As I was scrolling through Facebook one day, I caught a glimpse of a pleasant surprise amidst the barrage of cat videos, politically-charged upheavals and “New Year, New Me” status updates. In the depths of all the other virtual noise, I found a rider blazing downhill with a different stance and with more control than any other downhill footage I have seen.Evolution of the product.Call it effective social media marketing or call it fate but I knew I had to reach out to President and CEO of Freebord Mfg. Steven Bianco to find out more about their San Francisco roots, their worldwide expansion and the individualistic niche they have quite literally carved out of the board sports world.Freebord is about “snowboarding the streets.”As mentioned, the movement started in creator Steen Strand’s SF garage under mountains of credit card debt and prototypes. Introducing Freebord to the world was, “the hardest thing I’ve ever done” Strand summed up bluntly.Steen Strand (circa 1997) sweated blood and tears making Freebord a reality. With the production help from some friends and the same humanizing word of mouth promotion, the Freebord community began to grow. Then, by aligning themselves with the snowboarding community, the brand thrived in Summer months as wholesalers sought out new products to sell.In demand and out the door! Bianco notes that this early success came at the point where digital video production was improving in quality and encouraging riders to go out and document their runs. By connecting through online forums, dedicated Freebord riders turned 8 hour trips to meet up and ride into a casual routine. The influx of footage that derived from these trips culminated in a series of Best User Submitted Video contests in 2005. To date, hundreds of amateur and professional film makes have took to the streets and shown the world what Freebord riders are capable of. To this end, riders like Caleb Casey have taken on snowboard-inspired pillow lines, while riders like Jordi Puig keep their sights on conquering mind-numbing lines down the Alps and stomping perfect frontside 360s for enders. Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, those like Mike Hoppe, stick to the San Fransisco terrain where he helped Freebord rise to fruition in its early days. Here in street skateboarding’s capital of hill bombs, Hoppe makes snaking down “the most crooked street in the world” look trivial with effortless frontside to backside transitions. Also here in the Bay Area, the the many members of the prominent local community have transformed the city into their own personal resort. As Bianco puts it, “Freebording has created it’s own irreverent sub-culture that resembles other board sports but is also not like other board sports.”Skyhooks meet Freebords and this allows Caleb Casey to take flight.The difference between the Freebords and cruisers, downhill boards or any fusion of the two is in the fundamental design and performance. From the bottom up, the Freebord was designed to simulate snowboarding on pavement, not to take the skill out of the longboarding or skateboarding. By designing the center castor wheels to act as a similar base to snow, the wide trucks were subsequently designed to keep riders flowing from heelside to toeside edge, like snowboarders would on the slopes. From there, the bindings allow riders more torque as would snowboard bindings, only they allow riders to easily hook in and out to add the ability to push and to step out. This completely reimagined way of taking the sensation of bringing snowboarding to the streets influences riding styles in a way that allows Freebord riders to size up a hill unlike the way any other boarder would approach one. Visit freeboard here.