Hello and welcome to my Jones Hovercraft snowboard review.
In this review I will take a look at the Hovercraft as a Freeride snowboard.
As per tradition here at SnowboardingProfiles.com I will give the Hovercraft a score out of 100 (based on several factors) and also see how it compares with other Freeride snowboards.
NOTE: The 2023 model was the last model of the Hovercraft. However, there is now a Hovercraft 2.0, which is, naturally, a similar board, but with some significant tweaks.
Board: Jones Hovercraft 2023
Price: $599 (USD recommended retail)
Flex Rating: Mid-Stiff (7/10)
Flex Feel: Mid-Stiff (7/10)
Rating Score: 85.3/100
Compared to other Men’s Freeride Boards
Out of the 35 Men’s Freeride snowboards that I rated:
Overview of the Hovercraft’s Specs
Check out the tables for the Hovercraft’s specs and available sizes.
Sintered (Jones' "Sintered 8000")
Felt a touch heavier than normal
Waist Width (mm)
Rec Rider Weight (lb)
Rec Rider Weight (kg)
Who is the Hovercraft Most Suited To?
The Jones Hovercraft is made for anyone who's looking to to take on large amounts of powder in steep terrain and in the trees. But also works well when taken onto groomers on a sunny spring day and can really lay out a nice deep carve whenever desired.
Don't expect much from it when it comes to anything like jumps or jibbing due to the directional features and stiffer flex. Not ideal for them. Otherwise you can expect decent speed, good edge hold and the ability to smash through crud/chunder with minimal effort.
I would only recommend the Jones Hovercraft to those who are experienced intermediate riders and above as the stiffness and overall aggressive nature of the board would likely be too much for beginners or newer intermediates.
The Hovercraft in More Detail
O.k. let’s take a more detailed look at what the Hovercraft is capable of.
Board: Jones Hovercraft 2023, 156cm (260mm waist width)
Date: February 23, 2022
Sunny with cloudy periods. 100% visibility.
Temperature was pretty cold, ranging from -10°C (14°F) to -12°C (10°F) through the day. -13°C (9°F) with wind. Wind pretty much non existent though.
24 hour snow: 0cm (0")
48 hour snow: 0cm (0")
7 day snow: 8cm (3")
On groomer: Hard pack with icy patches for the most part. But mostly hard pack until we got lower down the mountain and then it was really icy.
Off groomer: Crunchy and icy for the most part. But still doable higher up the mountain.
Bindings angles: +12/-9
Stance width: 22.8″ (580mm)
Stance Setback: Setback 1.2" (30mm)
Width at Inserts: 10.79" (274mm) at front insert and 10.67" (271mm) at back insert.
Rider Height: 6'1"
Rider Weight: 180lbs
Rider Boot Size: US9.5 Adidas Tactical Lexicon ADV
Bindings Used: Fix Yale: M
Weight: 7lbs 4oz (3280grams)
Weight per cm: 21.03 grams/cm
Average Weight per cm: 18.59 grams/cm*
*based on a sample size of around 200 models that I’ve weighed in 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022 & 2023 models. One of the heaviest we've weighed on the scales, but felt surprisingly normal on snow. Jones weighs this one in at 2900grams (6lbs 6oz) - which is quite off what we got, so the production model may be lighter. They have the 160 at about the same weight we had the 156.
Unfortunately we had no powder to test in on the day but looking at the specs and getting a feel for the board this thing should be right up there with the best of them in powder.
The Hovercraft has rocker in both the nose and tail which helps it to float in powder. Couple that with the directional shape, setback stance, a 3D contoured base (Contour Base 3.0) and 12mm of taper and you have a board that is built for powder.
Overall the Hovercraft carved nicely. The long effective edge and camber underfoot made it really enjoyable for long drawn out carves. On top of that the traction tech technology (extra contact points) gave it great edge hold when performing any type of carve.
Ease of Turns/Slashing: Due to the setback stance and progressive sidecut, I found the tail quite easy to release which made initiating turns/slashing smooth and pretty easy - though it wasn't completely forgiving if you your technique wavered.
Maneuverability at slow speeds (nimbleness): Overall it had a average amount of nimbleness. But it was better than I was expecting, given its aggressiveness and wider shape. However, you couldn't get lazy on it. Due to the camber in-between the feet it required you to make sure you were on your edges.
Skidded Turns: Handled them alright but could punish you a bit if you were too loose with it but overall didn't notice too much catchiness or anything.
In terms of getting up to speed, certainly no speed demon, which was a bit surprising with the camber underfoot and Jones typically producing fast bases, but certainly wasn't slow either. In terms of stability at speed, it was nice stable and could handle any speed I threw at it that day.
It had an average amount of glide which was ok but more really could have given it that extra speed some may be looking for - and not typical of Jones bases. So maybe didn't have the right wax on for the day. The Hovercraft has Jones' Sintered 8000 base which typically provides good glide. Not quite to the same level as their sintered 9000, but still usually really good.
Crud: The Hovercraft used its large nose to smash through crud with minimal effort. I never felt like I was being bucked around, at least not to a point where it made me feel like I was losing any control.
Bumps: The relative quickness from edge-to-edge made it pretty easy to maneuver between bumps whenever necessary.
Let’s Break up this text with a Video
Not its strongest attribute but still performed pretty well.
Pop: Was pretty surprised as it had more than I was initially expecting. But with that being said, it wasn't the easiest to extract due to the overall stiffness of the board. But was decent when you put in the effort to wind it up.
Approach: Smooth and easy to line up due to the shorter tail and quickness from edge-to-edge as it made for easy last second adjustments. And nice and stable for when you need to hold your line and approach with speed.
Landing: The stiffness and larger nose made landings somewhat unpredictable and unforgiving at times (especially if you land tail heavy). I did get somewhat used to it but still noticed it on occasion.
Side-hits: I found the solid amount of pop and approach capabilities helped with side-hits but wasn't enough to overcome how stiff and unforgiving it was, making it only so enjoyable. To be fair the board wasn't really designed with them in mind though.
Small jumps/Big jumps: Smaller jumps preferred mostly because of a lack of confidence in landings from big jumps, due to not wanting to land too tail heavy.
Not made to ride switch whatsoever, due to the swallow tail, shape and setback stance. It's certainly not impossible but it's also not really enjoyable either. It requires a lot of concentration to do it.
The nature of the board once again makes things like butters doable but not what it excels at. I found the swallow cut and short tail made tail butters/presses fairly easy but anything nose related took a lot of extra effort due to things like the stiffness and setback stance. And tail and nose felt super different.
Score Breakdown and Final Verdict
Check out the breakdown of the score in the table below.
TOTAL after normalizing
The Jones Hovercraft is a really fun board when you ride it to what it excels best at. Namely for powder or on groomers carving/slashing around. You also have to be able to handle it, because if you aren't it can be unforgiving and can punish you for errors.
To sum it up, if you don't plan to jib, jump, or ride switch with this board, it's capable of being a one-quiver style board for the right rider but also works well as a second board as your powder board in your quiver, particularly if you want your powder board to still be able to ride fast and carve up groomers.
More Info, Current Prices and Where to Buy Online
If your keen to check out some other Freeride options or to see how the Hovercraft compares to other freeride decks check out the link below.