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R.I.P. To The Grandfather And Inspiration Of Modern Day Snowboarding

Sherman R. Poppen - Credit: https://www.smithsonianmag.com
This past Wednesday, July 31, Sherman R. Poppen passed away at the age of 89.

Poppen has a place in winter sports history for creating the Snurfer, which amounted to a mono-ski like contraption with a front mount string, similar to sleds of the day, but with the intention of riding on it standing up. 


Credit: http://www.vintageadsandstuff.com/
The Snurfer, a combination of the words "snow" and "surfer" was partly inspired by Poppen living in an area of Michigan not known for its surfing, but realizing that there was still a way to get a similar thrill. He was quoted in a SNOW Magazine interview in 2015 as saying “On Christmas Day of 1965, I looked at the snow on the dunes behind my house and it dawned on me that we had a permanent wave right there.”

It wasn't long after that fateful Christmas day that Poppen applied for a patent on his newly invented device and history was made. So much so, that the original Snurfers are housed in the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.


Credit: Invented by Sherman R. Poppen, assigned to Brunswick Corporation uploaded by User:Lar [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Beyond the honor of having his invention forever displayed at the Smithsonian, Poppen's hometown of Muskegon, Michigan is the home of the sculpture, The Turning Point, which was placed in 2012 to commemorate the life of Poppen and his contribution to winter sports history.



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