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So I met up with the Loaded rep at SIA a week ago to test out their long awaited snowboard. They've been building snowboard inspired skate decks for nearly 14 years and started prototyping and throwing about the idea of actually jumping into the sport that inspired their skateboards. It's a full bamboo core, as are most their skate decks. They have bamboo sidewalls as well. In fact the core is the sidewall. Really they have no "sidewall" as the edge of the core is the edge of the board. They're using an epoxy top layer over their diecut cork inlaid topsheet. It's a volumized twin with camrock and a extra double insert pack for the back seat for pow days. One of the nice things that aids to it's smoothness up on edge is that when they designed the camrock they specifically used all tangential lines. Quite often, with the way the whole manufacturing process works, a brand will save time by designing and building forms with straight line "kinks". It give a very visual point of where the rocker/camber transition is. The shape on the Algernon is smooth all the way.

The Ride:
SNAPPY. Super snappy. They focused on making the deck torsionally stiffer than traditional boards of the same tip to tail flex. They certainly succeeded. It is one of the torsionally stiffer decks I have ridden, but that with the middle of the road tip to tail stiffness provided a super lively super snappy in and out of turns ride. Buttering though. Get ready to manhandle. Straight forward butters are a little work with the way the core is laid out but definitely doable. Then when you try to spread the butter it just fights back. It does not like to let the contact pts slide around. I got put on my ass a couple times trying to get after it. I imagine it would be OK in a pow situation, but overall it's just not a playful board in that sense. Now, banked slaloms, glades, fresh cord, steep terrain, pow... yeah that's fun. It charges super well, but because you get the stability and response out of the torsion instead of the tip to tail it's very easy to ride. It didn't really make anything better, it just made it so I had to use less effort to get it there. TONS of edge grip. Again, torsionally stiff. The cork inlay is something that concerns me some as I had a pair of Birkenstocks when I was a wee chap and it breaks down, compacts, and gets hard. Now Loaded is quite experienced using natural materials and being that they started playing with snowboards back in 2008, I suspect they have figured out how to not make the cork break down. But only time could tell. There using a solid base material, speed felt good, and overall the construction was tight and looked well done.

The generally behavior of the deck came across to me as a resort freeride deck or a backcountry freestyle deck. It is a genuinely good first product from Loaded and if easy buttering around isn't really a concern and you want the stability and edgehold of a freeride deck, but the tip to tail easy to ride feel of an all mountain deck, this is a good option.

A note, don't expect to fine a "last years discount" sale on one for a while. Loaded is adopting their sales theory from the skate side. So if they boards construction or shape don't change, neither will the graphic, and neither will the price. It doesn't get cheaper until it's actually an old version. Something I actually endorse heavily in fact.

The Board
 

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is this board supposed to be a true-twin? if so, looking at the cork inlays, they're not quite symmetric - did that seem to affect the flex at all?

I'm quite intrigued by the concept - will keep an eye out if they make it to Japan one day :)
 
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