Vince, the Chairman, sent me their new model in a 156 (the size I would buy) to try out for a couple months so I can let you all know what I think before returning it. Today I had work mercifully fall through, grabbed lunch and headed up for the last couple hours of the day on hardpack.
My baseline: I've ridden a 154 Proto exclusively in all conditions including deep ca ca for the last 3 years.
Long nose, short tail, 1.5" setback at the reference points (where I always mount).
CrC, with Ripsaw camber.
Mid flex. Maybe a tad stiffer than my 154 Proto but they could easily share a flex profile, the difference being 2cm and Ripsaw camber. Its shaped like a Cobra but it has significantly more balls, hard to tell if this is due to the camber or perhaps a different core/carbon layups. I suspect both.
When asked earlier if this was the replacement to the Heritage, I think the answer is that if we are comparing apples to apples, the Ripsaw replaces the Heritage and rightly so. The Heritage has always been described as a go anywhere directional twin that will run over a moose. The Ripsaw from others' descriptions matches this. They basically took new ideas, removed the setback, voila, Ripsaw, same niche.
So I will stick with my original sentiment that this is a replacement to the Cobra, but I'm really not privvy to the intentions of the dudes (it looks like next year they will coexist) It seems to me the same board with the new camber. I only put a couple laps on a Cobra (didn't feel much either way about it) the year before last so really going off memory here.
The West is much more responsive than the Cobra was and the Ripsaw camber gives a sense of excitement. I think this new camber profile may really shut up people who felt NS lacked liveliness. Even compared to last years Proto, while I feel these boards share weight and flex, the Proto suddenly feels a bit mushy, while the West, a razorblade. Conditions were fast today. Plenty of available flex to send ollies with whatever effort your ability allows. I would not compare this flex whatsoever to the Funslinger. It is full all mountain, I'm just trying to pinpoint the liveliness, its a new thing in these NS's.
It was one afternoon on hardpack, I have a trip to Monarch and a cat booked in a couple weeks so as the weather cycles I will come back to update how this thing does in different conditions.