In the mid ’80s, Rob Dow got in trouble with the law. His mother sent him from their home in Richmond, Vancouver to live with his father in Whistler. Dow claims it was, “the best thing to ever happen to me.” It was here where he saw snowboarding for the first time, and Dow was hooked at first sight. In ’87 he had his first board which quickly led to a decade-long run as a predominate pro. Signature boots with Vans and boards that sported his name and designs with Option. With his first pro-model board his inner nerd for board construction and design took over. “Option was making my boards in Vancouver,” says Dow. “It allowed me to design and build and I never really lost that desire.”
Now, after 30 years in the industry on every side of the spectrum, Dow has opened Wired Snowboards. Steps away from where Option once was he’s building boards and a brand in Vancouver’s Strathcona neighbourhood, and when the opportunity revealed itself, he dove in saying, “I needed a change of pace.” Dow’s fortunate enough to have other successful business ventures which provide financial freedom to work on his dream. Dow’s business partner, Peppe, is also in a unique situation. As an airline mechanic of 20 years he manages chunks of time away from the hanger. “Peppe loves snowboarding. He’s passionate about it. And so we just said, ‘Let’s do this together.’ We had to try,” explains Dow. What sets Wired apart is their ability to connect directly with consumers and create something unique. “We can pivot on the spot.” Ideas get put into action immediately, “we don’t have to wait six months, we can do it over the weekend.” Majority market brands are slaves to the storefront and mass consumer needs. In the same way craft beer has taken over, we’ve seen “Garage Brands” infiltrating the industry offering a comparable product with a personal touch. Backed by a story, history, and real people polishing progressive shapes and techniques. “It’s not hard to make a snowboard,” claims Dow. “It’s just having knowledge and craftsmanship to be able to pull it off.” Adding, “it’s about how you stand out.” Wired is doing something different, “Shops have always complained wanting this graphic on that board, but obviously, graphics don’t jump across series.” Wired offers clean art and colour options on every one of its models along with 100 per cent custom graphic and design availability. “As soon as you start showing people custom boards they jump right at the opportunity,” explains Dow.
After a spin through Wired’s storefront and workshop, we can guarantee custom options are the tip of the iceberg. Dow’s undying passion to learn and push the peripheral of product design is going to lead Wired to new places. “I’ve always wanted to do something a little bit more creative,” he says. “Maybe that’s the shapes, maybe that’s with some other stuff we’ve been developing.” Purposefully not elaborating he keeps ‘em guessing. “We’re trying to get some patents on some stuff we’ll be showing in the next year or so.” Dow’s lifelong addiction to snowboarding hasn’t loosened its grip and he couldn’t be happier about it. “If you’re passionate about something and you have an opportunity to turn that passion into your so-called job, I think you’re really lucky. So, I took the plunge and went for it. Because building a board and riding it for the first time? It’s just a phenomenal feeling. It’s so much fun.”
@WiredSnowboards is Distributed in Japan, Sweden, and Australia. Available at The Boardroom Shop in Vancouver. At wiredsnowboards.com and their Vancouver factory storefront, open Monday to Friday (920 Clark Dr.)