The story of YES. Snowboards is an unlikely one. Like many in snowboarding, it is a story replete with challenges and successes, however extra importantly, it is the story of a brotherhood and the unbelievable motion they championed.
“I don’t suppose it began with YES. Trying again, I want it had been our 15-year anniversary, as a result of that’s the place it actually began for all of us–with UnInc.” JP Solberg tells me from his residence in Norway. David Provider-Porcheron, or DCP as he’s identified, Romain De Marchi, and JP Solberg had been on the forefront of snowboarding when the YES. story started. The seemingly unstoppable trio had come from totally different backgrounds, with totally different strengths, and totally different approaches–but additionally they all had been bonded by a shared imaginative and prescient, and maybe most significantly, a longtime supporting sponsor.
Compiled below the UnInc. moniker at Burton Snowboards–a label void of Burton logos and based on the notion of being unincorporated–the three had been given the instruments wanted for fulfillment and informed to run wild. “It was at all times about freedom of expression and freedom of selection” DCP tells me. In actuality, that they had all of it. Freedom to design shapes, graphics, travel–you title it, they usually had it–until they did not.
The yr was 2008. The financial system was tanking, and the long run was not sure, even for the industry giants. All three had been generally known as “lifers” at Burton, and every seen their future with the model as sure. However then it ended, in what was probably the most shocking group cuts to this point, the three discovered themselves on their very own.
What adopted was a quick interval of uncertainty laden with setbacks. Whereas future alternatives had been unclear, a collective want to assist one another continued. Romain, who had been speaking with the Rome Snowboards Staff Supervisor on the time, was decided to incorporate each JP and DCP in his subsequent chapter. DCP remembers, “How YES. happened actually is as a result of Romain choked out the Rome TM in a limo in San Diego.” With a Rome deal off the desk, Romain seemed to the following alternative.
“It was the start of one thing new. Henry Nidecker Jr., who was beginning to take over the Nidecker household enterprise, approached me and supplied me the possibility to start out making boards. JP and David could not discover any sponsors they liked–so I prompt we begin making our personal,” he remembers. So, the three set off on a mission to realize the impossible–to begin a snowboard firm in an financial system so harm that one of many largest manufacturers in snowboarding had been compelled to let three of its most outstanding riders go.
“In a technique, launching in 2009 was a fully idiotic transfer. Solely fools would have executed that. However on the identical time, the titans of the industry had mainly jammed a lot product down everyone’s throat, and pushed costs so low, that they had weakened themselves and it was the right time for an underdog to come back up and strike,” YES. Model Director, Alex Warburton, remembers of the time.
Whereas the logistics concerned in such an endeavor evaded all three, a steadfast ardour, coinciding motion, and the brotherhood that might quickly make all of it occur prevailed. Their title, which started as a defiant response to naysayers, quickly grew to become a succinct means to unfold their message. “In case you ask any particular person what ‘sure’ means to them, the underside line of it’s optimistic,” JP tells me. Romain continues, “YES. is a pure evolution of the UnInc. movement–being rebellious, creating your personal type, pursuing what you consider in and standing up for your self.” DCP confirms, “It is an extension of UnInc., the concept was merely that we’re unincorporated; we aren’t right here for the cash. Clearly we’re working a enterprise, however on the identical time, we’re not right here to take benefit and we’re not going to promote out. YES. has maintained an authenticity as a result of we’re actual. We’re snowboarders, and we’re working our snowboard model.”
It was right here, of their dedication to giving again to the group that had given them a lot, that they started manufacturing in 2009 with an uncommon enterprise mannequin. As an alternative of turning out a batch of boards yearly, they selected to launch a restricted batch of 100 each 4 months. Their reasoning was a easy one: create demand by a restricted launch, and permit riders within the Southern Hemisphere the chance to purchase a brand new board in the beginning of their season. They made them low cost, and offered them cheaper–even going as far as to color graphics under a transparent base on the primary launch of boards. “We didn’t have a finances; we didn’t have something. It was like ‘let’s simply get some paint and begin portray these boards and we’ll take it from there,'” JP remembers.
However that is to not say they did not try to create creative change. DCP remembers, “We even used a seven-ply maple sidewall at first, which was an innovation that got here from our inspiration in skateboarding.” Whereas their preliminary enterprise mannequin would quickly change, it was consultant of the group’s numerous board sport backgrounds, and their devotion to the motion that they had began.
Their success did not take lengthy. When requested when he knew they had been on to one thing, JP is fast to quote the primary order they obtained on the SIA tradeshow in Las Vegas, Nevada. “Jeremy Sladen from The Snowboard Asylum within the UK exhibits up and goes, ‘alright, the place do I put my order in?’ And we didn’t even have an order kind. He was like ‘I’ll take 300 of them.’ And I used to be like ‘What?'” Hastily, YES. was a model.
Two years down the street, it was time for YES.’ subsequent benchmark, hiring Alex Warburton as Model Director. Alex, who has a tenured profession in snowboarding, from his early days as certainly one of Canada’s first skilled riders, to his later years designing merchandise for Morrow, Discussion board, Rip Curl, and adidas–just to call a few–brought in depth expertise and manufacturing information to YES. “We needed to transfer factories, they had been in a fairly substandard manufacturing unit in Tunisia on the time. So, the disruptive transfer I did was shifting manufacturing to GST in Austria. If YES. was going to outlive, it wanted to provide higher high quality boards.” From there, it grew to become a strategy of “reshaping and redeveloping the road to suit the blokes’ story,” he tells me.
Now, ten years after the primary run of boards, YES. retains this incessant dedication to authenticity. “Final yr I used to be making an attempt to explain to a store in Japan that hardly understood English, what YES. was all about. I wrote this equation on the board, and the equation was ‘Historical past + Affect = YES.’ The historical past was the house owners’ historical past matched with my historical past. The graphic affect was in skate and snow, whereas the shaping affect has been primarily surf,” he tells me. Alex, who has a historical past in surf shaping in addition to snowboard shaping, has since propelled YES. from their early days making what he calls “sub-par snowboards,” to their present place as an industry-leading model.
Boards just like the 420 are a direct pull from Steve Lis’ authentic fish kneeboard, the place relocating quantity displacement permits for elevated float on a shorter board. This mind-set rapidly led to the 20/20, a twin method utilizing complicated backside contours to assist create carry and float. For Alex, this development of shapes was inevitable and comes from each surf and snowboarding earliest days of design.
When reflecting on how far the model has come within the final ten years, Alex tells me “I’ve labored for larger corporations that sit round and have these discussions about ‘How we may be genuine and the way we will persuade individuals we’re genuine’. What’s rad about YES., is that we by no means should have these conversations.” He continues, “There’s a degree of confidence we reached with our mixed expertise, the place we don’t actually need to have a look at anybody else’s catalogs or merchandise. We’re assured that if we observe our personal inspirations and go down our personal path, it is going to work for everyone.”
Given this overwhelming shared sense of confidence, it ought to come as no shock that they’re celebrating ten years of YES. with a relentless eagerness for the following ten to come back. Graphics like this season’s Chi Modu collaboration, which makes use of iconic pictures from hip-hop’s early days, “speaks to a shared rebellious movement–to create your personal type, pursue what you consider and simply rise up for your self,” Romain tells me in direction of the tip of our dialog.
Nevertheless, whereas the final ten years of YES. is filled with modern considering inside snowboarding, one could be remiss to suppose that’s the place their ardour ends. “YES. is a motion of positivity that we actually need to push by YES. Snowboards, but additionally by one other model known as YES. on Life that we began as an extension, with clothes and browsing and all of the moments in between,” DCP tells me in regards to the newest endeavor that JP is spearheading from Norway.
JP elaborates, “That is one thing that I’ve been desirous to do since day one, and after ten years we felt like that is the right time to do it.” YES. on Life, which is presently nearing launch, can be residence to the model’s new premium line of garments and surfboards. And whereas one would possibly suppose that a departure into clothes and surfboards could appear disjointed, in actuality it is just a pure extension of the motion that started again within the early days of UnInc. From the beginning, DCP, JP, and Romain, have all held deep ties to each the surf and skate worlds. These ties have manifested themselves as sources of inspiration for YES. Snowboards, and even have gone so far as continued collaborations with Globe, and the creation of skateboards and footwear. For them, all of it ties again to authenticity, and propelling their motion ahead.
Given their success, one factor that is hanging about their place ten years later is the absence of retaliation or direct competition–particularly from Burton, which many would possibly assume. Right this moment, YES. continues to make use of the UnInc. brand of their line. When requested in regards to the brand’s use, all three had been fast to reply that the rights had been bought as quickly as they grew to become obtainable. Nevertheless, what’s extra is that the connection and mutual respect between each manufacturers stays paramount. DCP remembers, “The primary yr we introduced again the UnInc. graphic some Burton model managers got here to our sales space at SIA. We thought they’d need us to take away it from the road, however as a substitute they stated, ‘Good line, guys. Good job.'” JP continues, “We’re utterly totally different corporations, and I believe snowboarding wants each. Folks discuss shit on Burton, they usually suppose we’re on the identical web page. It’s by no means been like that.” A notion that DCP affirmed as our dialog got here to a detailed, “We had been very fortunate, and we had been supported very effectively, and we had been in a position to set stuff up for our future. All of us have households, and in a approach, all of us reside within the homes that Burton received for us.”
It’s this identical persistent positivity and dedication to the YES. motion that now defines the model ten years later. They’re preliminary starting, regardless of how unlikely, was based in authenticity and their shared ardour for snowboarding. So it comes as no shock that now, ten years later, it’s those self same qualities which have allowed them to stay one of many few snowboard corporations nonetheless owned by snowboarders. With ten years within the books, and eyes eagerly targeted on the following ten to come back, it appears the one change for the long run is that its success is extra seemingly.
A message from DCP, Romain, and JP:
We’re so grateful for all of the assist we’ve got been given at YES. Since day 1 . So thanks to all of the sponsors over time and particular thanks goes to this yr’s film co-sponsors: Warehouse Group, Now Bindings, Globe Model, Rip Curl, Deeluxe boots, Grass Roots Medicinal, Zeal Optics, Underground Tuning, Ifound .The Optimistic Group.