There’s a great kids book titled Everybody Poops. It’s a life lesson in knowing that inside everyone there’s a piece of shit and sometimes it comes out. I use this book often as an analogy towards snowboard manufacturing and that every brand at some point will make a pile of shit.
Having ridden thousands of snowboards in my lifetime from large manufacturers to small garage brands I can safely say I’ve strapped some turds to my feet from time to time. It happens and it comes with the territory. A small blem here, a mishap inside the manufacturing process on the third shift there, or perhaps a sample that wasn’t tweaked to the right specifications. This is just a fact of life, but we live in a time when snowboard manufacturing has come so far and the products are so good. It has become progressively harder to find a bad snowboard these days. You have to actively seek it out and even then it’s more than likely mediocre but not bad.
A few years ago I was introduced to a brand from Wisconsin called Prospect. They’re your standard run of the mill little brand that has nothing special that distinguishes them from others. I’ve kept my eye on them but by and large I just don’t give a fuck as their only thing is saying how they’re not made in China and have better quality. They don’t. Their products are about as far from Chinese quality as they are geographically. I would say these things aren’t even on the quality of a foam core Morrow made in Oregon in the early 90’s. It’s just that bad.
The first time I was given a board from their factory I looked right at it and knew something was wrong. Visually the top sheet didn’t look right and then it hit me, the front insert pack was off set to the right edge by one inch. A full 8 pack of inserts that didn’t line up with the back set. So I pointed it out to the owner of the company that had his boards manufactured there and he couldn’t believe it. He left me that day with 4 boards total, 2 were what you might say rideable and that’s taking generous liberty. Of the three that I hadn’t looked at one seemed to have been finished with a wood chipper. The base looked worse than the board we used for the How Not To… Stone Grind Your Board video.
A few weeks after that while riding Breckenridge I ran into a friend at the top of the terrain park and he asked to borrow a screw driver as his bindings were loose. He was on a new board from a new company called Militia Boards that was having their boards pressed at Prospect. After tightening them, his bindings still kept shifting and I told him that it looked like the inserts were full of epoxy, something that happens from time to time in the manufacturing process. This is what we thought it was, it wasn’t. The inserts were not anchored into the core properly and were spinning. He eventually came up short on a backside 540 and pulled his binding out inserts and all through the top sheet. He mentioned that of 10 boards made 8 of them had this same insert issue.
Another year goes by and yet another set of boards make their way to me and there’s all sorts of issues. Tip fill not lining up with sidewalls causing huge gaps, edge finishing that looks like it was done with a hand held angle grinder, and numerous blems. Meanwhile the company is making claims about being distinguished as a craftsmen in the art of making snowboards.
Earlier this spring while sitting down with former Wi-Me rider Mike Sears he shows me a photo from one of the Prospect made decks that he had just mounted up. The base had completely detached only after having ridden it less than an hour.
At this point one or two incidences like this would be a fluke, but there’s a pattern of shoddy craftsmanship. Two companies had serious issues and a small garage manufacturer that bought materials from them had issues as well. This is just the ones I know of, there’s probably more. Having seen various iterations of their decks over the last few years and how bad they are it’s time to just say fuck these guys and warn the snowboarding populace. These boards aren’t just built like shit, they are so bad they could kill you. LITERALLY KILL YOU! They are unsafe and aren’t even close to the quality or standard a entry level board made in a mass producing facility would have.
There’s other things that could be pointed out as to why this company sucks such as ripping names off from other brands, but at this point it seems who gives a fuck. People are buying their products and could be seriously injured or worse. Neil Henderson the owner and main board builder doesn’t even care. So consider this a consumer safety warning from the man that rides more boards than anyone else in the world.