One the Most Expensive Boards Ever Sold: 1977 Burton Prototype
This story originally appeared in the October 2014 issue of TransWorld SNOWboarding and has been updated with the photo gallery above. Subscribe here.
Words: Scott Yorko
Shape: Directional with a rockered nose, waterski-inspired
Ideal Terrain: A 25-foot backyard hill in Vermont
In 1977, two years before the first Burton snowboards went into production, a high school dishwasher named Chris Einwaller was helping a bartender named Jake Burton stencil some graphics on a few marine-wood boards in the basement of Stratton's Birkenhaus Inn. As a thank-you for the labor, Einwaller got to keep one of these original prototypes for Jake's first snowboard design. It had a water ski toe piece on the front and a doormat on the tail, complete with a nose rope and a plastic handle. Fast forward 37 years to July 2014 and that piece of wood sold on ebay for $31,313.13, a deliberate nod to Burton's trademark 13.
"It was just hanging in the rafters of my laundry room," says Einwaller, "I had the thing long enough and was just gonna get rid of it, but did some researching to see if I could get a few hundred bucks for it."
The folks at Vintage Winter specialize in vintage ski decor and winter antiquities, so they knew this board was almost priceless and helped legitimize an ebay auction that drew some serious bids.
"I was gonna go big and I wasn't going to lose" says the winner, Adam Roe, CEO and founder of a retail marketing firm in Los Angeles. "It's a piece of history."
A few scratches line the bottom of the board from a couple of 25-foot hills Einwaller tried to ride it down and there's an aluminum fin drilled into the tail.
Sounds janky, but that's just what Roe likes about it. "The closer I can get to where it all started, the better."