Freeride/Pow quiver board selection and size?

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  Thread Started By:   RLCCM   On:   Wednesday 04/01/2017 @ 17:16 Show Newest First    
RLCCM
Posts: 10
  #2  Freeride/Pow quiver board selection and size?  Posted 04/01/2017 @ 17:16
Hi all, I'm looking for a powder board to add to the quiver, and with huge amount of choice out there I'm really starting to get a bit lost. I'm an out and out Freerider, only using piste to get off it - though I won't claim to be the best rider ever for sure, especially I never realy spent the time to learn tricks and big jumps or anything! But I do live near enough to the alps to ride at weekends, rather than being the one or two holidays a year type.

However this year I'm planning to spend 10 days riding in Japan for some real pow and thought it's time I add a genuine Pow board to the quiver - but I've not had many snowboards in my life and struggle to choose, nor ever ridden a true pow board, but want something for this trip, as well as those rare pow days in Europe. Bearing this in mind, it should be something that is eipc in pow, but can also be ridden across crud and rubbish to get to it - in Europe that's a necessity, and especially as what pow there is tends to get used up very quickly! Also, I'm not too keen on a 180+ battleship, considering Europe and Japan is where this will be used. I figure a board with camber between the feet and a big rocker nose therefore should suit best (I think), and a short tale to keep the length down/increasenose lift.

Mostly I currently ride a 2012(ish) Arbor A-frame 162 - a pure camber charger, I like its stability, and it's not bad in pow, but I want something that works better for specific conditions, whilst still being generally useable! That might be due to my weight though - kitted out I'll get up to 110kg (which at 5'11 is pretty hefty), which is a bit over most boards recommended range!

I also have a Rome Anthem SS 159 hyrbid, also a reasonably stiff board, but more towards all-mountain.

SO I've narrowed to a few choices - (and open to others)
1. Jones Hovercraft 160 - I like the idea of camber between the feet for power and the rocker nose/short tail. seems a senible solution for me, but anyone have experience with them? I'm told the Hovercraft is a bit soft - but It's been many years since I rode a softer board... I just dont know really how much difference it makes! I know these boards ride longer than they are, but will it be big enough for effortless float with rider weight in mind?

2. Jones Ultracraft 160 - should I go for greater stiffness of an ultracraft instead?

3. Jones Hovercraft 164 - extra size for added float, with my kitted out rider weight being high, is this a better idea than either 1. or 2.? Would it turn into a bit of a barge - effectively riding more like a 170 than 160??

4. West Six Carro 160 - a small swiss company that I found in my local shop, the board has a similar idea ot the hovercraft but with a more pronounced camber between the feet, and slightly wider at its shoulder. It's stiffer than a hovercraft too, and the guys in the shop both like it - paticularly to punch through crud and ice, and apparently its a bit more fun, but the hovercraft has been perfected over the years by a much bigger company with better research budgets!

5. Capita Spring Break - 165 thingy with the hole in it - any ideas how it will actually ride when compared to the above boards? I've heard it's amazing in Pow but conflcting reports on how it is getting to the pow and through crud and chopped up bumpy stuff.

6. Korua stealth and Flow Darwins could be considered, if there are any actual reasons to pick them over the above boards.

I'm really trying to get an idea of how they compare to each other to actually ride in the deep stuff, as well as getting to the deep stuff - and most reviews tend not to say much in terms of comparisons.

Shoud I be looking at something bigger, with my over-average rider weight? And how will softer HC's compare to stiffer equivalents.

Thanks in advance
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philw
Posts: 2224
UK - England
  #3  Re: Freeride/Pow quiver board selection and size?  Posted 04/01/2017 @ 21:47
Revision #1 (Last edited: 04/01/2017 @ 21:48)
In reply to post #2...
Well I mostly ride powder, generally out of helicopters, and I've ridden quite a few of this year's boards so far...

For Japan you may want something which accelerates rather than turns well, which is essentially the choice. You really need a different (bigger) board for mega-big days, but I'll assume those are fairly rare and you're looking for something for every day.

No one rides 180cm plus boards these days - those went out over a decade ago. Expect a tapered directional board. Although I don't ride piste at all, I haven't ridden anything which would not be work on piste, although they're naturally never going to be as good as a piste board. There are a lot of powder boards, and they are sensitive to sizing, so my suggestion would be that you wait until you get there and then hire/ buy something there, so you can work out what you like, rather than take pot luck on both design and size.

Weight: well if you ride them then you know, but otherwise you want something where you're in the middle of the recommended range. Capita have something like 13 different sizes on one of their powder boards - there's a good reason for that, and you can't choose by luck and expect to win.#

5. Capita Spring Break - 165 thingy with the hole in it - any ideas how it will actually ride when compared to the above boards? I've heard it's amazing in Pow but conflcting reports on how it is getting to the pow and through crud and chopped up bumpy stuff.

I rode one in super-big conditions - shoulder deep freshies over the best part of a week. The nose/ tail shapes are irrelevant (and different for each board size). It looks like a fancy piece of plywood, but it's a modern construction inside I think. The edges are bamboo. It's fast and stable and works well in the trees too. No issues with it. The thing I don't like is that for me the tail is not responsive enough (at 62kgs I rode the 161 and I'm an expert). Those would work in Japan where you're probably not going to find the steeps (you may need the acceleration)>

Other stuff I rode this year:
(1) Burton Landlord. Standard Burton powder slasher, my favourite.
(2) Burton Branch Manager. Japanese design, like (1) only a sexier shape and a little narrower. Hard to separate from (1), but a little less float in big conditions, maybe, and slightly different flex pattern.
(3) Burton Skipjack. Rides like it looks - a Fish with a square tail. I't's a big of a "back foot" board, so a very different feel to the other boards here. I also rode this no-board style, at which it was also fine.
(40 Capita Charlie Slasher. This I rode years ago, but again this week. They beefed up the design a bit, but it's broadly the same. It's flat (no camber). Rides like it looks... ok, but lacking in life, I thought.

The thing with these... well the important thing is to get the size right, whatever the board is. Then, the boards ride like they look - so the narrow ones are a little quicker to edge, but a little less stable. The bigger designs tend to feel more stable, and are probably easier for novices.

Avoid anything old - so huge boards, or big swallow tails. I have never seen anyone ride those designs two days in a row in proper back country (bottomless) powder conditions with trees.
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HOWDY
Posts: 303
North Yorkshire
  #4  Re: Freeride/Pow quiver board selection and size?  Posted 05/01/2017 @ 20:58
In reply to post #2...
Gentemstick
D day Panda
Nitro Pow something
Burton Fish
Or as stated, Jones or korua to suit.
It's a luxury problem really. .
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Limz
Posts: 162
France
  #5  Re: Freeride/Pow quiver board selection and size?  Posted 06/01/2017 @ 09:15
In reply to post #2...
I've not ridden an A Frame, but on the 1-10 flex scale, I'd say the Hovercraft's torsional flex is a 7. All reviews I've seen online put it there too. (This could be softer than the A Frame?)

The direction shape and (Longitudinal) Flex is different, the nose is big and softer, which flaps at high speeds but doesn't affect the ride. The tail is short and feels stiffer.

I was at the higher end weight wise on a 156.

Some out and out powder decks have a softer tail and a stiffer nose. Again just to complicate things. All personal preference.

I'd say the Hovercraft is a great carving piste snowboard and excellent in powder....but the best advise is from Phil, wait till you get to Japan and demo/rent.

Those Korus Shape decks look great though...

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=TaU0xE7CUyc
RiP iT uP
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Slowboarder
Posts: 124
France
  #6  Re: Freeride/Pow quiver board selection and size?  Posted 06/01/2017 @ 13:09
In reply to post #2...
No advice really as there are so many choices and it's all very subjective.
Instead here's a nice vid of Gentem boards in action:

https://vimeo.com/136965280
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RLCCM
Posts: 10
  #7  Re: Freeride/Pow quiver board selection and size?  Posted 08/01/2017 @ 09:32
In reply to post #3...

QUOTE (philw - 04/01/2017 @ 21:47)

For Japan you may want something which accelerates rather than turns well, which is essentially the choice. You really need a different (bigger) board for mega-big days, but I'll assume those are fairly rare and you're looking for something for every day.

Firstly thanks for your rally detailed input!

This is the problem to some extent. Japan is a one-off, I will own and ride the board hopefuly for some years back home (where we don't get so much pow, but on the odd special day!). I want a Pow quiver board that will be great in Japan, but also works for the few pow days we get in europe where it must also be decent in chop/crud/everything you get on a heavily used Alpine mountain. I.e. something somewhat more powder specific than my A-frame (which I can still use for the majority of my riding), that is still rideable and fun enough for when the pow is gone (which is usually by lunchtime!).

QUOTE (philw - 04/01/2017 @ 21:47)

There are a lot of powder boards, and they are sensitive to sizing, so my suggestion would be that you wait until you get there and then hire/ buy something there, so you can work out what you like, rather than take pot luck on both design and size.

The trip is a fully guided road-trip across I thnk 4-5 locations in Hokkaido, starting with some small places, as well as 1 or maybe 2 days cat-boarding. I think it's really unlikely I'll be able to (or want to) take time away from the guides to go shopping and testing, and I believe the first few locations (being somehwat small places) are unlikely to have that sort of boarding shop. It's also somewhat difficult to test boards in Europe for several reasons before I go (not least because there is literally no snow right now!). Additionally I'm just as likely to hire something there that works well in Japan, but not so well on the firmer chop we have here... and so wouldn't in the long run be the best purchase.

QUOTE (philw - 04/01/2017 @ 21:47)

Weight: well if you ride them then you know, but otherwise you want something where you're in the middle of the recommended range. Capita have something like 13 different sizes on one of their powder boards - there's a good reason for that, and you can't choose by luck and expect to win.#

I can't probably get the absolute perfect fit I agree, but I can hopefully choose something that will score highly I hope! It's a bit unfortunate that realistically, for "normal" board sizes, I've not yet seen any at all where I would fit in the middle of the weight category, and length does still come into it. So I tend to go for stiffer boards to partially make up for it. As before, going to a 180 (or even 170 in my view) would be unrealistic for most riding. What I gather thuogh from what you are saying, upping to the 164 Hovercaft over the 160, would be preferable, that would act more or less like a normal 170 anyway. Jones website says that I should choose something a size smaller than my normal riding board, which would indicate going for 160... but that doesn't really take into account my kitted up weight.

5. Capita Spring Break - 165 thingy with the hole in it - any ideas how it will actually ride when compared to the above boards? I've heard it's amazing in Pow but conflcting reports on how it is getting to the pow and through crud and chopped up bumpy stuff.

I rode one in super-big conditions - shoulder deep freshies over the best part of a week. The nose/ tail shapes are irrelevant (and different for each board size). It looks like a fancy piece of plywood, but it's a modern construction inside I think. The edges are bamboo. It's fast and stable and works well in the trees too. No issues with it. The thing I don't like is that for me the tail is not responsive enough (at 62kgs I rode the 161 and I'm an expert). Those would work in Japan where you're probably not going to find the steeps (you may need the acceleration)>


- here I appreciate the feedback, I like a bit of power in a board, it makes it more lively in worse conditions. My Rome is stiff and very poppy, the Arbor less poppy but still very stiff, yet to me they don't feel it. It sounds like the hovercraft/west/korua may thefore be better bets for me.
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RLCCM
Posts: 10
  #8  Re: Freeride/Pow quiver board selection and size?  Posted 08/01/2017 @ 09:33
In reply to post #4...

QUOTE (HOWDY - 05/01/2017 @ 20:58)

Gentemstick
D day Panda
Nitro Pow something
Burton Fish
Or as stated, Jones or korua to suit.
It's a luxury problem really. .

Gentemstick - They look great, and I want one!! but I have to be realistic, I'm a bit doubtful they are as great for european conditions.. and are also eye-wateringly expensive.

D Day - first I've ever heard of them, can't buy in Europe, and sold out on their mailorder

Nitro - I tested a nitro board many years ago and hated it. Not really looked at them ever since, though they could be fine their pow stick doesnt look any better than Korua.

Burton Fish - in a word, too soft, and I'm not sure they are known for acting as well in chop etc...

Yeah it is a bit of a luxury problem though! But can anyone actually recomend say, the hovercraft or other? rather than adding even more options to an already full list!
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RLCCM
Posts: 10
  #9  Re: Freeride/Pow quiver board selection and size?  Posted 08/01/2017 @ 09:34
In reply to post #5...

QUOTE (Limz - 06/01/2017 @ 09:15)

I've not ridden an A Frame, but on the 1-10 flex scale, I'd say the Hovercraft's torsional flex is a 7. All reviews I've seen online put it there too. (This could be softer than the A Frame?)

The direction shape and (Longitudinal) Flex is different, the nose is big and softer, which flaps at high speeds but doesn't affect the ride. The tail is short and feels stiffer.

I was at the higher end weight wise on a 156.

Some out and out powder decks have a softer tail and a stiffer nose. Again just to complicate things. All personal preference.

I'd say the Hovercraft is a great carving piste snowboard and excellent in powder....but the best advise is from Phil, wait till you get to Japan and demo/rent.

I'd put the A-frame a bit stiffer than a hovercraft, more like 8-9 in stiffness, not that I've ridden the HC, but I have seen one in a shop briefly. I'venot had a huge amount fo experience with lots of boards, but think a stiffer tale is probably a good idea generally. Am glad you can give the HC a recommendation. How does the HC feel? and compare to your normal every day board(s) if you have others that is!
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Limz
Posts: 162
France
  #10  Re: Freeride/Pow quiver board selection and size?  Posted 09/01/2017 @ 16:50
Revision #2 (Last edited: 09/01/2017 @ 17:23)
In reply to post #9...

QUOTE (RLCCM - 08/01/2017 @ 09:34)

I'd put the A-frame a bit stiffer than a hovercraft, more like 8-9 in stiffness, not that I've ridden the HC, but I have seen one in a shop briefly. I'venot had a huge amount fo experience with lots of boards, but think a stiffer tale is probably a good idea generally. Am glad you can give the HC a recommendation. How does the HC feel? and compare to your normal every day board(s) if you have others that is!

It's a directional ride, with the short tail...it sling shots you out the end of the turn. The side cut is mag or mellow mag, and I feel it locks you into to the snow more (people have different opinions on mag). Which I'm ok with on firmer snow and crud, however, a bit over kill on softer snow when digging an edge in.

In powder it floats...and it's shape lends itself to quicker, shorter back footed surfy turns.

Definitely a quiver snowboard...my All mountain deck is a twin and I have an S camber (slight rocker in tail, camber and big rocker in nose) snowboard for deeper days. As I still try to kill my self doing freestyle in all conditions.
RiP iT uP
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philw
Posts: 2224
UK - England
  #11  Re: Freeride/Pow quiver board selection and size?  Posted 10/01/2017 @ 00:57
In reply to post #8...
Each to their own, of course:

QUOTE (RLCCM - 08/01/2017 @ 09:33)

Burton Fish - in a word, too soft, and I'm not sure they are known for acting as well in chop etc...

In a parliamentary word, "b*llocks".
Which Fish precisely have you ridden in powder, and what type of powder?


The Fish has a fairly stiff and large nose, and no tail whatsoever. The stiffness of the board is hardly the main characteristic, although if you buy the right size the flex feels right for powder use.

They're not "too soft" for powder.

We use these all the time as, and also as "day saver" boards for people who are finding that their own gear doesn't work in powder. The main characteristic of a Fish is that it's not very slashy, which is a function of the tail length - it rides the way it looks like it would ride with that taper and set back stance. The Skipjack is a bit similar, albeit with a different tail design: that one feels a bit wider but otherwise rides similarly.

If you can't ride a Fish through crud it's a rider issue.

They're great in mixed snow.


I rode an old Fish yesterday in wind-affected variable snow with about 30cm fresh and regular face shots, but some wind-blown mixed in too. Obviously it's not a piste board, but it works fine in any kind of real worked mixed snow.

My only concern with the Fish in Japan is that if your terrain is mellow you may want to go bigger, so the Landlord may be a better bet, in that case. Or the Branch Manager, which is Japanese designed.

--
I've not personally ridden Jones' boards so I can't comment on them. I was with a guy yesterday on one, but he was limited by his skill not the board. I expect they ride like they look.
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RLCCM
Posts: 10
  #12  Re: Freeride/Pow quiver board selection and size?  Posted 10/01/2017 @ 19:59
In reply to post #11...

QUOTE (philw - 10/01/2017 @ 00:57)

In a parliamentary word, "b*llocks".
Which Fish precisely have you ridden in powder, and what type of powder?


The Fish has a fairly stiff and large nose, and no tail whatsoever. The stiffness of the board is hardly the main characteristic, although if you buy the right size the flex feels right for powder use.

They're not "too soft" for powder.

We use these all the time as, and also as "day saver" boards for people who are finding that their own gear doesn't work in powder. The main characteristic of a Fish is that it's not very slashy, which is a function of the tail length - it rides the way it looks like it would ride with that taper and set back stance. The Skipjack is a bit similar, albeit with a different tail design: that one feels a bit wider but otherwise rides similarly.

If you can't ride a Fish through crud it's a rider issue.

They're great in mixed snow.


I rode an old Fish yesterday in wind-affected variable snow with about 30cm fresh and regular face shots, but some wind-blown mixed in too. Obviously it's not a piste board, but it works fine in any kind of real worked mixed snow.

My only concern with the Fish in Japan is that if your terrain is mellow you may want to go bigger, so the Landlord may be a better bet, in that case. Or the Branch Manager, which is Japanese designed.

--
I've not personally ridden Jones' boards so I can't comment on them. I was with a guy yesterday on one, but he was limited by his skill not the board. I expect they ride like they look.

I think you have misinterpreted me a bit here... I never said the fish was too soft for powder, I said the Fish was too soft for me! I've no doubt its a great powder board, alas, no matter the varying opinions of Burton, they never make a "bad" snowboard imo.

But, I did see a fish in a shop just two days ago, and compared to either my Rome or Arbor, it's positively flobbery! Bear in mind that I am heavier than the average rider, a bit of added stiffness tends to work quite well for me. The 161 fish has a suggested weight range of 70-88kg, and I'm just too many miles off that when kitted out, it will feel lackluster. Also considering that i've been wondering if the hovercraft is quite stiff enough for me, the softer fish clearly is the wrong way to go.

I am sure they are commonly used as "day savers" - for the average intermediate rider and above they will provide a good option, are not madly expensive and have a good build quality. Of course, I can still get on one, and I can still ride it through crud, or mixed snow, or on a piste and it will "work fine", but for me it would not be an optimal board when there are others that will suit me better, and that is why I said it's too soft, and dissmissed it.

Of the other boards you mention from Burton here -
The Landlord 163 would be a bit better probably, but I don't see anything to make it stand out for me above others in order to be my pow specific quiver board. It's probably a little better than my A-frame in pow, but not different enough, when I still have the A-frame as my go-to everyday board.

The Branch Manager 159 is even further off for me in weight range 66-84kg, and it's only a fraction wider than my A-frame at the nose, I doubt I will float gracefully on this!

The Gatekeeper would be likely better for me, but I feel it too similar in principle to my Arbor, at least in idea, I can't comment on it's feel.
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chango
Posts: 98
Merseyside
  #13  Re: Freeride/Pow quiver board selection and size?  Posted 11/01/2017 @ 12:15
In reply to post #12...
For the majority of us it depends on how much cash one can blow on what is a luxury item you might use for just a few days a season I guess.

I'm thinking of getting myself a Head 'The Day'. They're pretty well specc'd, available for around £150 or so on ebay, and can be turned into a split board thanks to a bamboo stringer down the middle of it.

Given the low amount of true deep powder days I get each year, spending more on a powder specific board isn't something I can justify.

However, in response to the OP, I'd say renting in Japan is a great idea.
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RLCCM
Posts: 10
  #14  Re: Freeride/Pow quiver board selection and size?  Posted 11/01/2017 @ 12:26
Revision #1 (Last edited: 11/01/2017 @ 12:28)
In reply to post #13...
Actually renting is not really a good option in this case. I'm on a guided road trip, meaning we wont be riding any one resort more than a day, nor is there a fixed itinerary (powder hunting basically). So there wont be time to rent a board, nor is it logistically sensible.

Added to that, i want the quiver board for europe anyway (i live near the alps so ride most weekends) spending decent money on renting for a week just takes decent amount of budget away from actually buying it! I dont mind the expense for something that I shall use for years to come (even if only occasionally)
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chango
Posts: 98
Merseyside
  #15  Re: Freeride/Pow quiver board selection and size?  Posted 11/01/2017 @ 12:58
In reply to post #14...
Ah, travel schedule means you can't really rent; I get it now. Sorry!

From the choices you laid down in OP, I like the look of the West board, especially in split design.
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RLCCM
Posts: 10
  #16  Re: Freeride/Pow quiver board selection and size?  Posted 11/01/2017 @ 13:22
In reply to post #15...
Thanks - my local shop (very local indeed - and good guys in there) really like the West, my biggest concern with it is that its only 160 and maybe i need the bigger size of a 164 hovercraft...

Im aware of differing opinions on how fun the jones boards are.

My mind keeps changing about the Capita options, and also the korua pencil is grabbing my attention. I've even started to think about arbor pow stick but that would be full rocket - and im totally unsure thats a good idea for me
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