Review part 2 here with David's take on the board as well:
aGNARchy Proto CT Review
For the past two years, I've slowly been getting sucked into the Never Summer hype around these forums. I wondered, "Can a line of boards really be that good?". Well, earlier last month, I was presented an opportunity of a snowboarding lifetime. Vince and Tracey from Never Summer contacted me and offered me a position in their online design team. What does that entail exactly? Well, they wanted my input on their products present and future. If I have any ideas/input regarding all aspects of their boards, then I am more than welcome to provide them. What's the catch? I have to ride and review a board of my choice. I chose the Proto CT because the tech specs sounded to be a perfect compliment to my riding style.
So you might be wondering what I thought about the board now. Well, I am a little angry at snowboardingforum to be honest. All that hype... all that talk... for what? A board that did not meet my expectations... THE NEVER SUMMER PROTO CT EXCEEDED MY EXPECTATIONS
. So why the anger? Because now I have to add another brand of boards to my want list. Now I want to ride them all! Thanks guys. This is not a good thing for a gear whore like me.
So here it is, my initial review of the excellent 2012 Never Summer Proto CT 157:
Board: 2012 Never Summer Proto CT 157
Bindings: 2011 Rome 390 Boss L/XL
Boots: 2011 Burton Restricted Hail 9.5 US
Stance: +18/-12 Regular @ 23.5"
I am 5'9, 180lbs.
The Proto CT really shines in this department. The snow conditions was as good as it gets for Michigan at a generous 10-12". The Proto absolutely loves the snow. It held a solid edge when initiating carves and was more than easy to engage the sidecut. I did a series of short to medium to long carves and it was superbly stable and smooth. The Proto rode like a 160ish board, but handled like a 155ish. I attribute these characteristics to the longer effective edge and light weight (the blunted tips reduce the swing weight as well).
As the day progressed, the good snow had been pushed off to the side leaving the hardpack exposed. The Proto didn't have a single problem eating through it all. In fact, I felt so confident on this board, that I still rode aggressively even though there was crazy wind gusts with snow that made it hard to see. Of course, I didn't mach down the run in fear of hitting another rider, but I sure was carving it up on terrain I could barely see.
I didn't take the Proto into park jumps yet, but I definitely will soon. I was hitting some pow build ups though and it was super stable on those little jumps. On one occasion, I leaned forward too much and was sure I was going to eat snow. Much to my joy, I was able to ride it out. Come on, I got away with landing on my nose. That's pretty good. Not sure if this will be the case on an actual kicker, but I'll take it.
The only cons I could find about the handling is the edge to edge quickness and speed. It wasn't quite as fast as other boards I ride. This is because the board's width is a little wider than what I normally ride. The Proto CT 157 has a waist width of 25.3". My other boards are under 25". But to be honest, that is nitpicking and someone with even a size 10 boot won't likely have this problem. As for the speed, I found it to be a bit slower than my other rides. However, this is on factory wax and I will surely have to see how it rides after I personally wax it.
Very satisfying. One of the more poppy boards out there. Load up on either the nose or tail and off you go. I was having a ton of fun just ollieing over branches and clumps of snow.
I'd give this board a 6 rating flex-wise. Just over middle-of-the-road. Perfect for all-mountain freestyle in my opinion. Torsionally, it is a bit stiffer which is one of the reasons why this board carves so well for a mid-flex.
I was very curious about Never Summer's now famous Rocker Camber profile. Love it. I'm going to say it... I like it more than my previous favorite, C2 BTX. While the C2 is in fact more playful, it doesn't lend to carving and stability (stable C2 boards are good deal stiff like the T.Rice). Never Summer got things right with their hybrid camber and this is probably another reason why a board of this flex can handle like a bigger, stiffer board. I like that their camber section feels like it has more bite. I haven't compared it next to a C2 yet, but I'd hazard a guess that NS's camber zone is a little more pronounced. Although there wasn't a ton of pow, I did take the Proto on the sides of the runs where everyone was neglecting the untouched snow build-up. The NS held up really well and gave me a glimpse of what riding actual pow would be like. Obviously, there are better pow boards out there, but the Proto CT does well enough.
I have to mention that I had a crash on the Proto. I was riding behind a skier and wanted take a path to the right. I did not realize that he had the same path in mind and he made an abrupt right turn. We ended up colliding causing him to lose his skies and me to go into a tuck and roll. Don't worry, I admitted fault and apologized and we both had a good laugh about it. Anyway, back to the point. I was sure I was going to find some damage on my board. Absolutely sure of it. Needless to say, I still can't find it and I want to give it another look over next time I ride. I guess Never Summer isn't kidding about the Carbonium topsheet being durable.
That brings me to my other point. The Carbonium topsheet not only looks good, but makes for a damn handy stomp pad. As in, you don't need one with this board. The whole topsheet acts as a stomp pad thanks to that cool looking texture.
Boy oh boy did Never Summer deliver. Trust me, I wanted every bone in my body not to like this board as much as I did just so I can have a different opinion than the rest of the crowd. But now, I realize that this Never Summer hype has a solid foundation. Is it the perfect board? Well, no. No board truly will be perfect. But for an all-mountain freestyle shredder, it comes pretty darn close.
Who do I recommend the Proto CT for? The intermediate-advanced rider that is looking for a do everything ride.
Big thanks to Vince and Tracey for giving me this opportunity. The Proto CT is definitely an excellent board that exceeded all my expectations.