Snowboard Review: 08-09 Never Summer SL R
11 Apr, 2008
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.
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.
Me with the SL R at Loveland (sorry blank topsheet on mine)
08-09 SL Catalog Description