2013 Never Summer Cobra Review

In January I was lucky enough to be part of the 2013 Never Summer Board Test with The Rider Social in Chatel. Paul handed me a Proto CTX and Premier F1 to slay the powder that fell continuously that week, which were reviewed earlier this season. Just prior to the week, I had a few questions regarding a new board to the Never Summer line up for 2013, the Cobra. I had little to offer as I?d only just become aware of it myself. Having a nosey around the dealer catalogue, it was a new addition to the carbonium series born out of the massive success of the 2012 release the Proto CT. A high performance all mountain board that on paper was a responsive, medium flex board. I had to try one. Unfortunately the Cobra was that hot off the press that it missed the original shipment and the January powder went unslain by a Cobra. Luckily for me I had a March trip planned and when Tom at MaxTrack gave me the opportunity to try one, I jumped at the chance.

Never Summer 2013 Cobra X 159

The Cobra, as mentioned is a new board to the Never Summer line up for 2013. With larger than average feet, I was given the wide version, the Cobra X to test. The board has very understated but classy graphics. A close up inspection shows a very detailed Cobra with a bright red shadow to bring the graphic to the fore. The base is red with a white Never Summer Eagle. Under the top sheet you can just make out the strategically placed X-shaped carbon stringers under the binding mounts, the same as the Proto CT. The shape of the board was very different, as the board tapers off from the waist to a blunted spade tail (more about how this affects the ride later).

When I mentioned I was taking a Cobra for a spin, I was informed by angrysnowboarder that, ?you?re probably going to like it, think SL on crack but not stiff like the heritage.? This gave me a pre conceived notion that it would be a responsive all mountain stick but with a forgiving side. Only a week?s riding in luckily a multitude of conditions would tell.

Conditions

Fresh powder, corduroy pistes, spring snow and bumps.

Handling

I was unsure how I felt about the board after the first couple of days riding fresh powder and groomed pistes and it was certainly a grower of a relationship rather than love at first sight. So used to riding a true twin, my riding is so engrained that I know exactly where my weight needs to be. When replicating this on short radius turns and carves on the Cobra, it just turned on a sixpence and caught me out a couple of times. The slightly narrower blunted tail and set back stance brings the board round quickly, and it took a few runs to figure out exactly how much aft movement I required.

Once I?d got accustomed to the board it really owned the piste. Reasonably stiff with mid dampening (uses SL damping system) it gave a fun and responsive ride. The usual short, medium and radius turns were a doddle, requiring little aft movement on short turns on the steeps and bumps. The torsional flex of the board is a great plus point and a welcome change from the norm of an all mountain board with stiff torsional flex. The softer torsional flex and under foot carbon stringers meant cross over carves brought great pleasure and if you caught it right there was a miniscule amount of air time between one edge disengaging and the other engaging. The tell tale pencil thin tracks and lack of transition phase were there in abundance, with no sign of wash. Cross under turns on such a torsionally responsive deck were also a doddle, reacting instantly to my movements.

In powder the board excels. We had about 20cm of fresh snow first day and I took numerous laps through the fresh in the Les Crosets park. Short powder turns were easy, certainly attributable to the tail shape and the set back stance. No need for long drawn out turns to maintain speed, the Cobra just wanted to charge.
Despite the set back stance and tail shape, switch riding was fairly easy and certainly not a chore.

Pop

The board had a good amount of pop and had me boosting off a few hits when loading the tail. I didn?t feel it had as much pop as the Proto but still gave great fun off piste side hits and a few park booters. The pop and flex made waddling very easy, which was certainly required on the long flat run from Ripaille to Grand Paradis!

Flex

Never Summer have rated the Cobra as a 5 in flex, the same as the Proto and SL and just one down from the Premier. Personally I think the Cobra is just a tad stiffer than the Proto, something I certainly felt torsionally when making cross under turns. Butters and presses were certainly doable and still great fun, but obviously not as grin wearing as doing them on an Evo or Revolver.

Rider in Mind

If you?re an intermediate rider looking for a piste and powder slayer this should be on your radar. Most all mountain boards are stiff and heavy that can punish lazy or bad technique making them too much for anyone less than an advanced rider. Personally I think the Cobra is ideal for an intermediate rider who wants to own the mountain and isn?t overly interested in the park side of things.

Other Thoughts

Never Summer boards are as tough as they come. The board survived the week?s riding with just one minor mark to the base and one minimal scratch to the top sheet. It even survived the Saturday crowd and children using their poles as drawing implements. The factory wax held up well, only after 6 days requiring a fresh coat.

Conclusions

The Cobra is an interesting new addition to the line-up. It?s an all mountain board that for me is designed for someone who wants to dominate the pistes and powder but doesn?t want a stiff board to do it on. Personally I look for something playful and responsive in my all mountain board, so the Revolver or Proto ticks those boxes. If I wanted a powder and piste tamer, I would pick the Premier for the damper ride. That doesn?t mean to say I didn?t have fun on the board, it?s just that I already have my favourites.

What Never Summer say

Type: All Mountain

Cobra: ?Introducing the new Never Summer Cobra! Driven off the massive success of our true twin Proto CT, the Never Summer carbonium Cobra features blunted ends for reduced swing weight, utilizes a drawn out nose that knifes thru soft snow, and a blunted quick spade tail to enhance float in powder. Slightly setback with a more directional ride the Cobra comes equipped with a dual top and bottom carbon matrix that provides incredible power underfoot. The Cobra is the highest performance and most versatile all mountain board ever made. It?s futuristic shape combined with the time tested edge hold of Vario Power Grip Sidecut gives you the ability to strike any terrain with deadly force.?

Cobra X: ?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
RDS2 Dampening System
Sintered P-tex Sidewall
Durasurf XT Sintered 5501 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 2lbs / 156lbs / 70.5kg
Boots: 2011 DC Ceptor UK10.5
Bindings: 2008 Union Force L/XL
Resort: Les Crosets/Champery

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
Capita Charlie Slasher 158

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 this board.