In 2002 Rob Burnett, an avid snowboarder, wakeboarder, and skateboarder travelled from his home town in Regina, Saskatchewan to the Okanagan Valley in the interior of British Columbia. Wakeboard season was long over in his home province and it was getting too cold to skate. Rob drove 16 hours through raging blizzard to check out the Okanagan. He remembers the drive like it was yesterday. "As soon as I hit Sicamous the clouds parted, the sun was shining, and all of a sudden it was 20 degrees outside." As he drove through Vernon, past the aquamarine blue waters of Kalamalka lake, Kelowna, and the perfectly calm waters of Okanagan lake, he realized that the Okanagan was going to be his new forever home. Rob had recently completed his first year of Pharmacy school at the University of Alberta, but felt that a career selling pharmaceuticals (when he didn't even take an Asprin for a headache) wasn't really his passion. Rob's passion was boardsports and he found the Okanagan to be the perfect place too pursue that passion.
The first Freeride Boardshop opened in March of 2002 in the 500 block of Penticton. It was a small shop, but the employees shared the same interest in boardsports. The motto "Riding with you since 2002" was coined and has been the foundation principal of Freeride Boardshop ever since. Firstly, everyone who works for Freeride rides some sort of board. Snow, skate, wake, or surf. Secondly, "riding with you" infers that we have personal relationships with our customers... and we do. Sometimes walking into Freeride seems like a scene from the show Cheers "where everybody knows your name." We take great pride and enjoyment in getting to know you on a deeper level than just "hey how can I help you". Thirdly, and finally, we ride the products that we sell. We wouldn't put you, your kids, or your friends on product that we wouldn't use ourselves. Which is why, we thoroughly test many of the products from our suppliers before they hit the shelves.
In 2004 Freeride had outgrown it's humble origins and moved from the 500 block into the location you will find it today. 158 Main Street. Right across from Gyro Park and City Hall downtown Penticton. The new location is a 4000 square foot boardsports paradise which carries all of the top brands like Volcom, Emerica, Lakai, Girl, Bones, RDS, Globe, Hurley, Nixon, Oakley, Thirty Two, Never Summer as well as a bunch of up and coming brands like Ekumenik, and Roark Revival. If you've shopped at this location in the last 10 years then you've most likely dealt with Brock at one point or another. Brock is so passionate about snowboarding that he doesn't even like the summer. From mid November until the last day of the season Brock can be found on Tuesdays and Wednesdays up at Apex Resort shredding and whoooing in the trees.
In 2006 Freeride Boardshop expanded into the bustling town of West Kelowna, and in 2013 relocated to the Okanagan Lake Shopping Centre. We can be found across from the Tim Hortons! It's great! This shop is completely different than our Penticton location by design. At our West Kelowna location you will find some different staple brands like Vans, RVCA, Sanuk, and LRG as well as up and coming brands like Public Snowboards, Loser Machine and Dark Seas. If you've shopped here then you've most likely dealt with Marty and Syd. They've been working at Freeride since 2007 and absolutely love snowboarding in the winters and getting out on the lake in the summers. If there's a skiff of fresh snow, you can usually find them out skinning around on their splitboards.
Our hours of operation are generally Sunday-Thursday 10AM-6PM, and Friday-Saturday 10AM-8PM, however, if it has snowed more than 25cm overnight at either Apex, Baldy, or Big White we won't be open til 2:30PM because we'll be at the hill. So if you see the snow day sign on the door come join us for a few laps! There is nothing we enjoy more than riding with our friends!
If you have any questions while cruising the site don't hesitate to hit us up on the chat or call us toll free at the shop: 1-855-491-7433. You'll likely be chatting with one of the big names from above!