This will be on ongoing thread on the 2018 NS Chairman. I don't have a production model but Vince Sanders of Never Summer was kind enough to let me borrow a prototype NS Chairman 161X. Please note that NS is letting me borrow the prototype for free but is not selling or giving it to me and I will be returning it once I'm done demoing it. Also note that Vince told me that the prototype is stiffer than the production mode which has had its flex better tuned for the Ripsaw camber to make it more dynamic.
My early production 2015 Chairman 160 is my favorite board and daily driver. I've had it since January 2015 and have 95+ days on it. When Vince noted that in the Instagator thread that the 2018 Chairman would have Ripsaw camber instead of the extended transition original rocker camber variant, I was instantly interested. The 2015 Chairman is a great board for my purposes. It's a stiff and super damp freeride board with a long effective edge that powers through anything. It needs a strong rider though because as a stiff CRC board it is not most accessible. But I thought giving it more camber and less rocker would give it more bite in the initiation and more rebound out of turns.
Here is a picture of the difference in camber between my original 2015 Chairman and the 2018 Chairman prototype.
The statistics on the 161X are:
Waist 26.6 cm
Edge 127 cm
Sidecut Vario 850 cm
Surface Area 672 sq in/4335 sq cm
I've had it out one day so far at night. The weather had warmed up then dropepd below freezing and there was nothing loose, soft or granular on the surface. It was not ice or true hardpack but solid and almost chalk-like in hardness and consistency. You could still hold an edge on it but you wouldn't sink in it at all.
I threw some Frankenbindings on it. Union Chargers metal frame and carbon fiber highback with Burton X Base asymmetrical hammock straps and Burton Cartel toe caps.
You can immediately feel the difference between the 2015 Chairman and the 2018 Chairman prototype. They both feel very stiff but you definitely feel the increased camber and decreased rocker of the 2018. While stationary, there is a more planted feeling with pressure at the tip and tail contact points and far less of the teeter totter feel of the original rocker camber. The 2015 Chairman initiates turns really well and the 2018 Chairman improves on that. There's a nice degree of bite to the contact points so it hooks into the turn even more readily. There is good camber rebound off the bottom of the turn. On the original Chairman getting good rebound required really aggressive riding but on the 2018 the rebound and snap is much more accessible and feels more lively. The board is still super damp and cut through everything while maintaining really good edge hold. It can still be pivoted off the middle rocker easily when needed. One thing to note though, while there was more rebound and the rebound was more accessible, the stiffness of the board still means that you really need to use your weight to load up the board. Just using your feet to flex the board deep into the turn to tighten up the turn and load up the board isn't easy without putting your weight and strength into it. My understanding from Vince is that the production models have their flex better turned to the board and are less of a beast to flex.
The board hooked into turns hard, held an edge well, and rebounded/snapped out of turns into the next turn better than its predecessor. The base was fast and the board ate up chop because of its super dampness. It feels more planted and less surfy than its predecessor. All in all I really like it so far and I'm going to be buying a production model at my own cost to replace my 2015 Chairman. I'll keep updating this thread through my testing in various conditions until I return it and then will update this thread once I have the production model to review.