Dear Rider, an HBO Original documentary produced by Red Bull Media House, is a celebration of the life and vision of Jake Burton Carpenter (1954-2019), the pioneer who propelled the sport of snowboarding into a global and cultural phenomenon.
Inspired by the “Snurfer,” a surfboard-styled strip of wood, Jake created his first snowboard in 1977 as an inexpensive alternative to skiing. From there, he developed increasingly versatile boards, lobbied ski resorts to allow snowboarding, sponsored world-class athletes, fended off rival companies, and navigated the cultural backlash of what media outlets called the “Worst New Sport.” By the late-90s, Jake's vision catapulted the punk-infused culture of snowboarding into the mainstream—and, ultimately, onto the world stage of the Olympics.
But as Jake and Burton thrived in the new century, he battled two very serious health problems: Miller Fisher Syndrome, a rare nerve disorder, as well as cancer, which ultimately claimed his life in 2019.
Culminating in the 2020 Burton US Open Snowboarding Championships, the first Burton event following Jake’s passing, Dear Rider is a vivid illustration of how one person’s dreams, coupled with tenacity and grit, can literally change the world.
In His Own Words
Jake was always hands-on, and determined to do things his own way. No one could map out his life story but him, so he wrote it himself.
Join us in honoring Jake Burton Carpenter's legacy by writing him a note sharing how snowboarding changed your life.
"A well-rounded portrait of the man who saw a sport in that undefined slab of fiberglass and forever changed life on the mountain."
- Eddie Pells
"'Dear Rider’ is more than Burton Snowboards’ origin story; it’s a love letter to founder Jake Burton Carpenter"
- Michelle Bruton
“Dear Rider reminds each of us about the powerful nature behind snowboarding, the essence we must never forget, which is chasing the escape, and sharing it with your friends."
- Stan Leveille
Love Letters to
An Olympic sport, a global phenomenon, and a radically new method of exploring the mountains. Read the love letters to snowboarding, and the man who built the sport.