Burton’s Love and Primo; a history of controversial snowboard graphics

While this isn’t standard fare for FrontLipped (we generally leave the feature articles to the big boys), with the amount of attention the controversy over Burton’s Love and Primo graphics has brought to this site and the mainstream media, it’s a topic we couldn’t leave alone.

If you need to get caught up on the issue, take a look on Transworld Business.

mfmsims1One of the older board graphics I personally can remember causing an uproar (and that caused many major magazines to run an ad featuring a female’s interpretation of what the graphic should look like) was one of Mark Frank Montoya’s pro models on Sims. The graphic received some negative feedback, but where were the protests, marches and news articles?

simsfader
First edition of the Sims Fader

Not to continually rag on Sims (personally I wish I had one of these boards), but it was around the same time that this company released a board in collaboration with Vivid Video. These boards featured photos of various Vivid contract girls including Jenna Jameson and Briana Banks. A special edition featured even more revealing photos. The collaboration continued for two years. I’d like to see someone who believes this line is more tame than Burton’s current Love.

flowinfinite07Last year’s Flow Infinite is another board that didn’t receive any press. I remember hearing that the Infinite’s graphic was inspired because the rider who designed it had a thing for strippers and partying. It’s a cartoon, but I’d say this (along with the reasoning for it) “objectifies” women just as much as Burton’s Love.

Peter Line's pro model on Forum
Peter Line’s pro model on Forum

Peter Line has become renowned, not only because he is one of the greatest snowboarders on the planet, but also because he has come up with some of the most memorable pro model graphics on record. The Division 23 rainbow board? The dick-nose pony? And how about this gem (I believe it was from the year MDP released Pulse). A board that shows children being made fun of because they’re amputees, mocks kids with prosthetic limbs, promotes arson and the abuse of amphibians. No parental upheaval in sight.

headjonolsson07And it’s not just snowboarding’s rebellious attitude (like some have said) that generates these graphics, some people just love looking at good-looking females. Head released a ski last season that I think is comparable to the Sims Fader. The newer edition of the ski uses the same graphical inspiration as this one (I just like this photo more). No protests to be heard of either year.

Burton's UnInc, is that a partially nude woman I see?
Burton’s UnInc. Is that a partially nude woman I see?

An argument I’ve seen repeated on many message boards that protest the Love and Primo is that parents are insulted by the fact that a company like Burton would produce something with such an offensive graphic. Wake up people, Burton has produced similar graphics before.

burtonuninc
UnInc. with self-mutilation imagery.

The UnInc. series has used strikingly similar graphics before, only a few years a go in fact. So why was there no uproar then? And doesn’t this make everyone who’s saying they were a proud supporter of Burton up until this year a hypocrite?

capitastairmasterx2008The final graphic I’m going to highlight is another board that’s in production this year. Each different size of Capita’s Stairmaster Extreme shows three different photos of a topless girl jumping on a bed. Capita is a small company compared to Burton, so I can see why Burton’s graphics have received more attention, but these are far more extreme in my opinion and no one seems to have heard of them, or seems to really care.

It’s obvious to me that snowboarding has grown to a point where it’s so popular that issues like this will continue to pop up, but the fact is that the people designing and building these boards could really care less. The double-edged sword of becoming a mainstream sport will continue to be ignored by the people in the industry who are true to the roots of the sport. And when the sword finally hits home? We may be in a place where the sport is better off, devoid of the “soccer moms” who line halfpipes around the continent and who push their children to be the next Shaun White.

My final opinion? Let’s leave snowboarding as it is, the simple act of riding down a mountain for the sheer fun of it. When any issue as serious as the objectification of women is brought in to the sport, it detracts from the soul of snowboarding itself. On the chairlift we should see each other as equals because we share the commonality of having a board under our feet, not as enemies because of the graphics on those boards.

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16 comments

  1. You should also check out Rome’s artifact board series. People need to get over this and move on. If this is the only thing you can find a problem with in this world, you must live under a rock.

  2. Lol,

    Get a life, Given that the word Boob is so. easy to spell and most children under the age of 12 have a ideal of how Goggle images works, I would say you have bigger problems.

    Get a life.

    Thx.

  3. Although the graphics are not anything I would allow my children to have the most important thing everyone needs to remember is freedom of expression!
    Has anyone considered the beautiful, graceful statues of Greece and Rome? How can one person dicide what is beatiful or appealing to another? Take a look at what the artists have to offer. If you do not like one graphic,don’t look at it. If we all would just worry about our own families and take care of “our” concerns life would be great. Turn you head next time something offends you. This from a child of God,a grandmother of many.

  4. Where to begin? I saw a LOVE board, wrapped 1/2way, in a store window in NH recently. Spent a little time researching and have only become aware of the longstanding series of offensive boards. I would have been in an uproar had I known before, but my 11 and 12 year olds have only been boarding for a few years and I always picked their boards. There is nothing wrong with a naked woman, or freedom of expression, but when large or small corporations begin use “freedom of expression” to bolster their profit at the expense of good taste it’s offensive!

    Why is my freedom to preserve my kids perception of women more than a sex object less important than their profit margin? And rebecca, “grandmother to many”…if your grandchild was a cutter you probably would find some of these boards offensive, too. You have to go to a museum or take a flight to see the beautiful statues. They aren’t leaning up against the lodge.

  5. Just to let everyone know. The 2008 Burton Love 155 with the Black girl on it is SUPER LIMITED!!!!! Burton is going to be putting out a press release in regards to it. Rumor has it is that there are only 16 board made (with a black girl on the top sheet) WORLD WIDE!!!!!!!

  6. “Why is my freedom to preserve my kids perception of women more than a sex object less important than their profit margin?”

    It’s not, just don’t take your kids to the slope, or let them watch tv, or go outside around billboards. Or better yet, address the subject and be proactive about the issue.

  7. wow. really? this is what you worry about? tend to your own morals and/or family. don’t mess with everyone elses. dont like it, dont buy it.

  8. “On the chairlift we should see each other as equals”

    The issue of objectification has not been ‘brought
    into the sport’. As you demonstrated it has always been there. Showing past graphics with questions as to why they didn’t raise a stink is beside the point. How can we be equals if there is a pervasive message that we’re not? Men can continue to see women in a unbalanced hyper-sexualized way without consequence? And we’re confused as to why there’s a giant rift between the sexes? “I don’t get girls, they’re all crazy”. “Men are all pigs, they just want sex”. If snowboarders want to be so ‘counter-culture’, then buck the mainstream thought that all this is OK. ‘Cause we all come out worse for it on the other end. . .

  9. I live in VT and it’s big news here. The real problem is the self-mutilation “Primo” line. It’s in really bad taste, no doubt.

  10. #1 thing we shouldn’t forget this is land of the freE n if therE was no market 4 it burton wouldnt be making them there are millions who fought n died 4 this country n our rights 2 express ourselves,freedoms, and opinions any way we choose without being so by banning these boards from mountains or being apart of group or individual that complains so much that a mountain has no choice but 2 ban them because of law suits u are spitting in the faces of the people who have died 4 this country’s rights i’m not saying yer not int idled 2 yer opinion as am i but i guess pretty much what im saying is STOP YER FUCKING CRYING U YUPPIE UPTIGHT CONSERVATIVES……IF U DON’T LIKE IT DON’T BUY IT STOP RUINING EVERYONE ELSE’S FUN!!!!!!

  11. #1 thing we shouldn’t forget this is land of the freE n if therE was no market 4 it burton wouldnt be making them there are millions who fought n died 4 this country n our rights 2 express ourselves,freedoms, and opinions any way we choose without being punished so by banning these boards from mountains or being apart of group or individual that complains so much that a mountain has no choice but 2 ban them because of law suits u are spitting in the faces of the people who have died 4 this country’s rights i’m not saying yer not int idled 2 yer opinion as am i but i guess pretty much what im saying is STOP YER FUCKING CRYING U YUPPIE UPTIGHT CONSERVATIVES……IF U DON’T LIKE IT DON’T BUY IT STOP RUINING EVERYONE ELSE’S FUN!!!!!!

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