Forums Splitboards Custom Donek Split
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  • #574770
    Taylor
    794 Posts

    I’m a big dude, 6’3″ and 220 lbs, and I like to ride big boards… But for reasons I won’t get into here, none of the stock split board offerings are as stable, fast or burly as I prefer for a big mountain all-rounder.

    So a few months ago I decided to design my own; I spec’d out a custom design–based on exactly what I want from a deck–and sent it around to three manufacturers whose construction quality I am familiar.

    The design:

    Length: around 190
    Effective edge: about 150
    Sidecut: 10.5 – 12m variable radius, tip to tail
    Taper: 3.5 – 4 cm
    Waist width: around 27
    Shovel width: Around 34, 35
    Stance: 28″ wide
    Cambered

    Winterstick: Never returned my email.

    Prior: Got back to me promptly. They talked to their shaper; they’d do it for $1500, no hardware, with about a month wait. Fair enough.

    Sean at Donek emailed me a CAD design of the board and quoted me a price of just shy of $900 shipped, no hardware. We got on the phone and worked out the final particulars of the design, which was fun. It ended up being about 187.5 cm long.

    A month later, here she is:

    The construction and finish work are excellent.

    Here it is against a 181 / 27 rockered Storm (which is a great tree board) for comparison:

    I’ll post some ride reports once I get it on snow.

    @sun_rocket

    #639619
    Zee
    136 Posts

    Pretty nice! $900 is a damn good price for a full custom board.

    #639620
    chimp
    64 Posts

    Looks awesome, I checked out the Donek site and it seems like a cool operation. I found myself watching his Mono Plate system videos…Kind of interesting stuff. Maybe he’ll branch into split boards now that he’s done yours, looks very well made.

    #639621
    Taylor
    794 Posts

    @zee wrote:

    Pretty nice! $900 is a damn good price for a full custom board.

    The length (overall, shovel, tail), width (shovel, waist, tail), taper, side-cut and flex (profile) are all custom. The shovel, camber and tail shapes are not. Each board they sell can be customized in this way, and for no extra cost, which is really, really cool. Alongside the excellent construction quality, this makes for a tremendous value.

    My understanding is that Donek plans to offer a splitboard next season.

    @sun_rocket

    #639622
    Wasatch_Don
    101 Posts

    Have you weighed your new board? It would be very helpful to me since I’m looking at a similar project.

    I’m a bigger guy too (6’4/215lbs) and am looking for a super stiff charger for big mountain and firm snow conditions. I was planning to call Prior and ask for an ATV split in a longer size and bigger waist. This could give me another option which would be great especially at that price point.

    #639623
    Snowman1
    63 Posts

    Wasatch Don, Donek can help. Here is the email. info@donek.com. Tell him the Snowman sent you. Quality is second to none. Think Snow!

    #639624
    Taylor
    794 Posts

    @wasatch_don wrote:

    Have you weighed your new board? It would be very helpful to me since I’m looking at a similar project.

    Don: It weighs 10.2 pounds as pictured (with clips and hooks).

    @sun_rocket

    #639625
    Wasatch_Don
    101 Posts

    Thanks Taylor, that’s actually much less than I was expecting.

    #639626
    lernr
    233 Posts

    Congrats on the new board – may it bring you lots of joy 🙂

    I just wonder why did you get all these holes?

    Cheers
    Ivo

    #639627
    barrows
    1490 Posts

    Taylor: cool stick. I have a couple of questions:

    “Sidecut: 10.5 – 12m variable radius, tip to tail”

    So you have a regressive sidecut? With a shorter radius in the front section of the board and a longer radius in the rear. I am curious as to why you made this choice.

    “Taper: 3.5 – 4 cm”

    I like taper, but would think that 4 cm of taper is a lot by any standard. Considering that this amount of taper necessitates a wider board over all (to keep toe and heel drag to a minimum on the rear foot) I am also curious as to your reasoning for so much taper.

    It sounds like Donek will build customs (for a very reasonable price), as long as they can use the camber profile of existing forms. All the Doneks I have seen have had a lot of camber-does your board follow suit with a very large amount of camber?

    #639628
    Taylor
    794 Posts

    Great questions, Barrows. This design reflects my attempt to design a versatile, high-performance board that excels across a wide range of speeds and terrains–a board sized to me (long, with lots of surface area and float) that is stable and performs well in trees, steeps, and in high-speed, long-radius turns.

    So you have a regressive sidecut? With a shorter radius in the front section of the board and a longer radius in the rear. I am curious as to why you made this choice.

    I like to think of it as progressive, but with progressively elongating rather than shortening radii. 🙂

    But yeah, this deck incrementally blends (in something like 100 separate radii) a 10.5 m radius sidecut in the front section into a 12 m a radius sidecut toward the tail.

    As a general matter, the larger radii overall (relative to production boards) is fit to my personal preference for long sidecuts and the stability they afford in large radius turns.

    By placing a shorter radius up front, (where turn initiation happens, and where my weight is when bearing down in tight trees or making quick, surfy turns) I am facilitating some quickness of turn initiation for when I need and want that (again, in trees).

    The longer radius toward the tail is intended to facilitate stability in larger radius, higher speed turns (esp. railing off-piste)–and to a lesser degree in steeps–when I am weighting the aft portions of my board more.

    In those ways, the sidecut design is intended to facilitate more versatility and better performance across a wider range of speeds and terrains–and especially the relative speeds at which I’d be encountering those different back-country terrains–than a board with quadradic, radial or (the other) progressive sidecuts.

    As an aside, I was surprised to learn that this is how Donek is designing their race boards–for similar reasons, at least in terms of performance attributes at different phases and speeds of turns. I didn’t know that until talking to them on the phone. It was a great coincidence because they had already worked out the math of how to do this and how to relate it to profiles, flexes, etc.

    I like taper, but would think that 4 cm of taper is a lot by any standard. Considering that this amount of taper necessitates a wider board over all (to keep toe and heel drag to a minimum on the rear foot) I am also curious as to your reasoning for so much taper.

    For perspective, as a proportion of overall board length, this board has a tiny bit more taper than a Burton Fish and far less than a Winterstick Swallowtail. And yes, that’s a lot of taper.

    All three attributes you mention were design goal for me. I wanted a wide board to minimize boot-out. I hate boot out, so a starting point for design was a 27cm waist–a good width for my size 12s. As a general matter, I also wanted a lot of surface area for pow float –but I’m not sure how much actual overall surface area taper adds vs. redistributing it from aft to fore.

    In any case, the abundant taper is intended to do a few things. First, and most obviously, it’s intended to shift more surface area forward to facilitate nose-float, tail sink and thus a natural, even feeling ride in the pow. In this way, it’s also intended to hold forward pressure, as I like to front load boards a bit when making quick, surfy turns in tree pow (tuck-knee, old school style).

    Another goal gets again to ease of turn initiation. Upon turn initiation, this board is aiming deeper into a turn than a board without as much taper. This, alongside its sidecut design, should help its tree performance and tighter situations (remember, we are dealing with a 187.5 cm length). I was initially concerned that this could reduce stability at speed by making the board twitchy and overly eager to jump into a turn, but I think that between the nose riding up by virtue of its width and taper and by virtue of the fact that faster turns are not initiated as far forward this will not be a problem.

    But I was also trying to facilitate ease of tail release when fishing about in slower, sliding turns–again, as in the trees. Along those same lines, I was trying to facilitate avoidance of tail hang-ups in high-stakes, super-steep hop turn situations. In that way, the taper tail is achieving the same objectives as rockered tail, but without sacrificing stability in high-speed, long-radius turns, as I find to be the case with rockered tails.

    It sounds like Donek will build customs (for a very reasonable price), as long as they can use the camber profile of existing forms. All the Doneks I have seen have had a lot of camber-does your board follow suit with a very large amount of camber?

    Yes, and the custom price point value really can’t be overstated. They have a cad system that allows them to design cores in real time on the phone, or according to specs you send them–and at no extra cost. It is a really, really remarkable thing–especially for a bigger guy like me whose body and thus board requirements are outside the usual production-deck bell-curve.

    And yes, this is a cambered and not a rockered board (which, for a number of reasons, is my preference). It has about 8 mm of camber at its highest point. The shovel is 22 cm long; there is a flat section extending aft of that about 10 cm, after which the camber begins (but it sets in very gradually). From the flat section the camber extends aft to the tail, which I prefer for the stability and speed security it affords.

    My experience riding rockered boards at speed in powder reminds of trimming a surfboard, where the board could ride at any number of angles (nose v. tail depth) along that rocker short of the shovel actually burring. It’s not a sensation I like; it feels inherently unstable, and it forces the rider to keep weight centered rather than affording freedom to throw weight further forward and aft at the start and ends of turns, or as might be needed in a pinch in the face of a terrain surprise. Another reason I like camber is the added stability once on edge. All things being equal, cambered boards grip better. And it’s what I’ve been riding for 28 years; it’s familiar.

    My understanding is that Donek has nose-flat-cambered and fully-cambered press forms, and you are correct that those forms are not customizable. My understanding based on other posts on this site is that they are developing some rockered or partially rockered forms specific to a split design next year, so that will be an option in the future.

    In any case, Barrows, that is some of the thinking behind this design.

    @sun_rocket

    #639629
    LBR
    116 Posts

    What a fabulous board, great job! Go Go Colorado Customs!

    #639630
    barrows
    1490 Posts

    @taylor wrote:

    Great questions, Barrows. This design reflects my attempt to design a versatile, high-performance board that excels across a wide range of speeds and terrains–a board sized to me (long, with lots of surface area and float) that is stable and performs well in trees, steeps, and in high-speed, long-radius turns.

    So you have a regressive sidecut? With a shorter radius in the front section of the board and a longer radius in the rear. I am curious as to why you made this choice.

    I like to think of it as progressive, but with progressively elongating rather than shortening radii. 🙂

    But yeah, this deck incrementally blends (in something like 100 separate radii) a 10.5 m radius sidecut in the front section into a 12 m a radius sidecut toward the tail.

    As a general matter, the larger radii overall (relative to production boards) is fit to my personal preference for long sidecuts and the stability they afford in large radius turns.

    By placing a shorter radius up front, (where turn initiation happens, and where my weight is when bearing down in tight trees or making quick, surfy turns) I am facilitating some quickness of turn initiation for when I need and want that (again, in trees).

    The longer radius toward the tail is intended to facilitate stability in larger radius, higher speed turns (esp. railing off-piste)–and to a lesser degree in steeps–when I am weighting the aft portions of my board more.

    In those ways, the sidecut design is intended to facilitate more versatility and better performance across a wider range of speeds and terrains–and especially the relative speeds at which I’d be encountering those different back-country terrains–than a board with quadradic, radial or (the other) progressive sidecuts.

    Generally speaking, this type of sidecut should be termed regressive, as the term progressive has been used in the past to describe sidecuts which feature longer radii in the front of the board and shorter radii in the rear of the board. Progressive sidecuts were typically used (and may still be) for free carving boards, as they were fun in that they gave the feeling of acceleration through the turn, with the increased loading generated by the shorter radi at the end of the turn.
    As an aside, I was surprised to learn that this is how Donek is designing their race boards–for similar reasons, at least in terms of performance attributes at different phases and speeds of turns. I didn’t know that until talking to them on the phone. It was a great coincidence because they had already worked out the math of how to do this and how to relate it to profiles, flexes, etc.

    I like taper, but would think that 4 cm of taper is a lot by any standard. Considering that this amount of taper necessitates a wider board over all (to keep toe and heel drag to a minimum on the rear foot) I am also curious as to your reasoning for so much taper.

    For perspective, as a proportion of overall board length, this board has a tiny bit more taper than a Burton Fish and far less than a Winterstick Swallowtail. And yes, that’s a lot of taper.

    All three attributes you mention were design goal for me. I wanted a wide board to minimize boot-out. I hate boot out, so a starting point for design was a 27cm waist–a good width for my size 12s. As a general matter, I also wanted a lot of surface area for pow float –but I’m not sure how much actual overall surface area taper adds vs. redistributing it from aft to fore.

    In any case, the abundant taper is intended to do a few things. First, and most obviously, it’s intended to shift more surface area forward to facilitate nose-float, tail sink and thus a natural, even feeling ride in the pow. In this way, it’s also intended to hold forward pressure, as I like to front load boards a bit when making quick, surfy turns in tree pow (tuck-knee, old school style).

    Another goal gets again to ease of turn initiation. Upon turn initiation, this board is aiming deeper into a turn than a board without as much taper. This, alongside its sidecut design, should help its tree performance and tighter situations (remember, we are dealing with a 187.5 cm length). I was initially concerned that this could reduce stability at speed by making the board twitchy and overly eager to jump into a turn, but I think that between the nose riding up by virtue of its width and taper and by virtue of the fact that faster turns are not initiated as far forward this will not be a problem.

    But I was also trying to facilitate ease of tail release when fishing about in slower, sliding turns–again, as in the trees. Along those same lines, I was trying to facilitate avoidance of tail hang-ups in high-stakes, super-steep hop turn situations. In that way, the taper tail is achieving the same objectives as rockered tail, but without sacrificing stability in high-speed, long-radius turns, as I find to be the case with rockered tails.

    Yup, I never thought about taper amount as a proportion of board length-an interesting idea to ponder… In any case, I agree that taper allows the tail to be smeared about more easily (as you mention, so does tail rocker) without the stability loss that can be attributed to rocker. It seems that turn in (initiation) on this board is going to be quite quick due to high taper angle and quyicker sidecut at the nose-I understand that this approach will suit your riding style (tuck knee does mean something to me, being an “old” guy!). For me (6’1″, 170 lbs) I would be concerned about the nose wanting to turn in too quickly (grab) in steep situations, but the length of the board may mitigate this tendency
    It sounds like Donek will build customs (for a very reasonable price), as long as they can use the camber profile of existing forms. All the Doneks I have seen have had a lot of camber-does your board follow suit with a very large amount of camber?

    Yes, and the custom price point value really can’t be overstated. They have a cad system that allows them to design cores in real time on the phone, or according to specs you send them–and at no extra cost. It is a really, really remarkable thing–especially for a bigger guy like me whose body and thus board requirements are outside the usual production-deck bell-curve.

    And yes, this is a cambered and not a rockered board (which, for a number of reasons, is my preference). It has about 8 mm of camber at its highest point. The shovel is 22 cm long; there is a flat section extending aft of that about 10 cm, after which the camber begins (but it sets in very gradually). From the flat section the camber extends aft to the tail, which I prefer for the stability and speed security it affords.

    My experience riding rockered boards at speed in powder reminds of trimming a surfboard, where the board could ride at any number of angles (nose v. tail depth) along that rocker short of the shovel actually burring. It’s not a sensation I like; it feels inherently unstable, and it forces the rider to keep weight centered rather than affording freedom to throw weight further forward and aft at the start and ends of turns, or as might be needed in a pinch in the face of a terrain surprise. Another reason I like camber is the added stability once on edge. All things being equal, cambered boards grip better. And it’s what I’ve been riding for 28 years; it’s familiar.

    My understanding is that Donek has nose-flat-cambered and fully-cambered press forms, and you are correct that those forms are not customizable. My understanding based on other posts on this site is that they are developing some rockered or partially rockered forms specific to a split design next year, so that will be an option in the future.

    In any case, Barrows, that is some of the thinking behind this design.

    Taylor, thanks for sharing your thoughts and approach. I agree that Donek is offering very good value in custom possibilities. I have some board designs in my head, (different approaches than yours, to each his own) and may have to try and get one of these built sometime.

    #639631
    Taylor
    794 Posts

    Edited

    Here’s a ride report after having ridden this board in trees, steeps, wind-load and deep pow. In short, its combination of quickness, speed stability and abundant float makes it the most capable all-around off-piste design I’ve ever ridden. I adjusted to and forgot about the board far sooner than any other I’ve ridden; it’s naturally fit to my forward riding style (which is great because I can’t tell you how bad it would suck to pay for a custom deck and have that not be the case).

    This board is an aggressive and unusual design, with a combo of (1) long length, (2) wide width, (3) aggressive taper, and (4) regressive medium –> long sidecut radii. I thought I knew how it’d ride, but you never know. I definitely had questions about how it’d ride (see earlier discussion on this thread), but I had pretty strong intuition as well. Luckily, intuition served me. I will probably have a solid version of this design pressed, perhaps slightly stiffer for resort riding.

    Again, specs:

    Length: 187cm
    Effective edge: 151 cm
    Width: 27cm
    Shovel width: 34.4cm
    Shovel length: 22 cm
    Tail width: 30.6
    Tail legnth: 17 cm
    Taper: 3.8 cm
    Stance offset: 4.5 cm
    Stance width: up to 28″
    Sidecut: 10.5 – 12m variable regressive radius
    De-cambered (flat) nose and tail

    Float: This is first and foremost a powder design (pow is why I ride back country), and that’s where it most shines; the board floats beautifully at all speeds–I can’t sink the shovel. This owes to the aggressive taper, overall surface area (length and width, surface area shifted forward), and stance set back. It’s also very well balanced; moving from packed to powder snow requires virtually no fore-aft weight shift.

    Turn In: Initiates turns and can get sideways very quickly, making it agile in tight situations. This owes to the regressive sidecut radii and aggressive taper placing more sidecut further forward, sharpening the turn-in angle, and reducing the amount of effective edge behind the back foot. On flatter terrain, fast turn in requires a riding style that exerts forward pressure on the board. Riding in the back seat makes turn in sluggish.

    Turn Release: Conserves speed when exiting turns. Turn release is fast, quiet and efficient. It doesn’t pop, rebound or try to turn back across the hill. It does so while maintaining tail-hold. This owes to the regressive sidecut’s longer (faster) radii at rear of the board (and end of a turn) and the diminished sidecut exit angle resulting from longer radius aft and the aggressive taper. Overall the sidecut is still long enough so that it smears and slarves naturally – those turns are also enhanced by the taper.

    Speed Stability: Very stable at speed. It chews up chopped powder in big GS turns. It rails beautifully. It most excels at big, high speed powder arcs. Though sharply tapered, the rocker-less tail affords plenty of stability. It’s not hooky or twitchy nor does it try to initiate turns on its own (a concern I had given the turn-in angle resulting from the taper). Even at relatively high speeds moving from packed to powder snow requires very little fore-aft weight shift.

    Steep Stability: I have not ridden on hard pack or icy steeps; I have ridden relatively soft (for steeps) wind-deposited terrain that I estimate was around 55 – 60 deg (hand on wall) — but not overly long shots. In these situations the board maintained good trip. the longer radius sidecut out back feels really stable and secure. In hop turns, it falls into place smoothly and quickly after the turn apex, though the length of the board makes hop turns more burdensome than would be the case with a board designed for steeps. (This is far from the board I’d design for steeps, but it seems to handle such terrain nicely. I reserve judgement for steep terrain on harder snow conditions.)

    What I’d change: At this point, nothing. I do wonder how short I could go before losing the above-described ride attributes. But that’s not an experiment worth paying for. As with any design, I will likely come up with ideas for changes with more time and more variable conditions. But I really couldn’t be happier with the result. I’ve never been so comfortable on and confident in a snowboard in my life. It’s in an entirely different league than any other split I’ve ridden. Fun.

    That’s my report. For a parting shot, here’s a pic mounted with bindings and hardware:

    @sun_rocket

    #639632
    Snowman1
    63 Posts

    Nice review Taylor. I have a 167 Donek Nomad split with a custom scr config of 7/15m and lots of carbon on the way. I might be able to shed some light on your question of loosing length. I am coming off of a custom 174 Prior 4wd split. I loved that board but it did have some limitations, namely the singular sidecut of around 12m an it’s relatively plankish flex pattern. Oh well, it is what it is and served me very well. The new deck will be a huge jump in technology, lots lots lighter and much more versatile. Ill let you know when I get it on the snow.

    Think Snow!

    #639633
    Taylor
    794 Posts

    You should post pics and specs when that board gets out of the press. I’m particularly interested in weight (carbon). I’m sold on regressive sidecuts. I’d be interested to feel how a 7 to 15 scr rides; that’s a wide span.

    With this board, I suspect I could take about 5-10cm off the overall length while keeping the shovel width and a proportional amount of taper without totally upending the float and stability attributes.

    @sun_rocket

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