So I've been eyeing the Gentemstick Giant Mantra ray for awhile, but the cost and shipping has been prohibitive - not to mention they won't split it (yet) so I'd have to split it myself one I got it. Since then some similar boards have come out, notably the Jones Hovercraft and the Chimera Unicorn Chaser (both which i've ridden, both which are awesome, and both of which helped me in this process)
Then somebody pointed me at Igneous (igneousskis.com)... these guys are awesome. For those of you who don't know who they are, they'll make you anything (while researching i stumbled across some pretty bizarre stuff they've built), and the final cost of the board, while not cheap, is still pretty much on par with a new Prior or the likes.
So I came up with my dream board: 159cm, 7.5m sidecut and a 22mm taper, minimal camber of 2mm, with a wide (322) and blunt rockered nose & low fish tail. The camber/rocker transition point starts under the front binding. Progressive flex with a soft nose, medium underfoot, and stiff tail. We added some extra re-enforcement underfoot to prevent the core from breaking down over time while skinning on it. The topsheet is bamboo treated with marine epoxy and then waxed much like the base. Edges don't wraparound and the inside edges are short, covering the cambered area. Mike Parris @ Igneous was awesome at helping guide me through this process and ensuring I didn't get them to build me a lemon, as well as lending his opinions and expertise along the way.
So, how does it ride? This late in the season I wasn't expecting much... but last weekend I got lucky, there was a nice dump of snow at Crystal - A patroller said there was 6-7 inches before lifts opened and it kept snowing all day. Heavy, but not sticky (except end of the day at the bottom, ick.)
Short version: Awesome. Better than expected. The board turns way quicker than I hoped, quick enough to make turns in places I never thought would have been possible before, and it charges out of turns really nicely. It's confidence inspiring to know I can turn so fast or switch directions whenever I need to (especially considering while it will ride switch, it's really not very good at it.) It also turned out to be way faster than I was expecting, and very stable. Despite my best efforts the board wouldn't submarine, whenever I got the nose under the snow it would cheerfully pop back up bringing the rest of the board on top of the surface (and shedding all the snow due to the waxed topsheet), a property that combined with the stable landing the tapered/cutout tail + setback gives meant i almost felt like I was cheating when landing drops and jumps, the board takes it in stride and charges away looking for the next feature.
That said, this is a powder board and it suffers from the taper and flat profile in chop/crud. In these types of conditions the tail washes out and it bucks me around. Which is ok, as long as I keep it for powder days. It'll get through variable conditions and is actually pretty stellar on corn, but on anything hardpack or nasty it's a liability.
For those reading this that like the same kind of riding but are looking for an off the shelf board, I'd highly recommend the Unicorn Chaser from Chimera or the Hovercraft from Jones - they are both similar, and both excellent boards. Or the Giant Mantaray from Gentemstick, if you can get one... I've never ridden it, but this board was heavily inspired by it's shape and dimensions, so it will likely ride similar... though I've no clue what the rocker/camber profile or the flex pattern of the Gentemstick is. For anyone that's interested in getting something custom done, give Igneous a call
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 9:34 pm Posts: 298 Location: kelowna bc canada
Very nice!!! Good to see you getting out and testing your creation out and seeing how the the specs ride. Can see it ruling in the trees where i like the design of my boards to ride in and wish i put abit more taper in my last split to match. Hopefully you'll get out for a few more test runs in various conditions to give us feedback
It's waiting for Karakoram bindings... next season!
Beautiful looking board there
It looks like you went with 4 sets of inserts per binding pack to save some weight.
If you are looking at the K bindings and they don't change the ride mode brackets, you are going to be limited in your stance width options. Basically you will have 4 possible stance widths and that is all - using the 1 & 3 and 2 & 4 inserts as the mounts for each insert pack. If that works for you (and looks like it does for at least the front) great, just make sure you can get your stance.
I will be selling mine for that reason next season, so if you're set on the K's maybe we can work out a deal for your Voile/Spark hardware for my Split 30's.
Nope, the bindings are fantastic, the touring connection is solid and I didn't have any problems with the them all season. Not even a broken strap. I did wish I had ordered the ramps, as my size 8 feet are on the small side of the medium bindings.
So just measure your center of ever other insert "square" and that is where your width will end up on the K's.
The only thing on the angles (I mentioned this in another thread) is that the ride modes are asymmetrical in going +25,-5 and +5,-25. So if you like a forward angled rear stance, you have to have two of the same "foot." I have two of the +25,-5 because I switch around a lot between +10 and -5 on the back.
Ooo... Good to know, because I do the same - typically about +21 in the front, +6 on the back.. still playing with the stance angles on the new board to find what works best with this shape, but it's been a long time since I've ridden truly duck (more than -5) and have no plans to go back