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. It was October and wakeboard season was long over in his home province and it was getting too cold to skate so Rob drove 16 hours (which included 3 hours through a raging blizzard from Golden to Sicamous) to check out the Okanagan. He can remember 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, then Kelowna, and the perfectly clear and glass calm waters of Okanagan lake, he realized that the Okanagan was going to be his home for the remainder of his life. Rob had recently just 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 the Okanagan was the perfect place to be situated for someone who was looking to follow their boardsports dreams. The first Freeride Boardshop opened in March of 2002 in the 500 block of Penticton. It was a smaller shop, but the employees all loved boardsports and this really rubbed off on the clientele. The motto "Riding with you since 2002" was coined and that has been the foundation and principals of Freeride ever since. Firstly, everyone who works for Freeride Boardshop 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 old show Cheers where "you just want to go where everybody knows your name." We take great pride and enjoyment in getting to know our customers on a way deeper level than the "hey can I help you today" level. Thirdly, and finally, we ride the products that we sell. We wouldn't put you, your kids, or your friends on inferior product that we wouldn't use ourselves. 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 at 158 Main Street...right across from Gyro Park and City Hall. 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, Roark Revival, and Our Caste. 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 beautiful Okanagan Lake Shopping Centre in 2013. We can be found right next to the Tim Hortons in the mall. 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 as well. If there is a skiff of snow they are usually out skinning around on their splitboards on their days off. During the winter months Marty and Syd are usually found ripping around Big White on their days off.
Our hours of operation are generally Sunday-Thursday 10AM-6PM, and Friday-Saturday 10AM-8PM, however, if you come by the shop and it's snowed more than 25cm overnight at either Apex, Baldy, or Big White we don't open til 2:30PM because we're out shredding. So if you see the snow day sign on the door come join us up at the hill there is nothing we enjoy more than riding with our friends.