More 2011 boards...
Just thought I'd add this list of 2011 Boards Tested by a group of us this winter, hope it helps...
-Lucien Gordon-NZ Full Cert, Trainer at Cardrona, NZ and Park City, Utah.
-Paul Price-Australian Full Cert, worked in 3 continents.
-Clare Nash-NZ Full Cert, teaches at Cardrona and Park City.
-Martin Drayton-BASI Full Cert, Trainer at Park City.
-Greg McCormick-ASSI Full Cert, Trainer at Park City.
-Charlotte Curel-NZ about to take Full Cert exam.
-Ben Beaudreau-ASSI Level 2, also about to take Full Cert exam.
The Retailers Demo Day was held this February at Snowbasin Resort in Utah, the conditions were good with packed powder, machine groomed snow, powder, trees, moguls and a small terrain park.
We each took boards out for one to two runs from the top to bottom of the mountain, trying to use not only the terrain/conditions that the boards were designed for, but also those they were not meant to perform in, in order to test their limits.
The following reviews are OUR personal opinions…
Burton Custom Flying V – The general consensus was that there was ‘too much going on’ with the profile. Reverse camber between the feet, camber under the feet and then reverse camber again to the tip and tail. It felt as though there were too many contact points and it made the board ride as if it were much wider, taking longer to get from edge to edge. Harder to stand in the centre of the board, you almost had to choose front foot or rear foot to focus your weight to get the board to respond.
Never Summer Heritage – A really good all round board with the emphasis on all mountain use. With reverse camber between the feet and cambered tip and tail, it felt like a more relaxed cambered board. A little stiffer than the SL-R, aimed more at the freerider who occasionally dips into the park, it handled everything thrown at it. Now with a carbonium topsheet, it renders the board virtually impervious to scratches but more importantly this matrix maximizes torsional response.
Burton Whammy Bar – A V-rocker with a difference, this freestyle board has a convex section between the feet eliminating that ‘standing on a ball’ feeling you get with some rockers. Much better than the Hero, the testers felt. A bit of a dark horse, but worth checking out. Fun to ride, loose and playful but with a little more control than most of its V-rocker buddies, a definite thumbs up! Well done Burton.
Never Summer Premier F1 – Since riding this, one of the testers, Greg, went out and bought one as soon as he heard that a local shop had got some 2011 boards in! A step up from the Heritage, this board has the ability to really charge and has some real power out of the tail. Yet at the same time the rocker/camber profile (now standard on all Never Summers) makes it more forgiving and more all-round, killer in moguls. Not too torsionally stiff, you can still pedal your feet quite happily. ‘Possibly the smoothest board I have ever ridden’, was one quote, this board was like driving a Rolls Royce. Directional with a pointy powder tail, it becomes a little catchy switch and therefore requires more attention than a Twin, but an absolute blast to ride.
Burton Sherlock – A very different concept, a powder-style board with a freestyle slant and super-tight sidecut. Paul and Ben tried it and loved it! The nose and tail are so much wider than the waist, it looks like a wooden ice cream spoon. The Flying “V” on this board seems to work much better than on the Custom and Easy Livin’ and we came up with the following theory… The Custom and Easy Livin’ seem to use radial sidecuts despite all the profile changes going on, whereas the Sherlock through a combo of its deep sidecut and new ‘Side effects’ (lengthening of the surface area of the nose and tail surface areas) seems to blend the new profile to its full advantage. Interesting that Rome with their Agent Rocker and Never Summer with their entire range, have come up with new multi-radii sidecuts to suit the new camber/rocker profiles after deciding that a classic radial sidecut didn’t work. Hmmmm…
Never Summer Raptor – The successor to last years Titan which was a freeride legend, the Raptor is an almost total revamp. Now with rocker/camber and Vario grip sidecut this board still has what it takes to get you down the steepest, gnarliest terrain, but with a smoothness that is incredible. With a longer cambered section up front, it is the most stable ride in the NS line-up, unaffected by the rocker section even at eye-watering speeds, yet at slow speeds and in bumps the rocker section gives you super fluid transitions from edge-to-edge and allows you to drift the board when the situation arises. With the lightweight and tough Carbonium topsheet, p-tex sidewalls and the 3-year warranty, this is a board that will be in your quiver for years.
Yes ‘The Dudes’ – The demo that two of the testers rode was in proto yellow so we didn’t get the full benefit of the graphics…but what a board! Cambered between the feet and rockered tip and tail, the flex pattern was finely balanced and allowed you to actually put some power through the tail without it mushing out on you (unlike the current Rossi Angus). With a deeper heelside sidecut, this board will help out those with a super-steezy wide stance who are unable to rotate their hips to steer and even has a section of ‘Ultimate Grip’ on the same edge. This is technology borrowed from Nidecker’s Alpine Race Boards and is basically their equivalent of Magnatraction – the board grips like poo to a blanket!
Burton Joystick – Last years award-winning board returns with added features, ‘Frostbite edges’, Scoop and Elliptical nose/tail and ‘Jumper cables’. The latter consists of carbon rods radiating out from the Channel towards the tip and tail for more pop. Paul felt that it was a great balance to the looseness and playfulness of the V rocker profile. The Frostbite edges give you a slightly protruding section of edge where your feet apply pressure, super useful if you are on less than perfect snow. A fun ride!
Rome Mod – Romes’ top end cambered board since the demise of the Design model (pause for a minutes silence), is a super tech freestyle tool. We found it lighter and livelier than last years model partly due to the Carbon Hot Rods radiating power to the tip and tail. It loads up beautifully and releases power predictably for those that want precision in their freestyle. We found it was a board that doesn’t deserve to be pigeonholed; it works all over the mountain…and well.
Burton Déjà Vu – Our women’s favourite by quite a long way. This was the cambered version and therefore a bit on the lively side with its directional flex pattern (there is a rockered version too). A twin shape, it rode perfectly switch and was the sort of board that you could step up your game as needed. Super smooth due to Burton’s ‘Smooth Ride’ technology, this was a board our women testers felt they could ride all day with ease. Two thumbs up!
Rome Pusher – A rocker with a difference… This sports Rome’s free rocker, a smooth curve designed for freestyle rather than just jibbing. This is the stiffest rocker any of us had ever ridden with a stiff tip and tail. It carves like a demon and actually accelerates hard off the tail. Super light and on the narrow side, it is consequently super quick from edge-to-edge and rides more like an all-mountain freestyle board. This is about as far as you can get from the original ‘banana’ concept, and it is not a bad thing.
Gnu Carbon Credit – Another pleasant surprise from the House of Mervin. This is a board with rocker between the feet and straight camber towards the tip and tail – the result? A loose playful board that engages edge more like a cambered board, A great starter board for someone looking for their first purchase and wanting a little bit of forgiveness. The good news? It’s going to be cheap!
Burton Easy Livin’ – Another board now sporting the ‘Flying-V’, and another that didn’t seem to work that well. Again we think that this is due to the use of a radial sidecut in conjunction with 6 contact points on each edge, not to mention the frostbite edges! Two of us ended up with discomfort along the side of our front legs, as we felt forced into un-natural leg movements to get the board to do what we wanted. Maybe a change in sidecut shape will rectify things and make the Easy Livin’, easy ridin’ again…
To get the truest picture of the boards themselves, most of us used our own bindings where necessary. However there were some bindings of note our testers felt worth mentioning.
Forum Shaka binding – Excellent, really good responsiveness with a great ankle strap without being too stiff.
Rome Targa & Rome 390 Boss – Both these bindings now sport a canting system which consists of changeable plates at 0, 2 and 3.5 degrees to suit your board profile i.e. Rocker, camber or flat. The new baseplate design also allows the board flex under the binding while at the same time combining toe to heel power and side to side flex.
Burton Co2 & Prophecy bindings – A flexing disk in the baseplate which again doesn’t interfere with the flex of the board. More good news… it is compatible with 4x4, 3D and the latest version of the Channel!
As I said, this is all personal opinion, take it or leave it...but either way, I hope it gives you food for thought.