« Recipe of the Week: Julia Child's Vinaigrette | Main | Collecting bracero history »

September 09, 2009


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


It's good to see Mr Poppen get his due. A couple of points. There were Snurfing championships held in the early to mid '70s in Grand Haven, MI. There was even a newsletter associated with the races. The reason Mr Poppen went Brunswick with the idea was because there was a Brunswick manufacturing plant (bowling pins) in Muskegon, MI where Sherman lived at the time. I beleive the original prototype was made from a modified slalom water ski.


Hi, wanted to say great article! I might be a little off topic here... but I grew up both in the midwest and out east. I would have to say that I preferred being out in the Berkshires more than anywhere (I'm also a huge Norman Rockwell fan) and always thought Burton was the sole inventor or snowboarding.

Anyways, thanks for the insight. The your article sparked a new concept I hadn’t given thought to before.


The snurfer "concept" is news to me. Are there any film records of those early days? I'd love to get hold of some historical stuff for my slightly threadbare skiing and snowboarding movies site at http://www.ski-movies.com.

Since I had the idea of setting up a blog about my favourite ski movies I've been getting curious about some of the early stuff that went on.


I'm still amazed at how sports crossover with each other... I'm a surfer and within the last year have seen the popularity of the Stand Up Paddle Boards take off. Cross between surfing and kayaking...

I believe I remember the name "The Snurfer" but always relate back to Burton being the inventor of snowboarding. I guess they were good marketers..

Let's hope sports keep progressing and pushing the fun limits.



Sherman Poppen developed his “snurfer” idea in December 1965 and filed for a patent on his creation in March of 1966. US Patent #3,378,274 titled “Surf-Type Snow Ski” issued on April 16, 1968. Poppen assigned his patent to both Brunswick Corporation of Delaware and the Jem Corporation of Virginia, both of which are referenced in a sales agreement dated February 1973. Both companies manufactured the snurfer board. Patents are transferrable assets and the patent owner may assign/license the patent to a manufacturer in exchange for royalty payments.

Poppen also trademarked the words snurf and snurfer (US Trademark # 1,518,101) and he assigned use of the trademark name snurfer to the Jem Corporation of Virginia per a sales agreement dated February 1973. Rights in a federally-registered trademark can last indefinitely if the owner continues to use the mark on or in connection with the goods and/or services in the registration and files all necessary documentation in the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

U.S. Patents filed prior to June 8, 1995 expire 17 years from the date of issue and U.S. Patents filed after June 8, 1995 expire 20 years from the date of filing. Sherman Poppen’s patent 3,378,274 ultimately expired in 1985.


How did the current snowboards arise without running into patent issues, or did Sherman assign his patent, or did it simply expire?


I am a person who loves to snowboard. I never knew they were once called snurfs (as with no bindings). Adding bindings is a great invention!

Pat Smith

No "real snow" on the East Coast? Adirondacks, Catskills, Berkshires, White Mountains, Green Mountains? Guess we must be shoveling,snow shoeing, skiing etc. through pixie dust......

The comments to this entry are closed.

Bookmark and Share
Related Posts with Thumbnails
Related Posts with Thumbnails

Become a Fan