So you know that board brand, CAPiTA? They are so avant-garde you'd think that it was conceived by art school drop-out hipsters last week, but not at all.
So you know that board brand, CAPiTA? They are so avant-garde you'd think that it was conceived by art school drop-out hipsters last week, but not at all. CAPiTA just turned all of 10 and it's still cooler than your freezer. We checked in with the mastermind behind such awesome creations, the one and only Blue Montgomery. Read on to find out about his international daily grind and learn a bit about what goes on behind the scenes at CAPiTA HQ.
Hi Blue, how are you doing at this exact moment?
At this very moment, I’m doing great. It’s 6pm, the office just quieted down, and there is a banger sunset about to happen over the ship canal outside my window. The most productive part of my work day is about to start.
Bossin' by the boats. Photo: Joel Fraser
Ten years of darkness and scary shredding stuff, what’s that feel like?
It’s surreal. When we started CAPiTA, I was 26 years old – I’m 36 now. It’s wild to think about it in the context of living, breathing, and focusing on a singular goal – every single day – for over a quarter of your life.
What are some memorable experiences between 2000 and 2010?
Man, where do I start? In the early days things were so intense. The bomb going off at our very first tradeshow booth was an event I’ll never forget. Calling my partners saying things like, “We need $80,000 by Thursday or we’re out of business". Pulling all-nighters building boards with Seth Huot at our first factory in Canada. Any given day spent with Jason Brown. Definitely time and travel spent with the CAPiTA team at various stages. Costa Rica, with Seth, TJ, Pat, Human 5. Europe Summer Camps with Jonas the Bonus. Classic Japan with TJ, Joel, and Eph. Washington coast before we made First Kiss… all great memories. Winning the Team Challenge, getting our first cover, and showing up to events like Superpark with pride, knowing the dudes that ride for CAPiTA are bad ass. After we switched factories, I started spending a lot of time in Europe in the summer and met what would become an extended family in Lake Como, Italy and Carinthia, Austria. The personal experiences and memories built over last seven years in these two places will last a lifetime. I could write a book about all the shit that’s happened. I ‘d say the #1 experience though was the day I walked into my old boss’ office with a letter of resignation and told him I was going to quit my job and start the best snowboarding company in the world!
Blue has been kicking methods out like a mad mule for years. Photo: Eric Berger
How many drinks were consumed during this period and what was the party/work rate back in the day?
The party/work ratio has always been under control at CAPiTA out of necessity. Creating a successful company is very, very, difficult, and It’s not going to happen showing up half-assed and hung over every day. Corey Smith and Dustin Craven, obvious exceptions.
The CAPiTA familia. Photo: Dave Lehl
What would be the difference between CAPiTA 10 years ago and CAPiTA today and how do you think the industry has changed during CAPiTA’s lifespan?
From a creative standpoint, the framework behind what we do is largely the same, however what is viewed as acceptable graphics by outsiders has changed. Ten years ago artists and designers and riders loved our graphics, but retailers thought they were too crazy or complicated to sell. Over time, the general aesthetic of snowboard graphics industry-wide has evolved so that even though CAPiTA boards are crazier now than they were 10 years ago, somehow they seem more acceptable or sellable to a wider range of people.
The CAPiTA team has been pretty steady for a while in terms of big names, will there be any changes in the near future or is this still super secret?
Our team has always evolved very naturally. We don’t steal riders from other companies, that’s just not our style. Our plan is the same as always: to support the people that support us, and give our riders anything we can to help them reach their goals.
How can you top something like the Charlie Slasher or Black Death boards? Is technical and design progress still going as fast as it was or will it be more like minor tweaks to successful products from here on out?
Product progression happens naturally when the focus is placed on developing the next idea… engineering and evolving whatever we’re most excited about next. Of course, we have an obligation to come up with new products every year, but the reality is you don’t come up with successful products from obligation, you come up with them from inspiration. Sometimes something happens in life or on the mountain, and you just know that things are going to change. That’s not something that you can force, it just happens. Charlie Slasher was born and it’s the best pow board of all time. It’ll change your life, it changed mine. The goal is to develop a board line where different people, from different places, with different styles can say that same thing about the boards they choose in our line.
What does a standard day in the life of Blue Montgomery look like?
Well, a standard work day looks like this: wake up at 7AM and check email, work till 8AM on any European or factory issues. Shower, eat, and drive to the office by 9AM, hopefully missing bullshit traffic. Work on a wide range of business issues from 9AM-3PM. 3PM Seattle time is 6AM in Tokyo when “CAPiTA Japan” opens. Work on creative issues from 3PM to 8PM. Drive home, hopefully missing bullshit traffic. Kiss my girlfriend, apologize for being home late, thank her for cooking me an amazing dinner, drink a bottle of wine, and go to sleep dreaming about sailboats, pow turns, and some other weird, random, craziness that may or may not find it’s way into the future storyline of CAPiTA.
Crailing while sailing on one of the early CAPiTA boards. Photo: Joel Muzzey
Do you still get to shred a lot these days? Who are your riding buddies?
Oh hell yeah, man. Of course when I’m on the road I love shredding with all the CAPiTA kids. When I’m home in Washington I like to ride pow days at Alpental with Todd Schlosser. He still rips like crazy, and on those days I have to be on top of my shit instead of just cruising around making pow turns with (Sean) Tedore. I ride Stevens Pass a lot too and shred with everyone from work. And, I do a little reunion trip back to Utah to shred with all my homies and old roommates, Cody Dresser, Bobby Meeks, Jason Bump, Travis Wood, Chris Saydah, E-Stone, Ami Voutilainen and whoever happens to be in town at the moment. Basically, I look forward to any and every pow turn I can get.
Coming from being a pro yourself back in the day, how does it compare to nowadays where some pros can earn almost as much as football superstars with their own reality shows and all that?
The money is different, the expectations are different, the tricks are different, and for some, the level of celebrity is different, but I believe for the riders that really understand what it’s about, the base experience is the same. Sponsorship is a gift to travel the world with your friends and go snowboarding. To seek and share new experiences that otherwise would not have been possible. “Snowboarding isn’t about the tricks. It’s about the people and the places.” Yes, I just quoted Dustin Craven. I can’t believe it either... But I couldn’t agree more!
Most of you probably don't know this but Blue was a big time pro back in the day, check out this bossy switch back one into a sketchy, sketchy landing in Zermatt... Photo: Kevin Zacher
Which influential shredder from the past who wasn’t on CAPiTA would you like to be on the team and why?
Kevin Jones. Because he was in the room with the high-fives and cheers when CAPiTA was conceived, but later decided to go another direction. In the end, Jeenyus is no longer in business and CAPiTA is. It's interesting to ponder if anything would be different now, had he picked us.
Where do you see CAPiTA in 10 years from now?
Still Devouring Everything.
Apart from the 10-year anniversary special edition 2010/11 catalog, will there be any other product to celebrate this momentous occasion? Maybe a collab between all the C3 brands (Union, Coal, CAPiTA) or a design which brings us back to the days of odd Travis Parker boards combined with flat kick or something?
We did a Union Custom House binding this year on a Union Contact chassis with Ultrafear graphics on it. So it’s a collage of all the graphics for the year just like the Ultrafear FK. Loud, obnoxious, and badass-looking. Our Union brothers just made that for us as a nice birthday gift and CAPiTA/Union fans were stoked. Thanks dudes! That said, our official 10Y product for the year is The 10-Year Anniversary Black Snowboard of Death. It’s the only graphic theme that’s spanned all 10 years of our company, and it has the iconic year-one “Merchant of Death” skull on the base. The board has been completely overhauled with a Freeride FK hybrid camber profile, 3rd contact point, and a lot of other tech features. Watch Dan Brisse’s closer in Absinthe’s Now/Here to see what it’s capable of.
Awesome, thanks Blue, here's to 10 more years of CAPiTA! capitasnowboarding.com
Interview by Edgar Lanting