It seems new companies are everywhere at the moment and whilst it’s great to see an influx of start ups keeping the industry fresh, it’s often the case that other than graphics and marketing, there is not much that sets them apart from what already exists. Korua Shapes from the outset are different, with a quiver containing six truely unique shapes and with European pro shredders/cofounders Stephan Maurer and Nicholas Wolken at the helm, it’s clear that they are onto something special.
For those that are unaware what is KORUA Shapes?
KORUA makes creative Snowboard shapes to allow for new and unique experiences, simply because #weloveturns.
A lot of brands seem to focus their products for a younger, park customer, what made you decide to focus on more of a powder and backcountry angle?
This was not a conscious decision, I guess when you get to a certain point you get tired of pushing yourself to learn the newest, most death defying trick, that’s probably why we eventually drifted away. At the same time we started realising the creative potential there is in the backcountry. Also being more in touch with nature and the adventure that awaits pushed us more in that direction. But don’t get me wrong, we still love cruising the park and throwing down some tricks, just now usually looking for alternative lines and banks to link up the hits. KORUA aims to build boards to have the most fun on, so that’s where we are going.
KORUA Shape boards really stand out from both from a graphic perspective but mainly from the Shapes, how do you come up with the different Shapes? Some I have never seen on another board before.
Some boards start of as a funny idea, like “wouldn’t it be rad if a board had this feature” then you’re like “What would that feature ride like?” and of course sometimes we look to build a board for a certain purpose. In all these scenarios we eventually develop a concept for the board, defining the purpose and characteristics it should have followed by hand sketches of the shape. Of course there are different opinions and experiences in how a certain trait influences a boards performance. That’s why we (the riders and product developer) get together as a team to get all the specs and materials settled. After that, Jerry draws the first drafts on the computer and we give him feedback on it, which he applies in the second draft and so on. This process goes on until we are all happy with the whole line. Next we produce and test the prototypes to see how well our concept was implemented and if necessary make additional changes.
Have you ever designed a shape that just didn’t work?
Of course we have, it happens all the time! The trick is not to produce those boards! That’s where it is important to sit down as a team to sort out the good ideas from the bad ones. So far we have only one board that has been a prototype for 2 years, but it is getting there.
It’s an exciting time in Snowboarding, after what seemed to be years of boards looking very similar, Ispo this year was awash of brands pushing a huge variety of shapes, what do you think made this change come about all of a sudden?
It takes some time for people to jump over their shadows and prejudice to try something that looks very different but once they do, they know why and will tell others and that’s what’s happening. A good idea will eventually take over. It’s pretty simple; the new shapes are more fun to ride, especially in the conditions they are designed for. In the same way it’s usually more fun to surf a longboard in slow knee high conditions and a shortboard in fast and hollow waves. Every board has a very different character and offers new experiences. Learning to know a board and feel it’s preferences is something really enjoyable. I think the new, more thought out shapes make riding easier and the easier the board is to ride the better you ride and thus the more fun you will have, right?
What can we expect to see from your second year? Any plans to introduce park specific boards into the range?
We will be coming out with a few new additions to the line, but one shape that we are really excited about is a board with a focus on carving on groomers. We feel like that’s gonna be a big trend in the next years.
The graphics are aesthetically pleasing by their minimal graphics can we expect more graphic this season or will you keep to a similar vibe?
We will definitely be keeping them very similar. We feel like that’s the best way to really let the shapes get all the attention and not take away from them by some graphics that change every year.
The industry has been going through a rough patch in the past few years, is now a bad time to start a board brand?
Only time will tell, but the current situation with the big ones looking to exit the game has made it easier to enter the market because there is more room. I guess if you have realistic expectations and you are in for your passion and love for snowboarding it is the perfect time.
What can we expect to see in the future from KORUA Shapes?
More shapes, more turns, more fun!
To see more from Korua Shapes, you can check out their website here.
Index Photo: Luca Crivelli