Monday, February 6, 2017

Board Brands to Watch: Korua

Sometimes I get tasked with a job that requires me to distill the essence of a thing into not nearly enough words to do that thing justice for not as much pay as I would hope for. Recently, Transworld Snowboarding gave me just such a task and it was published on their site as Eight Board Brands to Keep an Eye On.

Transworld graciously allowed me to share the interviews and pictures that I drew from on my humble blog. Here is part four, Korua shape maker and turn yearner, Nicholas Wolken, edited sparingly for spelling and clarity.

In their natural habitat.  Photo: Filip Zuan

Yak: How would you explain your brand to someone stumbling across it for the first time?
Nicholas: I usually start explaining how we build surf inspired shapes and try to put a new spin on vintage designs like swallowtails for example. Then I would tell them that we focus on building boards that are fun and easy to ride in specific types of snow. 

How did you get into the whole snowboard manufacturing game?
Me and Stephan have been strongly involved in board building with our previous sponsors so it came pretty natural with time. 

What separates Korua from other brands on the market?
I think it’s the combination of things and not one single trait. First off we offer relatable snowboarding. We build really good boards that anyone will have fun doing turns on, as a whole we are dedicated to this. 
Secondly we use extremely minimalistic design. Funny enough that draws more attention than huge logos everywhere and we think it looks way better too. The design (graphic and form) of a shape stays the same over multiple seasons. That means our shops and we have no need to get rid of leftover boards at the end of each season. This is more sustainable in a environmental way, but it also keeps us and our partners safer and the market „cleaner“.

Gang's all here.  Photo: Aaron Schwartz

Where or what do you draw inspiration from?
As far as product goes it’s often surfboards and vintage snowboards, but also random crazy ideas that pop up here and there. Lately we also started to integrate a lot of ideas from our ambassadors and customer feedbacks. I think its important to keep an open mind and follow up fun ideas even if they first seem a bit out of place or senseless.

What is the secret to great carving?
I think it’s conscious riding and trying different things. Think about the way you are moving and how you use your body. Try to feel what works for you. Try positive stance on your back binding and give it a chance to change your riding style. Keep your shoulders a bit more diagonal to the board and for the start, just try and keep your body as close to the edge of the board as possible when you’re turning. 

What is essential to snowboarding for you?
I think it’s the freedom to do things the way you want to. A bit like I imagine freestyle was in the beginning, before a certain style was almost mandatory and they actually created „bad style“ which meant that free style wasn’t so „free“ anymore. This might not be true for all but something I experienced. Its essential for snowboarding not to lose that uplifting feeling you had when you first started simply linking some nice turns on your home mountain. Back then you were not expected to perform a certain way and purely driven by the search for more fun. 

Operation shred elation.  Photo: Nicholas Wolken

Where and how are your boards made?
After GST closed their gates, we found a really cool setup with some very creative heads at the Nobile factory in Poland. They share the same love for innovation and prototyping as we do so its a perfect match. 

How can the public get their hands on your boards?
We are trying to establish a network of shops, so go and ask at your local shop about us, maybe they can order a board for you. If they won’t help you we have our online store on our website:

Is there any chance they can ride one before they buy?
Some new shops in the US are also planning to carry some demo boards. There will be more info on our website this autumn considering demo points. [Yak: If you're in the European Alps, you're in luck. Find a Korua demo now.]

What do you see in the future for Korua?
Our goal is to build a sustainable brand who continues to be cutting edge as far as innovation and design goes. Difficult to say were we will be heading in the future.

What else would you like people to know about Korua?
We are working on releasing some late models and new episodes of our movie series „Yearning for Turning“ this fall [now!], so stay tuned for that! 

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