My first board was a 2003 Never Summer Evo and to be honest, while it was a decent board... it didn't blow my mind. I think the rocker revolution (they they arguable started), the fact that all of their boards are made in the USA, and social media hype launched their popularity.
I'm sure Libtech disagrees but according to this article
, they invented the first modern rocker board and took a huge risk to bring it to market.
I think you mean first Rocker Camber hybrid board. Don't think they were the first rockered board.
For me, my first NS board was due to hype. I was new, and needed to upgrade my Technine Split T snowboard. So I bought an SL for cheap. That thing did wonders for my confidence, immediately I was going faster. It was so damp and smooth.
NS boards in general are bulletproof, 3 year warranty, damp. They are not as lively as other boards though, perhaps not as playful. I found the Arbor Coda much more playful, don't know why, perhaps because of the springyness of it, more so than even when I was riding my Evo. On the Coda I was hopping off of everything I could find at Squaw and Alpine, save for the big jumps cuz I'm too old for that shit.
The Proto is one board I haven't tried yet that I want to. My boards for this upcoming season .. Arbor Westmark and NS Cobra. The NS dampness is quite something.