Much thanks for the detailed review...seriously. I have an NS SL-R 158 right now and love it for a daily driver. However, when I'm bombing with friends, I do wish I had just a little bit more tip/tail length and a little more stiffness. No complaints about the dampening or speed of the base at all, of course. With Sierra's crazy deals going on now, I was seriously considering the Gullwing, but after reading your review I'm pretty sure I'll pass. Sounds like back to my latest plan of getting a Heritage-R or maybe even Premier F1-R or Lib Dark Series C2.
Well, as it happens, I have an SL-R right now. I Got my board nitro from DogFunk, so I had the option of returning it. Eventually, I did, but it took me alot of runs and switching off between boards (team gullwing and sl-r) to do so.
The basic summary is this: I feel like the Team Gullwing is more fun to ride and play around on, the SL-R is a bit more of a charger ride. Not by much though.
Head to head, I'd say they compare as such:
A 159 Team Gullwing Compares to a 158 Sl-R, and you could possibly go shorter on the sl-r. They have a really long contact length for their size, whereas the nitro has a shorter contact length for size. There are plusses and minuses to this.
-Sidecuts: Totally Different. The SL-R has more sidecut overall, and Wants to carve a shorter turn. The Team Gullwing Likes a to straight line it, as long as you don't use the middle part of the sidecut. Also, Vario grip works. I could really feel it kicking in on Icy turns.
-Stability: Due to the sidecut, the Team gullwing is more stable pointing it (It is less catchy), but when on edge I'd give it to the Sl-R. It has more dampening so it has less chatter, and also a much longer contact length. This causes your heel edge to skip out less. Pretty close on edging though.
-Flex: Close. The Nitro is a bit softer, but felt poppier. I think the SL-R is going to soften up a lot though. My friends did, and I've heard that about never summers. I have no problem with that. Disregard comparing a board by "Nitro says all mountain flex, but never summer says flex is a 5" One company's 5 is another company's 7.
-Weight: Nitro is lighter hands down, which leads to...
-Durability: Never summer, hands down. Nitro's well built, but you're talking about never summer here. The base is more durable than the nitro base as well. Although I do think Nitro is better built than last year. They're using one piece bases now rather than those die cut bases which would pop out. (that blew). The nitro took some rail shots and handled it, but I rode over some stuff on the Never summer that I though was going to hurt and the board still looks awesome.
-Base: Nitro base is much faster. Pretty much every nitro base I've ridden seems faster than any of my other friends. This one is no different. It doesn't even look sintered, it looks like it's extruded or syntruded, but it's still much faster.
-Freestyle - I'd give this to the Nitro, it's got shorter edge length, feels easier to spin and is lighter.
-Jumps - either or. That degressive sidecut works for the nitro, but the NS is great too.
-Rails - Are you kidding me? I'm 34.
-Charging - Never summer. See stability.
-Powder - In a foot and under, I'd say either board, but if it's deeper, I'd actually say nitro. It's got a much longer tip and tail which helps. Plus that Gullwing Camber combined with the deep side cut in the middle makes the board really fun to turn in powder. Just stomp on the middle of the board and it wants to spring around like a surfboard or something. It was really fun.
Overall, I picked the Never summer because I knew it was more durable, and I felt like it was more capable Off Piste. However, it was really hard to pick, and the nitro just felt like more fun in alot of conditions. Also, I knew the NS would get great resale if I wanted to ditch it later in the season, and they were selling out. I wouldn't kick either board out of bed...