Snowboarding Pioneer Jake Burton Carpenter Dead at 65

Jake Burton Carpenter, the founder of Burton Snowboards and one of the pioneers of snowboarding, died Wednesday night after a battle with cancer. Carpenter announced he was fighting the disease earlier this month according to Outside. He was 65 years old.

"It is with a heavy heart that we share that Burton founder Jake Burton Carpenter passed away peacefully last night surrounded by loved ones as a result of complications from recurring cancer. He was the soul of snowboarding, the one who gave us the sport we love," Burton Snowboards wrote on Twitter.

Carpenter did not invent snowboarding, but he's responsible for what the sport is today. In 1977, Burton starting making snowboards based on the Snurfer which is "a piece of plywood that sort of resembled a water ski and could be ridden down snowy hills while standing and holding a rope." Carpenter made the Snurfer wider and he added bindings to make the snowboard. In his first year, he only sold about 300 snowboards, but his business continued to grow each year he eventually became a legend in the sport.

“He’s like the cool dad of the sport,” Shaun White, who has won three Olympic gold medals in snowboarding and is a longtime Burton Snowboards endorser, said to The New York Times back in 2015.

With the help of Carpenter, snowboarding became an Olympic sport in 1998, However, Carpenter did not like the way the Olympics presented the sport. He said to Outsider, “Animal, a Muppet character, with orange hair and a nose ring—that was our mascot. In the Nagano Olympics, they spelled ‘snowboarding’ wrong.”


There were a number of Twitter users to pay tribute to Carpenter.

Carpenter is survived by his wife, Donna and three sons, Timi, George, and Taylor.