Snowboard Review: 11-12 Never Summer SL

13 Apr, 2011

Location: Mammoth, CA

Snow Conditions: Hardpacked to softpacked to icy groomers to powder.

Setup: I rode the Never Summer SL with Union Team bindings and Vans Veil Boots size 8.

Size: 153cm.

First Impression: Still an all mountain ride everywhere, everything board from NS.

Weight: Average

Flex: The SL flex is right in the middle of the road, it’s torsionally softer so you have quickness edge to edge but longitudinally has good mid range on flex.  It’s not as soft as the proto or evo and it’s not as stiff as the premier/raptor.  The flex gives it some playfulness with the rocker but also when carving you have enough stiffer longitudinal flex that the board will hold through turns and riding faster for all mountain freestyle.  The SL also has more dampening, even though the catalog just says one notch above when you take the SL through chop, it’ll cut through better and you won’t get bounced around as much as the less dampened boards (Proto, Evo).  The SL has RC Technology which is a mix of rocker and camber, rocker between the feet and camber just outside both of the bindings.

Turning: Easy to engage in turns and torsionally softer so you get quick edge to edge response.  Once on edge, the SL grips the snow and allows you to play with whatever size turn you’d like, short or long radius.  Although long radius carving turns are a blast on this board.  The vario grip helps with the hardpacked, icy spots just giving you extra edgehold so you don’t slip out as easily.

Stable: I came from riding the Proto which is a lot more freestyle than the SL and a softer less dampened ride, so the SL was a breathe of fresh air for charging.  It absorbed the terrain and didn’t let bumps throw you off riding plus it could handle speed and charging a lot better than the softer freestyle boards.  The SL is meant to be the all mountain do-it-all board so when it comes to riding outside of park, it holds its own but inside of park you can play with it.  In the powder, it floated with the RC but not as well as the bigger more freeride boards like the Premier/Raptor I’ve spent time on.

Pop: The SL got a good amount of time on the jump line in Forest Trail and playing around on the smaller park features in Art Park.  Good snap to the pop and I found it pretty fun to ollie with, handled jumps and playing around with presses.  It’s not as playful or poppy as the Proto or Evo but it can handle park laps.  I had fun with it on the boxes, no catching and was playful enough to ride through park with.

Switch: The SL is a directional twin the flex is twin but it’s setback with the sidecut and stance which is some adjustment to how it rides switch but takes a turn or two to adjust to it.  I found it pretty forgiving to switch around and ride switch with.

Overall Impression: The SL is that all mountain freestyle board for the do-it-all rider.  It can handle the freeriding to pow days but also enjoys park laps or just playing around.  The mid-range dampening and flex make it capable for a mix of riding and it’ll handle what you throw at it.

Shay’s Honesty Box: I was riding the Proto and switched to the SL soon after.  The SL was noticeably more stable and offered up a more dampened ride that made it a lot more mountain charging friendly.  While the SL has been that in between board, I’ve always found myself leaning either more park or more freeride but never sticking with the all mountain charger.

Ready to buy? Head over to evo for the Never Summer SL or shop their full line of Never Summer snowboards


On Snow Photo

Never Summer SL description

Review Disclosure: I received this board from Never Summer and gave it to P3 board shop in Mammoth Lakes for their demo fleet.

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. Colin
    April 13, 2011

    Any noticeable difference from the 10/11 SL?

  2. April 18, 2011

    Spot-on review! I have owned the new model since early Feb and it is a true ‘quiver-killer’. It’s comforting to go up any mountain, any time and know that you have a board that can handle it all!

  3. Francis
    April 18, 2011

    Hi Martin,
    What size you will suggest between 158 or 161 SL 2012 for a guy who like to rip hard and fast at: 5’10” 180pds 9US boot
    I currently have a Lib Tech 160 Lando 2008

  4. gags
    April 20, 2011

    Not to be rude and interject on Martins question, but I’m 5’9″ and 195# (size 10 foot) and I’ve rode the 158 SL as my main board the past 3 years. This upcoming year I actually downsized to the 155 Proto X and it still has the float I want in powder up to a foot deep. You should be fine on a 158, and it’s very manuverable in the trees, but if you do bomb the hill at speed more you may appreciate the extra effective edge of the 161.

  5. Francis
    April 20, 2011

    Hi Gags,
    Thanks for your advise… I guess you bomb down hill too with your setup?
    Do you ever have chance to ride longer in NS or Lib Tech like my Lando 160?
    I know I can ride both 158 or 161 SL just not sure if at mach 3 speed I will be confortable with 158 SL… but for sure in the trees (glades) it will be more manuverable…

  6. peggy
    October 24, 2011

    Hi shay,

    quick question, i’m 5’5, size 9 nike kaiju boots(larger footprints than some boots) and 135lbs (169cm/61kg). What size board should i go for in the sl? I’m tossing between 151 and 153. Also will i get any toe overhang? TIA!

  7. December 04, 2011

    Peggy, you won’t get any overhang on the SL, it’s a men’s board and size 9 isn’t big for a men’s board. For size, depends on your riding and what you’ll be riding more often.

  8. Mike
    March 12, 2012

    Hey Shay! Got here through a sales associate at REI sports in Soho. Quick question. I just started riding 3 weeks ago ( and got hopelessly addicted riding 6x already. ) I rode 2 crappy rentals and got my linking down, and my last time I was hooked up with a Burton Custom 159. It was a little tougher but I got the hang of it and enjoyed it a lot. I’m really interested in buying a NS board, was looking at the SL and the Legacy. I’m 6’1 175LB 10-10.5 boot. I’m inclined to get an all-around board as my first board. Looking for any suggestions you may have. Thanks!

  9. March 13, 2012

    Mike, nice! Congrats on getting into snowboarding! You’ll be fine with your boot size on the SL, so stick with that board. The Legacy will be more width than you’ll need. SL is a great all around choice and similar to the Custom. Start looking around for SL’s cause they do sell quickly and see what sizes are left. Anything from the 155-158 size is fine.

  10. Mike
    March 13, 2012

    Thanks a lot, so you don’t think I should go for a 161?

  11. March 13, 2012

    I think you’d be much better off on the 158 with your experience level, weight and riding. You don’t need to size up unless you are riding a lot more powder, bigger mountains and a bit more experienced.

  12. Alex
    April 18, 2012

    I’m 15, and this last winter was my first season. The board I rode on all winter was a junky used board that had almost no flex, so I would like to get a board that is nicer and will be able to be used for more than just riding. I am 5’4 and 160 lbs. Will this board be right for me? My foot is size 7, so I’m a little worried that this board may be a little to big for me. Also, I used a size calculator that says I should go with a 154 cm. The sizes for the SL go from 153 to 155, so I thought I would just go with the 153. Does that sound right? And does my riding style affect the size that I want, or should I just go with the size the calculator gave me?