The Never Summer Proto HD has been a favorite for a few years and although it’s not as sexy as new boards like the Funslinger and Ripsaw it does still have a pretty fun traditional hybrid rocker ride. The Proto hasn’t changed much from 2014-2016 so this video review still stands.
2014 – 2016 Never Summer Proto HD Review
Not much has changed from 2014 to 2016
Since 2014 the Never Summer Proto has an extended transition zone through a lowered tip/tail profile so it’s even more similar to the Cobra which gives it easier float in powder. This might be in our mind but the Proto HD also felt a little more stable and poppy. This makes the Never Summer Proto HD a better ride than the older model and it will fit a wide variety of all mountain freestyle riders.
As of 2016 we have had a few years of riding the Proto and it’s still very fun but we are all getting more in the mood to see this get an augmented camber make over.
Size: 157 HD and 155 HDX
Conditions: Everything from hard snow to a few feet of thick Sierra Cement.
Riders: James, Peter, Jimbo, Tim, Won, a few others in the crew and of course Ginger
Boots: Salomon F3.0, Burton Fiend LTD, Burton Fiend, Burton Ion, Burton Hail, Nike Lunarendore, Burton Imperial, Burton SLX, Nike Kaiju
Bindings: Burton Cartel, Burton Genesis, Burton Malavita, Union Contact Pro, Union Atlas, Flux DS, Burton Cartel Limited, Burton Cartel Restricted
Set Up: Centered about 23″ wide 15 front -15 back and a few other variations.
Weight: 6.4lbs for Size 157 and 155 HDX 6.4lbs as well. Weights vary from board to board because wood isn’t always the same.
On Snow Feel: The Never Summer Proto HD has a more stable ride between the feet that is really close to being as stable as some hybrid camber boards. It’s still a little loose between the feet in really hard snow but it flat tracks and one foots a lot better now as the HD. It has a very stable fun park or mountain kind of feel.
Powder: Big improvement here. I’ve only had about 1.5 days in powder (shitty season) but the days I had it out were fun in about 1′ of thick sierra cement. The old Never Summer Proto just felt a little off on the deep thick days I had with it where you can already tell the Proto HD will have a lot better float and it will be right there with most hybrid rocker tiwns of this size. Anything over 1.5 feet of thick Sierra powder I’d rather be on the Cobra. If you live in areas with light fluffy powder then you can probably enjoy this in deeper snow without much rear leg burn. If you know how to ride powder really well and plane really well you can rock this in any depth any lkwhere.
Turn Initiation: The board has a waist more on the narrow side of normal these days and with the hybrid rocker it turns quick when it comes to short radius turns. You can feel a nice snappy bounce from edge to edge that is really fun. Medium to wide radius turns are enjoyable as well and it’s a fun board to ride around the mountain making turns of all sizes.
Carving: When it comes time to really lay into a hard nip scratching carve it didn’t really have the same experience that the Rip Saw did and even to a lesser extent the Cobra. It requires you to really get your knees out towards the tip/tail like your a squatting gorrilla to really engage the camber there to hold. If you ride gorilla style then it’s fine but if you ride knees a bit in like a surfer should it pulls the tip/tail up a bit more and makes the carve less enjoyable unless it’s in really good snow. Is it fun to lay in a carve? Oh yeah but it’s not for those that live to carve.
Speed: The Prodo HD has got good mountain speed and feels pretty stable compared to the Never Summer Proto. It’s now closer to the Cobra now and its pretty fast for it’s sizing and design. It’s right on the border of good and great. Let’s just say it’s a competent for mountain speed.
Uneven Terrain: Very easy to negotiate bumpy crowded day snow and it’s got good shock absorption. Combine this with a shock absorbent pair of bindings you have a very shock proof board. All never summer boards have a little bit of a rubbery feeling. Most of the Carbonium top sheet boards like the Never Summer Proto have less of that feeling but it still feels like it bends over uneven snow very well at slower speeds.
Edge Hold: Like every NS board the Never Summer Proto HD has the vario grip side cut which has in our opinion the perfect amount of grip for a wide variety of conditions. It kind of max’s out in hard snow and it isn’t really an ice specialist. But who really wants to ride in ice. In my opinion this side cut grabs well in just about any condition you want to ride in. What we all really like is it grips enough in harder snow and doesn’t grab in softer snow.
Flex: The Never Summer Proto HD flex is pretty similar with the Never Summer Proto and it seems that the tip and tail might have a little more going on there. It’s not too much stiffer but instead there is a little more spring in the tip tail than before. It’s still butters and presses very well.
Switch: Perfect either way. It’s a true twin.
Jibbing: The Never Summer Proto HD is more of a mountain freestyle board than a Jib board but it still does pretty well here. You can lap the jib park but it’s no dedicated jib board but it’s more than competent with medium jibs and bonks.
Pipe: The Never Summer Proto HD seemed to be a little better ride in the pipe. It’s got enough wall to wall drive while still being forgiving enough to inspire confidence. I think all but the uber technical camber loving pipe rider will be very happy in the pipe with this board.
Jumps: Very good spring that borders on excellent here when it comes to an ollie and the extra camber makes it a very stable board for launching off jumps in the park too. It’s got a little more of a bigger jump competence thing going on compared to the Evo but its still great for jumps of any size.
So in conclusion the Never Summer Proto HD really benefited from the extended profile design. This is a great board for those that like that freestyle approach out of the park as much as they do in it. If you ride switch a lot this is the call and if you want more of a directional all mountain ride then you have the Cobra.