Title:
Snowboard cover having a non-slip surface
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A form-fitting stretchable cover for a snowboard is described. Preferably, embodiments of the cover comprise a single piece of elastomeric foam material comprising a topside and a single piece of elastomeric foam material comprising bottom side that are joined together at their respective edges. The topside includes an integrally formed strap extending between openings for the snowboard's respective bindings. The bottom surface of the bottom side is a non-slip surface to minimize movement of the cover and snowboard cargo during transport. Further, indicia is provided on the bottom surface for marketing, advertising or identification purposes. The cover can be fabricated for a relatively low cost compared to prior art covers. This combined with the indicia provided on the bottom surface make the cover particularly suitable as prizes and giveaways at snowboard related events.



Inventors:
Packer, Jarrett (New York, NY, US)
Application Number:
10/888474
Publication Date:
01/12/2006
Filing Date:
07/09/2004
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63C9/081
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
KLEBE, GERALD B
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Leyendecker & Lemire, LLC (Greenwood Village, CO, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A snowboard cover comprising: a single unitary topside piece, the topside piece comprising an elastomeric material having two openings formed therein adapted to permit the bindings of a snowboard to pass therethrough and including an integral strap; and a single bottom side piece, the bottom side piece comprising an elastomeric foam material having a bottom surface with at least a portion of the bottom surface being a non-slip surface.

2. The snowboard cover of claim 1, wherein the integral strap comprises a portion of the topside piece extending between the two openings.

3. The snowboard cover of claim 2, wherein the strap includes corresponding hook and loop material pieces.

4. The snowboard cover of claim 1, wherein the elastomeric material of the topside is a foam material.

5. The snowboard of claim 4, wherein the foam material of the topside is neoprene.

6. The snowboard cover of claim 1, wherein the cover is adapted to cover at least 15% of topside of a snowboard contained therein.

7. The snowboard cover of claim 4, wherein the neoprene of the topside includes front and rear fabric facing layers.

8. The snowboard cover of claim 1, wherein indicia is applied to the bottom surface.

9. The snowboard cover of claim 1, wherein the indicia comprises a material forming the non-slip surface.

10. The snowboard cover of claim 1, wherein the bottom surface comprises an unfaced neoprene surface, the unfaced neoprene surface being an inherently non-slip surface.

11. The snowboard of claim 10, wherein a top surface of the bottom side includes a fabric facing layer.

12. The snowboard of claim 1, wherein the topside piece and the bottom side piece are sewn together.

13. A snowboard cover comprising: a topside piece, the topside piece adapted to cover at least a portion of a topside of a snowboard; and a single bottom side piece, the bottom side piece comprising an elastomeric material having a bottom surface, the bottom surface having indicia applied thereto, the indicia being legible to a person with 20/20 eyesight facing the bottom surface and being at least a distance of 5 feet from the bottom surface.

14. The snowboard cover of claim 13, wherein the indicia is legible to a person with 20/20 eyesight facing the bottom surface at a distance of at least 25 feet from the bottom surface.

15. The snowboard cover of claim 13, wherein the indicia comprises at least one of the group of: (i) a company name; (ii) an event name; (iii) a company logo; (iv) an event logo; (v) a name of a person; (vi) a cartoon character; (vii) a slogan; (viii) a trademark; and (ix) a service mark.

16. The snowboard cover of claim 13, wherein the indicia comprises a stretchable ink applied to the bottom surface.

17. The snowboard cover of claim 13, wherein the topside comprises a unitary single piece of elastomeric foam, and includes an integrally formed strap.

18. The snowboard cover of claim 17, wherein the topside further includes (i) two openings adapted to permit the bindings of a snowboard to pass therethrough, and (ii) the integral strap extends between and separates the openings.

19. A method of distributing snowboard covers, each snowboard cover adapted to form fit over a snowboard and including a bottom side, the bottom side including indicia prominently displayed thereon, the indicia comprising one or more of the group of (i) a name or logo of an event or festival sponsor and (ii) a name or logo of the event or festival, the method comprising: obtaining a plurality of snowboard covers; and giving away or selling snowboard covers to one or more participants in the event or festival.

20. The method of claim 19, wherein the event is a snowboard competition.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates generally to snowboards and, more particularly, to protective covers for snowboards.

BACKGROUND

In the recent past, snowboarding has become an extremely popular recreational sport even surpassing the popularity of skiing among certain demographic groups. Snowboards are a variety of skis that typically differ from traditional downhill skis in several ways: (i) snowboards are substantially wider than traditional skis; (ii) they are typically much shorter than traditional skis; and (iii) have two bindings (or boot mounts), one for each boot on a single snowboard. Snowboards generally have bottoms similar to those of traditional skis (only wider) made of smooth low friction plastic or other suitable materials that permit snowboards to freely glide across snow. Further, like traditional skis, they typically have metal edges for digging into or carving the snow to facilitate turning. However, a single snowboard is used to traverse a ski slope instead of a pair of traditional skis and a snowboard is generally ridden in a manner more reminiscent of skateboard or surfboard.

Various types of covers for snowboards are known. Snowboard covers serve several purposes. First, they protect the bottoms and edges of the snowboard from damage during transport. Gouges and nicks in the relatively soft plastic bottom of a snowboard can increase the amount of friction between the board and the snow on a ski slope during use. Further, if the bottom has been waxed to reduce sliding friction even further, the rubbing and movement of the board's bottom across other surfaces, such as the bed of a pickup or the carpet in a cargo area of an SUV, can cause the wax to prematurely wear away. In order for the metal edges of a snowboard to operate most effectively, they must be relatively sharp. During transport unprotected edges can become nicked and dulled through impact with other items during transport and handling.

A second purpose of snowboard covers is to prevent the snowboard's sharp metal edges from damaging things that they contact. For example, if a user is holding a board in the wrong manner and the board slides in his/her hand, the edge could cut his/her hand. Further, a board that slides in the back of an SUV could slice the side panels in the cargo area not to mention other items being transported that could come in contact with the edges. Additionally, the cover provides some protection from dirt or other grime that may be on the snowboard from being transferred to the vehicle or other surrounding items.

There are essentially two types of snowboard covers: loose fitting bag-type covers, and form-fitting covers. A typical bag-type cover completely contains a snowboard received therein; however, because of the bindings (or boot mounts) that extend upwardly from the top surface of the board and can substantially vary in configuration and construction depending on the manufacturer, the bag must relatively large and baggy. Most often, this type of cover is made long enough to contain the longest commonly manufactured snowboard, which means a smaller snowboard is likely to move around within the bag during transport. It is to be appreciated that the movement of the board's bottom against the surface of the bag can act to abrade and wear away any wax coating a user may have applied to the board. Further, since these bags are usually made of fabric, they do not offer as much protection to the board. Specifically, any impacts incident on the bag are likely to transfer to the board and could cause damage to the edges or the bottom surface.

Form-fitting covers eliminate the problem of the relative movement of the cover relative to the bottom surface of the board. However, because of the complex and variable configurations of the bindings, these types of covers often do not cover much if any of a board's top surface. The cover of U.S. Pat. No. 5,163,550 is illustrative as only the perimeter area of the snowboard's top surface is covered.

Furthermore, the cover of the U.S. Pat. No. 5,163,550 patent requires two hook and loop material straps and a bungee-type elastic cord that extends around the periphery of the cover to hold the cover in place on a board. The elastic cord must be threaded through a passage formed in the cover material potentially adding substantially to the manufacturing labor cost. Additionally, the two hook and loop straps must be attached to the remainder of the cover further increasing manufacturing costs.

Another form-fitting protective cover that doesn't cover much of the snowboards top surface is taught in U.S. Pat. No. 5,967,314. Specifically, this patent describes the use of plastic cellular foam pads on the bottom side of the cover. However, because the foam pad material used in this cover is not particularly elastomeric, the cover's bottom side is necessarily constructed of a complicated laminate including two thin layers of an elastomeric sheet combined with two foam layers wherein each foam layer comprises several foam pad pieces. The result is an apparently form fitting cover that, although probably being able to protect the snowboard by absorbing the energy of the impacts against it, is relatively expensive to produce.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a top view of the one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a bottom view of one embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 3 is an isometric view of one embodiment of the invention with a snowboard contained therein.

FIG. 4 is an isometric top view of one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 5 is a partial cross-sectional view of one embodiment of the present invention taken along line 5-5 of FIG. 4.

FIG. 6 is a partial isometric view of one embodiment of the present invention taken of the area generally encompassed by arcuate line 6-6 of FIG. 4 that shows the integral closure strap in an open position.

FIG. 7 is a partial cross-sectional view of another embodiment of the present invention taken along line 5-5 of FIG. 4.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

One embodiment of the present invention comprises a form-fitting snowboard cover comprising a stretchable closed cell foam material, such as but not limited to neoprene, that provides a high degree of protection to the bottom surface and edges of the board but also is economical to produce. Further, a non-slip surface is provided on the bottom side of the cover to prevent the cover from sliding around, for instance, in an SUV or Pickup cargo hold floor during transport. In certain variations of the one embodiment, the non-slip surface comprises (i) a non-faced bottom surface of the cover's bottom side or a non-slip material, preferably having high elongation, that is separately applied to the bottom surface.

The one embodiment cover preferably comprises only two major components: a first sheet of elastomeric material forming a top side and a second sheet of elastomeric material forming a bottom side that are simply coupled together at their respective peripheries to fabricate the cover. Accordingly, the cover is relatively inexpensive to produce. Additionally, the top sheet provides protection to the topside of the snowboard unlike other prior art form fitting covers. Generally, the stretch of the top and bottom sides acts to hold the cover in place on a snowboard, but to provide a more secure attachment to the snowboard a single strap is integrally formed in the cover's top side wherein hook and loop material is attached to either strap end to facilitate the securing of the strap ends together.

The relative inexpensiveness of the one embodiment makes it particularly suitable as a give away at snowboarding related events, such as snowboard races, and festivals. To enhance the desirability of using the one embodiment cover for promotional purposes, various indicia can be screened or otherwise applied to the expansive bottom surface of the cover's bottom side. The indicia can comprise the name of an event sponsor, a name, logo or trademark of a snowboard-related products manufacturer or anything else. In variations where the non-slip surface is provided by a separately applied material, the indicia can comprise the non-slip material. Accordingly, the indicia performs the dual function of providing a non-slip bottom surface and promoting the content of the indicia.

Terminology

The term “or” as used in this specification and the appended claims is not meant to be exclusive rather the term is inclusive meaning “either or both”.

References in the specification to “one embodiment”, “an embodiment”, “a preferred embodiment”, “an alternative embodiment”, “one variation”, “a variation” and similar phrases mean that a particular feature, structure, or characteristic described in connection with the embodiment or variation is included in at least an embodiment or variation of the invention. The phrase “in one embodiment”, “in one variation” or similar phrases as used in various places in the specification are not necessarily meant to refer to the same embodiment or the same variation.

The term “couple” or “coupled” as used in this specification and the appended claims refers to either an indirect or direct connection between the identified elements, components or objects. Often the manner of the coupling will be related specifically to the manner in which the two coupled elements interact.

The term “indicia” refers to any words, phrases, numbers, logos, pictures and/or symbols that are intended by an originator of the indicia to have meaning to a viewer thereof.

A Form-Fitting Snowboard Cover

Embodiments of the snowboard cover are illustrated in FIGS. 1-7.

Referring primarily to FIGS. 1 & 2, one embodiment of the snowboard cover 10 comprises a bottom side 20 and a topside 15. Both sides are preferably comprised of an elastomeric closed cell foam sheet material, such as but not limited to neoprene. The closed cell foam provides protection for the bottom surface, the edges, and a portion of the top surface of a snowboard contained in the cover by absorbing a significant portion of any impact forces incident on the cover when the board is contained therein.

The sheet material is highly elastic such that the length and width of the cover is typically shorter than a snowboard that is to be received therein. The material is stretched to fit over a desired snowboard. In preferred variations of the snowboard cover, a single size cover can be stretched sufficiently to be used on boards having lengths varying from about 130 cm to 170 cm. The range of 130 cm to 170 cm represents a substantial majority of snowboards currently on the market or in use. In other variations, snowboard covers can be fabricated of differing sizes to fit different size ranges of snowboards.

Referring to FIGS. 5 and 7, the construction of the sheet material is illustrated. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 5, the top and bottom sheet material is essentially the same comprising an elastomeric close cell foam material 80 laminated between layers of stretchable fabric facings 75. Examples of suitable sheet material include part nos. 11n-30-52-419-419 and 11no-30-52-419 from Pacific Eagle Enterprises of Fend Yuan, Taiwan, which comprise 3 mm neoprene faced with nylon jersey fabric on one or both surfaces. The fabric facings serve several purposes including: (i) protecting the underlying foam material from damage; (ii) providing a more secure attachment of any stitching used to couple the top and bottom sides; and (iii) providing a reduced friction surface to facilitate the easy insertion of a snowboard into the cover 10. Typically, the fabric facings 75 comprise a knit fabric that can stretch in multiple directions, although other types of fabrics can be used as well. The fibers comprising the fabric facings can include any of a number of materials, such as, but not limited to, spandex, polyester and nylon.

Referring primarily to FIG. 2, the bottom side 20 of the cover 10 is generally shaped similarly to a snowboard having arcuate front and rear ends and generally straight to slightly concave left and right sides. As indicated above, the length and width of the bottom side are typically smaller than the length and width of a snowboard that is to be contained in the cover. Preferably, indicia 35 and/or other designs 40 are applied to the bottom surface of the bottom side. The indicia is at least of a size that is easily viewable and legible preferably from a distance of at least 5 feet, more preferably from at least a distance of 15 feet, and most preferably from a distance of 25 feet. The indicia and designs are applied to the bottom surface in any suitable manner, such as, but not limited to, screen-printing. Preferably, the ink is stretchable so that it can expand and contract freely with cover's expansion and contraction.

The indicia 35 can be anything the cover manufacturer desires including, for example, a snappy catch phrase, a logo, a cartoon, a trademark, or a company name. Further, the cover 10 can be customized for a particular user by having the user's name or other identifying indicia printed thereon. In one variation of the cover, the indicia comprises a name or logo relating to a particular snowboard related event and/or the name of a sponsor of the event. For instance, an event sponsor can give away covers having its name or logo printed on the bottom 20 of the cover to those who participated in the event. The relatively low cost of producing embodiments of the cover when compared to prior art designs makes giving away covers with advertising indicia on the bottom surface of the cover's bottom side feasible.

In another use, a snowboard retailer can print identifying information concerning the retail establishment, such as its name, address, website and/or phone number, on the cover's bottom surface and provide the cover 10 for a nominal or no cost when a customer purchases a snowboard from the retailer. In yet another use, a snowboard manufacturer can provide the cover to a purchaser of one of their snowboards. The use of the cover on and around a ski area effectively advertises the company, enterprise or event indicated on the cover's bottom surface.

As best shown in FIG. 7 in one variation of the one embodiment snowboard cover, the bottom surface 85 of the bottom side 20 of the cover 10 uses a single fabric faced neoprene sheet, wherein the bottom surface of the cover comprises exposed neoprene 80, although other elastomeric closed cell foams can also be used. Preferably, the exposed neoprene has a substantially smooth face as opposed to a textured face. Smooth faced neoprene is characterized by it high coefficient of friction making the bottom surface of the cover embodiment of FIG. 7 inherently a non-slip surface. As mentioned above, the non-slip bottom surface is advantageous as it prevents the snowboard from sliding around in the cargo area of a pickup, van or SUV. This helps prevent the potential for damage to the snowboard, the cover, any items in the cargo area, and the sides of the cargo area that might result if the snowboard was permitted to slide around during transport. Further, the non-slip bottom surface of the cover permits a user to prop his/her board upright against otherwise slick vertical surfaces, such a windowpane or a smooth-sided building, without fear that the board will slide off of the surface and become damaged as it crashes to the ground.

As best shown in FIG. 5 in another variation of the one embodiment snowboard cover 10, the bottom surface of the bottom side 20 comprises a fabric facing 75. As can be appreciated, the fabric facing makes the bottom surface of the cover somewhat slick, at least, when compared to the non-slip characteristics of smooth unfaced neoprene. Accordingly, the designs 40 and/or the indicia 35 printed on the bottom surface comprise a tactile rubber substance, similar to the material used on certain gloves to make grip nubbins, with non-slip characteristics. The non-slip material can also comprise a non-slip silicone rubber similar to the material used by Burton Snowboards of Burlington, Vt. on the grip face of their pipe glove. The variation of the cover having a faced bottom surface can be desirable in certain instances when the dull black background color of exposed neoprene is not desired. The facing fabric can be specified in a variety of colors and can also comprise a specific pattern or design.

The non-slip material can be applied to the bottom surface by any suitable manner including screening and spraying wherein the portion of the bottom surface that is not to be covered with the non-slip material is masked. The non-slip material can be comprise any number of various designs 40 on the bottom surface of the bottom side 20, as well as, indicia 35. In other variations, only the designs comprise the non-slip material wherein the indicia comprises stretchable latex ink as described above. In another variation, the indicia comprises the non-slip material and the designs, if any, are stretchable ink. It is to be appreciated that the designs can take any form as desirable by the manufacture and/or the artist designing a particular bottom surface configuration.

Referring to FIGS. 1, 3, 4 and 6, the topside 15 of the cover 10 is best illustrated. Preferably, the topside comprises a single piece of elastomeric closed cell foam sheet material having fabric facing 75 on both surfaces (as can be seen in FIGS. 5 and 7). By using a single piece of sheet material, the fabrication cost (particularly the labor cost) of producing the cover is suitably reduced, since the number of pieces that must be joined together is reduced.

The fabric facing 75 on the interior surface of the topside 15, as well as, the interior surface of the bottom side 20 provide for relatively low friction that permits a snowboard to be easily slid into and out of the cover 10. Further, the fabric facings provide durability to the sheet material to minimize damage to the cover that could be caused by the relatively sharp edges of the snowboard. The topside sheet is shaped similarly to the bottom side but includes two cutout portions 60 and 65. Referring specifically to FIG. 3, the cutout portions are provided to provide spaces for the boot bindings 55 to extend upwardly from the snowboard.

In between the front and rear cutouts 60 and 65, an integral hook and loop material strap 45 is provided as best illustrated in FIG. 6. Simply, the strap 45 comprises the strip of topside sheet material extending between the left and right sides of the cover 10. During fabrication, the strip is cut proximate its center. A piece of hook material 30A is sewn, adhesively bonded, or otherwise attached to either the top surface or interior surface of the strip on one side proximate the cut; whereas, a piece of corresponding loop material 30B is attached to a corresponding top surface or interior surface of the strip on the other side also proximate the cut. By stretching the hook or loop material piece on one side of the strip over and pressing it against the corresponding hook or loop material piece on the other side of the strip the strap is secured.

In one variation of the cover, the facing fabric 75 on the top surface of the topside 15 can comprise a fabric that is hook compatible, such as Rubtex™ style 200 neoprene sheet material manufactured by RBX corporation of Roanoke, Va. Accordingly, in this variation, only a corresponding hook material piece 30A is required on the interior surface of the strip on one side of the cut.

Referring primarily to FIGS. 5 or 7, the topside 15 is coupled to the bottom side 20 proximate the parameters of each side typically by way of a sewn threaded seam 70. In other variations and alternative embodiments, however, the top and bottom sides can be joined using other means, such as, but not limited to, adhesive bonding and mechanical fastening. Preferably, a strip of elastic or stretchable fabric piping 25 is placed over the perimeter edges of both the top and bottom sides prior to sewing to provide a finished look to the cover. Further, the piping acts to increase the integrity of the threaded seam by further minimizing the ability of the thread to cut through the neoprene or closed cell foam material, especially on the variation of the cover 10 wherein the bottom surface of the bottom side 20 does not include a fabric facing 75. Also preferably, fabric piping is provided around the perimeter of each cutout 60 and 65, as well as, along the cut of the integral strap 45 to provide a finished look and to increase the resistance to both damage and tearing along the associated edges.

Other Embodiments and Other Variations

The various preferred embodiments and variations thereof illustrated in the accompanying Figures and/or described above are merely exemplary and are not meant to limit the scope of the invention. It is to be appreciated that numerous variations of the invention have been contemplated as would be obvious to one of ordinary skill in the art with the benefit of this disclosure. All variations of the cover that read upon the appended claims are intended and contemplated to be within the scope of the invention.

For example, in one or more variations, the indicia can be imprinted directly onto the fabric that comprises the facing of the bottom surface of the bottom side of the cover before or after the fabric is laminated to the elastomeric closed cell foam sheet. Further, the facing fabrics need not be a single color but can comprise a variety of patterns and designs or even imprinted photographs.

In other variations and embodiments, the topside sheet material can be different from the bottom side sheet material. In particular, the topside material can comprise a relatively thin stretchable fabric material, such as spandex, in place of a sheet material comprising elastomeric closed cell foam.

In yet other variations and embodiments, the sewn seam can be located on the interior of the coupled perimeter edges of the top and bottom sides (such as would occur when the illustrated covers are turned inside out) thereby obviating the need for piping around the perimeter edge of the cover. Alternatively, the piping can be retained not for aesthetic purposes but to serve as additional protection for the edges of the respective top and bottom sides, as well as, the seam from damage that could be caused by the sharp metal edges of the snowboard as it is moved in and out of the cover.

In even other variations and embodiments, the size of the cutouts can vary such that more or less of the top surface of the snowboard is covered depending on the desired amount of topside protection. Preferably, the topside covers at least 15% of the top surface of the snowboard, more preferably, 25% and most preferably at least 40%.

It is to be further appreciated that variations of the cover are not limited for use with snowboards alone but can be adapted for use with skis, surfboards, and skateboards as well, although with the case of skate boards, what is described as the bottom surface of the cover herein will generally comprise the top surface of the skateboard.