Where have all the (pro) models gone?

This snowboard changed my life.

If you’ve been around long enough, you’d recognize it as Jeremy Jones’s pro model from the year of True Life. I never owned this board, and (to be honest) I don’t even think I knew exactly what the graphic was at the time. The reason I remember it so well is because this was the board that our “local hero” was riding the year I started snowboarding. I couldn’t even tell you what his name was anymore, but I’ll never forget seeing someone with true style shredding this board.

I read an interview today on YoBeat where Snowboarder Magazine Editor Pat Bridges mentioned something that struck a chord with me. He was talking about how shitty it is that fewer and fewer brands are making pro models each season.

“This is what happens when someone out of touch is forced to sell snowboards. In turn that shop only buys products which can be moved by someone with the least snowboarding knowledge possible.” – Bridges

Forum is a perfect example of this. The year True Life came out, Forum made and marketed five pro model boards (Peter Line, Bjorn Leines, JP Walker, Devun Walsh and Jeremy Jones). Today, Pat Moore is the only rider on the Forum roster with his own model.

“Yet if 50% of the boards in stores today were pro models and the other 50% were mid level and entry level boards would less snowboards be sold? I doubt it.” – Bridges

To me the only brand that’s still giving credit where it’s due is Stepchild. These guys reward their team members, and I’d be willing to bet that it’s the only brand left that has actually been consistently adding pro models to it’s lineup since the brand was founded.

“Seriously. If pro models were all there was, people would still need to buy boards. How the ink hits the top sheet doesn’t effect the experience, but it does effect the culture and in turn how rich of a lifestyle experience we create.” – Bridges

What’s the result of this? “It’s the erosion of pro rider esteem,” says Bridges. If brands were still making pro models, the industry would have more iconic riders. Instead, we’re stuck in an age where riders are only remembered and talked about until the next shitty GoPro edit comes out online from some B-List crew. It’s a damn shame, but nothing’s gonna change until more kids start going in to shops and asking for these boards. If this starts to happen, then the shop buyers (and the brands themselves) will hopefully start to realize how much these boards mean to the industry and we’ll actually be able to do something to save this endangered species.


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