I know there are a ton of reviews out there for the sl-r. The reason I'm writing this review is just to add some perspective. I've been snowboarding over 8 years, and have only owned/riden 2 boards - both camber. My last deck was a salomon freeride board from 2003 - really great for charging down the mountain. I don't demo boards, and I haven't tried all the tech every year. I've just ridden your basic freeride camber board. So after years of riding one or two camber boards, this is my review of jumping ontop a reverse camber deck for the first time.
stuff to note - I usually race down the mountain and don't hit many jumps, but this year i'm looking to up my freestyle game - hitting natural jumps and I charge down the mountain, and hopefully get better at riding switch too. Along with all this, I still want to be able to bomb down the mountain on every run. After doing some research and reading reviews, I ordered a never summer sl-r from daddies board shop.
me: 5'11, 175.
board: ns sl-r 158
bindings: technine MFM
conditions: man-made snow, LOTS of ice (east coast in early december)
also, I waxed my the board before I took it out.
I get off the chairlift, strap in, and I'm ready to go. The first thing I notice is that the reverse camber is A LOT different from camber. I had a lot of trouble controlling the board just because it was so different from what I had been riding for the last 8+ years. The base was SUPER FAST, but I lacked the control to actually feel comfortable to go fast (I was riding blues, but looking back i should have started off on a green trail). With this, I made it down the mountain a little slower than I usually do, telling myself that it will take a few runs to adjust to the board. If I had demo'ed this board and only ridden it once, there would be little to no chance I would ever buy it. With that said, onto the second run.
Second run - i fall when getting off the chairlift! LOL, i can't remember the last time i've fallen riding off the chairlift, but it happened yesterday. So I strap in and start the second run. I notice things are feeling a lot smoother that that first run. I'm able to control the board a lot better. The base of the board is SO fast that I just wasn't ready for it so I kept having to stop. THEN about half way down the mountain something clicked - all the sudden the board just felt right and I was CHARGING down the mountain. I was riding ice/manmade snow/crud and I felt in great control and I was going as fast, if not faster than my old freeride board. The last half of the second run was really great.
The rest of the night (5-6 more runs) was basically just trying to get a good feel for this board. Some things I noticed - I was literally carving on ice. Where I felt my last board might have slipped out under me on the nice, the sl-r really grabbed hold and rode well on the ice. On the runs where I felt i was riding the board's sweet spot, I noticed it really pops you in and out of the turns which was a lot of fun.
Yesterdays run was really about trying to get a good feel for this board. Rides much much different from my freeride camber board, but in the end I was able to charge the mountain faster that I have before (again the base of the sl-r was reallllllly fast). When I get a bit more comfortable on it I will start experimenting more with it in terms of trying jumps and switch. I also might try adjusting the bindings and my stance a little bit.
When upgrading my 6 year old camber board, I was looking for something that felt a little more free-er and fun, but i still wanted to be able to go fast. So far my first impressions make me think I picked the right board. So I'm happy with my purchase and I can't wait to get back on the slope with this deck!