Look, a lot of us have been there, disappointed in the longevity of our new whip. Before I get into this article I just want to clarify this isn’t about anyone in particular. It has been an odd year at my store and the kids are really putting a beating on their decks. I’m not upset with any of my kids or the brands. I love you little monsters with all my heart. A big shout out to our brands too because they have gone above and beyond; another reason to shop at a store with doors. That online retailor isn’t going to do shit for you.
So you broke your board and you want it warrantied. Why did it break? Was it made poorly? Is it the brand’s fault you’re a grown ass man on a 149cm gapping to flat? Is it their fault that these kids have gotten so good that folded boards are becoming more and more common? It’s not.
See the whole warranty thing from most brands covers the board if there was a mishap in its original construction. By “mishap” I mean the glue didn’t cure and there is a delamination or the edge is coming out RANDOMLY, or the die cut graphics on the base are falling out, and sometimes, even when the board snaps in a weird spot because the wood inside was sub par. I mean shit like that, a MANUFACTURING problem. A warranty covers something going wrong with the board because somewhere down the line there was a faulty build material or a mistake in the build. That’s what is covered. No more, no less. The tech and build processes that go into snowboards have got so precise that a true warranty is getting extremely rare. The companies say their board will last X (usually 1 or 2) amount of years from normal snowboarding. What normal snowboarding entails is riding the fucker down the hill and not touching anything but snow. I cannot stress this enough, your board being damaged from any contact with a solid object is not a warranty. That’s right, any damage from riding rails, hitting a rock, and landing tail or nose heavy on your deck is NOT A WARRANTY.
Now, this is a conundrum because all these brands make boards specifically geared toward the specific misuse of said board and violation of said warranty. You know what I am saying? You buy your deck and that sticker on the back shows how great it is on rails or jumps or in the backcountry. How does that work? Well, I will come back to that.
I ‘ve concluded that there are four types of reasons your board is broke.
Somewhere along the build process a shitty material or a fuck up in the build caused your deck to break in one way or another. This is legit; your shop will dial you in. I do mean shop. *side note, if you buy your gear online you don’t care about snowboarding. I don’t care if it’s cheaper. Any shop will price match. Don’t come to us when the boots you bought online don’t fit and you’re heading up north tomorrow. Actually we will help you because we love you but we will talk shit about you when you leave.
You’re abusing your deck and being a slap dick with your friends being all “I don’t give a fuck” and intentionally beating your shit up only to turn around and show your boys how gnarly you were and your deck is broke. When you do this you’re giving a bad image to a normally very well respected brand. You’re hurting their reputation all to massage your ego.
You are snowboarding above your level. What this means is you’re good. So good it’s time for you to step up to bigger shit. When I made the comment above about brands making decks that are specifically designed to void the warranty; this is where that comment has weight. Dan Brisse can go huge and his board takes what he dishes out and then over time it’s had too much and finally dies. Pro boards actually go quite a long ways. I’m talking a majority of the season if not more. Now why is that? They are doing this super heavy shit, but their boards don’t break. It’s because they’re doing it cleaner and have the science of things locked up. If you are mounting your rail tricks right and stomping your jumps the board can actually deal with the abuse. If you’re not quite there and you’re dinging your lip slides and not going fast enough gapping out to stuff it will break.
You’re a monster. You are Frank April and you are doing stuff so big that the board can’t handle it. Congrats, but if you are that good you need to keep in mind that pros get free snowboards and you don’t. Does that mean dial it back? Absolutely not, what that means is it’s a cost of doing business. You want to go hard on shit you’re gonna break boards and you need to understand that you will have to pony up some coin.
There is not a lot board brands can do to beef up their boards beyond what they’ve done already. If you want a fun park board with a softer flex it’s not gonna be bullet proof. You want a bulletproof deck? Buy a Never Summer and ride that 2×8 down the hill cursing the board all the way to the ATM machine. It is what it is. You can’t have your cake and eat it too.
The other thing is… don’t be a tough guy and “finish” your deck. If you have a legitimate odd ball break send the board back. Putting your foot in the crack and breaking it is just pretty much throwing you chance at a warranty right out the window. If you got a box in your Subaru full of freshies than by all means, but again you bring that in to a shop all decapitated and it’s over.
I can’t speak for other shops, but I can say the brands we carry go out of their way to make it right with the customer. Core shops have relationships with the reps and the brands and are usually able to do something for you. Shops like the ones I speak of carry boards from brands that are snowboarder owned and operated. They know what it’s like to be bummed on a deck and I promise they don’t want that for you. When you’re cursing whatever brand to your friends. Remember, you either ride a bulletproof plank that is the equivalent of riding a picnic table on it’s back down the hill or you ride that damn-nice very well built park deck. Also, I recommend stepping up from the four hundred dollar range; a lot of pro models have that extra tech in them that adds a few seasons to that life span. Or perhaps in your case it will get you through the season… ha ha! Come on guys give your local shop a break… whooo whah! Don’t judge me.