Centuries ago, the first skiers slid and glided over flat land with the aid of a pole. Today, snowboarders at long last can join their two-plank cousins in traversing horizontal snowy stretches. The Kahuna Snow Stick, an adjustable aluminum pole, is modeled after a stand-up surf paddle. It has a toothy “paddle” blade made of polycarbonate for pushing and poling in the snow.
Kahuna Creations is a company known for its longboards and accompanying paddle shafts, called Kahuna Big Sticks, which are made to be “paddled” for forward propulsion in lieu of a regular kicking motion on a skateboard. (Gear Junkie reviewed the longboard product when it came to market in 2008.) The poling technique, both on the skateboard and on snow, is said to mimic the motion used in the sport of stand-up paddling.
The company touts snowboarders with the pole will be able to go faster on flats and perform an “XC snowboarding” technique for long stretches of horizontal terrain. Going downhill, Kahuna Creations cites “deeper carves,” assistance with balance (for beginners), and getting “a whole new steez in terrain parks” with pole-equipped tricks.
I asked Kahuna Creations for some elaboration on the background of “XC snowboarding.” “We basically wanted to take the stoke of stand-up paddle boarding from the ocean to the snow,” said the company’s Cory McBride. “We already invented the Kahuna Big Stick a couple years ago to paddle on the street with longboards, and now we’re doing the same thing in the snow. It took about two years to get everything together, but now we have a solid setup that works crazy well.”
McBride said no one has ever produced anything like the Kahuna Snow Stick before. Kahuna Creations has several patents pending. The shaft of the Snow Stick is aluminum, and the handle has a soft rubber for grip. The stick is adjustable and extends from 4.5 to 6 feet in length. It compacts to 3 feet long for storage. The bottom of the stick, the Snow Grip head, is a polycarbonate piece that McBride says is certified to be strong to -50 degrees F.
The Kahuna Snow Stick is available online this week for $119. The Snow Grip paddle head alone sells for $39 if you want to mount one on an existing shaft. Buy either and you’ll undoubtedly be the first rider this season, maybe ever, to show up with a pole.
What do you think, readers? Is XC snowboarding a gimmick or the real deal? Wouldn’t you love a pole if you flatted out in the backcountry? As McBride noted, the Snow Stick is a first of its kind. But does it have the potential to spark a new sport? Kahuna Creations thinks so, exclaiming it is “stoked to see this new sport come to life.”