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Snurfer Patent (US 3378274) diagram

The Snurfer was the first marketed snowboard. It uses a noboard type of snowboard binding alternative. The Snurfer was created in 1965 by Sherman Poppen in Muskegon, Michigan. Poppen was outside his house one day sledding with his daughters, when his 11 year old was going down the hill, standing on her old sled. Poppen then ran inside his shop and bound two skis together. Poppen used a string and tied it to the nose of the board so the rider could have control of the board. Poppen's wife called it the Snurfer, and soon after creating the first one, Poppen's daughters' friends all wanted one. Sherman Poppen licensed the concept to Brunswick Corporation to manufacture the Snurfer. In later years, JEM Corporation in Marion, Virginia, licensed the product, manufacturing the boards into the 1980s. The Snurfer's retail price was $10–$30. Brunswick sold about a million Snurfers through 1966-1976.[citation needed]

The first "World Snurfing Classic", hosted in February 1968 at Blockhouse Hill in North Muskegon. Sponsored by Muskegon Community College, it was reported that event drew more than 300 local competitors. In later years the event, renamed the National Snurfing Championship, attracted Snurfers from all over America. The competitions spawned innovations and improvements. The 1979 National Snurfing Championship again hosted at Blockhouse Hill in January 1979 included Jake Burton Carpenter of Vermont, who showed up with a custom board that had a prototype binding to secure his feet to the deck. He was not allowed to compete in the Standard Division, but as sole entrant won the Open Division with a time of 26.35, for boards classified as modified. His innovation led to the establishment of Burton Snowboards.[citation needed] In the Standard Division, Ken Kampenga claimed 1st prize of $500 with a combined time of 24.71, John Asmussen was a close second place with a time of 25.02 and 3rd place was given to Jim Trim with 25.41. This was the first snowboarding (snurfing) competition in the world to award prize money.

In 1980, the event was moved due to a lack of snow in the area. Still sponsored by the college, in 1981 the event was officially moved from Muskegon to Pando Ski Area, near Rockford, MI due to growth and the need for improved access to the site by emergency vehicles. Growth in the sport was recognized in media coverage. "Besides the Snurfer, the most popular boards seemed to be the wider, wooden Burton Downhill Board and the yellow plastic Sims Board." Two local television stations, as well as a crew from the syndicated television show P.M Magazine were in attendance for the title runs.


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