Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Organic Snowboards

Organic Snowboards is an exciting snowboard brand coming out of Quebec Canada. At the forefront of the green movement, Organic’s snowboards are using the latest technologies, from non toxic inks to Hemp fibres and Bamboo sidewalls. Organic are leading the way in an eco-concious revolution, with big brands like Burton and K2 hot on their heels, it’s fresh to hear that Organic don’t care that their niche market is being attacked by the big boys, they’re all too happy to be influencing the market and ultimately reducing the impact of snowboarding on the planet. Europe's Snowboard-Review.com caught up with Organic’s general manager and Whistler local JP Boulais to find out a bit more about Organic and their dreams of a greener future.

So JP how did Organic Snowboards come about?

Organic has been through a lot of change over the last few years. At the beginning all we wanted was to keep it as a friendly environmentally conscious local brand, to have awesome customer service and gain feedback from every rider using Organic boards. A couple of years later we wanted to step up the game, build a good team and do the most eco friendly product on the market! The point is, to build a snowboard cost a whole bunch of money, so we had to make sure that every penny went to the right place! Over the last two years we’ve started to increase our income by making sure that we stick to our budget. A couple years ago the Organic snowboards project was a dream for us and a way forward to sensitize riders to pollution and global warming. If you want to ride, you need snow, snowboarders should at least make the first step to save snow. We thought the best way to make this first step happen was to sell a good product with the same manufacturing quality as the best snowboards on the market but with ecological materials.

How long has Organic snowboards been going for?

It’s been 5 years! The first few years were spent trying to develop a good product; testing eco-friendly materials, board shapes and creating the brand design and logo.

Where is Organic Snowboards HQ? And where do you manufacture the boards?

HQ is located in Quebec Canada in a small property just big enough to stack up boards and knuckle down to some work. However, for the last 2 years I’ve been working thousands of miles away in Whistler. It’s less distance for me to visit the factory where the boards are built in California USA, and also a great place to meet important and influential people in the snowboard industry.
We can understand why there’s a market for organic food and ‘green’ eco-friendly cars but is there really a market for eco-friendly snowboards and is the impact of snowboard manufacture that bad on the environment?

I think that ecological products shouldn’t be confined to cars, food and snowboards, every product from A to Z should be produced with the environment in mind. If we can change half of the materials we use for synergistic materials in every kind of product in the world, we will have a direct positive impact on the environment and a relative change in our present and future lifestyle. So, if all future boards were manufactured with eco production and materials that would have an amazing impact on the environment. We’ve done tons of research to find out what’s bad for the environment and what’s not, our findings were that more than ¾ of snowboards are made with toxic compounds and non recyclable materials. Of course we can’t compare a car to a snowboard, but it’s still the beginning of a good change for the snowboard industry.

When you started Organic snowboards was it just a niche in the market or is saving the planet something you’re really passionate about?

The environment is something I care for very deeply! For me Organic Snowboards is more than a snowboard company, it’s a mission that I need to accomplish. It’s also a great way to combine the sport I love and the job I want to do for the rest of my life.

Can Bamboo and Hemp ever really compete with or replace fibreglass, carbon fibre and ABS plastic?

Definitely, these materials are really strong and are great replacements for toxic materials. Of course there’s always room for improvement. Since Organics conception, every year we’ve tried to find new materials to improve quality and reduce our impact on the environment.

Do you see green manufacture as the future of the Snowboard industry?

For sure, if we didn’t believe there was a future we wouldn’t have spent all our money and energy on this project. The fact that global warming has a huge effect on the snow means that consumers have to stand up and be counted for. With similar prices to boards with standard construction I believe that people will be more and more attracted to boards with green construction.

Your boards look really dope this season; how much R&D went into developing the Teaspoon and Frolic and who did the amazing graphics?

Thanks! This year we had help from Teaspoon, a small clothing company from Quebec, Canada. Teaspoon made such a good job of the design and I am really stocked with it. With the Frolic we had help from Manou Pignatelli an artist from Europe and Olivier Boulais who gave a hand with the colour process. Then we ventured down to the factory for the sublimation process and made sure that all the topsheet colours and die-cut base turned-out right.

There are a lot of eco-friendly boards being released this season; what makes Organic boards and the Organic brand any different from the rest?

When we came-up with the idea to create organic snowboards a couple of years ago, our goal was to create a way forward to sell a product which was going to help to reduce the impact of snowboard manufacture on the environment. For us the company is 100% dedicated to the environment, as a result our full product range is made of eco friendly material, as much as is possible anyway. We’ve invited other companies jump on the bandwagon. If we’ve influenced and continue to influence other manufacturers I think that’s something we can be extremely proud of!

Where can we get hold of Organic boards?

You can get hold of our decks at the Organic snowboards website, Cabal board shop, solitude board shop, S3 board shop, evolution board shop, and we’ve got loads more stores in the pipeline!!!

Can us Euros get hold of Organic snowboards?

Yeah for sure, at the minute you can get hold of the boards from our website, eventually we’re hoping to get a distributor in Europe, but for now check out our website.

How do you see the next 5 years planning out for Organic?

I’d like to see Organic as a premium brand in shops. I see Organic with crazy new eco-technology too. Eventually I would like to give a certain percentage of the money we make from each board sold to environmental organization like Green Peace and other environmental fund raisers.

Lastly, we reckon you can tell a lot about a man by the fit of his pants, will you be steezing tight pants or loose fit this season?

I’m definitely an XXXXXL baggy pants man, I love to get big air time and I think it looks better in bigger pants.

Thanks JP, have a great season!

You can find out more about Organic Snowboards at http://www.organicsnowboards.com

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