JMB from Square Melon Inc tells his story
It's summer time!
It's time to eat ice cream and look after your snowboard. Maybe you have been out on a few trips this winter, and have now just left your snowboard in the loft for the summer? We want to make sure that you look after your beloved board so you don't leave it to dry out over the summer. Now is a great time to get your board serviced or add a protective coat of wax to the base. While we are on the subject of ice cream and wax, please let us introduce the brand new, tried and tested, Square Melon wax.
Our good friend JMB has been cooking up some lovely snowboard wax for us this spring...yes, this wax works for skis as well. The new Square Melon Snowboarding wax. was used during the Spring break test earlier this year, and the response and glide was amazing. This is why we are going to use the all-temp Square Melon wax. for all board and ski servicing in the future.
If you’re not planning to go on a snowboard trip in the next few months, and you have left your snowboard to dry out in a shed or loft, come in and get your board serviced at The Board Basement. Alternatively come and get a summer coat of wax on your base so it doesn't dry out. We are offering the summer protecting coat at a reduced price., Come and pick up your own Square Melon wax. lollies or order through our website today!
You might have guessed it, the next person to take over the show is our friend J to the M to the B...
It’s the early 90s, Birmingham, Sunday morning, and I’m hungover from a night out in The Hummingbird, accessed with a less than legit NUS student card. I get up from the 80s soft, pink sofa, and go and change the channel on the 13 inch TV that has 4 buttons for the 4 channels and takes 2 men to move. I switch to channel 4, and my eyes and hangover are met by white, white snow, and I’m watching dudes stood on boards, going down the side of a mountain. The programme is Board Stupid and it changed my life.
I was a bit of a skater kid in my teens, I rode an H-Street Ron Allen board, and bought all my clothing from Ya Dude skates in the Oasis markets Birmingham (rumoured to have closed down for dealing drugs?!). Honestly I was no better than a kick flip and the odd power slide, but I loved it, the scene, the clothes, the people, and the girls it didn’t get me…. This is where a love of board sports started, so when I saw snowboarding on the TV, I knew I wanted to try it.
Living in the ‘centre of the UK’, a sprawling, urban, grey gloom town, options to try snowboarding were going to be limited; I was currently in college studying art and working part time, smashing up parcels and redirecting letters for the fun of it for the Royal Mail, no way I was getting over the channel to the mountains. I grabbed the yellow pages (no internet or iphones then) and found the Ackers Trust, a charity funded outdoor activity centre with a dry slope. When I say dry slope, I mean DRY slope, dendex wiry diamonds of death. I was wearing jeans (baggy), and a New Deal skate tee, so, you know, they knew I was cool and stuff (apart from my mom driving me in our family Triumph Acclaim).
My equipment was basically ski boots, with an improvised ski clip binding, without boring you all with details….I broke my wrist, first run, first go, first ever broken bone. Jump to 3 months later, the cast is gone, my appetite still wetted for shredding, so I book another lesson on the carpet of doom…….I break my other wrist, first run, second go, second broken bone ever, I shit you not, it was a different instructor and we couldn’t work out if I rode regs or goofy, turns out i'm regs after all, as riding goofy landed me another broken wrist. Jump forward another 3 months, I’m back again, and I don’t break any bones. A few really bad goes and sketchy falling leaf, I finally achieve ‘recreational’ standard. One of the instructors at Ackers (Warren) I think, owned a Snowboard shop in Merry Hill shopping centre, this is where I bought my first ever snowboard, a very life defining moment.
The board was a second hand 146cm Generics True snowboard with Blax bindings, I was fuuucking hyped. I immediately covered it in crap skate stickers. It was around about this time, I discovered that whilst I was breaking bones and learning to masturbate with a cast on, Tamworth had built something, something new, something wonderful, something special, the UK’s first real snow indoor slope. This was amazing, real snow, in the UK, in Tamworth, Tamworth for fucks sake!!
Booked myself onto lessons to attain the standard required to ride anytime on my own.I fucking sucked, and sucked bad, it was like having to learn again, wait, who am I kidding, it was learning again. I was so disappointed, I thought I’d rock up with my own second hand board, pale green airwalk snow pants and thought I’d kill it, like, literally kill it, that after 15 minutes, someone would go, ‘fuck dude you’re sick, fuck the lessons, you got this’.
It took me around 12 lessons to master falling leaf and attain the status I craved to be released from my child harness of lessons. No broken bones, only a bruised coccyx, bruised knees, wet ass, and a gooch full of snow. This deserved a reward, a new board! Heading into Birmingham I went into my first snowboard shop, a very daunting and intimidating experience. I was absolutely bricking it, I don’t mind saying I was scared, I didn’t think I was ‘cool’ enough, and the shop kids, who no doubt were sponsored and 1 million times radder than me, would see through me, straight into my punter soul and no messing would take the piss.
Credit card in hand, I went in, mentioning no names of stores, snowboard retail in the early 90s was very different to what it is now. The store is no longer there, and probably because when I went in, the ‘sales assistants’ were sitting on the counter and couldn’t even raise enough courtesy to even say hello. All I got was a disgusted up and down look, that made me feel like I wasn’t good enough to be in the shop, you could cut the arrogance and too cool for school ambiance with bevelled edge. Being an absolute noob at buying and snowboarding, I plucked up enough courage to ask for help, I was out of my depth and sweating so much from nerves that if I was wearing my Global Hyper colour t shirt at the time, my body fluids would probably have produced colours yet undiscovered on the human spectrum. I threw myself on the mercy of the all knowing gods in the store, I eventually left the store with what I would probably describe now as an ‘intermediate to advanced’ snowboard package. The board was a day glow yellow, topsheet Morrow Todd Richards 158, composite foam core snowboard with carbon torsion bars, which was stiffer than Ron Jeremy on his wedding night, and a set of the first incarnation of Burtons SI (step in) boot and binding combination, also stiffer than a girder, I was fuuuucking hyped, over £600 lighter but still hyped.
Getting ready in the changing area at the snowdome, my new set up, looked painfully new, painfully expensive, and I looked painfully like a Jerry. There were a bunch of other riders there, who were obviously better and way cooler than me, who had already scoped out my set up, that was shining brighter than a lighthouse on fire, the cool crew started taking the piss. I heard them coughing a whispering ‘NEW’ *coughs* ‘NEW’, it knocked my confidence and self worth hugely. Guess what?
First run, first go, on my new set up, broken wrist…
I was devastated, the board and boots were so stiff and unforgiving, I just wasn’t good enough to control it, the sintered base was too fast. Knowing what I know now, the set up was not suitable at all and to say I was ill advised was an understatement. I felt cheated and let down by the shop staff, it was at this time, I thought to myself, if I ever worked in a snowboarding shop, i'd go out of my way to be accommodating, inclusive, non-judgmental and helpful, so I did, I quit my job at Royal Mail and got a job as a shop kid for £9k a year at Fire & Ice Birmingham. I swear down, in this shop, having to sell Rockport shoes in the front section of the store and K2 snowboards at the back, made me a better salesman, and I endeavoured to offer only the best advice possible, offering equipment suited to needs and abilities. I met people here who are like brothers, and still ride with customers I met.
Jump forwards the next 15 years, I went from shop kid to supervisor, to assistant manager, manager, assistant buyer, hardgoods buyer and then UK sales manager for Capita and Union in the UK. The whole time I maintained the same attitude, I wanted to give people a positive and helpful experience, making up for the poor experience I had, this drove me, and motivated me to be honest, sometimes brutally honest, I never sold anything to anyone that wasn’t suitable, even when it meant sending a buyer to a competitor.
Over the years, i've met amazing people, been around the world, met idols and ‘newbies’, eaten more cheese than a French mouse, and maintained a below average skill level at snowboarding. I’ve fallen out of love with snowboarding so many times over my time, but never turned my back on it, and snowboarding and the people never turned their backs on me. Although I now no longer work full time in snowboarding, I still want to keep giving and contributing to snowboarding. I’d always try and start my own ‘thing’, one of my first ventures being setting up 9mm/9 milli media, the film company that would grow to be Grindhouse films with Jamie Durham. This eventually lead me to set up a distribution and agency with long time friend and full time wasteman Rich Jonas, together we set up Square Melon Inc. representing Bonfire/Nikita/Sessions outerwear, and Stinky socks in the UK. Working with Rich was almost organic, we both felt the same way about the industry, both had the same attitude, and he’s one hell of a nice guy. Our ethos was, ‘We won't make a promise we can't keep’.
Jump forwards to present time, I’d always wanted to create something of my own, develop it and bring a quality snowboard product to the market. Square Melon Inc now gave the opportunity to do this, and with a small investment, and a lot of patience from Rich (soz Rich) we are now proud to offer Square Melon wax., an all temperature ski and snowboard wax, that is handmade, mixed, shaped and packaged right here in the UK, by our own hands. The novelty of the ice lolly shape forms 2 purposes, it looks good and means you can hold onto the lolly stick whilst melting the wax and not your fingers. We currently offer 2 ‘flavours’, mango and new melon. We also offer workshop wax and have plans to develop into surf and skate wax.
My snowboarding story isn’t over, probably never will be. For this, the people i've met, the places i've been, the friends i've made, I’ll be eternally grateful.
Follow James on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/Qwertyjerk/
Connect with Square Melon Inc on Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/squaremelonwax/