Mervin Manufacturing co-founder Mike Olson has been weird sciencing the snowboard world for nearly three decades. Some would argue (us included) that Olson (along with partner Peter Saari and Steven Cobb) responsible for more design advancements in snowboard and ski technology than any other living person. Beginning with the carving snowboard, parabolic sidecut, and cap construction, and continuing on with reverse camber, and augmented snowboard edge shapes, Olson has been going against conventional wisdom for his entire career. For the past two years Olson has been working exclusively on a new project involving what he calls “waterboards” or what the rest of us call surfboards.
We’ve been hearing about these new surfboards for a while but we’d never seen any, most likely because he’s purposefully been keeping them out of the line-ups of Southern California breaks. Then during the Agenda Show in Long Beach we got into a late-night elevator at the Hyatt and ran into a crew from Mervin Manufacturing. They had four of the new surfboards and were taking them up to their room. We were so blown away by the boards and so interested in feeling, squeezing, and holding them that we forgot to even take a picture. We didn’t know it at the time, but in typical Mervin Manufacturing strategy Mike decided to present the surfboards to the world at the Snowsports Industries of America Show in Denver, Colorado last week where very few of the attendees would even know enough about surfing to be impressed.
We couldn’t believe what we were seeing, it’s game-changing. As much as we can say from only holding them, the boards live up to the hype. They are light, well-shaped, and (after seeing four knocked to the floor) unbelievable durable. We had some questions, and luckily Mike Olson was there to answer them in excruciating detail.
Halfway through our interview PR maven Lora Bodmer cut in to make sure Olson wasn’t giving away any trade secrets, but other than that we got 28 minutes of the straight scoop.