StepChild Jib Stick 2013 Review

Posted on Friday 18th May, 2012 Times Viewed: 6707
You know that feeling you get when something feels right? Well, add in an almost empty mountain, recent snowfall, some side hits, 3 parks and The Stash, and you get the picture. The reason for this feeling? The 2013 StepChild Jib Stick.

Words and Images by Jon Derbyshire
The last week of everyone’s season should be epic. Mine happened to be spent with 40 people and over 90 of the 2013 boards, all courtesy of the Subvert snowboard shop. Was it epic? How could it not be, with the best end of season snow in recent history?

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The purpose of the week was a board test with a slight twist. Instead of having the industry pros test the boards, Subvert, in partnership with More Mountain, throw open the week to friends and customers alike. Choose a board, take it to the mountain, put it through its paces, bring it back, give an honest account of what you thought and repeat the next day. Simple!

Nearly all the major brands were represented; Salomon, Burton, K2, Ride, Smokin, Niche, Step Child, Capita. Of all the boards tested, one stood out by an almost country mile - the Step Child Jib Stick.

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Conditions
Despite being the end of the season, the conditions for a board test were almost perfect. Morzine/Avoriaz had been experiencing heavy snow, mixed in with bouts of bluebird sunshine and rising temperatures. Early mornings meant cold hard-packed snow and by the end of the day the spring snow had started to turn into slush, at least on the days it wasn’t still snowing. Some mornings we would wake up to a huge dump, others to sunshine without a cloud in the sky.

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Handling
The board’s name says it all. It’s a jib board. The biggest surprise however, was how it handled over the mountain. When riding on piste the board felt solid and stable. Taken into 12 inches of fresh off piste snow it did unexpectedly well. When given the opportunity to ride knee deep pow, you can’t turn it down. Having stood at the top of an untracked line I had initially wished I had brought out a longer, stiffer board, but once in motion this initial hesitation vanished. It did require a fair bit of effort at slower speeds to keep the nose up but once going the board sailed through the powder with surprising ease. Having not expected it to perform well, the grin I had made me hit that same line 3 more times before fatigue and hitting a tree made me end the day's powder lines.

Side hits were a pleasure. The board is light, flexy and the swing weight for spinning makes 1’s almost effortless and 3’s from even the sketchier hits a lot easier and do-able. Shifties and grabs felt easier. The board felt solid on landing and avoiding reverts from over rotations was a lot easier than on previous boards.

The park is where the board really shone. It handles boxes and rails brilliantly as you would expect from a jib stick. Kicker landings off small and larger kickers were stable and I felt in control at all times. The board is responsive, approaches to features were solid, and allowed easy adjustment mid jibbing for correction or tweaks.

Pop
The construction of the board makes popping easy. On piste jibs are easy to control, side hits solid and less rigid and the board even found its way to a few successful drops off ledges while riding with friends. Ollies and nollies onto features are a breeze. The board does exactly what you want it to, providing you have the ability to pull off whatever trick you want to throw at it.

Flex
Having initially selected the board as one of my many to try based on standing and flexing at least 30 boards in the board test room, I was not disappointed. Piste jibbing is the area of snowboarding I find most fun and nose and tail presses required very little force. Buttering was almost effortless to the point that linking more and more butter tricks became standard whilst riding round. Side hits combined with the way the board handled forced me to push my spins to the next level with some really good results. Pressing this board on boxes and rails will make for some excellent photo opportunities.

Rider in Mind
Having only ever ridden a Step Child board for an hour at the Big Bang Snowboard Show a year ago and having never ridden a previous version of the Jib Stick, I could only go by what the demo sheet info and past reviews about this model had said. That involved phrases like ‘park slayer’ and ‘jib machine’. Well it was all this and more.

Initially I had selected this and a large number of other boards to test to help me find a possible 2nd board I could use for indoor freestyle nights and freestyle courses such as those from Definition and Grounded Freestyle. I was aiming to keep my current board and just use it for the 4 or 5 mountain trips I can fit into the winter season. This board has made me scrap that idea. I want a board I can use at the domes all year round but also take to all facets of the mountain. If this is what you’re looking for then the Step Child Jib Stick should be at the top of your list of considerations.

Design
A board’s graphics are a big selling point. They shouldn’t be but we all know deep down they impact our decisions. The Jib Stick's graphics are slick and attractive. I rode the 153 but different sizes come in different colours.

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Conclusion
Over the past 5 years I have rode and owned a variety of boards including the Lib Tech Skate Banana, Burton Custom, Rome Artefact, Salomon Drift Rocker and Gnu Park Pickle. All have performed well and each has had their good and bad points.

The Step Child Jib Stick is one of the better and most fun boards I have ever ridden. To put it simply: I want to own a 2013 Step Child Jib Stick and put my current board into retirement.

Big thanks to Subvert Snowboard Store and More Mountain Chalets

For more in on the StepChild Jib Stick check out the website!
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Comments (315)  
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