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Old 01-26-2015, 10:33 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default 2015/2016 Ripsaw and The Chairman

The Chairman (the person) asked me to compare these two boards against one another specifically as applied to high speed stability. This is my first ever board review, so I don't have a specific format to follow.

I am going to update this with a review of the Chairman 160 when I ride that one and see if I can draw some comparisons. To get this started, though, I am going to put out my impressions of the Ripsaw first.

Some background: I have been riding a model year 2012 Never Summer Raptor 164 for a few years now. This was my first non-Burton, non-camber board since the mid-1990's (when I had a Sims Half-pipe). I had gotten very used to camber (was on a Burton T6 since 2006) and started migrating to a more directional stance. I had gotten by reasonable well in steeps and powder and backcountry with this stance, and have had some great days on the Raptor, including a heli-drop at Silverton and a snowcat tour- no complaints. I love powder like any rider, but when it's unavailable (which is the majority of the time), I ride groomers and steeps, but avoid bumps and park. My style tends toward soft boot carving and riding fast, long-radius turns on the groomers. A recent trip to Silverton found me transferring that same stance to another board, where it didn't translate very well and the board had too much "leverage" on me and I was not riding well (too much nose, not enough tail). The experience motivated me to re-examine my long held stance habits and try to get a little more centered and a little less forward rotation. This timing corresponded to picking up 3 boards from the Never Summer Factory:
a 2015/2016 NS Ripsaw 159
a 2015/2016 NS Chairman 160
a 2014/2015 NS Chairman 164





1/17/2015:

I decide to take the Ripsaw out first and got up to the area too late in the day to ride both boards. It was very crowded, with clear sunny skies. Seemed like a good day to ride the groomers with speed kept well under control and even make a foray into the bumps to avoid some of the crowds and to test this shorter board.



In the bumps, wow, this board did not disappoint! It was much easier to turn than my Raptor, but it may be comparing apples to oranges, given the length difference (164 vs 159)? I am not sure, but this board made the bumps almost fun. I am so not used to the bumps, so I wasn't charging them, but this board allowed me to pretty much go where I wanted to go and turn when I wanted to. The edge hold in the bumps was also suprisingly good. It would take some practice to get really good, since I have made a decision years ago to avoid moguls.

On groomers, the board felt quite different than what I am used to. The board feels wider than my Raptor and I had a hard time getting a really high-angle heelside carve due to that. It was slightly slower edge to edge than my Raptor, but edge hold was excellent. The board seems to do well with shorter radius carves than my old board, but that was perfect for the conditions being more crowded than I am used to. I even tried a little fakie riding, which is something I never do. I don't have the stance set up to do real well that way, but I was able to link turns fakie at slow to moderate speeds and felt the edgehold was great. This board does not accelerate quite as fast as my raptor, but I am not sure if that is due to the shorter length, or perhaps just the wax that was on it vs what I normally have. I don't think it is quite long enough for my style of riding to get it up to real fast speeds (probably did not get it up over 40 ??) but other riders may feel differently. All this is just after a half-day in crowded conditions, but I wanted to get those initial impressions written down while they are still fresh.

Here is a hash vid that at least shows some of the riding FWIW. I wanted to put music on for a soundtrack, but don't want to run afoul of a copyright claim (this has happened to me in the past).


Update: 1/26/2014-

Back at Copper with a lot less crowding. Ridiculously warm temps. Time to take out the Chairman 160 CM.


This board is not a beginners board !!! It locks in the carves and was even a bit scary. I had to be assertive to disengage the carve if I needed to speed-check. But wow, the edge hold was insane-way more than my Raptor. It feels similar to the Ripsaw in that I am having a hard time really getting the board on a really steep angle out of the snow on heelside, but I am tweaking my stance to see if it helps. These boards are stiff, they don't have that "surfy" feel that I have with the Raptor, they really want to stay in the carve until it's natural transition to going back the other direction. It probably shows in the video, but I am not used to these boards. I did not venture off the groomers today, as things looked more than a bit crusty. Today was about high-speed stability.

These boards ride well when going fast edge to edge, but I still don't like flat-basing them at high speeds like I would do with a traditional camber board. There is something about both boards where I felt slightly at risk of getting slammed if I let the base run flat at anything over probably 50 MPH. I should add that top speed, in and of itself, is never a goal- but rather being able to go at a speed where things are at least reasonably well under control. The runs need to be nearly deserted and the visibility needs to be perfect. I would never ride recklessly for the sake of speed. Hitting an object (either a tree or another person) is not an option. There were many times when I wanted to open it up, but had to bail due to someone skiing/riding into my space cushion.

In doing these speed tests, I used a Garmin Etrex 30 GPS with Max Speed function. I reset the max speed before each section and simply held the GPS in my hand. I would take note of the speed after having stopped most times. Only rarely would I look at the screen while riding, but on this occasion, I was able to look down as I went into the turn. I was able to get the board into a toeside carve at about 65 MPH right at the bottom of the run with no hint of edge slippage. The caveat to this is the snow conditions were pretty soft due to the ridiculously warm temperatures at the area. Here is a pic of the arc in the snow and the speed I saw when initiating the turn.


Turning and riding uphill is a good way to scrub speed off without doing a hockey stop and spraying snow everywhere (not to mention grinding edges down). Fastest speed of the day was on the Chairman on Rosie's at about 66 MPH. fastest run on the Ripsaw was about 58 MPH on Ptarmigan. Overall speed is not a goal, but speed while being safe and stable is what I was going for. I did not feel super confident like I did on my old camber Burton with flat basing the board, but even on that, I only allow the board to do this for a few seconds.
Here is some footage of the Chairman. I definitely need more time to master this board!
Attached Images
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Last edited by deagol; 03-09-2015 at 08:43 PM. Reason: fixed links for pictures 3/02/2015
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Old 01-28-2015, 08:06 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I went back to the Ripsaw same day as my first day on the Chairman and had a blast. I am getting a bit more used to it. This board rocks.. and I don't ride twins, but this may change my mind. This isn't based on hype or any pre-conceived notions, as I did not really even think a board like this was for me.

I wasn't able to get it up quite as fast as the Chairman, but the board feels less intimidating for me. I have not ridden a board this short since my old Burton Elite back in the 80's. I am re-thinking my old habit of preferring longer boards, at least for "normal" riding. I am even thinking the Chairman 164 will be way different than the Raptor 164 and possibly too much board for my weight.

I am starting to draw some comparisons that I will expand upon when time allows, but so far:

Chairman is faster edge to edge, faster overall ? feels harder to prematurely disengage a carve to check speed, more unforgiving, what else ??

Ripsaw is more "fun" for me right now and I know how subjective that is. It seems more forgiving, a bit slower, less intimidating, easier to scrub speed, ...

I still have some time on these boards to get a better impression, and I can't wait to get back out on them. I would love to try both in powder conditions, but we have been having spring like weather here in CO, and that scares me in what should be mid-winter.

Once I figure out how the leverage the heelside edge on this board, I think it will be awesome. I was not told much about this board that would color my perception and was told to give my honest impressions of both of them.

More footage of having fun on the Ripsaw...
(need to insert video)

Last edited by deagol; 01-28-2015 at 10:01 PM.
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Old 01-28-2015, 08:50 PM   #3 (permalink)
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For your first review that was really insightful. I'm looking at getting a much more aggressive board and have already drunk the NS kool aid fountain.

Your experience with carving on the Chairman was interesting and makes me want to demo one for sure.

Last edited by Manicmouse; 01-28-2015 at 10:59 PM.
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Old 01-28-2015, 09:28 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Solid, been looking at the Gnu Billy Goat or the Ripsaw.. Review was the chit on both NS boards.

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Old 01-29-2015, 12:59 AM   #5 (permalink)
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cool man.

Don't you think you can really feel that Ripsaw camber under each foot how it bites very aggressively at some sort of exponential curve to how much pressure and angle you put on it. I've noticed this on both the Funslinger and West.
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Old 01-29-2015, 01:34 AM   #6 (permalink)
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deagol, what is your height/weight?
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Old 01-29-2015, 08:57 AM   #7 (permalink)
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thanks everyone for the comments.

Quote:
Originally Posted by snowklinger View Post
cool man.

Don't you think you can really feel that Ripsaw camber under each foot how it bites very aggressively at some sort of exponential curve to how much pressure and angle you put on it. I've noticed this on both the Funslinger and West.
Yes, the extended camber is a big improvement in grip over the Raptor, IMO

Quote:
Originally Posted by stillz View Post
deagol, what is your height/weight?
about 5'9" and 155-160 depending on the week.

Last edited by deagol; 01-29-2015 at 09:06 AM.
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Old 01-29-2015, 07:59 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Manicmouse View Post
...
Your experience with carving on the Chairman was interesting and makes me want to demo one for sure.
I would definitely demo this board if you get a chance...
It would be interesting to get some other's perspectives on this board. I still have the 164 CM version to test out, but have to throw some bindings on it (wish I had a spare pair). I am thinking the 164 CM might be too long for me, but we will see. I think you might go a bit shorter on this board than you would normally.
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Old 01-29-2015, 08:26 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I have a 160 Chairman and I agree that it is not a board for beginners. Note that the effective edge on the Chairman is much longer than on other comparable boards. For example my 160 has a 127 effective edge whereas the 162 ripsaw has only 123 in effective edge. With my Union Charger bindings the Chairman feels very stiff. The Chairman feels really aggressive and less forgiving and harder to ride as it requires more commitment than my Raptor. The Chairman is also really really stable and damp.

Note that your 159 Ripsaw has 120 cm effective edge vs 131 of your 164 Chairman.

Last edited by trpa_ec; 01-29-2015 at 08:28 PM.
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Old 01-30-2015, 10:12 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deagol View Post
I would definitely demo this board if you get a chance...
It would be interesting to get some other's perspectives on this board. I still have the 164 CM version to test out, but have to throw some bindings on it (wish I had a spare pair). I am thinking the 164 CM might be too long for me, but we will see. I think you might go a bit shorter on this board than you would normally.
Not wanting to hijack but you did ask.

I have about 40 days in all sorts of conditions on my 173 Chairman this season. I am coming from 3 seasons on 172 Premier F1s, what I have considered the best freeride boards I have ever ridden. I bought two 173 Chairmans for this year. Now I realize most of ya'll don't ride boards that huge but I am very grateful to Vince for championing the 173 for us longboarders. I am 6'1". 200lbs and I charge hard and go ridiculously fast when the conditions allow. The Chairman handles speed and chunder like nothing else. At first it felt super fast and then I sorta got used to it and I wondered if it really was faster than my old F1 but the Ski tracker confirmed (I will not post the speed, you wouldn't believe me anyway). What I figgered out is that the Chairman handled the speed with less violence, it is ridiculously stable and just chews up the late in the day bumpys.

It is true that the Chairman is not for the weak hearted. It is a board that requires commitment when it comes to line choice. You can't waffle, it will bite you. But it will hold whatever line you choose for it, so you better choose wisely. You have to be on yer A game on this board. I have been spat out by it a few times. I run trees, tight trees, and bumps, many times at the same time and many times very fast and the Chairman just rails it, but if my attention wavers I pay, head first in a few wells, shat offa couple cliffs. I also had trouble at first with early season settled POW in the secret stash places I would hit, it just didn't wanna rise up through the wet crud like my F1, probably because it was so stiff. But what it does in everything else makes up for its submarine like qualities in mud snow.

In the deep fresh POW the Chairman is just dreamy. Fast, floaty and totally in control. And knuckle dragging carves on corduroy are plain impressive, stinky. I have spent most of this season, and the last 6 seasons, on Cartels but just a few days ago I strapped on a set of NOW O Drives and let me say that these bindings are amazing and pretty much neutralized any of the Chairman's bad manners. It's still punk, but more Duane Peters and less Darby Crash now. This is the ultimate combo for how I ride. The speed and control is sinful. Just sold all the Cartels and bought another set of O Drives. They are that awesome, especially on the Chairman.

I really wanna thank Vince again for getting the 173 to be a reality with this board and for putting up with all of my questions and feedback. Great guy, great company. I am looking forward to seeing how this board progresses in its future iterations.

Hope you forgive the hijack deagol
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