It’s been 6 years since Travis brought his concept for a powerful “whale tailed” apex performance fish snowboard to our ExperiMENTAL division. It went from phone calls to, napkin and notebook sketches to cad drafts and prototypes and came to life in 2018 as the magical original 153. The Orca with it’s versatile design features and beautiful aesthetics quickly developed into an all-terrain snowboard phenomenon.
We have had an amazing run with the Orca snowboard…by popular demand we added sizes to accommodate the wide variety of riders that wanted the fun, floaty carvy Orca power fish experience. Last winter we worked with Travis to develop an ultra-high tech carbon Apex Orca and a new more switch freestyle friendly Orca derivative with the Natural Selection event in mind… the Golden Orca.
Coinciding with the development of the original Orca snowboard model we were hearing reports of our beloved Southern resident Orca pod neighbors struggling with declining salmon runs and habitat degradation. As the board began doing well Travis and our internal team decided we needed to try and use all the positive Orca energy you all gave us to help preserve the beautiful creatures.
We connected with local non-profit Orca advocates at the Orca Conservancy and found an amazing crew of passionate dedicated Orca lovers including president and snowboarder Tamara Kelley. In Tamara and the Orca Conservancy we found a partner organization that was dedicated to the complex challenge of helping preserve our local Orca pods and set up a program where a portion of revenue from every Orca snowboard sold goes directly to the Orca Conservancy.
The Orca Conservancy works on a multiple aspects of the challenges facing the Southern Resident Orca. The Southern resident Orca feed primarily on salmon who’s population has been on the decline due to loss of habitat, over fishing etc. Salmon habitat restoration is a big agenda for the Conservancy. Another challenge for the whales are boat disturbances or collisions so the conservancy puts a focus on boater education. A third and recent focus of the Conservancy is the Hydrophone project that focuses on early detection of whale locations and coordinates with military testing and commercial shipping to minimize whale disturbances.
“Thanks to you we have been able to expand water temp testing and restoration project to help with critical Salmon habitat. This summer we launched Voter education program and our AI for Orca Program is working on the extension of our network of hydra phones to help whales from large marine traffic.” -Tamara Kelly, Orca Conservancy
“Working directly to support the Orca Conservancy and the work that they do for the health of the greater Ecosystem around the Ocean and Inlets of Northwest Washington has been a rewarding cause for all of us at Mervin MFG! We just wanted to take a minute to thank EVERYONE who has contributed to this effort through purchase of the infamous Orca snowboard! As of Mid August we have donated $26,500 to help protect and restore the critically endangered Southern Resident killer whale. These whales pass just outside the Mervin Manufacturing facilities in Sequim Washington often. As the Apex predator of the region, their health, or lack there of, is a glaring sign of the needed efforts that the Orca Conservancy has been trying to address! Please check the link to learn more and if you feel inspired, to donate! We applaud their efforts and are proud to support them!” – Travis Rice