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Until the big boys start making Japan style snowsurfs (which they are) they’ll command the price. But maybe those days are numbered?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Until the big boys start making Japan style snowsurfs (which they are) they’ll command the price. But maybe those days are numbered?
I think they are numbered. Considering the awesome job that the major snowboard companies are making, for a way lower price, then Gentemstick.
 

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Overpriced is relative. I'm not too familiar with the Gentemstick line (only ridden a Chaser, wasn't a fan), but I've ridden a 5 or 6 Moss boards which are in a similar price range and owned 3 (currently 1 in the quiver).

They ride unlike anything else I've ever put to snow. Just from a stance perspective, I ride them very Mosses differently. I typically alternate between two stances, +15 / -3 at 23" for more all-mountain focus and +18 / +3 at 22" for more carving focus. On Mosses I'm more like +30 / +12 at 21" (sometimes as narrow as 20"). I've tried similar stances on normal directional twins, and felt way too locked in on the tail. The Mosses are designed for easy tail release and more rear foot driven riding. They're flowier and I can lay out at lower speeds than I can on a traditional Western board.

They definitely have limitations. They're broadly optimized for Japanese conditions... mellower lines and good snow conditions. They don't ride well on ice or super steeps. And the Mosses at least don't take hits well and have relatively thin bases (learned that the hard way at Jackson Hole) . My current Moss (Swallow 162) is a mid-season board when I have faith in deep enough snowpack to avoid sharks on groomers, and after deeeeep storms. I don't take it out early or late season. So for me at least, they're rather limited in the days I'll take them out. But when conditions are right, I experience sensations on that board that I have never been able to recreate on any other snowboard (and I own 5 others and have ridden between 70-80 others on top of that). I only recently starting surfing, but it does remind me a lot of flowing down the line of a wave.

They're also all VERY different in personality. Moss is unusual in that they reshape boards entirely from size to size, so they're effectively just different boards. The Swallow 170 and the Swallow 160 ride very differently. The PQ54 is short-fat-ish, the PQ60 has a pretty normal 258 mm waist. Each size is effectively its own board.

To me, they've opened up a style of riding and reinvigorated my love of snowboarding. I was getting really bored with flatter terrain and groomers, basically going fast and straight on directional twins. These boards gave me a lot of appreciation for slowing down, looking for little gradients in the snow, and slashing banks and stuff. You can ride like this on Western boards-- and I spend about 80% of my time on more Western boards, albeit United Shapes and Koruas with snowsurf influence --but the Mosses are truly unique in their feel and kick started that appreciation for that style of riding.

I only ride my Moss maybe 5 times a year (out of ~25-35), but those are among the best 5 days of the season. I know some people who ride them full time. I have a buddy who owns... probably 8 or 9 Mosses and just alternates between them. I like riding steep shit and charging through variable conditions too much to go that hard on them, but will keep one in the quiver as long as I can justify it.

And I doubt their days are numbered. Yea they're expensive, but snowboarding hard good are just stupid expensive in Japan, something like 30% premium over US equivalent pricing. So maybe they can't hang in the international markets if the big boys go after them, but the premium domestically for them isn't THAT high. And the big boys have been generally copying that style for years-- pretty open secret that the 10-year-old Jones Hovercraft silhouette is very much "inspired" by the Gentemstick Manta Ray. The feel that Jones went for is very different, as is what United Shapes and Korua have done, and the Burton Family Tree and Nitro Quiver lines. All those boards have a much more Western, charge-y friendly mentality to them. Elevated Surfcraft is probably the company that's gone in hardest on a true snow-surf mentality, and they're still small potatoes.
 

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If I ever make it to Hokkaido I think I would have to grab one just to experience it in chest deep japow slashing through epic tree runs.
 

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Gentem, Moss, TJ Brand... aren’t snowboards. They are snowsurfboards. That is what snowsurfboards cost.
I have no in person experience to any of these boards. How are they different than western brands making that style? For example, how are they different than the Weston Japow, Bataleon Surfer, etc.? Just wondering since I have never ridden any of these boards. Is there a difference in materials or construction methods, or is it just their unique shapes?
 

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I have no in person experience to any of these boards. How are they different than western brands making that style? For example, how are they different than the Weston Japow, Bataleon Surfer, etc.? Just wondering since I have never ridden any of these boards. Is there a difference in materials or construction methods, or is it just their unique shapes?
@kimchijajonshim Said most of it, and @Nivek completed it. Moss boards aren't snowboards. They're snowsurfing boards and ride completely differently from anything else on the market. They really do need to be demo'd if you're unsure, and even then it should ideally be an extended demo (hours or days).

Like @kimchijajonshim I have several Moss boards (5 currently), and feel that they are worth every penny if you like snowsurfing or 'buy in' to what the brand is, its philosophy, etc. Their camber profiles are all varying amounts and placement of camber + nose rocker. Some have rear-foot-only camber and others have camber that extends to between the bindings or to the front binding. The stance widths are narrow, they're wide relative to their length (narrowest I have is 26.2 WW on a 151 cm board), most boards have significant taper, flex is generally mid-flexing or less, they have massive differences between contact/running length and effective edge length (up to 40+ cm!), and they're extremely light-weight (with durability being lower as a consequence if you're riding them in less than ideal conditions).

I haven't ridden any Gentemstick boards but @PwhyTwhy has both Moss and Gentem boards and might want to chime in. The entire goal of the Moss brand was to replicate surfing, on snow. The founder was a surfer first of all, then became a surfboard designer and producer. He then moved into the snow-surfing space with the aim of creating boards that ride like surfboards and that respond well to being ridden/steered like surfboards.

I can post some camber profile shots later on since that's something that Moss doesn't advertise at all and that isn't particularly clear from reading the specs online. Actually, have a look at the Good Ride "On the table" videos as they have a good number of Moss boards represented there.

Here's a good example of the Jellyfish (video linked to start where he has the board flat on the table, despite the thumbnail):


You can see the 'step back rocker' (back foot camber) that the Jellyfish has.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I understand the point of them being snowsurfers. But aren't the Jones mind expander and Storm chaser. Just as surfy in pow too?
 

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Jones boards are ok in pow, but there's always something off about them, they don't turn as well, they always want to push you into the backseat and slide around, which is probably great for beginners. Can call that surfy ofc, but it's not the same feeling.
 

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Their camber profiles are all varying amounts and placement of camber + nose rocker. Some have rear-foot-only camber and others have camber that extends to between the bindings or to the front binding. The stance widths are narrow, they're wide relative to their length (narrowest I have is 26.2 WW on a 151 cm board), most boards have significant taper, flex is generally mid-flexing or less, they have massive differences between contact/running length and effective edge length (up to 40+ cm!), and they're extremely light-weight (with durability being lower as a consequence if you're riding them in less than ideal conditions).
This sounds a lot like my DC HR (House of Powder) which I haven't been able to ride yet. House of Powder apparently being the Japanese equivalent of Baldface Lodge.
It also has very little torsional rigidity.
 

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Until the big boys start making Japan style snowsurfs (which they are) they’ll command the price. But maybe those days are numbered?
Burton Family Tree, Nitro. A couple big boys that have invested in this area. A Cheetah, Bottom Feeder, etc are really close. My Cheetah is a forever board.
 

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Jones boards are ok in pow, but there's always something off about them, they don't turn as well, they always want to push you into the backseat and slide around, which is probably great for beginners. Can call that surfy ofc, but it's not the same feeling.
I agree with this. Even in comparison to the Family Tree line
 

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I understand the point of them being snowsurfers. But aren't the Jones mind expander and Storm chaser. Just as surfy in pow too?
A Moss Rep at an info session that I attended said "You can snowsurf on any board. Our boards just make it easier." A board being good for park riding isn't necessarily a park board. Burton family tree are nothing like Moss. Haven't ridden Jones mind expander or storm chaser but have had a handful handful of other Jones boards that also don't compare.

End of the day, as cliche as it sounds, you really just have to demo one. Moss boards ride differently. You can use boards from other brands to ride powder/surf on snow, but when you get onto (most) Moss boards you'll feel like a newbie all over again. (Most) Moss boards force you to ride differently if you don't want to have a bad day. In steep and deep you can literally ride anything and do just fine. The less steep and less deep the conditions get, the more obvious the differences become, with groomers being the greatest separator.
 
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Here are some more and less extreme examples. Surfers use a lot of upper body rotation and torque generation and let that move down into their boards. Moss boards reward you (or at least don't fight you) when you ride that way. You can ride them with lower body only, like any other board, like you you're taught to ride. When you commit to ignoring the long nose and focusing just on the tail and then get your whole body (especially upper body) involved like you do on a surfboard, they come to life and you can suddenly make the turns that you took for granted on every other board you had ridden prior.

It's like saying a surfskate and skateboard are the same thing. Surfskate trucks make the board really respond well to your body movement. A skateboard will do it, but it won't do it as easily as a surf skate.


 

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Discussion Starter #18
Jones boards are ok in pow, but there's always something off about them, they don't turn as well, they always want to push you into the backseat and slide around, which is probably great for beginners. Can call that surfy ofc, but it's not the same feeling.
I disagree with you there. I have the Storm Chaser and the Mind Expander. They feel wonderful in deep pow, so smooth riding them.
 

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There is a fundamental difference on how snowboards developed from Japan to the west. In the west they may have started out with a strong surf influence but also had a large portion of skate and racing and whether anyone wants to admit it, still had some ski influence. When you read or talk to the Moss dudes the story goes that the founder was invited to a ski trip with his girlfriend. He didn't ski. He surfed. So he wanted to surf on the snow. That was the genesis of Moss and maintained as their driving force pretty much forever. In the west, while surfing may have had a strong influence especially in the beginning I would argue the primary influences were skating and racing. You hear interviews with OG freestyle dudes and that's what they talk about, that as soon as they started attaching their feet they wanted to do stuff on their snowboards that they did on their skateboards. Then you have the other side that was all about racing. Speed and hard carves. The beauty of the turn in the west was quickly overshadowed by aggression, speed, power, and getting in the air. That ethos of riding leads to a very different style of board. When you're main focus is the turn, how it feels, how it looks, how you look doing it, and you have minor concerns for flat out bomb speed, leaving the ground, or bashing gates your boards develop very differently. Sidecut, shape, camber, core profiles, core makeups, and how they all mesh develop differently. I forget who I heard the story from, but was told that on a trip to Japan the weight that is put into the turn was driven home by seeing the guys he was riding with all turned around on the chairlift looking back down hill identifying and talking about their tracks in the snow. They care just as much about their turns as we do that switch back lip in the park. And it's not just about hard turn, next hard turn. It's the collective series of turns. Oh and a flex difference noticed by a member of the Keystone Surf Club was just how soft the tails are on the Wing Pin. As they rode those boards more and more it just made sense with they way they are meant to be ridden. It's the reason why the Alter Ego can achieve a somewhat similar feel.

The west can build boards that ride like Japan stuff. But we have a specific set of characteristics in our snowboard designs that "work", characteristics that are different than the Japanese stuff. So we kinda really have to step out of what we "know" in order to achieve a feel like they have. I would argue that there aren't many, if any, that have really achieved the board feel per se, but there are some that you've been able to get the turn feel from: Weston Japow or Backwoods, K2 Overboard and Simple Pleasure/Niseko, Burton Sensei, Ride Alter Ego (maybe the 2022 Mtn Pig), Gnu Zoid, Jones Stormchaser in certain conditions, Flow Darwin, some United Shapes (second hand accounts from the Keystone Surf Club), Nidecker Mosquito, Endeavor Archetype, Rome Ravine, Rome PDMT, DC HR. There may be more, I'm sure there are, and some of those are closer than others. I have experience with all though and if I was feeling like that kind of a turning day I could do so on each of those. Currently my go to is either my Zoid or the Ego.

So, you can sorta get away with getting the feeling by getting one of those options above, but ultimately the price of these boards is justified because they are the only ones that feel like they do, and they cost what they cost. Until the west can produce a board that genuinely captures that same feel, then the price of entry to a snowsurfboard is gonna be in that $1k range.


Disclaimer; this is all also very much my interpretation based on the people I've talked to and the boards I've ridden. So I have definitely made some connecting of dots.
 
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