Origins of snowboard traced to Muskegon

MUSKEGON, Mich. (WZZM) – The evolution of the modern snowboard can be traced back to the “snurfer”.

In 1965, Sherm Poppen says he just wanted something fun for his young daughters to do on Christmas Break. So, on Christmas Day in 1965, he connected two small skis and “snurfed” down the dunes near Pere Marquette Park in Muskegon. He is now considered to be the “Father of Snowboarding.”

Poppen was a Muskegon businessman and with the encouragement of his 11-year old daughter, he convinced the Brunswick Company to take a chance and mass produce the “snurfer”. The company made some design changes and over the next decade sold 1 million “snurfers.”

The “snurfer” was big and so others jumped on and took Poppens’ invention to the next level. Eventually all popular designs evolved into the modern snowboard.

The Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C. has an exhibit dedicated to the “snurfer” including the very first one Poppen made for his girls. Some of the earliest Brunswick models sell for $50 to $250 on eBay.

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