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Myoko kogen Japan. 3 hours or so from Tokyo. There’s a shop called Yuki Bancho. The owner Tak is friends with the owner of Gentem. And you demo Gentems for $40 a day!! I rented the pool deck and loved it. But that’s not a snow surf shape at all.
 

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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.
That's a board I've looked at a lot but never pulled the trigger on. Interested to hear your thoughts when you get the chance to get some turns in on it.
 

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If you're interested in the history an philosophy behind Moss, this is a great watch:

 

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If you're interested in the history an philosophy behind Moss, this is a great watch:
Great video. When I eventually make it to Japan I will be buying a Moss for the trip. Around the halfway point when they are showing a lot of slow motion riding you can really see how soft the noses are. The noses are really flapping around but it doesn't look like that movement resonates to the bindings or the rest of the board much. You can also see how raised up the noses are, despite being longer boards the effective edge seems to be shorter than what you would expect by looking at them. It's too bad my home mountain is in northern Vermont where the conditions for these boards just don't exist.
 

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Gentem, Moss, TJ Brand... aren’t snowboards. They are snowsurfboards. That is what snowsurfboards cost.
To this point, Moss makes snowsurf boards under the "Moss Snowstick" brand but also has a "Moss Snowboard" brand. Example:

158081


I've seen a handful of these in a shop but they're generally not available outside Japan. I spoke with the North America distributor for Moss he said he could bring them over but too much competition in that space.

They have some weird shapes like hammerhead boards, but overall silhouettes are much more familiar to Western eyes.
 

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I purchased a Mantaray 156 earlier this year. I thought the $1000 price tag was hefty but after I got it, I see why. They top sheet was so nice that i almost didn't want to ride the thing. The workmanship was top shelf, so I see why they charge so much, compared to other high end boards.

That said I rode it a couple of days and ended up selling it. Like mentioned earlier in the thread its not meant for aggressive or even semi aggressive riding. More for a cruising, smooth style rider. Which is not my style. I ended up getting a Yes Hybrid instead, which is a better fit.

That being said I am planning on going to Japan next year and will buy one there for my annual trips.
 

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To this point, Moss makes snowsurf boards under the "Moss Snowstick" brand but also has a "Moss Snowboard" brand

I've seen a handful of these in a shop but they're generally not available outside Japan. I spoke with the North America distributor for Moss he said he could bring them over but too much competition in that space.
Our local store had a similar situation. They didn't bring them in, either, because for the price he knew that they would be a tough sell here, whereas the snowsurf boards occupy a unique space.
 

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I see this video and look at the pumping motion that the riders are doing and that's not really appealing to me. Korua does some of the other stuff well while not making that necessary which is why I think I like them as much as I do.

@zc1 good to see you posting again.
 

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They are expensive, for sure, but that doesn't mean they are overpriced. Considering the workmanship and the smaller scale of production, it's priced about right. Gentem, Moss, and others like them compete in the high price tier even in their own market, and remember that things are generally more expensive there. Add the cost of overseas logistics and the price only gets dearer.

I wonder of they might be interested in a direct sales approach like Amplid?
 

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I spent some time on the Moss site last night and it’s amazing the amount of mental karate I’ll do to convince myself buying one of these will work out for where I ride. I’d love to have one but it’s almost impossible to get an understanding of how these boards ride as a non surfer due to the vernacular used. Elevated Surfcraft is guilty of this too. It really makes these boards difficult to commit to considering the vastness of models and beyond that each size is effectively a separate model.

I spent some time showing my wife “snowsurf” videos, Yno to prep her for the purchase. She told me I already ride similarly (in style not skill I presume but still a big ego boost). So now I’m sold hook and sinker that I’d enjoy it, but I can’t see an application for these boards on narrow firm VT trails. Yes there’s tons of banks to ride, uneven groomers and of course Peace Parks at Killington but that firm snow gives me pause.
 

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I purchased a Mantaray 156 earlier this year. I thought the $1000 price tag was hefty but after I got it, I see why. They top sheet was so nice that i almost didn't want to ride the thing. The workmanship was top shelf, so I see why they charge so much, compared to other high end boards.

That said I rode it a couple of days and ended up selling it. Like mentioned earlier in the thread its not meant for aggressive or even semi aggressive riding. More for a cruising, smooth style rider. Which is not my style. I ended up getting a Yes Hybrid instead, which is a better fit.

That being said I am planning on going to Japan next year and will buy one there for my annual trips.
No workmanship as most of them are made in China. Only some are made in Japan.
 

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I spent some time on the Moss site last night and it’s amazing the amount of mental karate I’ll do to convince myself buying one of these will work out for where I ride. I’d love to have one but it’s almost impossible to get an understanding of how these boards ride as a non surfer due to the vernacular used. Elevated Surfcraft is guilty of this too. It really makes these boards difficult to commit to considering the vastness of models and beyond that each size is effectively a separate model.

I spent some time showing my wife “snowsurf” videos, Yno to prep her for the purchase. She told me I already ride similarly (in style not skill I presume but still a big ego boost). So now I’m sold hook and sinker that I’d enjoy it, but I can’t see an application for these boards on narrow firm VT trails. Yes there’s tons of banks to ride, uneven groomers and of course Peace Parks at Killington but that firm snow gives me pause.
Yep. Their marketing copy is horseshit. I'm not sure if stuff is getting lost in translation, but on both Moss and Gentemstick websites, nothing on the website gives you any meaningful idea of how a board will ride (same for Field Earth, TJ Brand, and a few others I've seen). I haven't really known for sure until I got a board to snow. Given the poor standard of Western company marketing copy, not even being able to match that benchmark is pretty sad.

If you deal with firmer snow, I would probably go for the Pintail. I haven't ridden that one, but I've been told it has the most grip in the line and is closest to a normal board.

I can ride firmer snow (caveat: firmer CALIFORNIA snow) on my SW162, but definitely prefer a cambered Western deck when I see a glaze. And that's one of the more aggressive boards in the line.
 

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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.
Great post.

I wonder if the difference in build is truly the difference in topography.

We have mountains like Squaw, Jackson Hole, Telluride, Kirkwood, Crested, Snowbird, Revelstoke, Kicking Horse, etc in N America. East coast is ice coast.

Japan is a completely different animal.

I think maybe people ride to their primary terrain. Said another way, it’s probably counter-intuitive to build boards like Gentem Stick for Jackson Hole.
 

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Great post.

I wonder if the difference in build is truly the difference in topography.

We have mountains like Squaw, Jackson Hole, Telluride, Kirkwood, Crested, Snowbird, Revelstoke, Kicking Horse, etc in N America. East coast is ice coast.

Japan is a completely different animal.

I think maybe people ride to their primary terrain. Said another way, it’s probably counter-intuitive to build boards like Gentem Stick for Jackson Hole.
I said in my earlier post, but designers will naturally optimize to whatever's around. Most of the top Japanese resorts have moderate grade and good snow. Snow surfers make a hell of a lot sense in those conditions. Conversely I've tried riding a Moss PQ154 at Jackson Hole... it was unreal my first drop off the tram in untouched pow, but once I hit tracks, I was not having a good time in terrain that steep.

The only resort I can think of in North America (that I've ridden) where I'd ride a snow surfer close to full time is probably Mount Bachelor, because it's relatively flat with a ton of natural lips and transitions. Makes a lot of sense that the Gerry Lopez Big Wave Challenge is based there. You can even see in that video that the riders on more Japanese-esque boards have a lot more flow, while the ones on more western boards have a bit more an attack mentality. That's not absolute, you can definitely charge on a snowsurf or flow on an all-mountain deck, but they certainly encourage different approaches to the mountain.
 

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I saw that. But doesn’t that make it a western board at that point?
That stuff is mostly in your head, the shapes are more allround, but it's what most are using for "snowsurfing". They don't fold in the nose to help you turn and there's no abs brake in the tail, so if that's the definition of a western board, I'd say no. For Gentemstick you could look at the Floater and Zephyr.
 

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Yep. Their marketing copy is horseshit. I'm not sure if stuff is getting lost in translation, but on both Moss and Gentemstick websites, nothing on the website gives you any meaningful idea of how a board will ride (same for Field Earth, TJ Brand, and a few others I've seen). I haven't really known for sure until I got a board to snow. Given the poor standard of Western company marketing copy, not even being able to match that benchmark is pretty sad.
Goes both ways. Lib Tech's (and many others) dribbles machine-translated to completely broken Japanese/Chinese/Korean are par for the course in those markets. I think Moss and Gentem deliberately skewed their copies to sound less.. um... zen. At least it's natural human language.
 
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