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Last winter when Burton announced it’s 2010 Global Team Roster, a lot of names were conspicuously missing, among them David Carrier Porcheron. While many of the cuts came as a surprise, DCP’s absence was especially shocking. It seemed like he’d be a lifer with the brand, his first and only sponsor. But the kind and gentle French Canadian didn’t let it get him down and soon reemerged at SIA in a tiny booth behind Nidecker and a company called Yesnowboard. When life hands you lemons, start a snowboard brand, right?
YoBeat: What is Yesnowboard about? Who’s involved in the company?
DCP: Romain de Marchi, JP Solberg and myself are the 3 riders who originally got together, along with a friend JMZ from Geneva, to start a snowboard brand based on friendship and fun.
YoBeat: Do you have an investor?
DCP: Our investor is Henry Nidecker Jr., he is the son of Mr. Nidecker and he is also our sales manager and production manager. Yesnowboard is under an umbrella called NDK Creative, where we are given the use of the Nidecker Swiss engineering technology to design our own shape and boards. The boards are made in Switzerland and also in Tunisia.
YoBeat: Isn’t Nidecker the Burton of Switzerland?
DCP: Nidecker is pretty big in Europe I guess, I remember them from a long time ago, when our friend Darius rode for them. They make amazing boards from the get-go, but being on Burton for so many years, I never really tried an other board in 14+ years. I am very very happy with the support we have from them, they are allowing our brand to grow and be legit in technology from the start. A Swiss tag on your product is always a good thing.
YoBeat: Is double rocker a real thing or just kind of a marketing gimmick?
DCP: Our boards, for this season are camrock, which means reverse camber on the tips and a regular camber between the feet, not a lot of side cut, almost flat, but enough to get a good grip on the slope but also float like crazy in pow. Our boards are also a little wider, so it works real nice in pow, you can ride a board a bit shorter and it acts as the same as a board who was 2 cm bigger.
YoBeat: Didn’t Inca snowboards do this previously?
DCP: I don’t know Inca snowboards, but they might. We are not inventing anything, we are just producing something we feel works well for us. We are working on expanding our line for next season so, stay posted at www.yesnowboard.com. We are also planning to release limited edition graphic boards all through this fall and winter, with the existing line we have but with 100 units per graphic boards. For example, available first will be the “hand painted by the team“ series on a 156.5 asymmetrical board (deeper side cut on heel edge then toe edge.)
YoBeat: How did you come up with the name for the brand?
DCP: It was election time and Obama has this slogan: “yes we can.” We figured might as well use the hype! And we were getting denied sponsorship left and right; everyone was saying no, we can’t sponsor you, no, no! So we figured we would switch that around and create a brand called Yes.Â “Yes we can” have our own brand and keep following our dream of mountain exploration and powder search, no one can stop us. It is impregnated in us, snowboarding is our passion, our life! We want to inspire people to love our sport that gave us so much!
Another day at the office. Dalby photo.
YoBeat: I have heard some criticism that “three riders who couldn’t sell Burton boards” aren’t going to be able to sell boards for themselves either. Obviously you don’t think that’s true. Why not? Is it possible to gauge how many boards a pro rider actually sells for any given company, aside from pro models?
DCP: Well, this is a very critical comment from someone, which might be someone’s opinion. But to put things in perspective, when we did the UnInc series, we limited the production of the boards so people would want more or they would find a board in the Burton line that was right for them. We sold out everywhere. Then, I switched to Custom X…then again, it is hard to know how many boards I personally sold, but they sold from 15 to 20,000 Custom X boards every season. Plus, people buy boots, jackets, gloves, hats, and bindings. You figure, if Burton kept us for that many years and paid us that much money, we must have been selling some kind of product??? What happens now, it’s just the way the industry is. The economy is bad, so less people buy boards; the core riders keep their boards for a couple seasons, or buy from smaller brands. Burton sees a bigger market in the mainstream and focus on having a team that will compete at X Games, Open series, Olympics. They are looking into the future and want to reach a different demographic. (That’s my guess, and I think it’s totally cool…I am very grateful for everything Burton gave me and the experience was the best…but now I am happy to be on my own quest and mission)
We, at Yesnowboard, want to service and keep inspiring the people who are truly passionate about snowboarding, the people who will go ride every given day, every day off, every night after work, every first chair after a dump, every time they groom the park and pipe. We want to service the core of snowboarding, the soul of snowboarding.
YoBeat: Why does a company need a pro team at all?
DCP: I think a company needs a pro team for many different reasons.Â Why does baseball need players? So they can sell hats, mitts and fill stadiums… well, in snowboarding, equipment needs to be designed and tested and approved. The public loves to have products approved by recognized athletes, it means that the product was put to the test in any given conditions and time of the year. Also, company needs a pro team to promote the brand, to create images and movies that will inspire and showcase the product, so therefore, the customer can relate and see what you can do with such product. If company didn’t have a pro team, the product wouldn’t sell, the product would just be seen in catalogues and on the shelves. I don’t think beginner snowboarders would be learning as quickly or even have the same aspiration to learn. Plus, pro snowboarding gave an aspiration to young generation to push themselves and their riding to maybe someday live the lifestyle of a pro snowboarder. That way, the sport progresses and keeps progressing! That’s why companies have a pro team, it’s for the evolution and progression of snowboarding, both product and sport.
All smiles. Dalby photo
YoBeat: But seriously, why would anyone start a snowboard company right now?
DCP: Why not? We are given the opportunity to create something very cool and learn through the process, it’s like saying: why would someone go to university right now, there is no jobs anyways. Well I think starting a snowboard brand is far beyond being part of an existing team. You have to learn and work hard for this company to succeed, and that’s the challenge and that’s part of progression, also we all feel like we were given so much through snowboarding! We want to give back and offer a great board for a little bit of a lower price, and get the customer involved, be personal with the customers. Snowboarding is our life and we got the grass cut short under our feet, so it was the obvious, we needed to create something for ourselves to grow.
YoBeat: Are you nervous that the economy is a factor in your ultimate success?
DCP: Not really, we want to be successful and we will, we just have to not fix to high of expectation and just go with the flow and have fun with it and learn. The success will come if it’s meant to be. People won’t stop snowboarding…once you start, you are addicted. People might find alternative ways to going riding. Car pooling or taking the bus to the mountain. Hiking the backcountry, building their own jumps, working at resorts one day a week to get a free pass, ride in their backyard… but snowboarding is a lifestyle… nothing can take this away, especially not a government.
YoBeat: How long did you ride for Burton, and how did they end their relationship with you? Was it a shock or did you see it coming?
DCP: I rode for Burton for 14 years; they were my first and only sponsor. Ever since I was the junior Quebec half-ditch champion. I traveled the world on Burton budget and got to see wonderful places, ride epic conditions and mountains, got to learn surfing, meet my wife and met so many life-long friends and other very genuine people through my Burton journey. I am forever grateful. It sure did come as a shock, especially since I was loyal all these years. I thought, and was told, I would be with Burton far beyond my pro rider years…but the timing wasn’t right to renew my contract, so they said. I was disappointed at first of how they announced to me the news, but they were really kind to honor the integrity of my contract. I even got 2 surf boards from Channel Island out of the deal…pretty cool after all… I was given a gift, the gift to start my own thing and grow as a person, as a rider, and as a business owner. I think its all happening for a reason and I have no hard feelings for Jake or any of the heads at Burton. I have to say though, that recently, Burton snowboards have been doing a lot of cuts and weird moves that I don’t understand. They have definitely changed trajectory, I think. Maybe even being a little disrespectful to some people. Without pointing any fingers towards anyone, something is weird from what I hear.
YoBeat: As someone who was on the inside at Burton for so long what’s your take on how they treat their team riders, especially near the end of their usefulness to the company?
DCP: Like I said, they were kind to me, not totally honest, but kind.
YoBeat: Why do you think Burton jettisons their more experienced riders so easily? Don’t you think it makes more sense to keep your veterans around so they can guide the younger kids into the system?
DCP: Well, this is a touchy one. I think kids on the team could benefit from the veterans experience in the mountains, with film and shooting crews and even competing, but at the end of the day, everyone transitions. I was over the whole contest scene and Burton wants to go that direction, so that’s probably why we grew apart.
I think team managers may have to do more babysitting now but they are creating the new generation, and parks and pipe around the world are made so perfectly now that, kids have the training facilities anywhere… I just hope that young kids learn the rope of backcountry safety before going out there wanting to land in pow their newest double corked trick. Backcountry awareness is very, very important. I also think knowing the history of snowboarding and the company you represent is an important thing for kids to learn or to know. Snowboarding wasn’t created from video games! Craig Kelly should be known by anyone who aspires to become a pro snowboarder.
YoBeat: As a very talented, and seemingly marketable rider, was it hard for you to find new sponsors?
DCP: I was very lucky, I found a really good outerwear sponsor The North Face. They are such a great company and I am very proud to be involved with them. It was hard though, I knocked on every doors, everyone answered but no one could let me in. Northwave/Drake hooked me up. They trusted me, even if they didn’t have any budget for me last season, they squeezed me in so I get to represent them in the future. I was grateful for this…it was good for me to talk to everyone with honesty and I received honesty back. That’s what I needed. Even if it was a no. At least it was an honest no. Thanks to everyone. Especially those who believe in me and support my path and passion.
YoBeat: How did you get involved with North Face and what are you doing there?
DCP: My wife worked for them for 10 years now, and I had been to a few different meetings with them already, especially since we had our daughter, so I already knew a few of the team riders and managers. So, when they approached me to become a rider and for me to get involved in design and promotion to snowboarding. Being part of such an amazing team of athletes that are so beyond inspiring: Pete Athens climbing Mt Everest and cleaning the path from cadavers and left behind equipment, or girls running 450 mile races, breaking their leg 20 miles from the finish line, keeping running and winning. That kind of shit…it’s crazy. I am also given the chance to help take TNF into the snowboarding world, which is great because snowboarders need better outerwear; they need something that will keep them dry.
Proud papa. Geery photo.
YoBeat: Why is your wife so awesome and your daughter so cute? Do you think becoming a father had any effect on your career as a pro snowboarder?
DCP: Well, thank you, I think that too. Being a father is definitely changed me, I feel very fortunate to be so important in someone’s life like this. I am also very lucky to have such a supporting wife; Megan knows where I am coming from and where I am going. She has been there, she has been a pro athlete for many years and she is as passionate as I am with snowboarding so we can feed off of each other’s energy. It is hard to leave for too long on trips though for sure, but it makes our time together this much more special.
YoBeat: Do you think your daughter will get into snowboarding like you and Megan have? Do you want her to?
DCP: Well, she started snowboarding last season at Baker during the Banked Slalom with her friend Cannon Cummins. She is into it, and this winter we will make sure she gets on the snow if she wants to. I would love her to do whatever makes her happy, I hope she wants to have an active and outdoor lifestyle, so far she is. But my role as a dad is to support her in whatever she wants to do, and also to inspire her play outside, I hope she wants to ride and surf with me. That would be awesome. If she wants to become pro, I will support her. Pro surfing would be a sweet thing, then we can all travel to tropical reef pass around the world…ha ha!
What else do you want to do with snowboarding? When will you be done?
I will never be done with snowboarding, it will always be part of my life, I want to learn so much more about the mountains and ride some deeper pow…I also want to take Yesnowboard to a very good place within the snowboarding industry and I want to be able to give back to the sport that is giving me so much. I want to facilitate the new generation to progress and I want them to feel what I felt when I started to snowboard and traveling as a pro snowboarder.
I want to do many more film projects with Absinthe, yesnowboard and other opportunities that will come my way. I want to ride as much pow as I can next season and ride with my friends, Romain, JP and Gigi if I can, and the rest of the crew. I am also excited to ride with Tadashi. Maybe take a trip to Japan.
Which brings to say: Yesnowboard is proud to have signed Tadashi Fuse to our team. We will together enter the Asian market and continue riding the Canadian/Alasakan backcountry and the Japanese trees. Tadashi is also owner of Hearth Films and we will be doing little project with them for our website Yes TV.
So, log in to www.yesnowboard.com and follow the adventure of the team though yes TV and the blog and feel free to communicate with us. We want to get personal with our customers and other snowboarding passionate! We want to grow so feel free to tell us how you think we could grow!
Thanks for your support!