First up I was not given this board to review, I paid full price for it with my own money.
Im a big guy, 6'3" in the old money and 240lb with gear, I basically freeride in stupid amounts of powder in Hokkaido where it gets deep and its not that steep so a board that floats is critical.
Its pretty. +1
It has a big fat nose with a nice gradual up turn. +1
More rocker than I was expecting and less camber than I was expecting. Neutral
Magnetraction on a pow board? -1
Non full wrap steel edges. -1
Its also softer than I thought it would be. Neutral
So the basic over view is neutral, it has its ups but also some possible downs.
First impressions on the snow.
People look at you like you have 2 heads when you rock up with this bad boy.
My first turns were in some relatively deep powder, I started making some turns and it responded well, the tail is easier to push around in the powder than I was expecting.
It floats like a duck in a bath tub.
Anyone within 10m of you gets instantly sprayed with powder, its great for hosing your mates and skiers.
The first run looked like this
Second run, I think I like it
More detailed impressions
In the powder
This board is everything you thought it would be although still requires some leaning back to keep the nose up compared to my regular swallowtail ride. If you stand neutral you can sink the nose but it will try to work its way back to the top thanks to the gentle up turn rocker profile it has.
The flex feels perfect in the soft stuff but you can feel a little bit too much impact from death cookies hidden beneath the pow etc, a lighter person will probably not have the same issue.
The tail is very easy to push around and also responds well when you need to make last minute turns to save yourself from hitting a tree etc. Its no boat, it turns on a dime.
Makes your mate on his hovercraft, fish, powder snake (insert generic powder board here) look like a taxi cab stuck in traffic as you boot past him at mach 10 and spray him in the face, basically if you dont have fun in the pow on this board you might aswell give up snowboarding right now.
On the hardpack.
Its too soft for me but only just, I can live with it (I have to lol).
Its definately lacking a bit of camber as I suspected when I first layed my eyes on it. It carves pretty well but not comparable to a full camber board as some other hybrids can be. A touch more camber outside the feet would really wake this board up on the groomers, it definately feels like a rocker board more than a camber board which is disappointing to me.
The shortish (for its size) effective edge probably plays a part in the lack of edge hold I am picking up on also.
The nose flaps around but so what, it has no negative effect on anything.
Its really slow when I put it on edge, totally noticable. Im riding stupid amounts of powder and this is a total quiver board so why slow me down with bumpy edges when I just want a fast clean edge to get me to the powder stash before the next guy. I find myself flat basing everywhere because I hate the slow feeling I get when I put an edge in on anything but the steepest sections. On flat runouts putting an edge in is out of the question. Totally disappointed in magnetraction in these conditions.
The non full wrap steel edges leave the nose especially very succeptable to damage. Mine has 2 big hits in it after just a few days that Im quite sure wouldnt be there if there was a steel edge to protect it. Its just lazy board building lib tech! You charge the money, learn how to bend full wrap edges ffs.
Over all I totally love riding this board in powder and I can live with the performance on piste. I rate it 8/10. Get rid of magnetraction and put a full wrap steel edge and its 10/10 without a doubt.
Some pics of the damage to the front. Im quite sure a full wrap edge board would have little to no damage or perhaps the bio beans top sheet and basalt fibre just doesnt have the same strength as fibreglass and plastic.
thank you for the review. i am planning on purchasing a birdman on sale. im 5-7, advanced but not expert, and will be riding on powder but also on hardpack. i was thinking 160? what do you think? also 140 lbs with gear.
Anyone can come and ride pow like this, you just have to make it happen. Plane tickets are cheap!
That is what I spent last night arguing with the wife over. It is a reasonably priced vacation - even out of Calgary, Canada. She said "who the hell do you know from Japan." I told her "oh....I have lots of friends who ride there that are on the forum." LOL! She replied...."yeah...how do you know they are not serial killers?"
So the question is......are you a psycho killer whos speciality is slaying powder?