Daniel Furberg: The Innovation Interview

Daniel Furberg, Founder of Furberg Snowboards shares his thought and insights on innovation, technology and the snowboard industry.

Daniel has been ranked among the 10 best freeride snowboarders in the world and has been frequently published in freeride magazines. By training Daniel is an engineer, so developing the best freeride snowboards on the planet is a job that suits him quite perfectly.

How do you define innovation, and what does it mean to you?

Well, there are a lot of people who come up with great and innovative ideas. But most often it stops with a great idea. So I would say that innovation is to think outside of the box and to actually take action.

What industry needs to embrace innovation and take more risks?

The snowboard industry is the least innovative industry that I know of – which is great for us. Apart from the last few years’ crazy rocker profiles, with way too short curve radius, the snowboards have had the same shape for decades.

What is the best piece of advice that you have received?

Follow your passion and don’t think too much of what the people around you are expecting.

What is your greatest achievement and why?

I am quite proud of having revolutionized the shape of freeride snowboards, even though most of the ideas were stolen from the ski industry. It took the ski industry 15 years to copy the sidecut from the snowboards. At least it did not take me that long to figure out that the shape of modern freeride skis would be superior for snowboards as well.

Newspapers and Books: Digital or Physical?

Digital newspapers and physical books.

How has your background as an engineer impacted your thinking when it comes to designing snowboards?

I think it is a great background for the understanding of how forces act on a snowboard and thereby how the snowboards should be shaped and built up.

Microsoft’s Kinect could provide the possibility to track individuals movements/reactions in simulated snowboard runs to get a better understanding of snowboarders habits. Have you thought about experimenting with a Kinect sensor to enhance Furberg Snowboards?

I do not see the need for this. To become a good snowboarder you need to ride a lot. Or as Ingemar Stenmark put it after winning a ski race with a small margin – “I don’t know anything about luck, only that the more I train the luckier I get”.

What makes the reverse sidecut design unique compared to traditional snowboards?

The combination of rocker and reverse sidecut creates a long, smooth and undefined transition from effective edge to the nose and tail. Thereby the force gets distributed over a longer section of the edge and you don’t get the hooky characteristic of a “normal” snowboard. Another effect of the long transitions is that the board will impact irregularities in the snow with lower angle and thereby there will be less force hitting the board out of direction.

What are the benefits and competitive advantages that Furberg Snowboards will gain with the relocation of the product development department to Sogndal, Norway? Could we see a year-round Snowboard Innovation Lab?

The location of Sogndal is unique with year-round possibilities for splitboarding and lift accessed riding, which is great for product testing. Stryn Summerski, two hours away from Sogndal, has the by far best lift accessed freeriding on the northern hemisphere during the summer.

We are also working on a cooperation with Endre Hals (the world’s most creditable freeride skibuilder), who has a ski factory in Oppdal just a few hours away from Sogndal. So we hope to start building prototypes at his factory next year. That would mean that we could go from idea to prototype testing in just two days.

How do you see the snowboard / winter sports industry evolving over the coming years?

I think that within a few years many snowboard brands will have copied the shape of our boards. So we will have to work hard to stay ahead of the big brands. There will probably be great improvements on the splitboard interface and hopefully we can lead this development as well.

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