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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Brand: Bataleon
Model: The Surfer
Year: 2020
Size: 159 (327/264/299)
Sidecut Radius (m): 7.9
Bindings: Genesis X Re:Flex™ (large)
Boots: SLX
Wax: Hertal FC739/Vola cold temp -25C to -12C
Rider: 191cm/95kg (kitted up),
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I grabbed a 2020 Bataleon Surfer 159 a few months ago to take to Japan as a powder specific board. Firstly let me say that this is a pretty damn sexy looking ride and genuinely feel the Surfer can easy sell itself on just its looks alone. In Australia we only get a handful of these for retail in each year so consequently I placed a pre-order for one in advance so I wouldn't miss out.
Well let's get this out there....., the Bataleon Surfer is not a cheap ride. They have a $Au1099.99 RRP for standard and $Au1599.99 RRP for the Limited. I was able to grab mine for $Au850 which is still the most expensive I've ever paid for a board but in the end it's only money and, I really wanted it anyway.

Well...., it's not that cheap, so what do you get for all that coin you just forked out. Bataleon have designed The Surfer as their dedicated powder slayer. The Surfer has been out for a few years now but there aren't a heck of a lot of reviews running around for this deck (Angry, Board Archive, Whitelines, Goodride). I'd say TJ's is the best followed by Angry. The biggest thing you notice with this board when you unwrap it out of the plastic is the gorgeous deep swallow tail, a solid 25mm directional set back cambered design, a very decent taper and most noticeably what Bataleon call their POW 3BT™ with SideKick™ – 3rd generation Pow 3BT™ (triple base technology). I've never ridden a 3BT™ board before but I've looked at some reviews out there and it "Seems" to have some big merits in the powder. On the work bench when you look at The Surfer and place a straight edge across the base you can see the 3BT™ starting from just forward the front binding inserts and getting more lifted and pronounced at it extends towards the front EE extreme. It then reduces back down as it transitions to a flat tip at the end of the nose.

It's also not the easiest board to wax either as you have to annoyingly negotiate these SideKick™ base curves with my ToKo T8 flat based iron. Anyway after last year in Hokkaido where I had 10 to 15cm a day for 2 weeks riding waist deep powder none of this will ever go astray.

So I just got back from 2 weeks in Furano/Kamui, Hokkaido and spent about 10 days on my 159 '20 Surfer. I took 3 boards over; The Surfer 159, Fish 161 and Dump Truck 163. Well I can tell you that this trip was not as memorable as the last. They have been saying on Japanese media that it's the worst start to Winter since they commenced keeping records from 1961. However being an Australian, I have a very high understanding of what bad conditions really are. Sadly it wasn't epic, but it was still around 50cm on the groomed base and a bit thicker in the powder pockets. Generally the conditions where piste with around 2 to 4cm of fresh powder every few days.

Well not the ideal conditions for The Surfer but I was still mega keen to get it out on the mountain. I was a little bit anxious on how it would handle these all mountain like conditions as The Surfer is a pretty much a dedicated powder board. So my first run was dropping out off the gondola on a pretty steep piste decline with a light covering of fresh snow. Nothing like Christening this baby straight into the deep end. Well surprisingly this board feels pretty damn solid here having no problems handling my size. I mounted The Surfer with Genesis X Re:Flex™, dialed -20mm back to the rear from reference. Well this set back camber in The Surfer can hold a pretty solid and decent line on the piste. Not in the same ball park as say a Custom but still pretty damn good. Actually, the more days I ride The Surfer, the more I love ripping carves into the hillside with this board.
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What about its speed? Well The Surfer is a moderately quick board when the conditions suit it. It will run pretty smooth when there is adequate incline to keep it moving freely. I had this board waxed with Hertal FC739 and it went pretty okay.
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The Surfer in 159 has a pretty general middle of the road 7.9m sidecut radius however the biggest positive I feel straight away was The Surfers simple ability to change direction, it's just that damn easy, so flickable and very slashy. This I feel is mainly due to its heavy amount of directional design, not having that much area to the rear makes The Surfer so simple to smash that tail around.
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How is the flex/rigidity of The Surfer? Well it's not that stiff in the middle, you can lean back and get that nose lifted well off the ground. It's definitely not the most dampest ride out there and you can feel your front leg working slightly overtime absorbing those undulations and bumps. The nose holds pretty well and I couldn't see that much chatter going on out there thanks to the addition of those front carbon stringers. These same carbon stringers in both the swallows hold pretty damn rigid and you only notice a very minute level of exaggerated flex when laying hard turns in the tails. I looked back numerous times to see how the swallows were going on hard turns as well as watching my videos and you can't really see any flex more than any other full tailed board. It's a different story with my Archetype 162 as you can see a fair amount of tail flex every time you lay a carve down with my rider weight.
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I mixed up a few days on my Dump Truck and Fish and you can instantly feel that the the Dump truck is such a more solid ride and better carver out on the piste than The Surfer. However The Surfer holds a lot better edge than the flat based fish which sort of normally has a controlled skidded turn when cranking it at speed out on the piste.
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But how does the Surfer go in powder. Well I was always looking and venturing into a few light powder stashes I could find and it feels so much more comfortable in here. You can instantly see that 3BT™ working like a dream with the snow firing out either side off the right and left SideKick™. It's sort of just like the bow on a boat which always keeps the nose plaining up out of the powder thanks to this 3BT™ and SideKick™. Turning in powder is so easy. This might upset a few in here but If I was to use one of James Biesty's infamous analogy's....., "Well you know It's sort of just like a twin fin". The Surfer really earns its name out here as a pretty lose slashy ride in the powder.

Now here's my biggest let down with The Surfer and it's probably all about Bataleon's biggest marketing point...., their 3BT™. Well It really works like a dream in the powder but when you are cranking it across flat cat tracks as soon as you go out off flat base to a enable a slight edge to change direction the V in the base from the 3BT™ acts like a frigging hand brake. You can feel it instantly slowing the board down..., I was like saying, "WTF is going on here. I only just waxed 2 days ago". It sort of feels almost the same as when you run into a big wet slushy patch on an end of season spring day......, however we're in Hokkaido and it's -10C. So I went home that night and waxed it up again with cold temp (It wasn't dried out..., It's Japan). Rode the next day and still....., the same thing across flats. The Dump Truck specifically and Fish had no problems with these areas and could go massively further than The Surfer over these flatter runs. You don't notice this when you have speed up on an incline but it still must be occurring here.

So my initial experience with the Bataleon Surfer would be it's a pretty okay board. Would I say, "Has it's blown me away?" like say the fish did last year in 3' of powder. "No", but I probably just needed those exact conditions to have it in its elements. Would I say it's as brilliant at crossing into freeride territory that the Dump Truck in my mind has a brilliant hold on, "Definitely No". Some reviews mention that you just need to have a learning phase with 3BT™. Well........., I'm not really that sure of this.

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Now, if you were to ask me, "Would I buy this board again?"........, at this stage the answer would probably be, "No".

3 and half snowflakes ❄❄❄☃
 

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Appreciate the review. I can see you are getting surfy (or surfing or whatever) on a sidebank in pics 3,4 and 5. Did you find any difference in how 3BT handles these types of surfy sidebank maneuvers compared to flat boards?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
It goes really well in powder. But the powder pockets would have only been like 15cm of fresh. It is a good board but I just feel I was expecting so much more than what it delivered.
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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Just added a few further review links to the Surfer.








 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
So during CV19 lockdown ran through a few GoPro files and pulled a few stills off them showing the surfy nature of the Bataleon Surfer.
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Location: A joyously crowdless Kamui and Furano, Hokkaido January 2020.
 
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