Interview with Jake Burton, a pioneer of snowboarding "Snowboarding is my passion" <Part XNUMX>

Snowboarding, which was born as a play in the 1960s, has grown into a major entertainment industry.It became an Olympic event and became a sport that everyone is paying attention to.How does Jake Burton of BURTON Snowboard, a leading company, see the development?Last year, Jake, who suffered from a serious illness that was prepared to die, overcame it, and returned to the snowfield, talked about the future he is looking at.

Free Run (F): Have you been skiing this season yet?

Jake Burton (J): Yes, I went to Vermont and Whistler, Canada.My body is recovering little by little.I hope it can be demodulated over time without rushing.

F: It seems that it was an intractable disease called Fisher Syndrome.Moreover, I didn't know that I was suffering from such a disease after the BURTON US OPEN.What were you thinking in the hospital room?

J: To be honest, I was in such a terrible state that I even gave up.I even told the children, "I should die like this."You were completely deprived of your energy.However, one month after the onset, there were signs of recovery.I was surrounded by a great deal of love, including doctors and nurses.Thank you very much.

F: Have you returned to the office?

J: Well, I went to the office once in July. It's about 7 hours.If you have a meeting for 3 hours, you will be exhausted.Still, I'm getting better.

Recovery from a major illness that has been pushed to the limit physically and mentally.It is said that the physical strength is not enough yet, but it is steadily beginning to regain physical strength.

F: Personally, what are your expectations for this winter?

J: I want to snowboard.I want to slip as much as possible.I don't think I'll skate 1 days a year like I used to, but I want to get better, snowboard and enjoy my life.That is the fun of winter above all.

F: What about traveling?Do you want to go on a journey around the world again?

J: You talked about that with your wife, Donna.Last time, I visited South America including Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, Asia including Japan, Europe, and Africa with my family.It's also good to travel in the same way.Let's go around the world in the opposite direction this time (laughs).I wonder if Donna and I can make the footwork lighter.But it's fun to imagine such a future.As I was talking, I wanted to go on a trip again.

While supporting BURTON, he continues to work as a rider and continues his many snowboard trips.
While supporting BURTON, he continues to work as a rider and continues his many snowboard trips.

F: Take a surfboard and a snowboard and go camping or slowly go around the world.It's going to be a great private trip.On the other hand, as a public face, do you have any thoughts on your brand or snowboarding vision?

J: I want to say that I have a clear vision, but it may not be true.I used to think like this.However, it would be nice if snowboarding could replace skiing and children would play snowboarding on the back mountains and small hills as if they were sledding.Over time, the product evolved, the rider's skill level rose, and superstars such as Craig Kelly, Terje Håkonsen, and Kelly Clark appeared.To be honest, I never imagined that snowboarding would evolve so much.When Shaun White succeeded in double cork for the first time in the world, it was hard to tell what was going on (laughs).However, such evolution is not something that has been achieved suddenly, but the result of riders drawing and pursuing a vision.As long as the riders have passion, I think BURTON, who is close to them, will continue to evolve.

F: There is a considerable difference between the ideals you had when you started the brand and the reality you are facing.Nowadays, it can be said that it is an outdoor company, and it is showing its expansion power.

J: The important thing about BURTON's business development is that Donna and myself are the owners of this company.Shareholders are not owners and there are no capitalists.I'm not under the umbrella of a big company that makes anything else.We are the owner of this company and we are running everything.This is a very important factor for BURTON to continue to be a snowboard company.

F: You have all the decision-making power, right?

J: That's right.And it means that everything is decided from the snowboarder's point of view.We will also invest as much as possible in research and development to develop better and new products.Product and innovation are the two most important to us and are the driving force behind the snowboarding industry.

F: In the past and present, there have been small but good brands.What's the difference between them and BURTON?

J: Do you have a proper business perspective?This is very important. 2008 and 2009 were in recession.Especially in Europe, the unemployment rate under the age of 30 was 50%, which was an unbelievable situation.This also caused a great deal of damage to snowboarding.As a result, sales fell and some brands couldn't survive.It's a sad result.But now is because we were all about snowboarding.Snowboarding is our life itself, and it is our mission to continue evolving into the future.Even if the number of people who enjoy snowboarding is decreasing due to the economic recession and the crisis of existence is approaching, we are determined to live together.

F: What do you think is the reason why BURTON survived?

J: Business is not easy.That applies to any industry.But the snowboarding industry has never experienced a recession.It continued to grow as it went up.That's why it was hard.Some brands have disappeared.But these experiences make you stronger. Do you know the word "WEED OUT"?Translated literally, it means "remove weeds."Even if beautiful flowers are in bloom in your garden, the garden itself will not look beautiful if weeds grow at the same time.For a beautiful garden, the weeds must be "WEED OUT".In other words, the garden called Snowboardin was full of weeds, and I experienced a recession and was "WEED OUT".And when one seedling grows, the other seedlings grow more easily, creating a healthier garden.I think snowboarding is growing steadily now.


When he started the business, he didn't expect it to be such a big market.The brand has grown significantly by creating the best products (Jake Burton in the early days of BURTON).
When he started the business, he didn't expect it to be such a big market.The brand has grown significantly by creating the best products (Jake Burton in the early days of BURTON).

Continue to the second part (updated at 2016:3 on March 4, 17).

born April 29, 1954 in New York City

E_Jake Burton_Adamants_sInterview: Takashi Osanai, Translation: Kenji Kato, Photo: Kentaro Fuchimoto
Material provided by: BURTON