In January 2012, I was working everyday of the month. Snowboarding was only a mirage on the screen between those projects, meetings, phone calls and emails. I had a strong feeling that this "path to success" was not for me...
At the same moment, “The Art of Flight” - one of the best snow sport movies, truly inspired me and changed my whole vision about riding. It made me think of what will be the snowboards in the future...
Being so passionate, with curiosity and desire to progress, I wanted to build custom snowboards for me and my friends. I spent a long time researching manufacturing and composites.
One year later, I found the courage to design and build my first custom snowboard.
Together with friends, we rented a house and built a workshop in the garage.
Passion and hope were the main drives back then. The first baby was born right for the season opening day, on 6th of December, 2013.
Building the prototypes was like climbing a mountain. At the beginning you feel curious and excited, but also disappointed, when the way is wrong, at some point completely exhausted. Then you take a deep breath and look at the peak up there, finding more inspiration to reach your goal.
The goal was so high and most people around kept saying "Don`t waste your time, that`s impossible...". The whole prototyping was a really difficult, time consuming process. While experimenting with the latest materials, every next board was built with different geometry and a new profile.
Testing was the best part of the work. Ride. Redesign. Build and ride again. Serial production kicked off in 2016 with the 4 signature models:
Воевода [Voevoda], Самодива [Samodiva], Партизан [Partizan], Балканджи [BalkanG].
At that time, many were still skeptical about what I was doing. However, lots of people were really excited and willing to support.
The first batches were completely sold out and fortunately, those first boards still rip around.
2017 was a season to be remembered, because of the incredible amount of snow, all the crazy people involved and the new places discovered.
I met Travis Rice in London. He gave me excellent feedback on the Voevoda 162 and insights into the performance he would like from a board that could not get from mass production.
With the increased number of models and sizes, I had difficulties to plan the manufacturing process.
How to know what quantities of boards to make? What sizes? Which shapes and profiles?
Then I remembered my initial idea back in 2012 - to make snowboards for me and my friends.
I stopped assuming what kinds of boards will people eventually buy and started building every single board for the specific rider.
Most riders ordered the standard shapes, profiles and graphics, recommended as the best performing combinations.
Many others wanted something unique and unusual, snowboards designed by them for them.
But in fact, unusual does not always mean better nor efficient. As a result, the variety of all customized boards, made the whole manufacturing too complicated and way too far from being sustainable.
Nowadays, sustainability is not a fancy trend, but it`s vital for our planet. And I believe, the only way to achieve it, is with simplicity.
The truth is that just one snowboard, if it`s the right one for you, can do it all. Top to bottom. Any conditions. Anywhere. And if maintained well - Forever.
The last decade of full commitment to snowboarding taught me well to keep things quite simple.
I`m still excited about the snowboards of the future. So let me give you a simple advice:
Choose your snowboards wisely.
Take care of them.
Pass them on.
Let`s make snowboarding more sustainable.
Founder of Balkan Snowboards