2014 Landyachtz

Landyachtz is back for 2014 with their strongest lineup yet. Perennial favorites like the Wolf Shark return alongside a few newcomers. Be sure to check out everything Landyachtz has to offer at Wiredsport.com!

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Goggle Condensation and Lens Care

Let’s put this right out there.  The two most common complaints about Snowboard and Ski goggles are fogging and scratching.  While it is not possible to entirely eliminate either it is hugely beneficial to understand the factors and the technologies that are in place to fight each, how those technologies interact with design, and how your usage can maximize the effectiveness of both.

Goggle Fogging, Anti-fog, Condensation, Airflow – The Battle

To best understand anti-fog and airflow design it is worthwhile to consider fog. We call it fog but it is really condensation that is most vexing in the instance of snowboard and ski goggles.  Fog refers to water droplets that are suspended in air. Goggle condensation forms when warm, moist air comes in contact with a cooler lens surface.   The lens cools the air and water droplets form on the lens surface(s).

So, in terms of snowboard and ski goggles, how does the warm moist air get introduced to form these droplets?

1. Breath.  No suggestion here that you stop breathing. It is, however, important to know that balaclavas, gaiters and facemasks all can direct breath upwards into your lower goggle venting.  Breath moisture alone is typically easily dispersed by good goggle design elements, but it can become an issue when other fogging elements are also at work.  More on compound effects below.

2. Sweat.  It ain’t pleasant to consider, but faces and heads sweat…and some sweat a lot more than others.  The facial foam (even the excellent, less absorptive foams that are currently in use) will trap some of this moisture right where it is wanted the least (surrounding the free-air inner lens chamber).

3. Helmet, Beanie, and Hat Moisture.  Let’s keep this category separate from Snow, Rain and Ice because this one is avoidable.  Put your dry goggles up on your wet helmet, beanie or hat and you have just given your facial foam a good soaking.  When returned to your face the water you have introduced warms and vaporizes…you know the rest – the potential for lens condensation.

4. Snow, Rain and Ice.  We can’t change the elements we ride in.  These factors all introduce moisture, some of which will enter your goggle system.  While there is no avoiding the weather, it is worth considering on those days when extra moisture is going to be an issue.

Anti-Fog films, coatings and treatments all essentially work in the same manner.  They are designed to reduce the surface tension that allows condensation to form.

It would be terrific if “Anti-Fog” could hold back all condensation that you will encounter.  It cannot.  This does not refer to one anti-fog vs. another.  This is true of all of them.  In fact, of the three common weapons that goggles have to fight condensation (peripheral venting, through-lens venting, and anti-fog films, coatings and treatments) anti-fog is by far the least potent.  Also worthy to consider, as an increasing amount of warm, moist air is introduced the less effective the anti-fog becomes.  At a certain point it simply becomes overwhelmed and cannot perform its function.  So, while anti-fog alone may be adequate to hold back condensation introduced by breath directed upwards by a

balaclava, it may later fail if newly soaked facial foam is added to the mix.

Airflow.  It is your friend and is by far the most effective means of keeping goggles free of condensation.  While this will vary by design, Airflow should be considered 90% of your “fog” reduction scenario with anti-fog being a mere 10%.  Well designed goggles allow external air to flow through peripheral vents (and in many cases lens vents) to exhaust the moist air that has formed and and to reduce condensation that may already be in place.  The more air that is circulating freely through the system, the less of a condensation issue you will have.  Is this a good argument for selecting the largest goggles that will fit your face?  In most instances, peripheral venting (the largest and most important venting structures) do increase proportionally with goggle size, and yes – that is great.  But, A very common pitfall is to select a huge goggle, pair it with a helmet that fits too snugly to the goggle and block much of the valuable venting that you have gained.  Add in a Balaclava and some wet facial foam and you will have an unpleasant day coming your way.

This brings us to compound issues.  No goggle is fog proof.  Any system can be overwhelmed if too much moisture / moist air is introduced without adequate venting.  It should be understood that not all factors are equal.  Breath for instance is relatively easy to combat, while wet facial foam is much more difficult.  Combine both and your goggle will struggle.  Block the venting as well and it will fail.

Goggle Depth.  This is the distance from the face to the outer lens.  It is important because deeper goggles will almost always increase venting and will often position a portion of the venting where it will protrude far enough outward to allow clearance over helmets and face gear.  This can allow the use of a larger goggle at a size that might otherwise block venting.  The downsides of such deep designs are increased noise, and a greater susceptibility to scratching and damage as the goggle becomes more of the “point of first contact”.

No one goggle is correct for every rider.  What remains fog free for one user may create issues for another.  The specifics of your face shape and dimensions, other accessory gear, and usage preferences will all impact how well any specific design will work for you.

Scratching, Anti-Scratch, Films, Coatings and Treatments – NASA SHMASA

Snowboard and ski lenses are made of plastic.  The plastics used are technically very impressive, but they remain plastic.  These plastics are (relatively) very soft materials and on their own can be very easily scratched.  To minimize this highly aggravating trait the goggle industry has utilized anti-scratch technologies that are largely derivative of designs that were initially developed by NASA to reduce scratching on their helmet visors (hey, they also did the early work on anti-fog for the same helmets).

NASA?  That sounds awesome!  These things must be scratch proof.   Uhhmmmmm.  Let’s go back to plastic is very soft.  Regardless of what it is coated with, goggle lenses are very easily scratched.  Not some of them.  All of them.  Whew! Glad to have that out there.  The newest multi-layer films and coatings are far better than untreated plastics and will serve to protect your lenses somewhat.  They can also help to reduce that appearance of some small scratches that might form.  That said, your goggles are far from scratch proof.  To the contrary, anything harder than the lens itself will scratch them if sufficient contact is made.  Even mildly abrasive surfaces such as common paper towels will degrade goggle lenses.

That said, many riders can use a current lens for 3-5 years with exceptional clarity but it does take some planning and care.  A microfiber bag (once the lens is dry) in a contact free area is the best practice for transport and storage.  Cleaning with light pressure and no solvents using a microfiber cloth is advised.

Important Moments in Snowboarding History

Ready for a history lesson? Check out this cool Smithsonian piece on important moments in snowboarding history. Though a bit dated, it offers some insight towards how snowboarding grew to become the sport and the industry that it is today.

“Though snowboarding’s roots go back several centuries, its modern development began in the 1960s. In chronological order, here are the top ten moments of snowboarding’s short, radical history … subject to debate of course

1) Sherman Poppen Invents the Snurfer (1965)
On Christmas morning 1965, Sherman Poppen went into his garage, cross-braced two Kmart skis together, stood atop his backyard hill and started surfing the snow. The Snurfer – think snow and surfer – was born and became an instant hit. “When I saw how much fun the kids had Christmas Day,” Poppen told Skiing Heritage, “I spent the next week in Goodwill and everywhere else buying up every water ski I could find.”

A couple of weeks later, Poppen added a rope to the front of the board to make turning easier and prevent it from sailing away when riders fell. He then patented the 42-inch-by-7-inch toy and licensed it to Brunswick (and later Jem). The predecessor to today’s snowboard became a cult phenomenon, selling more than 750,000 units over the next 15 years. More so than any other invention of the 1960s, the Snurfer inspired a generation of kids to surf the snow, among them future snowboard innovators Jake Burton, Chris Sanders and Jeff Grell.

2) Dimitrije Milovich Drops Out of Cornell to Snowboard (1972)
Dimitrije Milovich’s role in snowboarding history is simple: He started Winterstick, the first modern snowboard company.

Milovich was introduced to snowboarding in 1970 by Wayne Stoveken. Two years later, he dropped out of Cornell University, moved to Utah and started testing his prototype boards on the region’s champagne powder. Stoveken followed and by 1974 the duo had two “Snow Surfboard” patents and were selling their boards out of a shop in Salt Lake City.

Wintersticks received national publicity in magazines like SKI and Newsweek and orders started to roll in. Though Stoveken moved back east, Milovich pressed on, forming the Winterstick Company with Don Moss and Renee Sessions during the 1975-76 season. Within three years, Wintersticks were being sold in 11 countries.

Getting the new sport off the ground, however, proved to be an insurmountable challenge as retailers weren’t interested in the new invention. Winterstick was losing money and Milovich closed its doors in 1982. He reopened them in 1985 and shut them down for good in 1987, just a few years before snowboarding’s first boom. The Winterstick brand name has since been resurrected by another firm. Milovich, who now runs a successful engineering business, has no involvement with the company.

3) The Burton-Sims War Begins (1978)
Jake Burton Carpenter (also known as Jake Burton) and Tom Sims didn’t like each other, but they helped push snowboarding into the mainstream consciousness. Burton moved from Long Island to Londonderry, Vermont, during the 1977-78 season to start peddling a Snurfer knockoff he called a Burton Board. He sold six units his first season. On the West Coast, skateboard icon Tom Sims started selling the first Sims snowboards during the 1978-79 season and faced equal resistance.

Both men persevered, however, and emerged as snowboarding’s leading forces on the East and West Coasts. For more than a decade, Burton and Sims engaged in a bitter war for industry supremacy that involved constant innovation, inventive marketing, petty bickering and talent raids.

While Sims was a major player in the sport through the early 1990s, he was a surfer who was more passionate about catching the next big wave than running a company. Burton, on the other hand, was a businessman passionate about snowboarding. While there were years of intense competition, the war was really settled before it started as Burton possessed more business savvy and was simply more dedicated to becoming number one. By the mid-‘90s, Burton was the undisputed king of the mountain, a title he still holds today. Sims, while respected as one of the sport’s pioneers, is no longer a major force in the industry. Today he licenses his brand name to Collective Licensing, which sells Sims Snowboards through Sports Authority.

4) The First National Snow Surfing Championships (1982)
It wasn’t snowboarding’s first competition and it definitely wasn’t elaborate – the starting gate was an inverted kitchen table and hay bales served as crash pads –but the National Snow Surfing Championships helped put snowboarding on the map. Organized by champion Snurfer Paul Graves, the contest drew 125 contestants to Vermont’s Suicide Six resort and riders were seen sailing down the hill at speeds in excess of 50 miles per hour on both The Today Show and Good Morning America.

The next year, Jake Burton took over the event and in 1985 moved it to Vermont’s Stratton Mountain, where it was renamed the U.S. Open Snowboarding Championship. Today, crowds of more than 30,000 converge on Stratton Mountain every year to watch one of snowboarding’s most prestigious events.

5) International Snowboard Magazine Debuts (1985)
After witnessing a squabble at the 1985 World Championships in Soda Springs, California, Tom Hsieh had an idea: someone should put these stories in a magazine. Thus Absolutely Radical, the first regularly published snowboarding magazine, was born. Debuting in March 1985, and renamed International Snowboard Magazine after its first issue, Hsieh’s publication wasn’t glossy or fancy, but it reported industry gossip, conducted the first snowboard tests and provided the sport with a sense of legitimacy.

“It told real stories from the early days without embellishment,” says photographer Bud Fawcett, whose pictures have graced the pages of dozens of winter sports magazines including ISM. “It was the original source of information from the contest scene which was driving the sport for so long in the 1980s.”

The industry’s undercapitalized publication of record folded in 1991, unable to compete with slicker and better distributed magazines like Transworld Snowboarding. Its impact on the nascent sport, however, is hard to overstate.

6) Ski Resorts Open Their Doors to Snowboarders (1984-1990)
Snowboarding faced a major obstacle in the 1980s: Most ski resorts didn’t allow snowboarders on their hills. Some claimed insurance liability issues, while others didn’t want the young rebel snowboarders irritating their well-heeled skiing clientele. Indeed, from cutting lift lines to cursing to dressing in crazy outfits, teenage snowboarders acted like, well, teenagers. That didn’t sit well with most skiers.

A diplomacy campaign was set in motion in an attempt to persuade resorts to accept snowboards and the teenagers who rode them. Though there was some resistance – some hills even required snowboarders to pass a certification test in order to ride – the campaign was successful. Approximately 40 U.S. resorts allowed snowboarding during the 1984-1985 season. By 1990, the number had grown to 476. Today, only three North American resorts continue to ban snowboarders.

7) Doug Waugh Invents the Pipe Dragon (1990-1992)
Man-made halfpipes started to appear at a few select ski resorts in the mid-80s, but they were small and poorly groomed. Making and maintaining them was also incredibly labor intensive. So, most resorts just didn’t bother.

In 1990, a farmer named Doug Waugh was commissioned to design a machine that would make building halfpipes easier. The result: the Pipe Dragon, a giant piece of farm machinery that cuts big pipes out of large piles of snow and can also be used to keep pipes smooth. The first Pipe Dragon was built in 1992 and the device became a necessity for resorts that wanted quality halfpipes in their terrain parks. With halfpipes easier to build and maintain, more pipes and terrain parks started popping up across the country, giving snowboarding’s freestyle revolution even more momentum.

8) Johan Olofsson Rips Through Alaska in TB5 (1996)
Snowboard films, a niche market if there ever was one, started to play a major role in the sport during the 1990s. The films made snowboarders into bigger stars and documented the sport’s evolution as professional riders sought to raise the bar by doing more sophisticated tricks, getting bigger air and tackling increasingly dangerous terrain.

Enter Johan Olofsson’s appearance in Standard Films TB5. During his four-minute segment, the young Swede threw down cool spins, and caught some major air, but the scene that set the snowboard world on its tail was a death-defying run on the Cauliflower Chutes in Valdez, Alaska. Oloffsson rocketed down a 50 degree, 3,000 vertical foot slope in just 35 seconds, earning himself legendary status and a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records.

“Never before [and arguably never since] had a video part captured the raw energy, aggression and sheer power of top-level snowboarding so perfectly,” says Colin Whyte, former editor of Future Snowboarding. “If snowboarding has a finest hour, those four minutes have my vote.”

9) Snowboarding Makes an Auspicious Debut at the Winter Olympics (1998)
While snowboarding is now one of the biggest draws at the Winter Games, its Olympic debut in Nagano, Japan was mired in controversy. Norway’s Terje Haakonsen, at the time the best snowboarder in the world, boycotted the Games. Snowboarding’s first gold medalist, Canada’s Ross Rebagliati, tested positive for trace amounts of marijuana and was stripped of his medal only to have it returned since the substance wasn’t technically banned. Meanwhile, two U.S. female snowboarders created a stir simply by refusing to wear their team outfits at breakfast in the Olympic village and it was later revealed that U.S. Olympic Snowboard coaches didn’t really ride. “Japan just did not go that well,” Jake Burton said euphemistically a few years later. “It was kind of a disaster.”

10) Shaun White Completes A Perfect Season (2005-2006)
Shaun White’s Gold Medal halfpipe performance at the 2006 Winter Olympic Games earned him mainstream recognition and the cover of Rolling Stone, but it was just one victory in a perfect season that made him a legend.

Between December 2005 and March 2006, White entered 12 contests and knocked out 12 victories, among them all five Grand Prix Olympic Qualifiers, two Winter X Games events, and, of course, the gold medal in Torino. Yet, White’s most satisfying triumph may have occurred in mid-March, when he overcame what had been his own form of Kryptonite: the U.S Open. Though he’d been a major force on the scene for years, White had never won at the Open before. With his perfect season on the line, he finally found success at Stratton, scoring victories in both the halfpipe and slopestyle events.

Snowboard legends Craig Kelly, Shaun Palmer and Terje Haakonsen all dominated the sport and pushed it to new levels, but none of them laid down a season of perfection. Much like the 1972 Miami Dolphins, White accomplished a tremendous feat that will grow in stature over time as more and more competitors try (and most likely fail) to duplicate it.”