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Taro Tamai 

Taro Tamai is carving new lines with his unique snowboard shapes and style of riding, but Snowsurfing is all about the mindset.

Taro Tamai Pioneer

As a legendary Japanese snowboarder and chief shaper and owner of Gentemstick, Taro Tamai is carving new lines in snowboarding by breaking the stereotypical idea of snowboard design and bringing a unique style of riding to mountains all over the world. "Snowsurfing," what he calls his style of riding, isn't just a modern style of snowboarding, he explains, it's a mindset and culture – it's the very essence of snowboarding.

"People always ask me how I define Snowsurfing. It’s not about snowboarding just like you surf, or vice versa. It’s about the mindset."

“People always ask me how I define Snowsurfing. It’s not about snowboarding just like you surf, or vice versa. It’s about the mindset. Snow and waves are both magical, natural phenomena for snowboarders and surfers all around the world to play with one single board. Both have a completely different form but originate from water. We all enjoy gliding the surface, and it’s always the same feeling whether it’s snow or waves. We just need one single technique, so I’ve been exploring that path. Snowsurfing is not a category, and to be honest, it can be anything. Snow or waves, mountain or surf, we should not draw a line. It’s our culture.”

Taro Tamai Snowsurfing
Taro Tamai Snow Shaper

From epic powder to groomers, snowboarding is inspired by his artistic approach to riding and his ideas in various terrains. He is indispensable to snowboarding, not just for the Japanese scene, but also for snowboarding culture all over the planet.

When Taro started pointing turns for surfing and snowboarding in the same way, the typical gear found on the market was no longer enough to satisfy his demands. So he made his own. Gentemstick was built on the idea of using board design to change the style of riding, and in the twenty years since, he’s watched Snowsurfing grow up as a culture. The next step in progression was a Snowsurfing specific snowboard boot, so he teamed up with K2 Snowboarding on his vision.

“I’ve been designing snowboards for a long time – and when it comes to snowboarding, the next critical component is the boot – so it was an honor to be a part of the boot design project. I’ve always wanted to be equipped with the BOA Fit System, so being able to incorporate it into the design made it possible to bring my vision to life.”

Long before joining the development team, Taro ran into Gary Hammerslag, the founder of BOA Technology, in the mountains of Niseko, Japan. It was 2011, and Taro was still uncertain of the BOA Fit System, but as he began to discuss his ideal boots with Gary, the possibilities became more clear. After a little conversation and a deeper understanding of how BOA can develop unique configurations for the different demands of the rider, he realized BOA was the best and only solution for a Snowsurfing-style boot.

Taro Tamai Snowsurfer Powder

“I think a boot lacing system should be designed around the demands of the rider and how the boot will be used. BOA could make it happen. So when it came to developing a boot for Snowsurfing, utilizing the BOA Fit System was a necessity for my style of riding. We started with an H3+ Focus configuration, but I think we’ll design it from the ground up for the next model.”

Taro Tamai Dialing In
Taro Tamai Art Gallery

Disruption is at Taro Tamai’s core – he believes the greatest successes come from finding the essence of a stereotype, and breaking through it. “It’s the biggest and best job,” he explains, and when it comes to developing snowboard boots, he’s on the same path.

Stay tuned for more of Taro Tamai’s journey as he gets dialed in with BOA and brings his new boots and culture to the mountain.

Photography by Katsuhide FUJIO.



Get the gear.


K2 Taro Tamai Snowsurfer

K2 Taro Tamai Snowsurfer Boot

The K2 Taro Tamai Snowsurfer takes the BOA Fit System’s best-in-class, performance-driven Dual Dial H4 configuration and pairs it with soft-flexing construction materials to deliver a premium and technical take on a softer flexing snowboard boot fit to surf the mountains.