I have ridden Gnu snowboards for most of the years I have been riding. There has never been a point when there wasn’t at least one Gnu board in my quiver. I am fairly well versed in all of their camber profiles having had most of them at one point or another.
For years I have heard that Never Summer’s original rocker camber profile resembles Gnu’s EC2 “Easy Perfection” with rocker between the feet and mellow, elliptical camber outside of the bindings. This is a very easy riding profile that is fine in soft stuff, but lacks the stability and edge hold I personally prefer in our typical east coast conditions. So I never gave Never Summer a whole lot of attention.
Never Summer original rocker camber Gnu EC2
This year Never Summer added a new profile to their women’s lineup, Ripsaw. It has been in the men’s line for years, but now the ladies get to reap the rewards of what tested out well for the guys. The new profile has less rocker and more camber. It is more reminiscent of Gnu’s XC2- “Perfect Aggressive”profile, the profile on the Gnu Beauty that I own and love. So I was very curious about how the two profiles compare.
Never Summer Ripsaw Gnu XC2
It wasn’t long after sitting down to write this that I realized that isolating out just how the rocker camber profiles compare ignores many other factors that affect how any given board rides. Board shape, flex, sidecut and a dozen other features make up the board as a whole. So take this comparison with a grain of salt since there are many other factors that will likely influence your decision about what to buy.
This year’s Gnu Girls XC2 board (the Klassy) is directional and freeride oriented. Gnu added an asym true twin to the men’s line this year with the Space Case, and after a quick test of that at the demos last year, my hope has been that it is a profile that will be added to the women’s line for next season since it fills a hole in my quiver. Little did I know that the Never Summer women’s Proto Type Two has it this season (more about that board in a previous post)
Doing my best to ignore all of those other factors for this purpose, I find the Gnu XC2 profile to be a little more playful. The rocker is a little more pronounced contributing to a looser and more skatey feel between the feet. The different shape of the camber also keeps you a little bit higher off of the ground further contributing to that feel.
The Ripsaw profile has a more mellow rocker section, and the camber dips back down more than the XC2 leading into flattened out transition sections that make transitions edge to edge super responsive and smooth. I find the XC2 to be a little less smooth edge to edge, but still very responsive. Both profiles have good pop, but the Proto Type Two felt like it could be loaded up a little more.
In hard stuff, both profiles will hold a solid edge. It’s hard to discount Gnu’s Magne-Traction and Never Summer’s Vario Power Grip sidecuts when discussing edgehold. But I think it goes along with the looser, skatey feel of the XC2 profile that the Ripsaw profile feels like it might hold a little better. Again being closer to the ground with those Never Summer camber sections, it makes sense that it would hold well.
Both have really good float in powder. The Gnu boards are aided by the rise in the tips and tail characteristic of the XC2 profile. The extended transition areas on the Never Summer increase float for the Ripsaw profile.
It will be an interesting topic to revisit if Gnu Girls adds a true twin asym XC2 board to next year’s lineup. That would make the differences in profile easier to separate out. In the meantime, if you are looking for a versatile, intuitive, somewhat aggressive, yet still easy to ride profile…these are two great places to start.