Snowboard Review: 08-09 Never Summer SL R

11 Apr, 2008

2008-2009 Never Summer SL R

Update: Back at SIA, the SL was to be released as a regular cambered board. This has changed and now the SL for 08-09 season will be a reverse camber snowboard (Recurve Camber). Never Summer has their own patent pending recurve camber rocker with two cambered areas from the feet out toward the tip and tail and rockered under foot and a Vario Power Grip sidecut radius.

Location: Majority of time at Steamboat, Colorado and Loveland, Colorado.

Snow Conditions: Slush, hard packed, ice, bumps, groomed runs, powder

Setup: I’ve been riding the Never Summer SL with my Rome Madison bindings and my Vans Omni Focus boots.

First Impression: This was the first board I stepped on with the new NS rocker and sidecut…it was very interesting and took some adjustment to get used to it. However I was blown away by the new technology in comparing it to K2 and Lib Tech but with the NS style.

Size: 158cm

Weight: Average

Flex: I’ve always liked the flex on the SL, it’s a really forgiving board and when you combine that with the dampening that NS has…you get a board meant for any condition, any rider and any style of riding. The flex is a bit different than the normal SL, in fact when I first got the board I doubted it was the SL because it wasn’t as soft as I remember. Even with a wide stance, there’s no issue with flexing this board torsionally.

Turning: With the new rocker on the SL, NS has introduced a new sidecut, vario radius sidecut* which gives the board a lot more grip on hard packed and icy conditions. It’s easy to initiate on edge with the rocker and I like that once on edge, you can flex the board into each carve and then pop out into the next carve. Some of the days I’ve had on it were slushier conditions and I didn’t have to worry about digging my edge into the snow and catching in the slush.

Stable: I’ve taken this board down some choppy runs in the spring/winter mixture of conditions and every time I feel stable on it. The board absorbs everything so you don’t feel the varying conditions or wear yourself out trying to ride bumpier conditions. Since the nose and tail is raised up, you gain speed when riding on flatter terrain.

Pop: The NS rocker is really fun for ollie’ing, it doesn’t require as much effort to spring onto the tail and pop into an ollie. I found it stiffer than it used to be in the tail to press, I haven’t tried nose presses with the SL yet. But definitely buttering and nose presses took a tad bit more effort than on last year’s SL.

Powder: I finally got the chance to take the SL R in powder at Loveland. It was heavier powder than what I’m used to in Steamboat. But even still I found myself having no problem floating and carving through the snow. I prefer a stiffer flex in powder so I had one moment where I crashed with the SL after riding powder and adjusting to a patch of hard packed ice rocks, where the softer flex with the speed just did not hold as good.

Switch: It was fine riding switch even with it being directional but I’m also used to directional boards and switch. With the rocker its harder to catch your edge, so it’s super fun to ride around, ride switch and change it up without feeling like you’ll catch an edge.

Pipe: I am still getting used to take reverse camber boards in the halfpipe. The SL was fine in the halfpipe, definitely with the new sidecut helps it grip. I think with the size I was riding and that I’ve been riding shorter boards in the halfpipe it took a couple runs to get used to it. With the rocker, I need to make sure I don’t pop or ollie in the pipe unless there’s undervert. The great thing in halfpipe with rocker is pulling spins, I’m still working on spinning out of the pipe so right now it’s spinning on the walls. I don’t have to worry about catching an edge with the rocker doing that.

Overall Impression: The SL definitely was impressive, after the adjustment period. I liked that it could handle the whole mountain but I didn’t sacrifice any carving or freeriding with it. It was fine for riding trees and bumps, never let me down.

Shay’s Honesty Box: The SL really handles the mountain but even still when I rode it…it was decent but I prefered the evo flex…even if I was giving up some of the all mountain capabilities.

On-snow Photo
Me with the SL R at Loveland (sorry blank topsheet on mine)
08-09 SL Catalog Description
(Click on Photo to open bigger)

About the author


From the beginning of time, I was Shannon. From the beginning of snowboarding, I was Shay. From the beginning of online communities, I was Shayboarder. In the end, I’m the writer, photographer, editor, publisher, guru of sorts, product tester, curvy girl, and most importantly the snowboarder behind it all. Follow me on this journey through snowboarding, mountain biking, traveling and fun experiences!

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  1. Anonymous
    April 12, 2008

    Thanks for the great review! Looks like NS is going to deliver for next year with their rockered boards =].

    The one thing i’m worried about is that you said buttering and pressing was a tad bit harder with 08/09 than 07/08 model’s SL… it’s still completely do-able right?

  2. Shayboarder
    April 12, 2008

    Yeah next years NS rocker boards are definitely worthy of checking out.

    It’s just a tad stiffer but still easy to press, just stiffer than i remember from the old SL.

  3. David
    April 12, 2008

    I agree that the board was a bit stiffer than expected on tail presses, though I’ve never ridden a regular SL. Not difficult to press by any means, but I didn’t thing it felt any different from a cambered board in that regard. Not at all like the banana where you basically lean back and your nose pops up six inches.

    Sums up my feelings nicely: fun, easy to ride, stable at speed, poppy as hell, I’m not the best at ollies and this thing was a godsend… lot less effort into loading up. I was amazed at how solid the edgehold was considering I was booking it on a 158 at around 220 lb… can’t wait to jump on a 161 next year.

    What’s that you mentioned about two separate cambers?

    What’s that you said about two

  4. Shayboarder
    April 13, 2008

    Awesome David to have your feedback as well since you’ve spent some time on your SL with rocker 🙂

    I talked to Tracey on Friday before posting up the review, to make sure that I was describing everything correctly in terms of tech, hence the little asterisk saying the names might change.. He told me it’s a rocker with 2 cambers.

  5. Arsham
    May 20, 2008

    great review!!

    one question.. out of all the boards from lib and ns with reverse camber, which would you suggest is the most durable and the easiest to press on?

  6. Shayboarder
    May 20, 2008

    Durable is Never Summer hands down. The NS boards last longer in quality over Libs from my experience. All of the NS’s I have with rocker…seriously are in great shape. The boards are tougher and definitely tougher than Libs.

    Easiest to press is the Skate Banana hands down…actually thinking about it, the box scratcher too…it’s a tough call. Either one you are getting a softer board, easy to press. I haven’t tried the signal park rocker and I’m guessing that is going to be the easiest since I heard it’s a noodle…but that’s all hearsay.

  7. Anonymous
    May 20, 2008

    in your reviews, you said that you prefered the evo-r over the sl-r because it has more flex, i have 2 questions, first: which never summer board with recurve camber has the most flex, and second: you stated that the evo-r is less damp, making it easier to feel the bumps.. is it really alot less damp than the sl-r?

  8. Shayboarder
    May 21, 2008

    Yep I prefer the Evo over the SL, but mostly cause I like a stiffer board. In Flex, the SL is a softer overall flex than the Evo. The SL is also more damp so it handles really choppy terrain by absorbing it better. Not a less less damp, but definitely different in dampness.

  9. Anonymous
    May 21, 2008

    oh i see, so the SL-R is gonna be the easiest board to flex on from NS in their 2009 recurve camber line.. am i correct?

  10. Anonymous
    July 30, 2008

    I’m looking for a new board this season. I want something that can handle the pow and the park/resort. Do you think the SL R would be a good investment?

  11. Shayboarder
    July 31, 2008

    Yeah the SL would be a good investment as a reverse camber…rides pow and resort/park.

  12. Anonymous
    July 31, 2008

    and do you know how much it will be sold for?

  13. Anonymous
    July 31, 2008


  14. Anonymous
    August 24, 2008

    seems to be alot of talk on sizing down with the reverse camber boards. what do you think about that? what size sl-r did you test?

  15. Shayboarder
    August 24, 2008

    Hey there, I was riding the 158cm SL which is my normal size for all mountain board. The NS you can ride your typical normal size. On the evo which is my main rocker board, I ride a 155cm for halfpipe and cruising around the mountain. I’ve got a powder specific board for big pow days and the lotus 157 for freeriding days.

  16. Anonymous
    October 06, 2008

    hey there,
    i really enjoy your blog and reviews and all. im looking at either the evo-r or the sl-r. im in texas, so demo is out of the question. pretty much looking for a board that will do it all. ive been riding for 12 years. as far as style? i just like riding everything thats in my way. im 5’10 and 175lb. could you offer up any advice?


  17. Shayboarder
    October 06, 2008

    Hey Marc,

    The SL is the safer bet…it’s the more all mountain freestyle board that handles everything in terrain. I love my evo but the SL definitely handles a varying conditions better. But yeah between those two the SL handles everything, evo is more park.

  18. Anonymous
    October 15, 2008

    Hey Shay,
    I was hoping you could give me some advice on waist width. I’ve never rode anything smaller than a 25.5 waist width and i’m considering the 25.3 waist width on the 158 SL. I use 11.5 07 burton ion boots with a 22″ 15 -6 stance. Now i’ve nver had a problem with toe/heel drag and i never want to. For me it’s a toss up between the 158 sl and the 156 revolver (i’d prefer a softer do-all board, that’s why the legacy isn’t mentioned).
    Thanks in advance Shay!

  19. Shayboarder
    October 17, 2008

    Hey Anonymous,

    25.5 and 25.3 isn’t something I’d be worried about. That’s the narrowest part of the board and it just gets wider towards the bindings. I think you’ll be fine with the .2 difference , if anything you might have to duck out your back angle but I highly doubt you’ll have to change it. I don’t have the SL with me anymore or I’d measure the width by the bindings to give you an accurate width.

  20. Anonymous
    November 09, 2008

    Hi Shay,

    Im from the UK and looking to ride a reverse camber board. I like the idea that this has both technologies, ie camber and reverse camber. Does this board handle high speeds well? Also Im looking for some help on the size of board to go for. I normally ride a 160, but NS don’t have this size for the SLR. I am 5’11 and weight around 175, size US 10 DC boots and ride Piste, Park and powder – looking for an all rounder really to replace my Nitro. Will a 158 be ok or will I have to go for the 161? Will I have a problem with heel and toe drag with these size boots as well? Also was looking at the Lib tech Phoenix ‘Blonde’. How does this compare to the SLR in your opinion? (I know the Lib is a bit stiffer) Sorry for all the questions…been reading alot on these types of boards and feel I have narrowed it down to these two boards. Thanks in advance. Neil 🙂

  21. Shayboarder
    November 10, 2008

    Hey Neil,

    Shoot me an email at with more info on your riding stats like how much park you ride compared to freeriding/pow? And your binding angles, i doubt you’ll have an issue with 10’s on either boards.

    In the sizing, you could go with either size but it depends on your riding stats like pow to park that’ll help determine. The Phoenix comes in a 160 so you wouldn’t need to adjust size.

    But yeah shoot me an email and we can chat that way on what board would suit you.

  22. Alistair
    November 20, 2008

    Hey Shay! Best blog about snowboarding I’ve seen! Luv the pics, too. So I want to jump into the reverse camber world! Never tried them, but have ridden for about 10 years, mostly all mountain, general freeriding. Between the Lib TRS and the SL-R, which is more “jump on and have fun all over w/ reverse camber madness” in your opinion? Riding in SoCal, so varied from slushy, icy, packed to pow on lucky days. I just want something new to revive my fun factor. I value your opinion. 🙂

  23. Shayboarder
    November 21, 2008

    Thanks Alistair! Awesome you like the blog! I’ll keep it up!

    That’s a tough call! In my mind I see them both as equal in all mountain fun. In terms of tech…the SL has a softer flex than the TRS and the SL has a better base than the TRS. I honestly don’t think you can go wrong with either one.

  24. steph2468
    November 21, 2008


    I want to surprise my BF with a new board for Christmas. I have narrowed it down to the NS SL-R and the Lib Tech Snow Mullet. He is 5’9″ and 135. He needs an all mountain board that handles well in powder. We board mostly at Snowbird. Would either of these boards be an appropriate board for someone who only has one board? If so, would you recommend one over the other? He is an advanced rider and is not interested in park or pipe. He has been riding a burton custom, but it is old an it is time to update.

  25. Shayboarder
    November 24, 2008

    Awesome gift Steph!!

    I haven’t yet rode the snow mullet but it definitely suits the big mountain freeriding with the tapered rocker shape. If he has no interest in park or pipe and just freeriding and powder I’d choose the snow mullet over the SL-R since the SL-R is a more all mountain freestyle board versus the mullet a tapered freeride board. He can keep the custom and use that as a rock board or spare board.

  26. Marc Henry
    November 30, 2008

    I have sold all my boards and want to have 3 basic sticks in my quiver! (1) A speed charging ride, (2) an all mountain stick with rocker, and (3) last… a REAL soft flexi fun board for the lazy days.

    For (1), I have a NS Titan TX 07/08 and a brand new T6 07/08 – that I am yet to ride! I want to sell the Titan TX and get the SL-R instead as my (2) all mountain board. But I don’t know how stable it is vs. the Titan on black diamond and blue trails. Should I expect more chatter from the SL vs. the Titan?

    Not sure how my T6 would ride vs. the Titan, but will see! Only reason I see myself parting with the Titan TX is because I feel it’s too wide and a “tad” heavier. I’m 195 lbs 6’2 and boots 11.5. Maybe it’s just my riding skills! I don’t know. Love the board at super sonic speed, but not the lightest of boards in width/weight to swing around fast edge to edge!

    My (3) flexi board is actually going to be the “Signal Park Series”. I know it’s a noodle but everyone I talk to just loves that board for just laid back fun days around the mountain. Besides, out of all the boards I checked out, it seemed to have just the soft flex I was looking for t get me started in the park (newbie here).

    This way I will have a stiff board (stiffness 7 in the T6), a medium flex board (stiffness 5 in the SL-R), and a real soft board (stiffness 3 in the Signal Park Series – NOT THE ROCKER).

    Can I have your thoughts on my project since I know you have ridden all the above 4 boards! ?


  27. Shayboarder
    December 01, 2008

    Hey Marc Henry,

    Thanks for the comment, glad to help out!

    Sounds like the T6 would be a better choice for your #1 option for the reasons you said, lighter and still a stiffer board and quicker edge to edge than your Titan.

    With that, then using the SL-R for your all mountain mix of freeriding to park would be a good choice. The SL-R has good dampening so it will be able to handle a variety of conditions.

    Awesome you are going with Signal Park Series, definitely a noodle but a fun board to keep for those noodle kind of days.

    With those 3 decks, you’ll have it all…good variety of boards to choose from depending on conditions.

  28. Marc Henry
    December 02, 2008

    Thnx Shay for your feedback. Much appreciated. Two questions for you…

    1) Would you recommend anything else for my #2 & #3 boards (these I have not bought yet)? Given that I am new to park riding!

    2) Can I use the "Unions SL" with all of the 3 boards as a setups? I know that Contact would go well with my Signal (or #3), but if I can do with the Unions SL that would save me some $! I have 07/08 Data's now which I'm planning to sell.

    Cheers… (and keep up the great work)

  29. Michael J. Smith
    December 11, 2008

    Awesome review, managed to snag a 155 NS SL-R today (white top sheet/neon green base) after a lot of searching and phone calls. Your review put me over the top in my decision to go with the SL-R. This will be my second NS board in my quiver. I’m looking for this to replace my Ride Kink I purchased last year.

    Thanks again and keep up the great blogs!


  30. Anonymous
    December 29, 2008

    hey Shay,
    awesome posts! I read all of the reviews!

    I am in the market for a rocker boards, and wanted to ask your opinion. I am 180 lbs, 6.2″ and ride mostly trees, as much off piste as I can get, cruizing around, a bit of tricks, but no park. I live in quebec so we have lots of icy/choppy terrain. I have been on an option booter 159 the last 2.5 years ( i am 12 size boots) abut I am looking for a livelier all mountain freestyle board. So far my choices are:

    NS legacy-r 159 ( wide Sl-r) – I like the dampening factor!
    Lib Tech Phoenix 157w or skunk ape 157
    Gnu RC btx 158
    Burton Hero 158

    could you please tell me wich one you would suggest… based on your reveiws i am leaning towards the Legacy-R or the phoenix


  31. Shayboarder
    January 05, 2009

    Hey Lu,
    Just replied to your email.

  32. Anonymous
    February 21, 2009

    hey shay,

    if i’m 160 lbs, what size can i go with on an sl-r? can i go lower than 153? (east coast riding)

    have you ever tried a lib trice?

    i have a lib trice mtx i’m thinking of replacing with an sl-r as my all mountain stick. what do you think? i’m riding a 153 trice.

  33. Anonymous
    February 23, 2009

    Between this, the burton hero, and the Lib btx, which is a better free style reverse camber board?

  34. Shayboarder
    March 01, 2009

    Never Summer’s are built tough and can handle weight better than other boards so yeah you could definitely go lower than a 153cm on it. I haven’t rode the trice though so can’t compare it.

    between the sl-r, hero and a lib btx…depends what lib btx you are considering and what type of board, flex you want. Sl-r is directional, evo-r is the park true twin…so really depends what you are looking for.

  35. Anonymous
    March 08, 2009

    I rarely go switch, so a directional is fine, and i want a softer flexing board but one that is still stable at speed. I have now the burton twin and it is to stiff for my taste, as well as it’s true twin tip going to waste as i can hardly ride switch 🙁 You know which board would work?

  36. Eric Kueper (CSPS/CASI)
    March 30, 2009

    Hey, I noticed a few comments I dont really agree with. For starters I rode a NS SL-R 09 158 this season and put in about 45 days on my first one, at which point the sintered base seperated, and peeled up and I needed to warranty it, then put about 15 on the replacement. in between I had about 8 on my 05 SL.
    Setup. 05 SL is a 155, and has 4 seasons on it. I can only describe it as completely and undeniably solid. I could go more comfortably as fast as i could on that board over the SL-R 158’s. Not that I wasnt solid on the SL-R but it has alot more flex, and in choppy conditions (ex. skied out powder runs) it tended to bounce around a little more with the rocker trying to float on everything it could. I found both of the SL-R’s to have alot of flex, less then the revolver-R and evo-R though. I can vouch first hand the revolver-R is much more flexible. I assume the evo-r is the same as they are rated the same. Nose/tail butters were incomparably easy. It also held up in moguls/double black diamond runs. Powder, it shone, and felt like surfing. As well, you could float with about 5cm less snow then required with a full camber board. On top of that, in a truly balanced/centered stance, it did not require extra weight to be applied to the back foot to get the same effect (again more like surfing) unlike a cambered board where you almost have to lean back to stay up. I dont agree with its directional status. Personaly I had not heard it was directional until reading this. I found no difference taking it switch down runs, and in the park (ex. learning switch 3’s this year)
    What makes it easy to butter with the rcoker and camber is when you put your weight on your “press” foot in a propper butter it depresses the small area of camber and creates a plane from tip to the centre of your board where the base contacts the snow. on true camber boards at best the plane is from tip to underfoot.

  37. Shayboarder
    March 31, 2009

    Good to hear your input on the SL-R and against the SL as a regular board. SL-R is a directional twin.

  38. imn204
    July 14, 2009

    Hey Shay, (or anyone else who can help)
    I’m 5’10, about 220lb and do mostly freeriding but like to hit natural features on the trails when i can. rarely spend any time in the park.
    i normally ride a skate banana 159, trs mtx 159, and a bataleon airobic 155, would a never summer sl-r 164 be too long for me? i was thinking of using it mainly as a bigger mountain board when i go out west (about 60% of my riding is out west). i was looking for stability but still wanted a board that could be a bit playful. do you think the 164 would be good? please let me know what you think, i love your site, thanks!

  39. July 14, 2009

    Hey Imn,

    Definitely the 164cm is do-able for you, it would handle the powder and freeriding a lot more, stable and basically just haul down the mountain with. It won’t be as playful but you have other boards to be playful if that makes sense. It’ll definitely give you the upper hand on pow days and charging than the smaller boards and your weight suits it. The sl-r is still a playful board, you could tone it down and do the 161 but that’s a bit close to your current sizes so I agree the 164.

  40. imn204
    July 14, 2009

    thanks shay! keep on rocking!!

  41. Alex
    November 15, 2009

    I’m leaning towards the 2010 sl-r for my new board. Is there much of a difference?
    Also, I’m having trouble deciding on what size to go with.
    I’m 155, 5’8, 10.5 boot. Currently I ride a 156 Forum Warrior which is a bit too stiff for my taste. I love all mountain riding, and I ride fast wherever I am, but I do like to catch some nice airs/grabs off natural features and some small park stuff.

    With the new rocker, I’ve heard that you can ride a shorter board, so I was looking at the 151. The next step up would be a 155. Thanks for your help. This is a great site; tons of info.

  42. November 16, 2009

    I haven’t ridden the 09-10 model yet to compare but there are slight changes I’ve heard about but nothing insanely noticeable.

    Between the sizes, it all depends on where you’ll be riding more. Yeah you can size down and still feel fine but if you overall want a stable charging board you’ll still want the normal size you ride. If you rode park more, the 151 would be suitable. My opinion is stick with the 155cm because you do love all mountain riding and going fast and the RC will help in the park and you’ll be fine on landings without needing to size down to a lot smaller board.

  43. Sean
    November 21, 2009

    Hey Shay,
    i’m on the fence on weather to get an sl-r or a f1-r.
    My current deck is a 159 freeride board from ’03.
    The board is a beast and I’m looking to change it up a little and get something a little more playful yet I’ll still be bombing down the mountain on most runs.
    Other factors, I ride east coast groomers, so there is some ice to deal with. I don’t hit the park much but I want to be able to get better at hitting jumps and kickers as I cruise down the mountain. I’m 5’11, 180. So bottom line I want something that feels a little easier/playful than my current board yet still be able to go full speed down the mountain. Would you suggest an sl-r or an f1-r?

  44. Sean
    November 21, 2009

    Sorry I entered the wrong email on my last post. If you respond by email please use this yahoo address. Thanks!

  45. DarkStar
    November 21, 2009

    Hey, I was reading over the revews and they are really informative. Thanks for being a good outlet for info. I found this page as I was trying to do some reasearch on my next board for this season.
    I am currently riding an old Rossignol Levitation, it is a 171 Wide. I ride at Mammoth Mtn in Califonia, and go to Utah for a week each winter. I am most interested in steeps, trees and stability with speed on the trails. I am not a park guy. I have been looking at the NS Titan TX and the Rossignol Experience. I am six foot eight and two hundred pounds so my options for large boards are a bit limited, and I dont wanna get out my Nitro Diablo 186 that is about 15 years old and weighs a million pounds.
    What are your thoughts on both and does the new Titan have the rocker?

  46. Jeff
    January 19, 2010

    I owned and loved two Rossi Levitation 171 wides–both ripped off, boo-hoo. Then I demoed or owned just about everything over 170 and wider than 26, all inferior to the Levitation until I rode a Prior MFR–if it is not too late check them out–I did like the Never Summer but found the sidecut too deep for ice, and too wide (ice sometimes happens on the way to pow here in the nw).
    I have not ridden the Rossi Experience in 168 wide, but I own the Jones in 67 wide, it is too short for anything but firm