Never Summer Proto CTX and Premier F1 Reviews

Pete was kindly given two 2012 Never Summer boards to demo and review. Here are his thoughts:

The 2011/2012 season will herald the 20 year anniversary of Never Summer manufacturing hand crafted boards. Starting out as a basement operation, the Canaday brothers have grown the business into an internationally recognised company. Each board is handcrafted in their Denver factory and so confident are they of the quality of their boards that they all come with a 3-year warranty.

In late 2010, Never Summer received the patent on their RC Technology, as a result the 2012 boards all carry the US Patent number with all boards in the range carrying both RC technology and ?Vario Power Grip? sidecuts. RC is short for ?Rocker and Camber? which places rocker between the bindings and camber areas at each end of the board. This board profile apparently ?destroys anything in it?s path from parks to steeps, to powder and high speed cruisers? and provides, ?unmatched power and snap out of turns.? The ?Vario Power Grip? is added to increase edge hold and provide ?added control and response in any condition.?

I first heard about Never Summer in 2004, when a friend introduced them to me. This friend happened to be a former importer of Never Summer boards back in 2002 under the guise of First Trax and gave me one of his remaining stock, a 159 Legacy. I still have this board, which I have since handed down to my younger brother. This board is robust, well built, but boy it?s heavy when compared to the newer boards. It is also noticeably stiffer than my current 2010 Legacy.

One thing I have heard said of Never Summer, is that the graphics suck. To be honest, I can see where this stems from. Much of the range reminds me of some of the older Ride boards, particularly the 2012 Premier F1. Now Never Summer boards are not cheap, so you?re not going to see many youngsters trashing them on rails. Boards like the Heritage, Raptor and Premier are likely to be picked up by older riders with more disposable income who don?t want scantily clad women or psychedelic graphics on their boards. However, in my opinion the graphics, like the technology have made significant strides in the last few years. The 2011 Evo and Revolver graphic was one of my favourites of the season and the luminous green and pink bases were to coin a phrase, ?sick.?

Never Summer 2012 Proto CTX 158

When I first heard about this new 2012 release following the Trade board tests in La Clusaz in January, I was excited to learn more about this board. Talk was of a cross between the Evo?s twin shape and responsive damping and the SL?s powerful flex, or in short, a stiffer Evo. I already own a Revolver (wide Evo) as my general all mountain board and Legacy (wide SL) as my powder board so this board sounded right up my street. I like a board that is a true twin, has playful torsional flex but can handle the whole mountain. Classed as ?all mountain freestyle?, it on paper ticked all the right boxes, therefore I had a feeling that I could only be disappointed.

When I received the board, the first thing I noticed was the strange pimply top sheet. I can only assume this is the result of the Carbonium top sheet. On turning it over, the carbon stringers placed in a cross shape under the binding mounts were instantly noticeable. It was bizarre to see this having never had the tech so blindingly staring me in the face on other boards I?ve owned. I thought it was quite funky. I have heard that the bases will be either black or white so try and get the white one!


Poor spring conditions. Early morning hard pack, slush, slushy moguls, mud, grass and water.


I usually ride a 156 Never Summer Revolver as my all round board. Had I been given a choice, I would have gone for the 155 Proto CTX rather than the 158, but beggars can?t be choosers. The reasons I say this are due to the long effective edge and blunt ends that I assumed would make the board ride at least 2cms longer than it?s size. I was correct in my assumption, as I certainly felt the board rode more like a 160+ board.

Despite the varied conditions, the Proto handled every type of snow it encountered. Short, medium and long radius turns were initiated with ease and carves were held without fear of washing, even at speed. Cross under turns were great fun, as the board seemed to spring from the edge as you released it in anticipation of setting the new edge. As you would expect from a true twin, switch was a breeze. The board is lively and responsive but as a result it lacks dampening as you feel the terrain changing under your feet. I felt a little like being on a bucking bronco at times due to the rough spring conditions. Never Summer rate the Proto a 4 on their damp meter which I would agree with. The thing is, if you want a damper board, you lose the board?s liveliness.

On one of my favourite runs where I like to hit ?Mach 5?, I boosted off a couple of rollers on the way down. I actually wasn?t 100% sure I had taken air, which I can only attribute to the lightness of the board. This has to be one, if not the lightest board Never Summer have made.


Tonnes of pop off both the nose and tail. I first noticed how lively the board was on a little ?waddle? to set off. The board just popped so effortlessly off the snow on both the nose and tail. Little ollies from hits were effortless. Had great fun popping little spins off the slushy moguls. The low weight of the board combined with the lively pop creates a board great for jumps and ollies. The low swing weight (created by the blunt ends) also aids rotations. Took it over a couple of kickers and the board felt solid and stable in the air and on landings.


Never Summer rate the Proto CT as a 5 in flex. The board is certainly stiffer than my Revolver in terms of both torsional and longitudinal flex. The torsional flex is still playful, but as it?s slighter stiffer it meant a more solid carve than that initiated on my Revolver. I would definitely say the board is mid-stiff but maybe verging on a 6 rather than Never Summer?s classification of 5 (obviously their ratings are determined by their range of flex within their board range). It was slightly more effort for presses than my Revolver but in no way difficult.

Rider in Mind

Never Summer don?t make boards for beginners. In my opinion this board is aimed at the intermediate to advanced snowboarder who wants to do everything with just one board. It?s classed as an ?all mountain freestyle? board but it can rail a turn, press easily, has tonnes of pop and although I never managed to hit any powder, I would assume it would ride powder like any other rocker or rocker/camber hybrid, i.e. pretty well.

Other thoughts

The resort was unusually busy and as a result the board took some hits in the lift lines from rogue skis. On most boards I?m sure this would have resulted in numerous dints and scratches. The Proto came away with just a couple of minor scratches that were only noticeable close up. I can only attribute this to the carbonium top sheet.

I had a couple of encounters with stray rocks on the piste with the accompanying horror noise. The base survived with just a couple of minor marks, certainly no need for a ptex or a base grind.


As the owner of both a Revolver and Legacy, I was excited when I first heard about the Proto. Part of me wanted to love it, part of me (financial) wanted to hate it. The Proto is classed as an all mountain board. Whilst it?s never going to be as good as a specific powder/jib/freeride board (delete as appropriate), it?s certainly an excellent all rounder.

If you?re thinking of splashing the cash on a Proto, then I would highly recommend you size down from your normal ride. You should also move fast, as if last year is to go by, the boards are likely to have sold out by late September.

Video Review

What Never Summer say

Type: All Mountain Freestyle

Proto: ?For the new 2011/12 Proto CT (Carbonium Twin), we?ve taken the powerful flex of the time tested SL, and blended it with the responsive dampening of the Evo to create the ultimate all mountain true twin. This board has the versatility of Never Summer?s patented Rocker Camber Technology, our new Superlight wood core, graphite impregnated Sintered 5501 base and adds a whole new element into the proven Never Summer Carbonium Series of boards. Our new blunted, true twin shape cuts down material on tip and tail for a reduced, more balanced swing weight, while increasing effective edge for on snow stability. The Carbonium Proto CT is the future.?

Proto CTX: ?A wide version of the original.?

Technical Features:

Carbonium Topsheet
Carbonium Laminate Technology
Bi-Directional Rocker Camber Profile
STS Pretensioned Fiberglass
Bi-Lite Fiberglass
NS Superlight Wood Core
CDS Damping System
Sintered P-tex Sidewall
Durasurf XT Sintered 5501 Base
P-tex Tip and Tail Protection
Full Wrap Metal Edge

Never Summer 2012 Premier F1 159

The Premier has been part of the Never Summer stable for over 10 years, changing name slightly to the Premier F1 for the 2008/09 season. The Premier F1 is classed as an out and out freeride board, able to handle anything in it?s path. When I was asked to review this board, I was unsure what I would make of it. As mentioned previously, I like a true twin board with some playability. Freeride boards are built for carving and powder and are renowned for being stiff and sometimes lifeless due to the combined stiffness and dampening. Having been out earlier in the season, I knew the board was going to be tested in most conditions, but was watching the weather forecasts and hoping for a powder day to really see what it was made of.

The board is stealth looking, with a black topsheet, minimal graphic and a black base. The main thing I noticed was the tapered pin tail, further inducing my hope of a powder day.


Poor spring conditions. Early morning hard pack, slush, slushy moguls, mud, grass and water.


From the outset I felt at home on this board. Initiating a turn was a doddle. Small, medium and large radius turns were no issue for the board and once in a carve the board just felt like it was on rails with no fear of washing. I had great fun doing 180 carves on piste. It was very responsive and edge-to-edge changes were fast and effortless. Having size 11 boats for feet, the Premier was right on the edge of waist width I would feel comfortable riding, at 255mm. I did have a little more overhang than I would have liked and the edge-to-edge speed may be attributable to riding a narrower board than usual. You can?t be lazy on this board, it keeps you on your toes and any poor technique is likely to be punished.

Switch riding was not as easy or as fun as on a true twin board, but it was certainly do-able.

The board was tested in true spring conditions, which would show the dampening qualities of the board. Whereas on the Proto it felt like being on a bucking bronco at times, the Premier just seemed to charge through whatever was in it?s path without my knees feeling the effects. It certainly deserves the 8.5 rating Never Summer give it on the damp meter.

Unfortunately the powder day didn?t arrive so I was unable to try the board in powder. I can only assume that it will ride powder well, which I will attribute to it?s stiffer pin tail and it?s rocker/camber profile.

Some people criticise Never Summer for making heavy boards. Whilst this may be true of past boards, the Premier although heavier than the Proto can in no way be said to be heavy. It felt light and stable in the air off little piste hits and rollers.


I found plenty of pop in the tail, but considerably less pop in the nose. This will be attributable to the board?s multi flex and stiffer tail and as a result, I found rotations more difficult when popping off the nose. However, boosting off rollers was immensely pleasurable.


Never Summer rate the Premier F1 just over mid flex, giving it a 6 in flex. Personally I would say it feels stiffer than a 6 and maybe a 7.5 compared to other boards I?ve ridden. This is probably due to it?s variable flex. The nose is considerably softer than than the tail, which is solid in comparison. Never Summer actually say in their marketing that it?s got a multi flex profile and this is noticeable. It may also be one reason why they class the board lower in stiffness. I found despite the board?s rocker, camber profile, it was much more difficult to press the board.

Rider in Mind

If you?re looking for a do-all mountain board then this board isn?t for you. It?s a freeride board in the truest sense, giving a responsive, damp and solid ride. If you?re a high intermediate/advanced rider and like hammering the corduroy then this should be on your list to try or buy.

Other Thoughts

Spring riding was the order of the day and as a result, a few stray rocks. The Premier F1?s base survived with only a few minor marks. Fortunately the crowds died down so there were fewer rogue skis in the lift queues and the top sheet remained unblemished.

My Thoughts

The Premier F1 would certainly not be my everyday board, but if I had a quiver of boards, this would be my board for ripping up the fresh corduroy. Like any snowboarder, I was praying for powder. Unfortunately the snow dances haven?t worked in Europe this year and I didn?t get the goods. I can only assume that the rocker/camber profile and stiffer pin tail would work great in powder, I just wish I could have seen and felt it myself.

Video Review

What Never Summer say

Type: Freeride

?Our high performance Premier F1 takes freeride technology to a whole new level! The Carbon V-Twin Laminate Technology and custom F1 Elastomeric Stabilizers underfoot increase edgehold and vibration absorption in any snow condition. With the NS freeride technology, the Premier F1 will power through anything in it?s path keeping you on edge and in complete control at any speed. The modified NS Custom Flightcore also incorporates a multi-flexing profile giving the Premier a powerful tail flex and a more responsive mid flex. For unmatched carving ability, powder flotation and effortless turn initiation, the F1 has arrived.

Technical Features:

Carbon V-Twin Laminate Technology
F1 Elastomeric Stabilizers
Multi-Flex Profiled Flightcore
STS Pretensioned Fiberglass
Bi-Lite Fiberglass
RDS 1 Damping System
Sintered P-tex Sidewall
Durasurf Sintered 4501 Base
P-tex Tip and Tail Protection
Full Wrap Metal Edge

My Stats

Stance: 54cm / 21.25?
Stance Angles: Regular, +15, -12
Height: 5ft 9? / 175cm
Weight: 11st 10lbs / 164lbs / 74kg
Boots: 2007 DC Ghost UK11
Bindings: 2008 Union Force L/XL
Resort: Les Crosets

Boards I?ve owned

K2 Fatbob 158
Forum Destroyer 157
Option Sansalone 157W
Never Summer Legacy 159
Capita Unorthodox 158
Capita Stairmaster 152W
Never Summer Revolver 156
Never Summer Legacy 163

About me

Qualified to BASI Level 2, I generally like to cruise the piste (at speed) with the odd bit of buttering and ollies/spins off little hits. If there?s fresh you won?t find me on the groomers, as I?ll be out looking for fresh lines. I rarely hit the park.

A massive thanks to Tom at Maxtrack for the opportunity to try these boards.