What if the products we produced address the physical transitions that riders experience as they age with the sport?
The progression of snowboarding is increasing at a rapid rate, and does not appear to be slowing down. While products have focused on the progression of the sport, the market does not include a product that prolongs enjoyment and activity in the sport. Riders are staying active in the sport longer as we now have multiple generations of activity. A product could embrace the love of riding for all generations involved in the sport.
Disrupting the Current State of Riding
On an individual level, riders go through stages of physical transition and may feel that their equipment enhances their abilities and creativity. Surfing is an example of a similar sport that while is very competitive for some, most find great enjoyment by just being out on the water and in the environment – preferring to ride long waves over shredding. A safety-first product for snowboarders may help individuals prolong their enjoyment in the sport by providing a base level of protection and may provide new riders with additional confidence to become involved in the sport.
Design projections were developed to facilitate conversation with others designing for risk. By approaching development with outside input, the range of solutions varied from apps to a complete product ecosystem. As the ideas began to narrow, criteria for the solution became clearer: The design must provide impact protection to the user while appearing discrete to others and help prevent common upper body injuries while featuring an attractive aesthetic.
Concept sketches were used to explore what features and systems could be included in a new outerwear design. At this stage in the process, inspiration was drawn from natural protection of animals and other existing products. Observing protective systems outside the context of snowboarding displays ideas that can be translated into the active lifestyle of many riders.
Outerwear Designed for the Prolonged Enjoyment of the Sport
The final prototype displays a future for snowboarding outerwear designed for the prolonged enjoyment of the sport. With integrated safety features in the jacket, the once “secondary” protective gear is now as simple as zipping up the jacket. The geometric pattern of the padding remains subtle on the exterior of the jacket, but is highlighted on the interior for the user. This conveys security to the user and a fashionable jacket for others on the hill. The form language of the padding presents itself throughout the shoulders and elbow region as well. Integrated protection can be designed to appeal to many of the current markets while also changing the perception of safety equipment in a sport that features risky maneuvers; and potential for catastrophic injury. Above all else, the design can empower riders to continue to prolong their active lifestyle.