The History of Freebording

Extreme Athletes Conquer Mother Nature With Technology!

Sometime in the mid 1990s when the X Games were just coming into their own and athletes were just starting to go “extreme,” a group of snowboarders and inventors got together under the direction of Steen Strand and created the unique sport of Freebording.  Essentially, Strand wanted to combine the grace and ease of lateral movement (or “sliding”) that snowboarding allows with the year-round fun of skateboarding.  He knew that if he could recreate the motion boarders loved on the slopes without the snow that he would have something spectacular.

Freebording Started In a Garage . . .

Evolution of Freebords

Strand teamed up with Bayard Winthrop and the two began manufacturing prototypes in Strand’s Garage.  The first usable Freebords were essentially standard long boards with a pair of caster wheels bolted to the bottom just behind the trucks.  These caster wheels simulate the gliding action that a snowboard’s base allows.  Eventually Strand extended the hangers on those trucks so that the wheels stuck out past the edges of the Freebord in order to simulate the grabbing action of a snowboard’s steel edge.

Freebords appealed to riders, especially in those in the underground skating/boarding scene in California (many of whom were featured in mid-90’ skate documentaries like Concrete Powder, Science Friction, and Never Winter) and flourished.

Technology Improves the Ride

However radical those first Freebords were, they weren’t exactly perfect.  The caster wheels had a tendency to vomit ball bearings, the boards themselves were long and ungainly, and they lacked any sort of binding—relying solely on skateboard grip tape.  Over the years, Freebording, the sport and the equipment itself, have undergone some fundamental changes.

On the technical side, the boards have shrunk to more manageable sizes and weights in addition to losing their kick tails.  The casters have undergone numerous redesigns, ending with a piece of machined hardware that keeps its ball bearings snug and tight.  In addition, the trucks’ base plates have been significantly widened for stability and strength.  Also, the composites used in the construction of the Freebord wheels have changed, allowing for greater variations in hardness which widens the styles of Freebording that riders can enjoy.

S2 Bindings

However, the most noticeable addition to the Freebord’s original design is the adjustable S2 binding system which allows the Freebord rider a much great level of control and stability in any situation.  The bindings weren’t actually one of Strand’s design elements.  They were invented out of necessity by a California rider who lost a foot to cancer.  The rider (whose name is Tim) rigged his own binding to keep his artificial limb from sliding off his Freebord, and when Strand heard about this homemade rig he incorporated the bindings into the final design.

Where Can You Get a Freebord?

If you’d like to get your hands on a Freebord and get in the game, visit the shop at Black Diamond Sports. They carry every model of Freebord, every wheel and truck variation, and even have even kits so you can customize your Freebord for your style of riding.  Get on today and get on your Freebord tomorrow.

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