If you haven’t heard of YES (we can) Snowboards, you must be living under a proverbial snowboarding rock. YES popped out onto the scene last year during SIA and caused some serious buzz. Why? Because YES Snowboards was started by the former Uninc team when they were unceremoniously (missed marketing opportunity) cut from Burton. That’s right: DCP (David Carrier-Porcheron), JP Solberg and Romain DeMarchi started their own board company. Rumor is that occasionally Gigi Ruff and Nicholas Muller also ride one.
The boards are constructed in the Nidecker factory, and Henry Nidecker is an integral part of the YES team. JMZ, long-time Uninc buddy, does the graphics. Like one would expect, the boards are twin-tip, hybrid camber/rocker instruments of snowboard destruction. Over the years, Uninc graphics have been clean, wild, artistic or plain obnoxious, but the YES guys have decided to start with a very simple and clean graphic for the board line up.
Ok now time for what you’re really interested in, the review.
Initial thoughts: First off, when the box arrived at my doorstep, on December 22nd, I was so fucking stoked. I had a super shitty day at work, you know the type of day that make you say “FML” on Twitter to all your tweeps? Anyway, brown santa always turns that frown upside down, and this time it went from super low to super high. I’ve been wondering about YES boards ever since I saw the press release last year.
The board looked very… Uninc-like. Am I looking at JP Solberg’s 154 2008 Uninc, the one with the seal on it? The CamRocker is also very subtle compared to the ELFV that I was riding in early December. Construction looks solid. A quick glance at the sidewalls show you the sandwiched layers. I may be getting spoiled by things like 10:45 or ABS sidewalls, but these looked a bit fragile. But I figured we see how they handle on snow.
Turning, Basic Snowshralping?
First off, this board rips. I had the 154, which is an ideal park size for me, but I was able to mach it into some high-speed Euro carves. I suppose that’s due to the Nidecker heritage. Board was pretty stable, predictable, and dare I say, dependable. Of course, it was easy to overpower the board if I really wanted to on those speed carves. But that’s easily fixable by sizing up. Otherwise, it rode like a “sensible” snowboard, no crazy surprises, twitches or too stupid-light weirdness.
Lately, I’ve been hating on rocker. After testing multiple variations, I’ve found that a lot of companies have jumped on this bandwagon into the deep end. The engineers have created some “serious rocker” that results in boards that are great for your average intermediate or someone spending all day in pow, but leave a bit to be desired for a serious East Coast rider. Many companies have been moving towards a hybrid model (including YES), which provides “the best of both worlds.” I’ve been really happy with Never Summer’s R.C. version of this. According to YES: This state of the art design combines camber between the feet with rocker at the tip and tail, by combining camber and rocker you get a board that has superb stability and increased turning control whilst still feeling shorter through the length and reducing the likelihood of hooking up on a rail, also the rocker in the tip gives superb float in deeper snow.
YES’s CamRock doesn’t disappoint. I really enjoyed their subtle rocker on the tip and tail with a stable area of camber between the bindings. It definitely saves your bacon, one of the major pluses of rocker. I was throwing a bunch of flat 180s that started turning into to flat 360s (scary Scorpion moments be gone!). I didn’t get a chance to try it in pow, but I’m sure it floats like a champ similar to other hybrid boards.
Closely linked to the camber (or lack thereof) of a board is it’s ability to pop for ollies, powering the tail out of turns, etc. Of course with the new rocker designs, one needs to adjust their riding, and with this adapted style, you can still pop ollies, rocket turns, etc., but call me traditional, I just love the feeling of loading up the tail and popping off of a roller (again I’m on the East Coast, sometimes it’s all we got). YES has created a board that still allows you to load up the tail for those super ollies and rocket turns. Happy Hoon? Yup.
The board flat based fine. At times I noticed that I was dragging behind my friend Pat on the cat tracks. Hmm, this isn’t normally an issue. Either Pat’s been eating more waffles or this base is a bit slow. Granted, Pat is about 200lbs and usually rides a 161, but still I usually can dust his ass on the flats.
This is a fun board. To be completely lame, I thought to myself while riding this board “Yes I can!” Of course, I’m an Uninc sucker. I collect their boards, and I stalk DCP and RDM (oh shit, my restraining order prevents me from telling you that). Someone at a large company that starts with B told me that everyone is super stoked on rocker except those hard-core Uninc riders (hence the creation of the ELFV). I definitely fall into that category. I dig rocker, but it’s not life-changing for me. I’d prefer my 09 or 08 Uninc on 99% of East Coast days first. I’d have to say this board makes me do a double-take. I was immediately able to ride it like I stole it (a major compliment).
Oh and the price? $399 retail for a YES. In a world of $550-$750 high performance boards, it’s refreshing to see a realistically priced sled. Even if this board only rode “ok,” I’d still recommend it as a huge value at this price. My fat ass should really be riding a 156, and hope to test the asymmetric 156.5 (which has a different heel and edge pattern for “ultimate edge grip”).
In short, run don’t walk to buy this board. They sold through their first run, and the second run is dropping asap. Stay frosty.
The tech details:
– Developed in Switzerland (manufactured at Nidecker)
– Directional twin-tips
– FSC-approved Poplar with Beech wood cores (sustainably forested)
– CamRock Camber (hybrid camber)
– Diecut 6000-grade base
– Stone ground finish
– One Ball Jay wax