Think Thank in Russia

Here at SNOWBOARDER Magazine, we decided to break the mold of traditional snowboard reviews and embark on a completely unbiased blank snowboard test last winter, called The Blackboard Experiment. We hit up ten brands in snowboarding and asked them to provide us with a snowboard of their choice, but the one caveat was that it had to have a black topsheet and base graphic, so as to keep the anonymity of the brand only between them and us. Then, we partnered with Mammoth Mountain, California because of their hallowed Main Park, a trail that has done more for freestyle snowboarding and terrain park design than almost any other mountain on Earth. We selected 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic gold medalist Sage Kotsenburg to ride the boards and record his experiences, because, one: he didn’t have a board sponsor, and two: Sage is one of the best park riders our sport has ever seen. Last April, Sage made the trek to Mammoth for five days of extreme testing. From sunup to sundown, he was strapped into one of these blank decks and when he wasn’t riding them, he was jotting notes about how they rode on jumps, jibs, tranny and on the trail. The result is the most comprehensive snowboard test that we’ve ever put together. Below, you’ll see exactly what Sage thought of these boards without him knowing what brand made them, so read on and take notes, because he will give you all the info you need, from tip to tail. This is SNOWBOARDER Magazine’s 2016 Blackboard Experiment.


Think Thank in Russia

Think Thank in Russia

Blake Paul

CAPiTA team rider, Kevin Backstrom. photo: Yoshida


Model Length Tested: 154
Additional Lengths: 148, 150, 152, 154, 155W, 156, 158, 158W, 160, 161W
Shape: Twin
Camber: Hybrid
Core: DS Select RFC Sustainable Dual Core
MSRP: $419.95


Brand Statement: With the only information being that the tester was 5’6” and 150 pounds and a decorated athlete, we decided to send one of the most decorated boards in CAPiTA history to match. We felt confident that the DEFENDERS OF AWESOME series could perform as the best all-around park board, so we sent a 154 based on the rider’s size and the need to perform on the jumps, rails and transitions of Mammoth Mountain. — Mark Dangler, Marketing, CAPiTA Snowboarding

Blake Paul

Photo: Huggy

Blake Paul, Pat Moore

Photo: Huggy

Sage’s First Impression: Crazy good for carving. Felt really in control. Not my favorite rail board but pretty fun for jumping.

Jib Score: 6

Jib Notes: On the rails it seemed really good but on the in-run, wherever I was thirty feet before the rail, that’s where I was going to end up because it was difficult to make quick adjustments. It wasn’t super easy to press but it didn’t fight you on it either. It’s really light and simple to spin on and off, though.

Jump Score: 5

Jump Notes: I would give it a better score if it didn’t feel so locked in on the runway. It seemed like it was predetermined where you were going to go before you even hit the lip. When I’m jumping I like to be able to quickly adjust and I didn’t feel like I could do that. It was really sturdy and felt good in the landing, though. I just wish it didn’t feel like it did on the in-run because it would have gotten a higher score.

Tranny Score: 9

Tranny Notes: My favorite board in tranny. It’s a full-on powerhouse in the pipe. It thrusts you across the flat bottom. I didn’t have to work to stay on my line. It had so much snap and pop, which allows you to crank it off the lip.

Carve Score: 9

Carve Notes: If you’re looking to rail some really nice carves, this is the board for it. It wasn’t that fast edge-to-edge which I didn’t really like about it but if your thing is deep carves, it’s so good. I felt like I could carve through ice on it and it powered through slush. It was amazing for carving.

Overall Score: 29