2010/2011 K2 Parkstar 152
This format was borrowed, with permission, from Snowolf. Thanks!
The MSRP for the standard board is $429 but you can find it for under $300. I paid $270, brand new. Why am I reviewing last years board? Because only a few things changed and it's a great value. What is new for 2011/2012 is the WH3 core over the W2 and triax over triax laminate as compared to the biax over triax.
Available sizes: 149, 152, 155, 157, 159
This board is a true twin.
K2 jib rocker camber is flat all the way to the last 10% on either end where it features micro rocker. The 2011 features a W2 core which is a blend of 3 different woods where the 2012 ups the ante with a WH3 core which features two rail to rail honeycomb structures for lightness, edge to edge response and energy memory. Both years feature Hybritaper, which is cap construction approaching the contact points around the edge of the nose and tail. It reduces weight and enhances carving ability but I'm a bit hesitant as to its ability to stand up to abuse like p-tex sidewall. The board features a web of carbon torsion forks from the insert packs to the tip of the nose and tail to enhance pop and feedback. The sidecut is "hyper progressive" featuring a blend of an infinite number of increasing radii which decrease in radius at the center.
OTHER FEATURES & TECHNOLOGY
Biax over Triax glass layup
Hyper Progressive Sidecut
4000 Sintered Base
Overall Length: 152 cm
Construction: Jib Rocker
Effective Edge: 119.3 cm !!
Sidecut: listed at 7.8, I'm guessing this is an average of all the radii
Nose Width: 28.9cm
Waist Width: 24.5cm
Tail Width: 28.9cm
Stance Range: 21" is the reference
Flex: Not rated
Weight Range: Not rated
Boot: DC Park 9.5, regular laces
Binding: Burton Malavita Restricted, size M
Stance: Regular, 23.5", 15/-15
Rider Skill: Freeride and Freestyle Intermediate
Wax: Hertel Super Hot Sauce
Tune: I completely rounded off the nose and tail edges with an angle grinder all the way to 1.5" inward from where the Hybritaper narrows off into the actual nose and tail leaving a 112.5cm all the way from (new) contact point to new contact point.
Conditions: Liberty (Jiberty). All artificial, about 35 degrees. Overcast. Afternoon into mid evening.
Philosophy of Use: This is a term I'm borrowing from "nutnfancy".
This is a park setup that is designed to have expanded ability to go outside the park in a pinch. This is a big target audience for manufacturers focusing on the "core" market. It's meant for jibbing and some jumping.
Sidecut/Manuverability/Camber: Feels fast edge to edge. It's fairly narrow and long, distorted aspect ratio lends itself to stable cruising. The hyperprogressive cut has lots of grip (flat camber) and can carve decently. I had to dial it back since I've been on Arbor's The System all season which rides radically different because of the ability to carve on the inner contact points. Once you start putting it edge to edge, it really feels like a camber board that's forgiving rather than a powerful rocker board. It's closer to the camber edge of the spectrum but without the necessity of weight and unweighting to get it to turn. You definitely steer it deliberately like camber, it just takes less effort.
Flat camber is awesome. Even though this board is elevated at the contact points, it feels mostly flat underfoot. Once you get it dialed, it just feels right. On 5050s it just locks in butter smooth. On boards it doesn't have that teetering balance point Endo board feel of center rocker or hybrid that are center rocker. It's not huge, but it's subtly noticeable. Great balance and once you locked in your board, it just slayed the whole thing for you.
Stability/Damping: Ok for a park board. I took it through whatever chop jiberty had and the moguls and it handled itself fine. It's lively underfoot but generally well behaved. The carbon web doesn't seem to really enhance feedback beyond a normal board. No actual jumps to take it off of but some of the sidehits I managed to find let me air it decently. It stomp downs pretty easily, throwing some backside 3's off the snowgun bases. Overall, this is a good one for cruising the park and the mountain but you don't want to go crazy bombing doubles.
I was surprised how easily it zipped through the moguls. I think medium and little texture disturbances are easily felt but as long as you aim it fairly true, it won't buck you to death.
Flex/Snap: Holy shit was this a surprise. I was expecting something fairly mid flex, it's definitely a bit softer than that but the flex pattern is not at all consistent. The tips are really soft, I penguin walked it around the base area just to get a feel for it and it's just super snappy but somehow soft in the tips. It must be the thin hybritaper construction plus the carbon web. Carbon really seems to be the way to go to make a board that's both snappy and playful. Longitudinally it's soft. Right around where the Evo sits. This makes carve/turn initiation fairly straightforward, and is the right type choice for a flat board.
The middle of the board is stiffer than the tips would lead you to believe. This actually makes doing 5-0's kind of a chore because you have to really find that sweet spot as opposed to boards that are more even flexing or have big sweet spots near the insert packs. But as far as actual effort, it's soft once you lock in that spot outside the inserts. I think they could improve this board by just softening it up a hair on the inside and beefing up the tips just very slightly to make it more consistent.
However, since the tips are so soft, locking into front blunts is almost automatic. I threw a few where I thought for sure I was going to go over the far side but it balance out. I would prefer more consistent flex, though, it's just a bit extreme in difference.
No jumps to snap it off but it ollied well enough to easily get wherever I wanted on the handrail I ended up hiking to where I didn't notice any lack of snap. Did it catch my attention like the Evo or Westmark? No, but it is more than enough to do anything you need.
Base: Pretty fast, didn't see any damage at all despite the terrible coverage and the time I spent in the park. I did ding it up a few times screwing up but it didn't look any worse for wear. Sintered so it just keep it wax and p-tex it every once in a while and this thing should easily last most riders a season or more.
Other note: A good selection for a quiver of two type setup. This board impressed me but didn't wow me in any particular way. I liked the camber. Jib Rocker is awesome with just enough rocker but the long flat really is fun to ride. If you like camber but don't like the effort it takes to cruise all day, get on a flat board. It has plenty of grip, too, so no need for sidecut voodoo trickery. The sidecut itself was good, hyper progressive feels natural, there was no real discernible difference from a regular well designed blended tri-radial. Maybe feels a little different as you angulate the board, but that's something you dial in real quick.
The flex pattern was great for jibbing and park riding. I'm not sure why anyone would get the WWW, this board is plenty soft. It would like to see it a bit more consistent, maybe they changed it for this year? Overall, for $269, this board is a steal.
My one major gripe is the hybritaper construction. Just go with p-tex sidewalls. These things didn't carve any better (you have flat camber for crying out loud) for being cap construction and they already have a ding or two and I'm afraid it just won't last as long. For a park board that already carves more than decently, which is all a park board needs to do, the choice of cap construction is a curious one. Styles like Arbor's Shadow Flex or Forum's Swingers Club are the right way to taper a board to save weight and soften the flex pattern in the tips. Do this, make the flex a little bit more even throughout (soften the middle or add some soft spots near the insert packs) and do whatever you can to maybe chop $15-30 off the MSRP and I think you have a real winner, here.
Last edited by CheeseForSteeze; 01-17-2012 at 01:22 PM.