Steeps Riding in Heather Canyon:
This is where the super responsiveness of this board really shined. For a medium stiff board, this thing has amazing torsional flex that allows the rider to aggressively initiate turns and explosively complete in full control. I found this board to instill confidence on these 45 to 50 degree pitches with 1,000 feet to the creek below. The way this board performed here, made the turns like poetry in motion and the edge hold and elimination of chatter in the bottom of the turn is phenomenal! Due to the style of the rocker, fore – aft movements in the steeps were super effective and controlling speed through the turns. As I said earlier, it take a couple of days to tweak your riding to fully take advantage of the board, but once you figure out how to make the board do the work, the ride is unlike anything I have experienced before. On this big mountain steep terrain, I give this board a 10 out of 10.
Again the responsiveness of the board combined with the rocker really helped in these huge moguls. Just as in the steeps, the rocker accentuates any good fore – aft movements to keep your speed manageable, giving the rider time to set up for the next turn around the moguls. I was able to ride at a slow, controlled speed down through these things in a corridor about a grooming cat`s width wide. The only negative I noticed was that the camber under foot had a tendency to want to cause the nose to dig into the sides of the moguls whereas my Angus with early rise rocker at the tip deflects off easier. I am not ready to call this a negative just yet. I think it is technique and something I may need to dial in like many other riding techniques for this board. Right now I rate it a 6 or 7 out of 10 in big moguls, but that is subject to change with a little more time riding them with this board.
Firm Groomer Carving
Rockers are not the board one thinks of first when it comes to laying out a hard carve and I still prefer conventional camber on a long, stiff board for this over anything. Having said that, I think Never Summer has done an engineering feet with this board when it comes to carving. The aggressive camber under foot, really comes to life when you lay this thing on its side and go for it. While I did`nt really notice that rebound feeling I get from a full camber, the edge release is very free and positive and edge to edge transitions were effortless. Once in the carve, it holds an edge extremely well. I did some large radius carves and then brought them down to medium radius dynamic carves. One thing I really noticed that was different from my full camber boards is there seems to be the need for a little more fore – aft movement through the carved turn. When I stayed centered, the tail had a little more tendency to break into a skid. A slight move aft though locked it back in. This is one of the few boards that I have been able to hold the carve all the way back up the hill and make a complete circle though I had to skid the very top of the turn die to lack of speed. From this preliminary carving test, I am giving this a 7 out of 10.
I was a bit nervous when my group indicated that they wanted to session the fun boxes again as this board has NO bevel and very sharp edges. I am not much of a board slider yet so my focus has been doing 50/50`s with a little bit of tail and nose pressing. I was really concerned about the rocker and its tendency to want to pivot. My fears seem to have been unwarranted as I hit the first boxes and really concentrated on eliminating any rotation and edging. I was surprised by how well the board actually “locked on” once I got onto the box. After a couple of hits, my confidence was there and I tried a few presses both nose and tail. Again, the teeter totter effect made this insanely easy and fun. I did the best tail and nose presses I have ever done on a box to date. Because to the aggressive edge, I was not ready to attempt to board slide with it. If it were my own board and I wanted to use it for jibbing as well as all mountain, I would put a 1 degree bevel on it and lightly detune the edges. Keeping in mind that the board is not designed to be a “park board” I think it is a solid 4 or 5 out of 10.
Just to add to to my earlier observations, I hit a few larger kickers with it tonight and the pop that it has as a result of the camber under foot, makes this perform very much like a full camber board with regard to pop and absorbing the landings. I did seem to feel better landing a little more tail heavy than I do with a full camber board. Flat landing on this is pretty firm as a result of the aggressive rocker between the feet.
Of all of the freestyle terrain, this where the board seems to really excel. Our 18 foot Super Pipe was fresh cut and in great shape. Rarely do i ever make it fully to the lip on any board. My first run through our pipe scared me a bit as this board seemed to rocket up the wall. I hit the transition with the speed I am normally comfortable with and was shocked to find myself actually pop a little out of the pipe. That full 18 feet below as I spun 180 was startling! As soon as I extended and re engaged that wall, this board locked in and carved down the wall effortlessly. The keen edge and camber where it is really makes this thing perform well in the pipe. I can honestly say that it was the highest I have gotten up the wall and still felt in control. I think of all of the things I have done with this board, I was most surprised by how well it handles the half pipe. A clear 10 out of 10 is my initial reaction.
When it started dumping hard, this board`s strength`s really came to the surface again. We dropped The Face, 1 Bowl, 2 Bowl and 4 bowl which was untouched and filled in by the wind. Overall it is about a 40-45 pitch and this thing is at home in those conditions. A little extra pressure on the tail and the nose floats like a jet boat up on plane. I just love how this board handles in steep, deep powder. Additionally, I must say that the base is FAST! I can consistently out glide my riding partners and get through areas others dare not follow. Powder is this board`s super strong point.
I will be riding this board for awhile and putting it through its paces in all of the changing conditions that spring in the northwest throws at us. Right now, I am most impressed with the board. If there is any area that I can think of that this board does not do exceptionally, it may be in very heavy, wet “gunk” I notice that as a result of the camber under foot, it behaves a bit like a traditional camber in this deep, wet, heavy stuff. A few times I forgot to shift aft in time and the nose really dived in. In these conditions, I am still leaning to be a fan of having rocker at the tips but there is a lot of ground to test yet and as I adapt my riding, this may prove to be insignificant.