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Neon Daze and Winter Waves: Part One

Video: Justin Gunson

Words by Alex Hillinger, Director of Asymbol.co

This project began life in the summer of 2013, conceived by Mike Parillo, Corey Smith – founder of Spring Break Snowboards – and Asymbol. It’s story, however, begins decades earlier, in the 1980’s, with snowboarding pioneers like Chuck Barfoot and Tom Sims and Regis Roland, whose approach to snowboarding leaned heavily in the direction of surfing on snow.

It’s hard to remember, but snowboarding was at one time only a backcountry activity. Boards were shaped by hand using simple tools and plywood. Edges? Who needed edges in powder?

The dudes: Mike Prillo and Corey Smith. PHOTO: Ben Birk.

The invitation for Neon Daze & Winter Waves conveys it best:

Imagine that you’ve been teleported to a winter dreamland. You wake up not knowing where you are but its cold and there’s the soft sound of bluster in the morning. You walk out of your room, down a hallway where you see a sliding glass door that reveals snow and sun, look a little further and an amazing hike-able peak just behind your house.

You rush back in to find all the gear you need with the exception of a board. In the garage you find tools, a two foot by eight foot piece of plywood, epoxy resin and enough hardware to mount your bindings. What would you make? 

This invitation was sent to a list of riders, surfers and artists so legendary it’s impossible to calculate their collective impact on the sport. Together, they represent an unprecedented group of board riding heroes:

Travis Rice, Pat Moore, Kevin Pearce, Corey Smith, Bryan Iguchi, Jeremy Jones, Ian Walsh, Gerry Lopez, Nathan Fletcher, Mike Parillo, Todd Glaser, Matt French, Nick Russian, Carl Smith, Pete Saari, Adam Haynes, Billy Anderson and Willie McMillon.

*100% of Jeremy Jones’ board sale, along with a percentage of proceeds from all other Neon Daze & Winter Waves boards, will be donated to POW: Protect Our Winters

Special thanks to: Union Binding Co., CAPiTA, Poler and Baldface Lodge for making it happen!

Travis Rice and Corey Smith in Baldface. PHOTO: Scott Serfas

The ideas flowed almost immediately, ranging from swallow-tail pow shapes to shapes inspired by old-school skate decks. More than simply an artistic challenge, Neon Daze & Winter Waves also posed the challenge of designing a board that’s as fun to ride as it is to look at.

Each of the boards in this project was hand cut and shaped by Corey Smith and Mike Parillo in Corey’s backyard in Truckee, California. These raw boards were then transported to Los Angeles, where Mike Parillo spent hundreds of hours glassing, sanding and painting them by hand into the finished boards that comprise this remarkable collection. Each board is a one-off work of original art.

Along the way, a quiver of them were taken to Baldface Lodge outside Nelson, BC, to be test-ridden in epic early season powder by Mike, Corey, Travis Rice, Kevin Pearce and Jeff Pensiero.

Neon Daze & Winter Waves is an unabashed celebration of the roots of snowboarding, and the simple act of riding a hand-built board down a powder covered hill.

In the words of Mike Parillo:

“Lets strip our beautiful sport down to the absolute basics, celebrate purity and simplicity and how fun that can be.” 

In reducing a snowboard down to its most basic elements, form and function become one in the same. Nothing is more elemental than that.

Let the riding of Neon Daze & Winter Waves begin…

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