“I want to keep pushing”
When Shaun White launched a limited edition of 50 signed snowboards as a soft launch for his lifestyle brand Whitespace in January, he didn’t expect them to be flying off the shelves so quickly.
With the hype surrounding White’s participation in his final Winter Olympics in February, the direct-to-consumer boards, available exclusively through retail partner Backcountry, sold out immediately.
“It wasn’t a big money heist; I just wanted to do something exciting to spread the word if you’re a true snowboard fanatic and want to keep up to date,” White told me.
However, there is good news for those fans who might have missed out on snagging one of these limited edition boards – or even for those who did but don’t want to ride a signed keepsake. On Monday, Whitespace expanded with the launch of three new snowboards, along with apparel and accessories.
Ahead of the 2022 Winter Games, White had competed on his custom whitespace board, although many may not have noticed. The three-time Olympic gold medalist’s Burton sponsorship actually ended before the PyeongChang 2018 Games when his contract expired, but his longtime partner supported him during those Games.
However, White has had a desire since childhood to launch his own brand – like Tony Hawk’s Birdhouse. He thought, How incredible it would be to go to the Olympics with my own product.
Not long after the 2018 Winter Games, White and his brother Jesse, a Creative Brand Director, began working on the concept that would evolve into Whitespace.
“Every little step of the way was driven entirely by my ideas and my brother’s ideas,” White said. They didn’t want to “walk out with 10 different boards and 20 jackets,” he added; The couple pared the offering down to the essentials — which is what White would pack on a snowboard trip himself.
That’s why the launch includes so many garments that are just as at home on the slopes as they are in the city.
The black performance kit includes a three-in-one Sherpa jacket, allowing riders to stay warm on the mountain and then head out for a drink in something stylish. The jacket is $499 and the performance pants are $349.
The signature puff is similarly warm enough for bitterly cold riding days, but stiff enough to wear around town. It costs $299.
If asked to describe the variation in three words, White would choose perfomance and clean. After deliberation, he adds that the third could be disturbing. “There’s the clean freshness of the logo and the products that we make, but there’s also that annoying kind of graininess because we’re the newcomers to the industry,” he says.
The three boards included in the Whitespace launch also offer something for every rider, whether park rat, big mountain shredder or powder surfer.
The Freestyle Shaun White Pro Snowboard 2023, which retails for $575, is a directional twin with a camber pattern and is available in 150, 154, 156, 158, 160 and 162 cm lengths. (It’s also available as a rounded twin youth board in sizes 100, 110, 120, and 130.)
The 2023 AMF Park Twin Snowboard, which has been sold out at the time of this writing, features a Camber X-Rocker profile with a progressive sidecut and twin-shape blunt tips. It is available in sizes 148, 152, 155 and 158.
Retails at $595, the powder! The 2023 snowboard is directional with a nose flex pattern and features a camber flex pattern. It is available in sizes 152, 155 and 160.
The line also includes three glasses that use Lumalens technology for optimal contrast. It’s refreshing to see the brand encouraging riders to “protect their noggins” with the goggle’s seamless helmet integration design. (When Shaun White says it’s cool to wear helmets, the kids at the park have no excuse.)
As with the first limited edition snowboard launch, the Whitespace line is available exclusively through retail partner Backcountry.
“The whole idea was, let’s make stuff that’s stylish and cool, but has the ability to withstand anything a mountain might throw at it,” White said. He is proud that every product in the line is used, approved and tested by him. “We’re not trying to come out with a line of cars. That is authentic for me; that’s what I know.”
The line takes its cues from what’s happening in fashion right now, with riders cruising around in big, baggy jackets and well-known outdoor brands collaborating with high-end fashion designers. White wants to reflect that in his brand, and he’s noticed it elsewhere in the industry.
“I applaud brands that are reinventing themselves and bringing themselves to market,” said White. “For companies that have been around as long as The North Face and Patagonia, it’s really cool to see how they evolve over time.”
However, White is clear that Whitespace has its roots in snow sports and snowboarding and not in pretending to be a high-end fashion brand. “I think we’re trying to get into those places and want to offer something to our customers in that space,” White said. “It’s nice to dip a toe where we’d like to be.”
While testing products on the go, White maintained a standard as high as the walls of an Olympic superpipe. “Like my snowboarding career, it’s been an endless pursuit of progress,” he said. “I want to keep pushing”
The design team, with White’s insight, made “dramatic changes” to the boards and line ahead of launch. “The proof is in the equipment; You can’t fake it,” White said. “I’m so excited that people are trying the products and putting them to the test.”
The brand also reflects the different but equally authentic versions of white that exist among the public.
There’s the goofy, easy-going guy who makes silly videos in an elevator or performs on stage with his girlfriend Nina Dobrev Saturday night live, where White was recently unplanned into a sketch while he was on set to support his friend and host Miles Teller. (Surprisingly, White had never previously performed or hosted on SNL, though he’s been in the building many times for NBC’s Olympic production. He called it “a dream come true.”)
Then there’s the ambitious competitor we’ve seen in so many competitions over the years, with a brain that, as White put it, “has been programmed by myself to win at all costs since I was seven.” years old”.
“It was actually a huge undertaking for me to pull back, sit down and actually settle for, ‘Hey man, you might not win this,'” added the 36-year-old.
At the last Olympics for White, he finished fourth in the men’s halfpipe, just short of the podium. None of the three medalists – Japan’s Ayumu Hirano, Australia’s Scotty James and Switzerland’s Jan Scherrer – is older than 28. To have been with this crew considering how much the sport has changed in the past four years ( Hirano landed the first triple cork in). Olympic history) is an achievement in itself.
“Nina has been an amazing help through all of this; What a partner,” White said. After their very last competition at the Beijing Games, the pair embarked on a whirlwind global retirement tour, hitting places where snowboarding competitions don’t normally take place – Monaco, Maldives, Greece.
“This next chapter is about family, friends and relationships,” White continued. “I’m much more confident, much more aligned with my own goals and those of everyone else. I’m not trying to get there alone; I want everyone to cross the finish line together. I couldn’t say that at the beginning of my career.”