There’s something interesting happening on the west coast of the province: local boarders riding snowboards made from local materials, painted by designs from local artists.
And it’s all originating from a small town on the West coast of the island named Port au Port East.
“Our manufacturing location is based on proximity to where each of us live; it just happens to be beautiful out here” says Steve Wheeler, General Manager of Magine Snowboards.
Magine is the result of a conversation one night between Wheeler and his two friends, Marcel Savidon and Michael Maddock: a conversation about serving the growing snowboarding community on the East coast with boards manufactured right here in Newfoundland. “We made the decision to create a business based on something we are all very passionate about,” explains Wheeler. “There is no doubt that there is a growing snowboarding and skiing community in the Atlantic Canadian provinces, and we belive that there should be a product that can represent the love that these individuals have for the sport.”
That dream came to fruition when Wheeler, Savidon, and Maddock managed to create their first snowboard press using steel salvaged from the old Newfoundland Railway. The trio take great pride in that they were the first to manufacture snowboards in this province.
But these aren’t just normal snowboards. “We use sustainable certified local wood for our cores, local artists for our graphics, and a soy based eco epoxy that’s safer for us, you and the environment,” explains Wheeler. “We know who cuts our wood – it’s just up the road (seriously). We work with our supplier to get the best species, and quality of wood possible. Each piece is hand-picked, selectively cut, and certified sustainable.”
That’s what makes Magine’s product so unique. “As opposed to most boards on the market, our snowboards are handcrafted right here from its raw components, which means that we see, feel, and inspect every board that comes out of our shop.”
Indeed, sustainability seems to be a driving force behind the company’s operations. Every aspect of Magine’s operations – from the source of the timber, to the printing process, to the soy-based epoxy resin used for finishing – are tailored to be as environmentally friendly as possible. “We currently have a research and development project with a composits and innovation center to test new materials, in order to reduce our environmental footprint in our 2013 lineup.”
Interested snowboarders can order their boards straight from Magine’s website, or browse them up close and personal at George’s Ski World at the base of Marble Mountain, or at Ballistics in downtown St. John’s. Snowboarders with an artistic touch can even design their own boards.
As equal as the trio’s passion was for boarding, is their love for home. Staying in Newfoundland & Labrador was an important factor in their choice to start the company. “With all three of us coming from entreprenurial families, we strongly believe in creating and growing business here on the island.”
So what about the skiers? “In two words…Not yet,” says Wheeler. “But we are prototyping our Ski lineup this season and if all goes well, you will see Magine Skis available next season.”
Snowboards from Port au Port East. Who would have thought?