3 weeks ago Snowlife began a 3 part series on Aussie snowboard manufacturers, today we meet our final brand, Catalyst Snowboards. Words by Richard Evans of Catalyst.
Catalyst started back in 2002 as a thing i wanted to try and do for fun, I’d just come back from living in Canada for a while and knew a few people there that made boards and kinda got into it like that, wasnt for 2 or 3 years after that, that we started to sell a few boards.
Inspiration is one thing that i guess i dont need to much of, I’m more determined to always make something better than the last, its hard to compete given some of the import laws in Australia that make it more expensive to import materials than it is to import a finished board from China. To try to make the best snowboards is all that I need to keep me going.
We make a range of boards, park, powder and all mountain in a wide and standard series. We’ve been adding a few different shapes each year and plan to get a womens series in prototype this year.
Most of our boards use top end materials and are aimed more at experienced riders, our park boards are more versatile, we try to keep the costs down as they cop a battering by using extruded bases that are also easier to fix.
Technologies in boards really havn’t changed a whole lot over the last 15 years, reverse camber is probably about it. We’ll hopefully have some reverse type ride out late this season. Just using the best materials and building boards that have a low return rate for warranty is the best we can do.
Our graphics come from a variety of sources, we encourage imput from anyone who wants to be involved to send us submissions (this is a easy way to get a free board)! If its good! For our 2010 boards we have some great graphics done by Portugese artist Fernando of Curfew7am. Alot of the 09 graphics are inspired by the my home and its surrounds.
Our boards are suitable for any riders, we are able to customise the flex of the board to suit the rider for no extra cost, this gives everyone the chance to ride what’s best suited to them, not just have to pick something off the shelf that may not be a ideal fit.
We also offer a custom graphic service, anyone can design their own graphic to go on one of our boards. We build alot of OEM boards for promotions, other snowboard companies etc to.
This season we have 3 riders on the team, Ryan Thorley, Marty Novy and Hannah Studd. We’re always looking for new talent and really want to help contribute to growing the local scene.
Buying locally to importing is a big thing these days, especially for retailers of softgoods where the shipping costs are low making it hard to compete with the end of season sale gear coming out of the US.
I think for boards/bindings/boots there will always be a local market, when you can buy a brand new board from us for $400-$500 with local back up, warranty and servicing your going to be hard pressed to find a better deal after you factor in shipping costs etc.
Over the next few years Catalyst plans to move into a new factory, the old woolshed is getting a bit full! we’re planning on moving to doing in house sublimation printing, meaning we can prototype designs within hours not weeks and also having a greater control over costs.
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Remember to check out Part 1 and 2 of Snowlife’s 3 part feature on Australian snowboard manufacturers with Heresy Snowboards and Trickie Snowboards – only on Snowlife.com.au