CAPiTA Founder Blue Montgomery recently hired long-time friend, former pro-shred, and snowboard engineer Sean Tedore to the brand’s pro desk jockey squad to handle product development and US marketing.
Tedore began designing boards at K2 in 2005 and has more award winning decks under his belt than most people have ridden. We caught up with him to find out what he’s bringing to the table for 2012/13 and beyond, what makes a good ride, and his upcoming marketing efforts at CAPiTA.
You’ve known Blue for a while right? How long have you guys been talking about doing something together at CAPiTA?
We have always talked about the idea of working together, but it wasn’t until recently with CAPiTA that the timing was right for them to bring me on to help. Blue felt that I would fit since we were such good friends, had similar interests, and already knew each other’s personalities. The fact that I have a mechanical engineering degree, six years board-design experience, a history in the snowboard industry, and that we are both from Iowa made it a no brainer.
What appealed to you about CAPiTA‘s business model?
CAPiTA just feels like home. All my best friends work there. CAPiTA is all about people, products, philosophy, family, employees, the reps, and friends. CAPiTA is a real snowboard company in the industry. I always said that if I had the choice to ride any board, it would be a CAPiTA. Everyone involved in the brand has been in snowboarding forever and everything CAPiTA does is to better snowboarding. Our sales manager got over 100+ days in last year. The brand has always stayed very loyal, focused, and willing to take a lot of risks that other brands are scared to try. With graphics, for example, if we like it, then we make it. It might offend someone but it reflects who we are.
As a mechanical engineer and the designer of over 20 Good Wood winning decks, what makes a good snowboard in your opinion?
A good snowboard is one that works—not full of gimmicks or marketing tricks. Every part of the board needs to serve a purpose. The end goal for me is to make boards that feel like they are broken in and ready to ride day one. Anyone can get used to any board, but a board that works from the very first turn is a board that you will love forever.
How has that changed since you started designing them in 2005?
At first everything was pretty stock. Every board had camber. Every board had a relatively simple sidecut. The blend zones were pretty much the same for all boards. Tip shapes were all relatively round. Now I feel like the floodgates are open and anything goes. I remember the first rocker board we made. No one was doing it yet and we weren’t sure it would work—sure enough it did and look where we are now. From that moment on it was like “anything goes.” You start thinking about all these other things you never thought you could change and the next thing you know you have a board that is completely new and you can do things you never thought possible.
When you’re designing a new board, do you think about how you can explain its attributes to riders and retailers or is that left to the marketing cats?
From my experience, I understand what riders want and need. I understand the feelings riders are having so I can easily translate the tech engineering jargon into descriptions that have meaning to them. Being able to bridge the gap between the engineers and the riders has been one of my biggest strengths as a designer. So when it comes to actually designing the board, my first thought is: “What will make a good riding board to meet the needs of the customer it is intended for?” I always want to make boards that work, first and foremost. If it is a freestyle board, it needs to be really good at everything freestyle, same with jib, or powder or all terrain boards. That’s what I love about CAPiTA. We are on our own path designing what we want and not worried about what others are doing.
I tend to try and design what I feel works and stick to what I know instead of designing a board for the sake of selling a few more with a crafty marketing story. There are too many crappy boards in the market with a marketing twist on it to make it sound amazing. The end customer rides the board and it doesn’t do what it’s supposed to and they are bummed. I think it’s really unfair to the end customer, and is creating a lot of confusion in our industry on what works and doesn’t. That’s why a lot of people are already resisting the rocker movement and just want a camber board. They rode one or two really shitty rocker designs cause someone panicked to get a board out into the market without redesigning it just to ride the market wave to sell a few more boards. It’s sad cause the rocker movement has really opened the door to create some really amazing riding snowboards.
I’d imagine you’re finalizing the 12/13 line as we speak. How much of a role did you play in next season’s designs? Was lot of that done before you came on board?
The new line was roughed out and the graphics were pretty far along when I showed up, but I did have a lot of influence on what will be coming out. I am really excited about it and think it is really going to be next level. I had the opportunity to design a couple new shapes for new families that I am really proud of as well.
What are you most stoked on in the 12/13 line up?
I got to design a new men’s board that is coming out that I feel is going to be a really solid board. I am excited for everyone to see it and ride it. Intense graphic and progressive new shape.
Are you excited to be doing factory trips to Austria instead of China?
Austria and Italy are some of the most beautiful places on the earth. Great food, great people, amazing air quality and tons of delicious espresso! China is a great place as well that everyone needs to check out, but I am very happy with my new work destination.
What options are you seeing Elan bringing to the table?
I think Elan is the best factory on the planet. Everyone working there is extremely smart and very open to innovation. I see great things and some really innovative products coming out of that factory. I am super excited to get to work with them and I think the knowledge we both share will make a great partnership in the future.
How has the response been to “Defenders of Awesome”?
Defenders of Awesome has been amazing! I feel our team is one of the best in the game and they really stepped up in this flick. Great riding, great music, and just a video that really makes you want to go ride! Mark Dangler killed it. The response has been outstanding. If you haven’t seen it you can buy it digitally or the full DVD on our website www.CAPiTAsnowboarding.com.
Are you guys going to do another team film this season? Not next year. We feel that when the time is right to make another movie we will but for next season we will not be making one.
Any plans to broaden the categories you guys work in now that there’s a real live engineer in the ranks?
We will see how things develop, but we’re pretty focused on the foundation that already exists.
Anything I’ve missed that you’d like to hit? I just wanted to say thank you to everyone at CAPiTA, C3 and A4, my girlfriend, xo, and everyone in Seattle. I am so excited to be working with you all.