Pittsburgh Area Surfers

The snow surfing documentary that is core to the movement

Synopsis

Before the X Games ever existed snowboarding evolved from its early surfing roots. 

This documentary follows the journey of three surfers rediscovering that pure joy of surfing the snow.

Waves exist everywhere, and therefore the search for stoke continues far away from the ocean.

A new era now features riders who surf Rivers, Great Lakes, Mountains and Oceans. Meet this new breed of Surfer embracing an epic Journey to visit Hawaii Surfing Pioneer Gerry Lopez at The Big Wave Challenge at Mt.Bachelor Oregon.

River waves are really weird.

Rideable standing waves exist on waterways with elevation drops and hard structure that create the wave. Sufficient water flow rate and vertical drop play a role in the wave quality and rideablity.

These waves are weird because you are surfing against a very strong current in a very confined space. This is very different than riding a rolling wave in a large open area like a traditional surfing wave.

Finding and riding these waves are challenging and require a surfboard that is shorter front to back, wider for balance and thicker to float over the churned up water.

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Wind driven swells pound the lakes massive shoreline.

Wind driven swells hit the United States longest coastline with rideable waves of all shapes and sizes. As you learn to read the weather and begin traveling the nooks and crannies of the Great Lakes massive shoreline you will be rewarded with great lake surf sessions.

Timing is very critical as swell windows are narrow and short-lived. The Steel City Surfers are closest to Presque Isle State Park in Erie PA and they also travel to the Cleveland Ohio area as well. Point Breaks and Novelty Waves are the norm.

Learn about surfing the snow.

Early snowboarders designed and rode boards that emulated surfing.  As the sport evolved it was influenced and shaped by popular culture.  Gymnastics, Skateboarding, Alpine Skiing and Ski Schools all played a roll in shaping the culture.

Many modern snowboarders have never ridden a wave on a surfboard.  Those whom enjoy surfing the snow now ride and compete on purpose built boards that pay tribute to those original snowboard surfers!

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Surf Quest VodCast 01

Elevated Alaska SnowSurf Trip

Join host, Bryan Murray, as he visits with Elevated SurfCraft’s founder, Aaron Lebowitz. The crew worked out of an RV and got up on the Mountains with Helicopter, Snowmobile, Booting, and Split Boarding.

Surf Turns

Dear Surfer,

Please consider surfing the snow on your next visit to the mountains. I have been riding surf-inspired snowboards for several years with great results. Being able to tap into my many years of wave riding as a means to get down the mountain has transformed my riding style and enthusiasm. This is not about technical performance, it is everything about the sensations and feelings that come with this experience.

My first board was a Nitro Cannon 173 Swallowtail Shape.

Setting up snowboard surf style

My first board was a Nitro Cannon 173 Swallowtail Shape. I set it on the floor in my living room and played some Surf Videos. It was a great way to figure out my binding positions, angles, and width. I ended up with a much narrower stance with feet angled forward (alpine). This set-up will be different for all surfers, since we ride waves without fastening our feet. What I noticed immediately was that my turns on the mountain now matched those of my surfboard. It was cool to step off of my longboard and onto the snow and feel right at home. Riding my twin tip board felt completely different.

Filming Steel City Surfers

While filming Steel City Surfers, I got to meet others that embrace this riding style. At Mt. Bachelor I got to demo some boards from Elevated Surf Craft. We were all attending the Gerry Lopez Big Wave Classic Event and had traveled from Italy, Hawaii, West Virginia, Colorado, Oregon, Washington State, California as well as Japan. Day 1 was white-out in 5′ Feet of Powder Snow.

Trying out the Elevated Surfcraft Snowboard

As an East Coast Rider, I had little experience in such really deep snow. I asked Aaron Lebowitz for his biggest Elevated Surf Craft Board. He put me on a 5’9″ Pintail Model that was a custom shape designed to ride like a single fin rounded pintail surfboard. The only advice was to ride it like a surfboard. When those guys dropped in I knew that I had to keep up or get lost in the vast terrain. So I sent it straight down into a long bottom turn. The board held the line and loaded up on the turn just like my single fin and it exploded down the line. It was a magic moment that I will never forget.

Finding waves in the snow

Since releasing my film in 2020, I have been seeking out Wave like features in the snow. I have designated many runs as Left and Rights. So much fun and the riding style for frontside so much different than backside. An occasional wind lip, side hit or feature can be perfect for rail grabs, cut backs, off the lips and re-entries. Lay-backs go hand an hand with a surf-style hand plant as well.

Steve Yount lives on his “Slush Slasher”

Please give us a follow on Instagram to stay in touch with the journey. I am always down for a session.

Bryan