The first genetically engineered snowboard?


Jan 1, 2001
Outside Magazine

Mervin Manufacturing cofounders Mike Olson and Pete Saari, both 36, have taken snowboarding into an era when playing God is an appropriate form of R&D. Or so they say. The pair's new Gnu Altered Genetics snowboard ($499; 206-270-9792; features a two-headed sheep logo and is built on a wood core they call "Specimen 273677." The company claims the tree is a genetically engineered plant that combines the best qualities of balsa, bamboo, and aspen, but the USDA has never heard of such a Frankenwood. Further, after examining a Gnu-supplied micrograph of Specimen 273677, University of Idaho forest products professor Steven Shook says the plant is likely just royal paulownia, a fast-growing tree native to China. Genetic marvel or not, the GAG is indeed 30 percent lighter than anything currently available, so you can expect to see it flying just a shade higher at your local halfpipe. "It performs better than composites, and it's organic," gushes Olson. "So many years I've worked with composites, but this is too good to be true." He might be right.