RIP Jake Burton

Today’s Sagas of Shred post is a bit more somber than the usual tongue-in-cheek commentary on Eighties surf advertising. But hopefully this post can be a modest tribute to one of the most influential people in the entire history of board sports. It’s the first post on the blog that doesn’t have to do with surfing, and for good reason: Jake Burton Carpenter was and remains an absolute legend. The Burton Snowboards ad you see here originally ran in the December 1988 issue of Surfer Magazine (Vol 29, No 12). The predecessor to the snowboard was actually named The Snurfer, in a nod to the sport’s surfing roots. Later on, Burton Snowboards would go on to purchase Channel Islands Surfboards.

I don’t snowboard myself, but I have long admired the Burton Snowboards brand. As a teenager I was simply a fan of the annual Burton catalog, which was always well-produced, even if you didn’t know the first thing about snowboarding (and they had great gear, too.) The older I got, though, the more I grew to appreciate Burton’s unique career path. He invented the brand in a barn in Vermont in 1977 and grew it into one of the most influential outdoors labels of all time. Later on, I was blown away when Burton, still serving as Burton CEO, made the decision to spend most of a year traveling the world with his family and snowboarding. If there’s a better example of someone making a career out of their passion, I have yet to see it.

Rest in Peace Jake Burton. Thanks for setting an example of how to live life without ever losing the stoke.

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