A passion and family history !
They met some time ago, back when Oliver used to hang around Chris’s board shop in Perpignan, France. It was one of those real camaraderie’s we find so rarely in a lifetime. Chris, whom was a bit older than Oliver, used to help him find sponsors, snowboards and gear. In exchange, whenever Oliver would be standing on stage accepting a win for his snowboarding excellence, he would proudly show off stickers from Chris’s shop: “BTRshop” to help promote the affair. As life took its course, the two went separate ways. Oliver became older and got certified to teach snowboarding so that he could pass on what he loved, all the while Chris sold his shop to go on an International adventure with his paddleboard project called “Redwoodpaddle.” Time passed, and when their paths crossed again their friendship was just as strong as the days of spending endless hours in the shop, talking about their own dreams. This go around, they decided to combine those ideas; it was now time for Chris and Oliver to make their very own snowboard brand. They used Redwoodpaddle’s business model in order to keep prices fair while creating a brand new board style that would set them apart from all the other snowboard companies.
Then it began, endless factory visits, testing, prototypes, more tests, new prototypes… designs, (simple and clean: we all like to hear that), a few more tests and then finally: approval of the boards! All the woodcores of their boards come from forests whose wood is FSC certified, which is a label guaranteeing that forests are managed in a responsible and sustainable way. Such natural resource management is essential for Stone.
“I began snowboarding in 1990 in the Pyrenees when I was eight years old, for some reason ski never really interested me. I started out with soft binding boards and then evidentially transition to hard binding. I don’t mean to be “that guy” when I say this, but those really were the best years for snowboarding! I started competing with the Angles Club 66 (my regions professional team) I loved the atmosphere right away, lets just say we had coaches who actually knew what they were doing. Right away I was accepted by the second largest snowboarding brand in the world and that’s how the love affair with snowboarding began. It guided all the decisions I made during my youth, including school. My parents understood and respected my passion completely, and for that I’ll always be grateful. Not too long after, I met Chris Defrance who was the founder and owner of BTR shop! I used to hang at his store because he was the only one whom I felt was up-to-date with what was current, and actually listened to what I needed. He shared my uncontrollable passion for ridding. I was this youngin’ high schooler getting sponsored by the brands he sold. Thanks to him I kept up contacts with awesome sponsors. Then we went our separate ways, Chris continued on with BTR, but let’s be real, the man had a million other ideas going on. I stopped snowboarding just before 2006 to take over my fathers company. Six years had passed working for the family affair and I couldn’t do it anymore, there were too many sharks in the business world. I rode the mountains, not the ocean! I wanted to help others learn what I love, and France says that you have to ski to get your snowboarding instructors license. I was not about to give in. Instead I decided to go to Switzerland to get certified for teaching snowboard, and yeah you guessed it, no skiing necessary. I’ve learned that life is constant process of starting all over again. Anyways, 3 years in Switzerland was enough for a man raised by the Mediterranean: time to dip! Faced with more projects (including those crazy life ones) we decide to throw ourselves to the wolves and see what would happen. It was in 2015... (2018, I'm a dad of a 4 year old boy & my wife expecting a girl for January 2019. Chris triplement daddy of 2 big girls & one fresh new girl, many things happen shortly) I don’t know if you’ve heard but skiing is really popular now… this new splitboard ski market is doing crazy good. All for economic growth but what’s the snowboarding community supposed to do if there are no improvements being made for us? Let’s be real, going down a mountain on skis just because that’s the “new thing” when you’re a snowboarder at heart is just too wrong. That’s why were here to help you; the products were trying to get you are new shapes, new materials and designs that you can’t help but love. We produce in Europe @ 2 hours of plane from home. In Poland at NBL SPORTS in the clearest transparency. . The main focus is minimalism. No more eyesores called “art” all over your snowboard. This is about ridding, not seriously considering a visit to the optometrists just cuz you can’t read the graffiti on your buddy’s’ board. I promise your vision is fine, he has no idea what it says either. Our designs are about simplicity. Stone Snowboards is the first snowboard brand straight from the Pyrenees. We are born to ride.”
“I started snowboarding in 1985 with two slabs of wood, a little fiber glass, some resin, and old piping. I’ve always loved engineering my own sliding apparatuses, originally with windsurf, paddleboards, and now snowboards. I was never good enough to go pro, but I always wanted to be a part of the culture. To do so I took a different approach, I got the official certificate to coach sports, worked sales in surf shops, and then became a shop owner myself. It has and always will be my life! This profession has helped me make unreal connections, but Oliver and I have known for a long time now that we’d end up working on something together… So there’s our story, and we love it. We travel, surf, have fun, and more importantly we love what we do.”
But after six months together, Chris can not take care of Redwood Paddle & Stone Snowboards, Olivier took over the brand beginning in January 2016 as a chick takes its first flight !!!
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