Facelift Concepts. The performance of the board is the important part and like you said there isn’t too much you can do about the graphics. Now you can with a Facelift. It allows you to change the graphics on any board easily for 1/10 the price of a new one. Don’t buy a new board for a new look or pass on a great board cuz it is ugly, check us out
http://www.faceliftconcepts.com. You can even create your own custom designed Facelift. Great topic and thanks for all the great articles.

September 23, 2008 at 11:42 am
(5) JJ says:

As a woman snowboarder, I would never own a board with some of these graphics and I have passed up a great board in the past because of the graphics (they were really creepy). I am quite tall, so I buy a men’s board for the sizing (women’s boards do not have the same style of graphic and I wish I could find a high quality longer and wider women’s board). I’m all for free speech, but like it or not, the *perception* is that the graphics are representative of you and/or your personality, so in some ways what you think about your own board is not the point, it’s what others see attached to your boots and how they interpret it. I also feel as though some of the more aggressive and suggestive graphics on boards feed into a perception (again, please note the word *perception*) that all snowboarders are immature, discourteous punks, which is definitely not the case. I am the last person to stereotype others, but you have to remember that most people engage in stereotyping. I am sure that graphics do help sell boards, and I love that art and the idea of self-expression is tied so closely to snowboarding, but this is one aspect of it that disappoints me a bit.

September 27, 2008 at 8:33 am
(6) Deb says:

Well stated, JJ. I would have to admit that a lot of graphics scream shallow to me. I wonder if boards with more classic art sell. I bet some really cool Picasso-like graphics would sell. Do they exist already?

September 30, 2008 at 7:54 pm
(7) Tim says:

I look at snowboard graphics the same way I look at tattoos — a lot of them are cool, but none of them are ones I’d want to have forever. Am I the only one whose mood and interests change so much that I can’t stick to a particular computer wallpaper for too long, let alone the artwork on a snowboard?

With that said, I do feel that you can learn a lot by someone’s graphics — just like you can their bookcase or songs on their iPod. We can’t help it — we all judge people in subtle ways on questions of personal taste.

October 3, 2008 at 11:55 pm
(8) mememe says:

so like yea the graphic really doesnt matter….realy, its kool to have a board that reflects your style-but the graphic gives off the personality of that board not the person….haahaaahaa like the board has its own unique character..

November 10, 2008 at 10:15 pm
(9) Meiling says:

graphics don’t matter unless you’re a prissy wh*re who’s on a snowboard because you want attention from guys, or you’re just there cause your boyfriend is.
Cool graphics are always nice, but unless you are mildly serious about the sport, graphics should come 2nd to the performance and type of board.

as far as the free speech crap people (men) are just abusing it to degrade women and satisfy their lustful desires. it’s bullcrap. let’s put naked men all over the place instead of women, they won’t be too happy about that. it’s a double standard. Putting naked women on snowboards does not make you cool, and any guy riding that crap is shallow and doesn’t respect women. Not saying that all women deserve respect, especially the ones taking off clothes for money. But women in general.

January 16, 2009 at 5:59 pm
(10) Aaron Bolerjack says:

I own a Burton elite 158 and the graphics are cool and the board is awesome. The graphics don’t really matter because you wont be looking at them while you’re riding but you still want something that you’ll like to look at but overall if you don’t like your graphics just sticker up your board.

February 10, 2009 at 7:32 pm
(11) Tim says:

Buy the board you where born ride and buy the graphics you love from me…just for you!

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