Forums Splitboards Jones Hovercraft Review!!
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  • #573116
    russman
    689 Posts

    The Hovercraft:

    Disclaimer: I’m not receiving any funds to make these statements. I really am just THAT stoked!

    Subjective Analysis: What else can be said other than “FLOATS LIKE STIROFOAM IN WATER!” Jones markets this board with the statement “The surface area of a 178 swallowtail packed into the running length of a 158”, and my friends, ITS TRUE! This board is almost a throwback to the original boards of the 80’s but with modern shapes, materials, and specific technologies that make this little ripper worthy of ANY big mountain condition. I found myself slashing spots that have until this week always been out of reach of my neuromuscular reaction time. This board allowed me to make turns in ways that I didn’t even know a snowboard could. The ginormous spoon nose wants to pop up and over any bump or feature, and take you airborn with it! To make the cake even sweeter, after finding most of the inbounds pow flattened out, I found myself longing to rail this stick on icy groomers. My gosh you guys, this board holds an edge… Who says you need hardboots and full camber to rail turns? I felt more stable on this thing than any 168 monster I’ve ever touched… except perhaps for the Solution…

    Objective Analysis: This board is wide, and I really think that is the key. It’s wider under the front foot than it is the back, and the rocker begins just outside the normal inserts. Camber in the waist gave it a very stiff lateral roll, and so explains its uncanny ability to hold edge on icy turns. The running length is stiffer than the average 158, but I found this to be a bonus for power transfer. Rocker in the nose made it turn shorter than it really is, however, whenever I felt like I was going to ragdoll over the bars the spoon nose was there to save me! The fact that it has such a huge surface area means that small features within the snow just glide underneath and pop you airborne, however, the short length means that you can turn it on a dime. Because of its phenomenal floatation, I would make the statement that it would indeed be a fantastic splitboard. It might be on the short side for skin tracks, but really, you don’t need a 180 monster stick to shred big lines like a gangster! Someone should send this board to Monk151, FOR SURE… I might have to…

    Overall, this board floats as well as any huge stick ever made, but turns and slashes like a 154 park rat. For inbounds riding, I would probably find myself grabbing this 85% of the time, and for anything non-splitboard, 100% of the time.

    #626950
    buell
    532 Posts

    Thanks for the review!

    Can you please let me know what other powder boards you have ridden and are riding so I have a better basis for understanding your review?

    I am really curious how tight its powder turn is.

    #626951
    russman
    689 Posts

    Up until recently my favorite pow slash has been the Nitro Pantera 163 and Nitro Supra Team 159 from 2005. Got a chance to ride a Nitro Gun 170, and it was ripper, just too long for tight radius turns. I’ve demoed the Burton Fish, and wasn’t that stoked.. Also owned a CustomX 158, and wasn’t nearly as impressed. The Option Signature was a killer board, too, but once again for a pow specific shape this was more fun.

    How tight is the powder turn? WAAAAAY tighter than you ever thought possible on a snowboard. It’s weird, despite such insane maneuverability, it still feels perfectly at home pointing it straight-line at speed.

    #626952
    buell
    532 Posts

    Nice, thank you!

    #626953
    Locster
    18 Posts

    And it’s only $400! :rock:

    That’s what I saw on the Jones Facebook Fan Page.

    #626954
    russman
    689 Posts

    Dude I know!! That’s such a sweet price!! Rides WAAAY better than the $700 CustomX!!

    #626955
    Scooby2
    594 Posts

    Not to mention, way cheaper than a Gentemstick Mantaray at $1500 US

    http://gentemstick.com/images/pdf/TTSS.pdf

    (they have a pretty soulfull reflection on springriding at the start of their site right now)

    #626956
    tahoeBC
    4 Posts

    Just seems like the shapes are directional and old school. Think rocker shapes are by far the best pow boards out today (not ski shaped tip rocker, but more twin shaped rocker). How bout swithch riding? How did it handle switch? Or is just a b-line rocket board? Either way, stoked for Jones’ niche!

    #626957
    russman
    689 Posts

    @tahoebc wrote:

    Just seems like the shapes are directional and old school. Think rocker shapes are by far the best pow boards out today (not ski shaped tip rocker, but more twin shaped rocker). How bout swithch riding? How did it handle switch? Or is just a b-line rocket board? Either way, stoked for Jones’ niche!

    Its actually surprising, but the Hovercraft can be ridden switch. There is just enough tail and rocker that it is possible. I mean, it is a quiver board to some degree, but I found it to be phenomenally stable in every freeriding condition. There is no debating that it is a directional stick, but dude, its not meant to be a park rat board.

    #626958
    singlewhitecaveman
    242 Posts

    Ditto dat. I’ve used my pinner to hit rails, ride pipe and do 2,880 degree nose rolls. Oh, and ride pow. :rock:

    I can’t wait to ride this board.

    #626959
    alessi
    21 Posts

    hey russman, how do you think the Hovercraft compares to the Solution/Flagship? Would it be any less versatile, or would there be any situation where the Solution would just work better?

    #626960
    russman
    689 Posts

    @alessi wrote:

    hey russman, how do you think the Hovercraft compares to the Solution/Flagship? Would it be any less versatile, or would there be any situation where the Solution would just work better?

    Are you thinking the Hovercraft is a Splitboard?

    The Solution is a split and the Hovercraft isn’t… BUUUUT, I do think the Hovercraft would be a great home split job. There is quite a bit of camber in the waist and so could be rad skinning. The only drawback to slicing it is that it is only a 156cm total length, so might be a bit too short for really efficient skinning.

    As far as versatility, I’d go with the Flagship or Mountain Twin shapes for a board that can do anything from pow to spinning in the park. I am going to order a Hovercraft however, because it is absolutely amazing….

    #626961
    Jason4
    442 Posts

    I got to ride one the Hovercrafts last March for some epic late winter powder at Baker too. Probably the same one that you got to ride. I loved it for that but I don’t think it would be my go to board unless the conditions really were epic.

    The two days that I got to ride the Hovercraft were in late March at Mt. Baker. To the best of my recollection both days were in the low 20’s with 12+ inches of better than expected Northwest powder.

    The Hovercraft is an incredible board that kills pow turns and steeps. My riding buddy on the days that I had the Hovercraft was a recent transplant from Colorado and couldn’t come close to keeping up. He knows the mountain well enough now but that really isn’t an issue on Gabl’s. It was ridiculous how much faster I was ripping turns with this board. I was able to ride it fast switch on groomers and with a bit of work I even made a couple of switch pow turns but that isn’t it’s strength.

    The shortcomings are on groomers and tracked and packed snow. The nose it too soft to really lean on it when pushing hard turns with your front foot. The tail is too short to load it up and wheelie out of stuff or for pop on packed snow but that isn’t what this board is meant for. It’s too wide to change edges quickly on groomers too.

    I don’t mean to take away from the pow shredability of this board because that’s what it’s designed for and for that it is a great addition to a quiver. It’s not a quiver killer.

    If I can get my hands on one for this winter I might go for it but I’m really looking forward to getting some time on a Jones split setup. That one was in the garage too but I grabbed the Hovercraft instead. 😀

    For reference my first “pow” board was a 1994 Craig Kelly Slopestyle 173.5 to replace my first board (1990 Burton free5), my favorite to date is probably the Hovercraft, my favorite quiver killer is an Option Pintail (circa 2001). I’ve ridden the original Fish, the Option Northshore, the Mallolo, Custom, O-matic, a handful of Sims and Options from 1998-2002, a Salomon park board, and lately I’ve been riding Libs, mostly a Lando Pheonix that I intended to split last year but ended up traveling for work too much and didn’t get around to. 🙁

    #626962
    russman
    689 Posts

    Great review Jason! How do you think the Hovercraft would feel in a longer size?

    I’m REEEEALLY wanting to demo the Mountain Twin… I think it’s possible that that could be my ideal inbounds ride. Although I’m still undecided if I really like rocketed tails on snowboards.. I feel like sometimes I loop out when I’m really wanting to power off the back seat..

    #626963
    Jason4
    442 Posts

    Thanks Russman. Like you I don’t have anything to gain from Jones but I have known Chad for a long time and was very happy when he let me take the Hovercraft for a couple of days and was very happy that I got to take time off of work to play a bit.

    I don’t think any extra length would benefit me on the Hovercraft and I actually think it would be worse for my riding style. It floated great as is. I look at it as a dedicated pow board and as such it did what I wanted it to. The only thing that I would like to see is just a little bit of traditional camber from the back binding through the tail.

    I have a new Lib Phoenix C2 at home waiting for this winter that I’m really looking forward to riding. I took a few runs on a Dark series C2 the winter before last and really liked it except that it was too narrow for me.

    I hope I run into on the mountain this winter, we’ll take a run.

    #626964
    singlewhitecaveman
    242 Posts

    Did you notice anything about the flex? Softer or stiffer?

    #626965
    Jason4
    442 Posts

    Compared to my current Lando the Hovercraft was much softer but my Lando might have been an especially stiff one to begin with. I would say that it had the right flex for it’s purpose even when ridden very aggressively in pow.

    #626966
    Snurfer
    1438 Posts

    I’m glad folks are stoked on this board, while not an original design it is a very sweet looking board. And if it works for you, that is all that really matters.
    But, I’ve felt all along that some of the stoke about the board is misleading, and not having ridden the board myself I reserved comment at least until seeing the Hovercraft segment in Deeper. So, although I still haven’t ridden this board I’m compelled to chime in based on what I saw in the film. (Please don’t get defensive about it, I’m simply giving another point of view.)

    JJ’s body position looks like someone riding a short board in powder, not floating like a bigger board as many have claimed. His stance is low, flexed and very much on his back leg. Maybe thats intentional, but seems like a helluva lot of work if the board really performs as claimed.
    Anyways, perhaps I’ll get to ride with someone who has the board this season to get a look at their riding, but based on the film, I’m not convinced of the rides longer, floats longer claim.
    :twocents:

    @topodojo IG
    Shark Snowsurf Chuna
    Voile V-Tail 170 BC
    Voile One Ninety Five
    Spark R&D Arc

    #626967
    russman
    689 Posts

    Actually, Snurfer, I found that the Hovercraft rode extremely short, but floated basically as well as any big board I’ve ridden.

    I found that it was remarkably stable at speed but could still slash the ultra tight spots. Basically, the Hovercraft lends itself to its own unique style of riding… Its doesn’t turn like a 195 swallowtail and I don’t think that is the claim, either. Its not going to perform as well at a Mach-12 pointer run (it will loop out much faster) but its FAR more fun to shred in the tightest tree runs. I felt like it showed me a style of snowboarding I didn’t know existed before! 🙂

    I’m realizing more and more the value of having a board quiver, rather than putting all my expectations in one board.

    #626968
    Snurfer
    1438 Posts

    Fair enough Russman, it definitely helps having the perspective that you have ridden the 195 in tight trees, etc. I wasn’t referencing the 195 specifically as much as longboards that incorporate design elements specific to float and body position (among others: rockered nose, stiff tapered tail, and setback. For example the TB Pro).
    In any event, knowing you are making a comparison having ridden both boards in the conditions you described, def lends credibility and helps me appreciate the stoke.

    @topodojo IG
    Shark Snowsurf Chuna
    Voile V-Tail 170 BC
    Voile One Ninety Five
    Spark R&D Arc

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