Board: Nitro Sub Pop (aka Sub Zero) 152cm
Bindings: Union Force size L/XL, Ride Delta size XL (11-13)
Stance: +15, -12, 25" width (I'm tall!)
Boots: 32 Lashed size 11.5
Me: 6'2" 175lbs, 26 years old, Saggitarius, enjoys rock n roll, alcohol, and movies. Dislikes Facebook and Twitter.
Modifications: detuned the shit out of the board edges, especially between the bindings. Replaced Union crap strap with Burton Custom cap strap. Wrote L.A.M.F. all over the place to remind myself that Johnny Thunders should always be screaming in your head when you are shredding rails.
I have been riding a Stepchild Jibstick for the last 2 seasons. It rules. I really like the board. Contrary to it's marketing hype, it's not an easy board that makes you a miraculous jibber. Welcome to no board does that. The Jibstick is a pretty stiff flex and it's got real good pop. It's just a super solid durable go-to board that loves long features because the flex won't let the board fold when you are trying to balance that press on a real long box, etc. Anyways I had a bad rail strike with it's nose and I epoxied it back together it is chipped and dinged and really holding up well for the shit its seen but I had a sneaking suspicion that if I kept riding it that hard I'd be getting a new board real soon.
I figure why not see what I can pick up at the end of the season on sale. Stepchild hired... I dunno... some fucking meth head to do their graphics for next season so I wasn't necessarily eager to wait for any 10/11 Christian Crosses (barf), Weed Smoking Rasta Lions (that's a JP board? Not a Bradshaw board? you sure?) Sextons board is pretty cool but i got a peep of the 10/11 catalog and Stepchild has kept with their pretty stiff flex. Any board with a softer flex has some pretty bare features and tech. That ultimately turned me off the the Latchkey or Ripper whatever they call it now. The flex felt nice like an Artifact but it was camber-only. I like the skaty feel of rocker boards and have gotten real used to that. It's that whole creature of habit thing for setting up for rails. I wanted to keep a flat camber or rocker board for this feel.
So I go on the hunt for an 09/10 closeout rail board. In the end it was between Rome and Nitro. Obviously the Artifact and Artifact 1985. And the Swindle and the Sub Zero. They were about cross-comparable to size and feel and flex just camber vs rocker. Like I said though I wanted rocker if I could. Just how I roll I guess. Not me buying into marketing hype it's me for 2 seasons on a board I love.
I was going to go home and flip a coin or something but I stopped in one more shop. They had an 09 Sub Pop for about $150 less than everything else I found. Sweet. Let's do this. It's a rail board. Good flex some cool tech whatever I didn't care just wanted something softer than the Jibstick for rails. But not a K2 WWW. I hate that fucking board.
I'll admit I pay attention to a company's riders and marketing because without knowing them personally what else can we go on? I try to be concious of who owns who and why if your boards are made in China do they cost so fucking much, etc.
Ok on with it:
The board rips. It's awesome. It's got a shitload of tech for a rail board. Gullwing camber, Drifter base (edge bevel but bevels the base so it keeps the edge to base transition smooth thus more durable edges. In theory). Super thick (like... Huge) edges that can take a lot of rail abuse. Its also got a real nice flex pattern. Soft but still poppy thanks to the slightly stiffer flex between the bindings and the Gullwing camber profile. It's not gonna hit 50 ft kickers real good but 30 footers are just fine.
This thing is at home on rails. Check out Ben Bilocq KILL it with this board in this years Videograss video. Maniac. The weird camber all flexes out when you are on rails. The rocker flexes to wrap around rails on boardslides. The camber flexes out to flatten and lock you on presses.
It was weird at first because with the regular tip to tail rocker of the Stepchild I could kinda roll into boardslides if they weren't stomped out perfectly. On this board if you try that too much you might end up in the camber under your foot and you'll just slide out with wobbly balance and hike the thing and do it again. The board needs some precision when getting into that shit.
I don't know if this is really a minus though. You've all seen the thuggish ruggish park rats who cruise up to a box or rail and prioritize their steeze over their trick. They'll 3-whatever butter on the box til they get to the end and just slide off at whatever point they were at. Theyll rock up to a FS boardslide, get the nose on and just ride that out til they slide off. Mid rail, whatever as long as they dont have to move from their rap video pose. I despise this kind of riding.
This board does not do that kind of riding. You need to bend your knees (!) and pop and turn and stomp your trick and this board will lock you in and you will feel good.
Before I detuned this board I was very surprised at it's edge hold. Jesus fuck it had as much bite as my BTX Lib Snow Mullet. But the Lib is stiffer thicker and more back country all over-ish. This board would bite and you could feel it getting flexed around from it. It was like having racing slicks on your car. But a couple of your bolts were missing from your suspension so it just jumped around all jerky and you had to use The Force to keep it pointed in the right direction. I didn't detune my Lib, but I definitely would on this board even if you aren't using it for rails.
After detuning, the board felt much smoother on rails. I felt like it could ooze onto rails. It matches the flex much better not to have a very precise edge. Besides, fuck peeling potatoes, get rid of your edge for a rail board, dummies!
Simple. For this type of board: Union > Ride. I like mid-stiffer freestyle bindings. aka I don't like Rome 390s or Targas. I used to have Contrabands. I never had any issues slipping out or anything like that, I just went back to 2 strap binders because I wanted some more toe hold for rails. Went to my Delta MVMNTs but for how tight I like them for rails, the toe strap gave me some pressure points and the highbacks were made out of hardened steel it felt like. I put the Contraband ankle strap and highback on. Ankle strap was too soft and highback still too stiff.
Oh well, experiment fail. I like Ride binders, and I reassembled the Deltas and they live happily on my Lib.
Riding this board with the Unions was basically heaven. It felt like a skateboard. Like I said I like mid stiff bindings so Forces were great for me. Little bit more flex than I'd like in the back country, but that's what I wanted for this board. Rails and jibs afterall. I could tweak more in the Unions and they kinda just disappeared. I felt like they were just supplimenting what I was trying to do, where I wanted my weight, and how I wanted that press or lipslide or whatever it was. Not like Union Forces need to be Internet-hyped any more than they are, but if the shoe fits....
But... I didn't even ride them with those shitty toe straps they have. Sorry. Fuxk those things. They felt flimsy and the buckles felt like shit to me. When I bail on a rail and I want to throw my board as hard as I can toward the nearest thing, dealing with dumb ass hard toe buckles is the WORST thing in the world.
Find a pair of cap straps that fit your boots real good and retro fit them onto your Forces. I chose the Burton Custom cap strap. Fits the square shape of the Lashed toe box real good (another reason I ditched the contrabands... They fit 32 boots like shit).
So all in all: the Nitro Sub Pop (Sub Zero) is a great board. It slays rails with the right commitment on your part, has good pop to do half cabs or boot off kickers or pop off nose presses with style. It's got rad tech and it has really nice flex that puts most other board to shame (fuck you K2 WWW).
Flex numbers on my scale:
K2 WWW: 1.5 overall with a shitty soft flex between the bindings. Good for firewood.
Nitro Sub Pop (Zero): 3 overall with nice medium stiffness between your bindings. Good for rails.
Stepchild jibstick: 5 with a predictable controlable constant flex from tip to tail. Go-to board for all over jibbing and park riding.