The Founders


Simon Thorne


On a trip to Whistler in 2001, he strapped on a snowboard for the first time and hasn’t looked back.

A lifelong surfer growing up in South East Queensland, he moved to Victoria in 1989 to live on the Victorian South Coast.

It was around this time that Simon met legendary surfer and board shaper Dave Boyd, and over the next 20 odd years Dave shaped many boards for Simon, each different, each unique and each for a different purpose.

It was this relationship with the surfboard shaper that fuelled the fire that led to Savage Panda Snowboards.

Simon gets that a board, whether surf or snow, is always a better fit when designed with the specific rider in mind. Every rider is different. You can tell who a rider is from a long way off simply from their individual style.

Simon also gets that there is a world-wide trend where people are demanding individuality, diversity and uniqueness in their products and services.

Futurists are also predicting that one of the biggest trends from 2017 and beyond is that of customisation and a bespoke offering.

People don’t want the ‘one size fits all’ model anymore. As the population of the world grows, discerning people just don’t want to be part of the pack, they want to be different and individual.

Tailoring things for the individual has been a stand out element of Simon’s successful business career across sectors including aviation, fashion retail, logistics and engineering where he worked with some of Australia and the world’s biggest and best brands.

The time is now right for Simon to bring together his business skills, his love of surfing and snowboarding and, along with the marketing and PR prowess his partner Kate brings to the table, create a new and exclusive brand in the snowboard world, and maybe, just maybe change the way the industry thinks about its customers.

He understands however that he and Kate can’t do this alone, so that’s why the Savage Panda Rule Breakers were created.

A team of big brained, incredibly experienced and knowledgeable snowboard people.

Simon is so pumped to be working with these amazing people and can’t wait to see what they can collectively come up with in designing and building 100% customisable snowboards for Savage Panda customers.

It’s god dammed exciting!!

kate engler


With a history of being a ‘rule breaker’ in her own right, Kate has always broken the rules and challenged the ‘status quo’.

Her 27 years in PR and publicity earned her the title of ‘PR Anti-Christ’ from one senior Fairfax journalist who loved the way she turned the tables on the traditional PR consulting model, and carved a path of making a powerful and positive difference for business owners all over Australia and New Zealand.

Every year, Kate and her clients controlled hundreds of hours of TV and radio time, and hundreds of pages of national, local and specialty newspapers and magazines.

Media programs and publications that are household names often featured her clients as she brought journalist after journalist together directly with hundreds and hundreds of her publicity-hungry clients at her signature ‘Meet The Press MasterClass’ events.

So, it’s not surprising that when a new entrepreneurial venture beckoned whilst deep in the snow one winter with her ‘partner in crime and life’ and her fellow snow-loving mountain explorer, Simon Thorne, Kate once again looked outside the ‘industry norms’ to create something special for customers.

Having heard many businesses over the years share ‘what they’ve got’ as opposed to WHY people should engage with them, Kate needed to be sure that she and Simon weren’t just creating another ‘me too’ with this new venture.

They knew, based on their own fairly average ‘off the rack’ experience in snowboard shops, that a gap existed in the snowboard marketplace. For years cyclists, surfers, golfers and even tennis players have been having their equipment custom-made for them for years, sadly the snowboarder was still being served up a dumbed-down ‘off the rack’/’one size does most’ board offering.

Simon and Kate travelled the world researching the industry, rigorously investigating what was on offer, and gaining the necessary knowledge to bring a new type of bespoke experience to snowboarders worldwide.And so Savage Panda Snowboards was borne – to offer something truly unique to its customers – a fully customised snowboard that extended each rider’s DNA.

Kate’s purpose is to create a joyful life of endless possibilities. She is well-known for her intimate knowledge of her client’s needs when it comes to PR, and Kate brings that same commitment for ‘knowing’ and creation of joy to each and every Savage Panda Snowboard rider.

She works side by side with Simon and the whole Savage Panda team to deliver a snowboard experience beyond the rack, beyond the standard and, beyond the rider’s wildest dreams.

When not creating customised boards for the discerning snowboarder or connecting savvy business people with journalists, you’ll find Kate either on the slopes with her two gorgeous boys, doing Pilates or yoga, hitting Keiser Training to keep her body in shape for the next ski trip, or laughing and dining with friends and family ...

... laughing just happens to be one of her all-time favourite past-times!

Take the exciting first steps toward your unique board.