The Mervin Factory - where Lib Tech, Gnu and Roxy snowboards and Bent Metal bindings are made - is located in Sequim (pronounced like “squid” but with an “m” instead of a “d”), Washington. Our directions lead us into an otherwise typical industrial park, and then we see it: the battered silver Toyota Celica ST used as a logging rig in Brain Farm’s film That’s It, That’s All.
This must be the place. What would otherwise be known as a factory, Mervin founder Pete Saari calls “The Kitchen.” And at 8 a.m. on a Wednesday, it’s bustling, buzzing with the sounds and smells of snowboards being made: saws cutting, presses pressing, grinders grinding. The steamy air smells of glue, wood, sawdust and body odor.
Justin Cash and I are about to build a Gnu Billy Goat split and a Lib Tech T. Rice split this morning and ride backcountry pow in Olympic National Park by afternoon. It’s hard to fathom going from factory to freeriding as Mervin’s Prototype and Production Tooling Tech guy, Pos (short for Apostolos Karabotsos), walks us into a back room where two rectangular piles of raw cores, edges, base material and topsheets are stacked on the table. Pos grew up shredding with Jamie Lynn and has been a cook in Mervin’s kitchen for over 20 years.
From here to the press and outward is a sea of snowboards in various stages of completion, racked for unknown destinations. Stacks of cores, topsheets, and lengths of edge cover tables and floor space, fill shelves and employee hands. Everything gels like one big hallucination, a tattoo in motion. Colorful art, graffiti, stickers and posters are spackled everywhere as boards move constantly from one stage of production to the next. No windows to speak of. Ductwork snakes everywhere and somber fluorescents cast a grainy hue.
A sticker above the press reads, “My work speaks to itself.” Trippy, much like the rest of our factory tour, which merges Willy Wonka eccentricities with world-class manufacturing to create some of the most innovative shred devices known to man.