Hello and welcome to my YES Optimistic Review.
In this review I will take a look at the Optimistic as a Freeride snowboard, though you could probably put it into a separate short/wide category, but I don’t have one of those at the moment and this is the closest category, IMO, and it’s closer to a freeride board than other short/wides, which are often surfier than the Optimistic.
As per tradition here at SnowboardingProfiles.com I will give the Optimistic a score out of 100 (based on several factors) and also see how it compares with other Freeride snowboards.
Board: YES Optimistic 2019
Price: $669 (USD recommended retail)
Style: Freeride (Short/Wide)
Flex Rating: Stiff (9/10 on YES’s flex scale)
Flex Feel: Stiff (8.5/10)
Rating Score: 80.4/100
Compared to other Men’s Freeride Boards
Out of the 39 Men’s Freeride snowboards that I rated:
Overview of the Optimistic’s Specs
Check out the tables for the Optimistic’s specs and available sizes.
Traditional Camber (modern camber - a small amount of rocker before contact points)
Centered (on effective edge)
Waist Width (mm)
Rec Rider Weight (lb)
Rec Rider Weight (kg)
Who is the Optimistic Most Suited To?
The Optimistic is great for anyone looking for a really stiff ride and mostly wants to carve hard, bomb down and find fresh powder whenever it's available.
Being short/wide it sets itself up to be a tree riding contender, but it wasn't nimble enough, particularly at slower speed, to be a great tree board for me. Most likely those who enjoy banked slaloms would love this board though.
Certainly not for the beginner - far too stiff and aggressive, and unlikely that an intermediate ride would enjoy it either.
The Optimistic in More Detail
O.k. let’s take a more detailed look at what the Optimistic is capable of.
Board: YES Optimistic 2019, 157cm, 266mm waist width
Date: March 16, 2018
Conditions: Sunny as! So yeah, perfect vis. Snow was pretty soft on groomer – mustn’t have been cold enough in the morning to ice up. But pretty crunchy/icy off groomer. As close to zero wind as you can get.
Bindings angles: +18/-6
Stance width: 585mm (23”)
Stance Setback: Centered (on effective edge)
I measured 570mm (22.4″) from the center of the front binding to the nose and 405mm (15.9″) from the center of the back binding to the tail. So although it’s centered on the effective edge, you are quite setback over the overall length of the board. This isn’t surprising given the nose length is published as 320mm (12.6″) and the tail length just 160mm (6.3″).
Width at Inserts: 272mm (10.71″) at the back insert and 274mm (10.79″) at the front insert
Weight: 2900grams (6lb 6oz)
Weight per cm: 18.47grams/cm
Average Weight per cm: 18.21grams/cm*
*based on a small sample size of 24 boards that I weighed. So pretty much bang on the average of the boards I weighed. And given how wide this board is, it’s pretty light for it’s overall surface area.
Didn’t have any fresh snow to speak of but given the feel of this board and it’s specs, I would say it rides very well in powder.
Even though it’s technically a centered stance along the effective edge – the nose is twice the length of the tail! Which gives it a 160mm (6.3″) overall setback along the overall length of the board on the 157 (which is really quite a lot!). The nose is also wider than the tail (a 6mm taper) and there is oodles of surface area, with the width of this board. There’s very little in the way of rocker – it’s pretty much all camber, so that detracts a little but overall very well suited to riding powder.
Carving and Turning
Unsurprisingly, the Optimistic is a great carver. And that’s not surprising given it’s stiffness and camber.
It’s certainly an aggressive carver and it’s something that you really need to get up on edge and something that you need to take control of – or it will take control of you.
Edge-to-edge it’s a little slower than I would have liked – it has tight radius turns for sure, but initiating those turns was relatively slow, I found.
Definitely not one to skid your turns on. Needs good technique and prefers to carve over everything else.
Learn more about the Optimistic in the Video Below
Really stable at speed, without being an out and out bomber. But yeah takes a lot to get it wobbling that’s for sure.
Wasn’t nimble enough in bumps to be that fun going between them – and going over them wasn’t the most fun either. I preferred it in well groomed flat terrain (and it would be great in fresh powder too).
In trees it’s not quite as good as I was hoping – with that short tail, I was looking forward to getting it in there, but it’s just not nimble enough for my liking in trees. Of course would be better in trees if there powder in there!
There’s certainly some pop in there – but it’s hard to extract – you’ve got to really load it up to get it out.
Landings are really stable and solid, and that’s not surprise given the camber, the width and the flex.
Approaches to large jumps is good but for approaches to side hits, it’s not nimble enough for my liking.
For spins it’s not great, given that landing and taking off switch isn’t amazing, the pop is difficult to extract and the torsional flex felt quite stiff. Took some effort to get it around.
Even though it’s centered on the effective edge, it still feels weird to ride switch – and with that taper and the really long nose – even if it’s not making contact with the snow – it just doesn’t do it for me riding switch – but certainly doable.
Felt very good in hard/icy snow, which is typical of a lot of YES boards, I’ve found.
Score Breakdown and Final Verdict
Check out the breakdown of the score in the table below.
Contribution to Final Score
TOTAL after normalizing
It's not often that I don't rave about a YES board - and for good reason, I usually get excited on them. But the Optimistic didn't push my buttons as much as most YES boards do.
It's just a little too stiff for my tastes - and that with being relatively slow edge-to-edge, makes it not the best in the trees for me, which is what I would likely get this board for mostly.
That's not to say that it's a bad ride in the slightest. It's fun to carve and would work a treat for a banked slalom most likely (I didn't take it in one), is good at speed, and would most likely float really well in open terrain powder. But it's just not a board that would serve a purpose in my particular quiver, and not one that got me excited like a lot of YES boards do.
The 154 is likely the better size for me, but in saying that I recently rode the 2020 YES Y (which is like a slightly softer Optimistic, with a bit of rocker in there) in the 154, and whilst I preferred it, I still didn't get excited about it, in the same way that I do for the PYL or the new 2020 Hybird (which I will release my review for soon) which I absolutely loved.
Not sure what it is about it, but it didn't push my buttons the same way that it obviously has for others, or in the same way other YES boards do.
More Info, Current Prices and Where to Buy Online
If your keen to check out some other Freeride options or to see how the Optimistic compares to other freeride decks check out the link below.