The Gnu Smart Pickle reminds us of a slightly stiffer asymmetrical version of the Lib Tech Skate Banana. It’s got a fun loose playful buttery freestyle feel for those that like the jib park. Each year they keep tweaking the Asymmetrical tech but the general ride is pretty similar from 2014 to 2016. We like the Skate Banana a little better but it’s still a pretty fun ride.
Size: 156 and 153 Thanks to Mervin and P3 at Mammoth
Conditions: Hard cold snow, good snow, a little bit of old thick warm powder and a few days of really good snow.
Riders: James, Peter, Jimbo and Kyle
Boots: Burton Ion, Burton SLX, Burton Imperial, Nike Kaiju, DC Judge,
Bindings: Burton Cartel, Burton Cartel Limited, Flux RK30, Burton Genesis
Set Up: Centered stance 23″ wide 15 front -15 back for both of us.
The 2010-2013 Gnu Pickle or Gnu Smart Pickle hasn’t changed much over the years with the exception of a few tweaks. Now the 2014-2016 Gnu Park Pickle changed up the BTX Profile. It’s subtle but the more I thought about it the more I noticed the difference after I rode The Pickle, The Skate Banana, and then the Gnu Forest Bailey Space Case all at the same time. I rode the Space case first and then the others. So going from the Stable Space Case to the more loose Skate Banana and Smart Pickle they were much more loose between the feet. When thinking about how it rode to the 2013 continuous rocker board there was a definite improvement in stability. It just took a while to realize it. So it’still on the bottom of the stability totem pole but it’s a nice change from the older models while still being loose and playful.
On Snow Feel: It’s loose in hard snow and also pretty loose in soft snow too. A little less loose/little more stable in 2014 but still the same playful spinny buttery feel but it can still grip very well. The Smart Pickle rides bigger for it’s size. The 156 felt like some 159’s and the 153 has more of a 156 ect. This could be a great choice for those that want a slightly more aggressive Skate Banana with an easier heel side turn. It just says jib and jump me but it isn’t shy with the pipe either.
Powder: We didn’t have much powder to ride but there were a few un-tracked lines we found to get a feel. Park boards aren’t that great in the powder and this continuous rocker shape doesn’t seem to be really super banana’d out so the float isn’t as good as lets say the Gnu Dirty Pillow. That being said the Gnu Smart Pickle is going to do a decent job if you want to take a park inspired approach to the mountain. It’s just not going to be that great when it gets too deep.
Turn Initiation and Carving– The Gnu Smart Pickle took a little more work to make tight turns than we expected but it’s still on the easier side. When it came to making wider turns it was pretty fun. The Pickle can hang on to a wider turn pretty well but it’s still not that special when it comes to a carve. The 2014-2016 Pickle models are a little less washy but all of us would much rather lay into a carve with C3 BTX, EC2 BTX and C2 BTX boards.
Speed: The Smart Pickle has a fast base and a pretty chatter free ride for a park board. It seems like there is a little more to offer here than the Skate Banana. It’s just not fun to flat base. It has the same failings that most continuous rocker boards have. It is a little squirrely when flat basing but on edge it’s fine. The 2014 has a little more stability than the older models but the same general feel is there.
Uneven Terrain: This is going to stay in the park and the park is pretty clean but if you have to deal with tracked up snow or like to ride park boards around the mountain you can handle bumpy shit rather well.
Approximate Weight: Like all Mervin boards the weight is close to the heavy side but the Smart Pickle is very well made.
Edge Hold: The Smart Pickle grips really well but the MTX isn’t the most aggressive out of the line. It’s border line excellent.
Flex: The Gnu Smart Pickle seems to lean more to the medium side on the soft spectrum. It’s still soft enough to butter the whole way down a run though.
Switch: The twin shape with an asymmetrical side cut makes for a very easy ride switch. If you are not great at switch riding the asymmetrical side cut makes it a little easier to ride switch.
Jibbing– The Smart Pickle will slide very well over most of the jib’s and rails you come across. The rocker seems more flat than other Mervin continuous rocker boards. Still it’s a little stiff to be perfect when hitting more complex/technical rails and jibs. Over time the Smart Pickle will soften up and it will get a little easier
Pipe: The edge hold is great so you can competently ride the pipe. If you like to launch out of the pipe the re-entry is usually pretty forgiving. The Smart Pickle doesn’t have the the wall to wall drive that other Gnu boards have but it’s not bad for a park.
Jumps: It has a pretty decent spring if you Ollie around the mountain. You just have to get use to finding the spring from the board in the middle instead of in the tip and tail. The 2014 has a little more stability approaching the kicker than the older model but all are pretty fine here. You have to land correct because it won’t let you land tail heavy without washing out. Still it doesn’t catch an edge that often.