In the late 1980’s there were three main snowboard companies: Burton, SIMS, and Kemper. Burton obviously survived and thrived in the grunge era and so did SIMS, but little old Kemper never saw the millennium and called it quits in 1994. The long extinct brand got a breath of new life last year from a dude who understands streetwear, nostalgia, marketing and shredding.
Snewsnet.com spoke with the man behind the revival, 43 year old former competition snowboarder, Jib Hunt. Jib rode competitively back in the day and went on to work as an apparel designer at Burton after graduating from Plymouth State. His career varied from designing streetwear, launching Virgin Mobile USA, and running global marketing for technology companies. Now he’s taken on Kemper. Jib knows what he is doing and has most definite target demographics for the throwback boards and they span generations:
“The brand attracts people in their 30s, 40s, and 50s who snowboarded when the brand was first around. There’s a huge following of collectors, sellers, and buyers of retro, nostalgic snowboards. Multiple Facebook groups have 8,000 to 10,000 people or more per group who collect or sell these boards there or on eBay. That market inspired me to restart this brand from back in the day.
Also, a lot of younger customers are into Kemper because of the retro graphics and uncommon shapes. A lot of companies are creative with shapes that don’t follow a traditional template. But those younger riders want something different and throwback that makes them stand out. The Kemper Snowboards Flight, for instance, has a unique tail and nose shape, and it’s the original silhouette of that snowboard.”
Best of luck to Jib and his new venture. I’m sure there are more than a few of you reading this right now with a Kemper up in the rafters of your garage. Perhaps its time to get a new one now that you can?
If you’re not of a certain vintage and wondering what era Kemper first thrived in I give you the neon masterpiece “COLD WAVE”:
Kemper Snowboards is the iconic brand that paved the way for freestyle snowboarding with its progressive board shapes, funky neon graphics, and a pro team that pushed the limits with their ‘tweaked-out’ snowboard tricks. Our goal is to keep snowboarding fun by reintroducing the original graphics of the late 1980’s and early 1990’s on current day riding shapes.
It is our mission at Kemper to keep our products affordable so that all riders can enjoy the stoke of snowboarding. We are able to do this by selling to our customers and fans directly while providing the best value at the lowest price. Selling through traditional retail channels would require our customers to pay at 35% more at the cash register. We pass those savings onto to you!
For the last four years, we have tested our boards in all types of riding conditions and across all types of riding terrain. We are proud to offer them to our dedicated riders and look forward to sharing the nostalgia and fun of snowboarding with you.