The K2 Protohype is basically the K2 0 re-branded and slightly re-designed. If you like the idea of the K2 Slayblade but want it to be incredibly light an damp then here you go. We found this to be very similar to the K2 Slayblade. It seems like it’s for those who need the lightest and best tech K2 offers. It’s also for those that like going straight and fast over everything else. If you buy this to carve it will be disappointing.
Conditions: 1 Day on Hard Pack snow with a little loose snow floating around here and there.
Riders: James, Peter
Boots: Burton Ion, Nike Kaiju
Bindings: Union SL
Set Up: Slightly set back, 23″ wide 15 front -15 back
We aren’t the biggest fans of a flat camber snowboard (flatline) but K2 made a good arguement for it with the Slayblade, the discontinued 0 and now the Protohype. The K2 Protohype is a very Fast, damp, light and aggressive mostly mountain snowboard.
On Snow Feel: We found this to be a great groomer board. The Protohype is fast, damp and fun to ride on just about any condition groomers offer except for snowment and ice. We found this to be one of it’s better qualities.
Powder: We had no powder but based on the flat camber boards we rode before the Protohype will take more work in the powder than rocker or hybrid shapes but less than camber. It planes very well but we generally prefer, hybrid rocker, hybrid camber, rocker or flat/rocker over K2?s flatline tech when it comes to powder. This is very light so it will also be easy to work around in heavier snow.
Turn Initiation and Carving: Even though this is a medium/stiff board the turn initiation is pretty easy. It takes more work than some but the rider looking for a board of this style will prefer this. It was fun to make short radius turns but it took a bit more work than many of the all mountain rocker (flat/rocker) boards that K2 makes. When it came to bigger radius turns it was really fun and both of us liked the stability as you picked up speed. We did find a bit of a weird thing going on when it came to carving out an aggressive turn. The board didn’t seem to respond like other hybrid shapes did. It seemed to miss the spring and linear turn that many boards we have tried. It felt like it skipped the last part of the aggressive carve that usually makes it really fun and just felt flat. There was also no real spring at the end of the turn. Maybe it’s the flat camber because we felt the same thing with the K2 Slayblade.
Speed: One of the Protohypes best qualities. Very fast and stable. It was just what we expected with a fast base and med/stiff flex.. There was absolutely no chatter at any speed we brought it up to. For a board this light it’s nice to see it act like a heavy ultra damp board. We didn’t take it through chop so can’t speak to it’s performance there.
Weight- Super Light. It didn’t feel as light as the Burton Vapor but it’s right up there.
Edge Hold: The Protohype will hold an edge in just about anything you want to ride in but still is missing something when it comes to gripping really hard snow or icy conditions. Still it did a good job in the hard snow that had a little soft stuff here and there. It was a good day to test out edge hold. It’s not going to light up the world of edge hold but it’s predictable.
Switch: This is a directional twin but there was a very slight difference riding switch. Still it does a great job riding switch.
Rails and Jibbing– You can do it but why ruin these edges. It’s pretty stiff but the flat camber will slide well if you want to hit some very basic stuff that isn’t kinked or large.
Pipe: Many prefer a softer board in the pipe but we found the Protohype to do a great job getting up and down a good sized pipe. The Flat Camber was pretty good here. It felt allright building speed and holding it’s edge between the walls.
Jumps: Not the best for creating your own air on the mountain but pretty good for going off a kicker. It was not completely lifeless but it was still missing something we
Other than the carving issues we found the Protohype to be a pretty good board. If you like to straightline groomers, want the lightest board K2 can offer and aren’t that in to carving then the protohype might be a good choice.