The Gnu Beast is new for 2014 and offers a true freeride board to their line which is nice because most of their line is all twins. If you like the idea of the Gnu Billy Goat but want something more directional with a massive set back and slight taper then you have the Beast. It’s a fun aggressive old school Freeride board with a nice camber upgrade that makes it better than the old school boards. Not much has changed over the years since we first rode it.
Conditions: Hard with some softer spots here and there.
Riders: James, Peter, Eli and Mary
Boots: Burton Imperial, Burton Ion, Nike Lunarendor, Salomon Synapse,
Bindings: Nitro Zero, Flux TT, Flux SF
Set Up: 22″ to 23″ wide set back some but not all the way. 18 front -3 back.
On Snow Feel: This has a pretty camber feel to it but it feels like an easier camber than the old camber boards. It still has some consequence. It’s all freeride and powder. Its surfy but not too surfy unless you get all the way back on the tail. We rode this not set back all the way and it didn’t feel like a washy tapered board. It felt stable, fast and kind of like a friendly beast. It does have a bigger feel and that must be because of the bigger waist that seems more friendly for mid/wide riders.
Powder: We had no powder to speak of but with a 2.5 inch set back and that big ass nose it should do just fine. It seems that there is a little bit of early rise rocker in the nose so it should provide a very surfy float for those with mid/wide feet. If you have normal feet it might feel a little more sluggish than you would expect in the trees and in tight spots.
Turn Initiation and Carving: So let’s start off by saying that the waist width is more for a mid/wide rider so if you fit this you will find this board quick edge to edge for a mostly camber ride and it will perform well for you when it comes to medium to wide radius turns. If you ride a size 9 like Mary and I it will feel a bit more sluggish edge to edge and not be as quick when making short radius turns. It’s not so sluggish that I felt I was riding a mid/wide board but it didn’t feel snappy edge to edge like it did with the Gnu C3 Billy Goat. It reminded me a little bit of a more fortified Jones Hovercraft which I liked. Wide radius turns and Carving turns were really fun and the taper didn’t make the board feel too washy. It gives you a really surfy ride.
Speed: Bomber fast. The base didn’t have a good wax but if it did it would hold it’s speed well in the flats. It’s also very damp and avoids chatter. It’s got a confidence inspiring stability.
Uneven Terrain: You would think it would be worse here but it’s not that bad when we encountered a patch of shitty snow or went down a well tracked run. It seems like it wouldn’t punish you on your way through shitty bumps on the way to a powder stash if you can turn the board well.
Edge Hold: Great grip without grabbing. It doesn’t have that dig too deep feel and shouldn’t catch an edge in soft thick snow.
Flex: Pretty stiff here but after 15+ days it should mellow out here. So the demo model we tried was stiffer than the production model. The production model will have a softer core that should make the board
Switch: I flipped it around for a few turns switch and it did ok but really wanted to switch back and carve. This is not really a board for switch riding.
Pipe: I wouldn’t like to take this in the pipe but Mary did. She’s weird and likes really directional boards in the pipe. She liked it but unless you are like her I’d rather be on a smaller double ender.
Jumps: Not bad for a method off a wind lip but not for the park. It’s got good spring for an ollie and with the softer flex on the production model it will be even more fun.
2014 Gnu Beast Series Video Review
An Up Close Look at the 2014 Gnu Beast Series