Fat Cantab has been a huge supporter of snowboarding over the years. We watched in awe in the early days when Jake Burton invented snow and Tom Sims glaciated Mt Kilimanjaro. It is a fact, usually unacknowledged by the snowboarding mainstream, that many of the pivotal moments in the sport were aided and abetted by Fat Cantab staffers. After a particularly long lunch contributing editor Reg Asquith named two early snowboard tricks; ‘roast beef’ and ‘chicken salad’. We’ve been there for the highs and the lows, offering a shoulder to cry on when sought, and a staunch paternal hand when required.
Despite this multisport love-in, Fat Cantab has always maintained that snowboarding is a piss-poor way of moving about in the mountains. Long traverses, short inclines and any kind of flat spot leave our knuckle-dragging compatriots floundering like a hapless evolutionary offshoot on the Tree of Life. Even those snowboarders in possession of a fully functional set of bindings struggle when presented with such unusual mountain terrain features as an uphill bit. Removing the bindings renders what was barely plausible simply impractical. This hasn’t stopped a paradigm-busting explosion in the popularity of no-boarding as frustrated modern riders seek to capture the lost ‘soul’ of snowboarding.
Like the Pre-Raphaelites and Gothic-revivalists before them are no-boarders enlightened folk harkening back to a superior time in the distant past, or just a bunch of wankers who can’t hack the pace of modern life? In a first for Fat Cantab we actually did some journalism stuff, rather than just post a sprawling opinion piece, and went to find out.
Unless you have been living under a rock, in a cave on a desert island you will have followed the no-boarding craze with wonder. The sport stands in noble contrast to our otherwise pathetic and unfulfilled lives. Currently the fastest growing sport in the world, no-boarding is an adrenaline-fuelled cultural mega-phenomenon. Bindings are replaced with a studded, plastic mat. A rope is used to hold the ‘no-board’ to the soles of your boots; thus serving exactly the same purpose as traditional bindings but in a much more ineffective fashion. Truly pro-level no-boarders take the next logical step and dispense with the board altogether. These ninja-like super athletes form the bulk of the pictorial accompaniment to this article.
Expert ‘no-boarders’ are a sight to behold, mainly because of their rarity. Watching a bunch of novices, however, trying to make a short section of piste and instead launching directly to eyebrow is just the kind of entertainment Fat Cantab enjoys on the way up the chairlift.
Discovering the ‘soulful’ roots of snowboarding is a trend that Fat Cantab fully endorses. We love that shit. It was a simple time, with a cheap do-it-yourself ethos and a taste for rebellion against the harsh strictures of the Fascist ski industry. Although these outlaw values still bedrock the snowboard industry; it will now cost many thousands of dollars for a complete no-boarding setup.