This was my 5th year at the Boardroom Future of snowboarding demo day up at Cypress Mountain.
This year brands were showcasing 2021 snowboard gear and there was plenty of awesome gear for next year’s season around to demo.
Outside of the demo gear on offer, there were the usual games and prize giveaways which always give the event a nice vibe – plus the pool party (park event) happening on the mountain too. But it was all business (well mostly..) for me, so the 2021 boards were the focus for me on the day.
This year the event was held Saturday February 29th, between 10am and 6pm.
Conditions: The forecast was predicting light snow for the day, in the week leading up. Now, 99% of the time, I would be stoked to see snow in the forecast, but the one time I don’t want it is on a demo day, just because it makes it more difficult to take notes on the phone on the lift. Luckily I got the best of both worlds – all the snow came overnight (a good 20cm (8″)) and on the day it was mostly fine with clouds.
Temperatures were supposed to be around -4°C (25°F) and around -11°C (12°F) with wind chill, but it never felt that cold. The wind had a bite to it, but there was sunshine for most of the day, which stopped it feeling too cold.
I found a quite area of the mountain again, like last year, to do my testing on, which offered up a good variety of terrain (trees, powder, groomers & park) and that terrain stayed fairly consistent throughout the day. Naturally got a little more cruddy on the groomer and more tracked off-groomer, by the end, but nothing too major. With that fresh overnight snow, there was plenty of powder to play in and the groomers were medium-firm for the most part and quite hard in places without being icy anywhere.
The Testing Process
As with every time I test new gear, the first part of the day I took out all my own control gear and rode the laps, in the same way, that I would use to test the other boards, to get a feel for the conditions and get a fresh feel for my control gear.
Before each board that I tested, I re-tightened my boots and then performed exactly the same laps, doing the same things with each board, to get as accurate a comparison as possible.
And of course, I rode each board with my control boots and bindings.
The Brands Present
Big thanks to all the brands that showed up with 2020 gear for everyone to test including:
- Flow Bindings
- Flux Bindings
- Lib Tech
- Never Summer
- NOW bindings
- Union Binding Co
Apologies if I missed anyone, which I probably have as I was pretty focused this year and didn’t really take a good look around! So much so, I even forgot to take pictures of the tents – focused all my time testing (which I was there to do, but I should still take pics of the tents – I did get a distant shot (see above) but forgot to get anything close up!).
The Boards I demoed
I focused my efforts at this year’s day on Never Summer. I test most brands outside demo days these days, so my focus when I come to demo days is to take care of certain brands that I don’t yet test outside demo days. I also narrowed my focus to just boards and no bindings for this one.
For 2020, I tested the following 2021 boards:
- Never Summer Proto Slinger 2021
- Never Summer Proto Synthesizer 2021
- Never Summer Harpoon 2021
- Never Summer Shaper Twin
- Never Summer Heritage
- Niche Wraith
I got on quite a few Niche boards last season, that haven’t changed for the 2021 models, but I didn’t get on the Wraith, so I wanted to get on it this year. Otherwise my focus was Never Summer.
Sneak preview, that Proto Slinger (replacing the Funslinger for 2021) was sick. I’m always a little anxious when brands change up a board that I love so much. I really hope that they don’t go and ruin it – but for the Slinger (and the new Proto Synthesizer), they definitely haven’t ruined it. The main change for the Proto Slinger, over the Funslinger from 2020, is their new “Shockwave” camber. Which is a little more camber and less rocker than the Ripsaw Rocker camber profile on the old Funslinger.
My favorite board on the day was the Proto Slinger. Everything else I rode, I enjoyed for sure, but the Proto Slinger stood out for me, for sure.
As always, my reviews for these boards, and all the 2021 boards, bindings and boots that I test, will be published throughout the year (and into next year as the case usually is, that I don’t have time to get them all out. In fact as I write this, I still have a good number of 2020 reviews still to publish!).
Anyway, gotta get going testing more gear and writing up those reviews. Looking forward to next years event, which I’m sure will go by in a flash again!
Thanks for the early review!
I am looking at pre-ordering the 157x Proto Slinger 2021 but was wondering how it compares to the 2020 Yes Greats?
I have the 2020 Yes Greats (154) and really like the edge hold and easy buttering, just an awesome all rounder really.
I know you also love the Yes Greats and I wanted to see how the Proto Slinger compares in terms of edge hold, pop, speed, and playfulness.
And, if you personally had to choose between the Yes Greats and the Proto Slinger which would you choose and why?
Thanks Nate, (Your site has helped me pick the funnest boards for the last 3 years so thank you and keep up the awesome work!)
Thanks for your message.
Different enough boards in all those areas.
Edge hold: The Greats has it for edge hold but not too much in it. The Slinger really good there too. I’d say the Greats 5/5 or maybe 4.5/5 and the Slinger 4/5 in terms of edge hold.
Pop: The Slinger has it here, IMO. The Greats is decently poppy though, but the Slinger just has really good pop and you hardly have to try to get that pop. Really easy to access. I think the Greats for landings, particularly off larger jumps, but purely for pop, the Slinger takes it, IMO.
Speed: The Greats has it over the Slinger in terms of stability at speed. For it’s flex the Slinger isn’t bad at speed, but still not to the same level as the Greats there.
Playfullness: The Slinger is definitely the more playful of the 2. And that’s not even to say that the Greats isn’t playful at all. The Greats has some playfulness to it, as you probably already know. But the Slinger is a really playful deck – even with the amount of camber it has. Just a really easy flex. It’s quite a soft flex but it’s not a “sloppy” flex or anything. It’s snappy, but just super easy going in terms of flex. It’s super easy to butter. In terms of buttering, I would say Greats is around 4/5, whereas the Slinger is 5/5 easy.
If I had to choose between the 2, it would really depend.
If it was going to be the one board that I owned, I would go with the Greats. It’s more of an all-rounder in my opinion. But if I was using the Slinger alongside another board (i.e. if the other board was a little stiffer, and more directional, then I’d use that for bombing, carving, powder etc), as my specialist freestyle/park board, then I would go Slinger.
Hope this helps
what size did you try the protoslinger and proto syntheisizer? what was your stance with burton malavita?
I wanted to know if the new proto syntheisizer is much more rigid than the old proto type two, or if it is still a playful board for an intermediate rider like the proto type two.
Thanks for your message.
I rode the 156 Proto Slinger and the 158 Proto Synthesizer, both with a 545mm (21.5″) stance (which is what I would call reference stance on them, though Never Summer doesn’t state an exact reference).
The Proto Synthesize didn’t feel like it was any stiffer than the old Proto Type Two. Now, I didn’t test it side by side with the PT2, but I did compare both to my control board and I got roughly the same in comparison – which is still around a 5/10 flex. I think it’s still a suitable board for an intermediate rider for sure. In terms of being playful, it’s not un-playful, but it’s not super playful either. But that’s the same I would have said about the PT2 – somewhere in between playful and aggressive, but not super playful. If you’re looking at something more playful, then the Proto Slinger is a good bit more playful.
Hope this helps
I tried PT2 2020 at the 158X demo and I found the board quite playful not too demanding I asked you why I heard that the new Proto Synthesizer was more rigid, I will ask you for more info when your 2021 reviews come out, I am undecided between proto slinger and Proto Synthesizer in 157x.
My dimensions are 187cm 85kg 11.5 boots I have seen that they also make the size 154x but perhaps it is too small even for a freestyle use what do you think?
Last question how did you find Proto Synthesizer handy? because the Proto Synthesizer in 157x is 26.3 in the center and I don’t want it to be too wide.
I agree that the PT2 isn’t too demanding – and certainly not not-playful, but I’ve never found it super playful – like something like the Funslinger/Protoslinger. But I didn’t notice the Synthesizer being significantly less playful/more rigid, if at all. But if you’re looking to go playful, the Proto Slinger is certainly that – but playful without being a noodle or anything. It’s playful but with some real snap to it as well.
Length-wise, if you’re looking to use predominantly for freestyle, I think the 157X would work well. IMO the 154X would be too small, even for freestyle for your specs.
Width-wise, I don’t think you’ll find either board in the 157X to be too wide for 11.5s. The following are the width at the inserts of each board for the 157X (estimated based on measuring the sizes I rode):
– Proto Slinger 157X: 272mm
– Proto Synthesis 157X: 271mm
IMO those widths are in a really good range for 11.5s, so I wouldn’t be concerned about them being too wide, if I was in 11.5s.
Hi Nate! Thanks again for doing all these testing and reviewing.
I’m stuck between an Orca or the Harpoon. But it seems like the Harpoon can be a true do it all board? Or even a board that a strong beginner can progress on, all the way till expert level.
What are your thoughts? Thanks!
Thanks for your message.
Yeah the Harpoon is certainly an easier going board vs the Orca. A good bit softer flexing. I’d say at least 7/10 in terms of flex for the Orca and more like 5 or 5.5/10 for the Harpoon. It’s also got a slightly looser/surfier feel vs the Orca. So, maybe not beginner-beginner, but high-end beginner/low intermediate and up would be fine I’d say, where the Orca is a more advanced board, IMO.
I wouldn’t call the Harpoon a do-it-all, in the true sense. It’s quite tapered and directional, making it not overly suited to spins, riding switch. And just in general it’s not as good for jumps, I didn’t find, vs the likes of the Proto Slinger or Proto Synthesis. Powder is it’s strongest suit, IMO, but it’s also good for carving groomers. And good enough for side hits, jumps etc, but just not amazing there. But the Orca is a similar beast in that sense – in terms of what I would use it for, but just that it’s more board to handle.
But yeah if you’re more of a high-end beginner/low intermediate rider looking for this type of board, then I would go Harpoon over Orca, for sure.
Hope this helps
Understood! I’ll probably pre-order the Harpoon and sell off my pre-ordered ORCA once it arrives.
Thanks for the advises, helps a lot! Enjoy your whole website and helps a bunch!
Stay safe and Shred Safe!
You’re very welcome Daryl.
If it’s possible to cancel your pre-order, then that’s probably the best way. Could certainly sell it off once it arrives and since it will be a latest season board, I’d say you’d get most of your investment back, but might get it all back/less hassle if you’re able to cancel the pre-order?
Stay safe too!
This is awesome, thanks for early insight on these.
I’m really torn between grabbing a close-out Funslinger or wait for this. Which would you chose? I’ll be riding it as my main board all over the mountain and park, especially after how much fun I had on the Funslinger this season.
It’s a tough call. The Funslinger is already such an awesome board – and if you can get it cheaper then that’s always a plus, of course. The Proto Slinger is sick though.
I would say the Proto Slinger’s got that little bit more pop and a little more at speed and on a carve, but still super buttery, maneuverable, snappy etc. I would say it’s quite a subtle difference, but there is a difference. Potentially could argue that the Proto Slinger is slightly better for riding outside the park, so maybe since it’s your main board, might be more appropriate.
On the other hand, you’ve ridden the Funslinger and know for sure that you like it. I’d say there’s pretty much zero chance that you wouldn’t like the Proto Slinger too, as it’s very similar for the most part, but there is a chance for you personally, that you ever so slightly prefer the Funslinger. So in that sense, the Funslinger is the safer bet. In theory, and based on my experience with the Proto Slinger, I’d say go with that, for what you’re describing, but the Funslinger is a safe choice, given you’ve ridden it and given you would be spending less on it. And to be honest, there really isn’t a bad decision between the two of them!