Ride Berzerker 2012
Rider: Ippy inutil. Lazy, fat, happy on a charge, loves pop, enjoys pow, parkphobic.
Board: 2012 Ride Berzerker 158. All mountain hybrid camber, narrow ass waist, 3 part directional sidecut (9.8, 7.3, 8.3), mellow camber from tail contact to inserts then a very mellow rocker on the nose. Directional, 90A Slimewalls, sintered, carbon array 3, 3/4 inch setback, and a ride flex of 7.
Time on the board: 2 days so far.
Bindings: My trusty peeling apart, ratchet hell 2009/10 green forces.
Conditions: Day 1 (kagura) overcast, pow, slightly packing, but still japow. Day 2 (gala yuzawa/kogen/ishiuchi): sunny, heavier pow and at ishiuchi, full blown crud.
Other: Day 1: Rode bindings fully set back for pow. Day 2: switched up to a centered (though in built setback) stance.
Tech preconceptions: A hard charging board but with a little extra kick for pow. Might be a bit squirly in icier conditions but i can live with that. Probably wont be too playful though...
Strapped in and the first thing i did was had a wee test of the flex. This board is NOT STIFF. I mean, it might just be that i'm fairly used to boards that give you a hernia when you try and press them, but this board presses EFFORTLESSLY (comparatively speaking of course -its not a horrorscope). I'd dare say this was even easier to press than my airobic. Well there goes preconception number 1. I bet it rides crap in switch though... blam! no. Rides switch fine thanks. Bindings set back or not, it just feels like riding switch.
Right, it butters. If i was giving it a flex rating id put it at a classic medium flex. Maybe even slightly softer than a medium flex. That's surprise number one then: It is mellow camber with a mellow rocker nose after all... its kinda buttery... i guess that means its going to suck on a carve.
So i put it on edge and got hit with revelation number 2. First, getting on edge was super smoooooooth. You lock into a carve right away and you KNOW you're on your edge. The second thing though is that this board has a gas pedal!
You know in movies when someone hits the turbo button and they get knocked back into their seat... its like that. I swear to god! you get on your edge and there's none of this slow build up, you are now going immediately faster. It was kinda funny. There was no pop on it, i didn't bounce into this edge, just rolled onto it and boom! acceleration. And it locks. If you blind tested this board, you wouldn't know this had any rocker at all. Its edge hold is solid. The word "wash" didn't even enter my thoughts until i was on the train home thinking "holy shit, the idea of this board washing never even crossed my mind once this weekend!"
Naturally then the rocker is not affecting the carve so it must be sooooo mellow that its barely going to affect the pow either... its probably just like riding a broken in camber ride, right?
Wrong again ipps.
Kagura gets deep. The board killed it. No nose diving issues to report. I took it into the areas the riot really got spanked on (the trees up near the top lift which gets both deep and can be flat in places), and this board rode it like i was on my charlie. Naturally no taper and 6cms smaller than the slasher means the charlie still has its role, but for anything but the deepest terrain this board is going to kill it. With the bindings set back i had no problems at all. It eats up slackcountry japow. [I should add though on day 2 when i centered the bindings i did have a couple of moments when it tried to nose dive, so its not a pow board in that regard]. But when you have a pow day, knock the bindings back and blam! semi-pow stick.
So Day 1 conclusions:
This board is a mechanical marvel. Someone is going to be ecstatic about this board. If i did have to pick apart one thing on it, it did seem kinda lifeless... it was missing a little oomph to it that i want in a board (and that i definitely get on both the quiver killer/NAS and the riot). It handles it all, but its just lacking that little aggressive tweak that makes me want to bounce off everything and throw it everwhere. It does it, but in a kind of "thats nice, but dont you want to go play in the trees?" type of way. Its like an old faithful board. Maybe even a slackcountry quiver killer. Its buttery fun with an amazing consistent ride and fantastic float. Pretty much ticks almost all the boxes youd want. Just not all the boxes i maybe want.
I decided this opinion was massively influenced by both the lines i rode (pow lines and chopped up steeps - the mainstay of kagura) and my binding positioning. I needed to test this out and see the difference it made so i centered the bindings and looked forward to getting a bit of oomph out of it.
Well, as luck would have it, the first run i clipped in on (the top run at gala yuzawa) was your classic intermediate groomed steep.
And here i learned two new things about this board.
1. The board is FAAAAAAAAAST!!!
2. The board does not care one way or the other whether you want to ride an entire line with one edge change. Preconception number.... lets say ten... smashed. This board isnt just about tight sharp turns. I mean it turns super quick as youd expect, but as you might not expect, (but only later come to realise as to why), it also runs long straight lines without hooking you round. And then you suddenly remember the mellow rocker and the extremely wide angle in the sidecut at the nose...
So on a carve its quick, its got super easy turn initiation, it doesn't hook (i should also mention this for landings as well though i personally wont be testing that one for you), it locks like youd expect camber to lock, it can do super quick transitions thanks in part to its narrow width and sidecut and also holds long arcs with no real problems. The carbon array is awesome for distributing pressure, so this board is LOCKED in. If this was a carving board, youd be pretty happy with it.
In the pow it floats, doesnt nose dive, stomps and slashes, it feels really meaty and you wont feel like youre skidding out. It kills it. So preconception number 1 delivered! its an aggressive board with a powder lean. Yay!
But its not.
It's also seriously playful.
Day 2 i spent shooting up walls, playing in the baby park getting baby air, 50/50ing boxes and rails, hitting every side hit and bouncing every bit of crud and chop you could find. I mention this in part to humiliate myself by reminding you that im no park rat, but also because it was the change in the feel of this board that actually had me wanting to do all this. If this board was just the board from my preconception above i would have spent the day kinda chilling and burning down the groomers... Its just not though, its super playful. But in a buttery playful way, kinda like the indoor survival type of playful as opposed the riots type of playful. It has pop, and decent pop at that, it wants to ride walls and it wants to just pop, spin and butter about. Its just really fun on top of everything else.
So let me take a brief moment to point out some of these contrasts...
1. Its both super playful when you want it, and super aggressive when you want that.
2. It floats like an untapered s-rocker but loses nothing in its carve or stability to deliver that.
3. It excels at sharp explosive turns, and yet doesnt hook on long turns.
4. Its poppy yet buttery.
I cant think of anything its missing to be honest...
I guess the last thing i should mention is the dampening. Ive never ridden a board specifically with dampening built into it so im not exactly the best person to ask... but even in serious crud i didnt come out of it with jelly knees. I never felt like i was being bounced around so i hope that helps you out.
What the hell else am i going to say except this board is genuinely the best board ive ever ridden. I mean ive ridden less boards in my life than someone like the angrysnowboarder rides in a weekend test so this statement should carry zero weight. But I cant help but think somethings actually clicked in this deck.
Its rather batshit insane if im honest. I keep mentally digging through this check list of things a board needs to do (and do above average), to be considered that perfect kill it all deck... and it keeps ticking the damn boxes. I want to say something negative about it, i want to say "but yeah... you still want to ride your riot though!" but thats more out of masochism and the sheer mischief that board carries. This deck on the other hand is pure functional elegance. Everything works and it works to perfection. Its not simply good at everything; its very good at everything AND even exceptional in some of those areas (its carving, its speed, and its turning just for three things).
Ive spent the past two years stating categorically that theres always a trade off... and im trying desperately to think of it... but bugger me, i dont honestly know what it is. I cant think of a bad thing to say about this board. I guess i could say its pop is still a little flat... maybe... but only a little and only because my last two go-to boards (well one of them is my current), are the riot and the quiver killer - two boards built for pop.
I dunno what to say dudes... this is annoyingly positive. I want to criticise it. I want to find fault in it and have that "aha! i've GOT YOU NOW!!!" moment, but if you want a board thats going to kill it all no matter what and not sacrifice anything in doing it, then shtooking hell... this might actually be that board. Its far and away the most versatile board ive ridden and until they design the magical board that exists in my head, chances are it will hold that distinction for quite a few years yet. Im quite gobsmacked by it to be honest.