A new short film traces the evolution of “snurfing” — invented by the late Sherman Poppen in Muskegon in 1965 — to snowboarding.
Jake Burton Carpenter, the late founder of Burton, developed the first snowboard as a riff off of Poppen’s stand-up, sleigh-like novelty item and, as an avid snurfer, steered the concept and product toward mass production and legitimized the sport of snowboarding.
Zeerip’s film chronicles Burton’s revolutionary journey, from its Michigan origins through the creation of the now-iconic snowboarding brand.
During film production, Zeerip discovered a grocery bag full of undeveloped 8mm film from the early 1970s, a treasure-trove of unseen snowboard history showcasing the origins of snurfing alongside skateboarding and surfing in Michigan.
“It’s a real good sport,” a youthful Jake quips in the film. “I hope everyone gets into it because it’s pretty safe, it’s a lot of fun, there’s a lot of speed and you can definitely surf the snow.”
Zeerip said he was inspired to pay homage to Poppen and Burton and recognize the Michigan origins of snowboarding, “which has changed the landscape for counter-culture snow sports at its core.”
“Fifty-five years after Poppen took his daughters’ skis on Christmas day and created the first snurf board, we are watching riders over nine different disciplines of snowboarding, from big air to freestyle, all over the slopes, and in competitions all the way up to the Olympic Games,” Zeerip said.
Supported by New Holland — a brand known for attracting snow and snowboarding enthusiasts — as well as Burton snowboards, the film is a reverent nod to the brains behind the sport that has now inspired millions of riders around the world.
“Snowboarding season is anxiously awaited every year here in Michigan,” said Adam Dickerson, New Holland marketing brand manager. “It allows us the opportunities to challenge ourselves, to breathe in the fresh winter air and to enjoy the outdoors with friends during an otherwise isolating time of year.
“The snurfer first touched snow only 30 miles north of our brewery and we are thrilled to support the making of this film, celebrating the founders, the creativity and the ingenuity here in our part of the state.”
A virtual screening of Made in the Mitten will be held at 8 p.m. EST on Dec. 16. Viewers can join the screening via this Facebook event link, register for the viewing via this Demio link or watch the video anytime here.