Price US $479

YES Optimistic 2016 Snowboard Review And Buying Advice

YES Optimistic 2016 - 2011 Review by The Good Ride

The Yes Optimistic has been revived from the long dead and it has a strong but differen pulse. After a few turns it quickly won us over as one of the better one board quiver rides we encountered. It feels like the Optimistic was made for our specs.

The Yes Optimistic was the second YES board I owned years ago when the site was younger.  It was stiff, very set back and had a directional rocker similar to the older Yes Pick Your Line. As Yes evolved they added more boards to the line but left out the Optimistic. Almost 5 years later they brought the Optimistic back but in an entirely new way from the old board.  If any of you are familiar with the Old Optimistic here are the differences:

  1. The New Optimistic has camber that goes past the bindings where the old one had camber between the bindings.
  2. The New Optimistic has their directional volume twin shape where the tail is the same width but the volume is less so the tail sinks more like a tapered board does. The Old Optimistic had a more traditional twinish to directional twin shape similar to the Jones Mountain Twin.
  3. The set back on the Old Optimistic was more like 1″ where the new has a 10mm setback. I would of liked to see 15mm to 20mm of set back though for better directional powder riding.
  4. The new Optimistic has a much more dynamic lively feel to it that pops and butters much better.

So to sum up the differences they are almost nothing alike.  The 2016 Yes Optimistic is actually more like a little bit softer version of the 2015 Yes Standard (when it was Set back Camrock and not Centered Modern Camber) than the 2011 Optimistic.

Size: 158
Days: 1 but more to come
Conditions: Good soft snow but not good groomed snow.  Kind of rough. Snow started to fall but not enough on the ground to make it fun to ride off piste.
Riders: James, Peter, Jimbo
Boots: Burton SLX, Salomon F3.0, Burton Fiend LTD
Bindings: Flux SF
Set Up:  Centered 23″ wide 15 front -15 back.

Approximate Weight: Felt on the light side of normal.

On Snow Feel: So like I said before it’s a slightly mellowed out version of the 15 Yes Standard made to ride the whole mountain and it’s got a very versatile feel. It’s the kind of board that allows you to center it up and ride like an all mountain freestyle board but then it has a little set back and a directional powder riding friendly tail that allows you to get more float than a twin with a centered stance on powder days.  That makes it a true all mountain ride.  It’s stable underfoot for one footing and flat basing and has a really lively snappy feel to it. It’s got a camber feel to it but because of the medium rocker in the tip/tail it doesn’t catch so it’s a great balance.  There is none of that loose auto spin feel you get from many hybrid rocker boards. Also with the 23″ reference stance it’s perfect for us to center up but even better we can set it all the way back using the all the inserts.

Powder: No real powder to speak of but I’m eager to test it out in some thick Sierra snow this year. The -10mm set back concerns me as it’s a little small for an all mountain ride.  I would like a -20mm set back instead but at least it has a Tail that sinks well compared to other non tapered boards.  Actually their Directional Volume Twin tech is like a non tapered tapered board if you know what I mean. The tip and tail are the same width so it feels the same each way on the side cut. However after the side cut ends and the tail goes up from the snow there is less volume and it tapers there. It’s a great idea but my guess is it doesn’t float like the old Optimistic but way better than most boards with the same set back, camber profile and similar shape. Still I think I still would prefer the Jones Mountain Twin in the deep stuff with it’s extra rocker in the nose and -20mm set back. The one positive over the Jones though is the Turn initiation is quicker so it’s going to be easier to make tight turns in the trees or in tight spots.

Turn Initiation and Carving: One of the few complaints I had with the Jones Mountain Twin was that it didn’t make short to medium radius turns quickly and the Optimistic has much quicker turn initiation…well if you know how to make turns correctly. Skidded turns are still not hard but not super easy like you get with many flat to rocker or hybrid rocker boards out there.  The extra camber makes it really springy and dynamic edge to edge. Turning is fun and the way it should be for those who like the mountain a lot. Wide radius turns are good too and this side cut really works for our crew.  I felt the 158 turned a little slower than the 156 Greats but I think they would be the same if I was riding a 156 Optimistic. Now carving was a treat too.  Not quite as good as the Yes Standard but all of us could really lay into an edge, set it and turn a complete circle. Turning and Carving is pretty important for an all mountain board and where most riders get the majority of their joy from and there is little compromise here.

Speed: Stable and pretty fast. Unless you like to straight line everything then you will have all the speed you will want on the mountain. It’s got a nice balance between being playful and fast.

Uneven Terrain: The new design from SWS has a very good feel in the uneven snow we had and it seems like a great board for those who ride all day into the late messy afternoon.

Edge Hold: Nice grip that is perfect for medium snow, doesn’t over grip in soft snow but also can keep it’s edge in harder snow.  Not really an ice specialist but it can do alright.

Flex: Really good flex that allows good buttering without feeling like you are going to butter right on to your ass but also snappy and dynamic between the feet.

Switch: Very good switch and you do feel a little different buttering switch but edge to edge is just like a twin.  We all like to ride all mountain boards switch a lot on groomer days so this is great for that.

Jibbing: More at home on jumps or in the pipe but not bad for an all mountain board.  Wouldn’t be my first jib board choice and most of us at The Good Ride prefer softer boards but its for sure doable.

Pipe: No pipe but after riding the 15 Standard in the pipe which has very similar specs we know this will be just as fun. It will be forgiving and perfect for those that like to spend a good portion of their day in the pipe or hit it like we do at the end of each run when it’s open.

Jumps: There is really good pop with the new SWS design and it’s really easy to ollie.  It’s a twin between the tip/tail so it’s also great for landing switch. Also the camber that extends past the bindings combined with a slow rise rocker holds well when making that awkward landing a bit on the back seat.

So all in all the 2016 Yes Optimistic is one of those boards that will work with a wide variety of riding styles. Other than increasing the -10mm set back to -15 or -20 there isn’t much else we would change about this all mountain board.  It’s a very recommendable one board quiver.  All Mountain boards are a series of compromises but with the Yes Optimistic you don’t compromise as much across the board.

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The Yes Optimistic is pretty much the only directional board in YES’s line up. The Optimistic is a solid performer all over the mountain and does an excellent job for a non tapered directional board in the powder.  For 2011 YES added a faster base and more of Nideckers high end tech to make this board a lot more aggressive and performance oriented.  The best part of the upgrade is the faster base.  Just so you know Nidecker is the company who makes these boards and they have been around since 1984.  They are one of the best snowboard manufacturers out there but have never gained any recognition in the US.  Not only is the Optimistic an all mountain ride it is what you would call an all condition ride as well.  There are many hybrid shape snowboards that are great when the conditions are good but you find a boards true qualities when the conditions are less than ideal.  The Yes Optimistic creates a consistent ride in almost any condition you would want to ride on.  CamRock will have the stability and speed of a camber snowboard with the float of a rocker snowboard. It’s not as catch free as rocker in the middle but is much more catch free than a cambered snowboard. A Former Good Ride Favorite.  2011 Good Wood Award Winner!

Board Size 162 and 159 but the 159 was used all day’s except one.

Riders: 4
Rider Specs- 5’10” 200lbs size 9 shoe, 5’7″, 150lbs, Size 9.5 shoe, 5’11” 165lbs Size 9 shoe, 6′ 170 size 10.5 shoe and a few more. 
Bindings Used- Burton Co2’s, Flux SF45 aka Feedback, Burton Cartel Re-Flex,  Union Force, Union Force SL
Boots: Burton Ions, Celsius Opus, Burton SLXBurton Ruler, K2 T1 DB
Days: 30+

The Yes Optimistic has had a lot of buzz lately because it won a Good Wood All Mountain award and it’s always tough to ride a board that has a lot of high expectations and rave reviews.  It can often make you more critical of the board.  In the Yes Optimistic’s case this did not happen and the name held true. This is a very stiff aggressive board but for some reason it doesn’t ride 100% that way.   We can see why Transworld gave it an all mountain Good Wood Award.  So far this year the YES optimistic is my (the editors) favorite board for my riding style.  Some of the riders found it a bit too stiff and like a more playful ride but for those who like the stiffer all mountain flex the YES Optimistic is going to be up there at the top. If you can only afford one board for everything, like a more aggressive ride and aren’t that into rails the YES Optimistic might be one of the best choices out there.

On Snow Feel– The YES Optimistic is very fun on groomers of almost any type.  It’s fun on hard pack up to day after powder groomers.  It’s fast base, hybrid camber and fun shape makes it a good ride carving regular or switch down any groomer.  This has a fast, stable, predictible ride.  If you are all about groomers then this is a great board. It’s stiff and aggressive but very forgiving with all the rocker in the tip/tail.

Powder: It looks like a directional twin but the CamRock (Nideckers Rocker) is directional or set back to provide more float in deeper powder.  The Optimistic also has a decent set back that that seems like it’s 1.75 inches back which is huge. I must be wrong in my measurements because I’ve never seen a directional twin this far back. We have been very lucky this year to get a lot of powder days in and the Optimistic was used on a few of those powder days.  The YES Optimistic bordered on excellent when it came to powder.  Most of the riders were fairly large and use to riding bigger boards when it gets deep.  The 159 Optimistic had an effortless float and a very fast base that made traverses and flat spots easy to negotiate through.  Also when we got into thick trees the Optimistic turned very well.  Also the Optimistic has a pretty good set back combined with the directional rocker (longer rocker at the nose) that made it incredibly easy to stay a float in deep powder.

Turn Initiation– The Optimistic is very easy to turn but it might be a bit on the Good side of excellent.  For a board this stiff its really easy to initiate a turn.  It was fun to make short radius or long radius turns and whenever you needed the board to be somewhere it went without much fight.

Speed: We didn’t wax the base like we normally do when we get a board because it looked pretty good out of the factory.  We were expecting for it to ride a little slower but this 159 kept pulling away from everyone on the flats.  The one thing about this board is it would pick up speed quickly so you had to plan your line in trees well or you might end up eating pine.  Not only is the base really really fast but the board is very damp and chatter free for a board with it’s nose/tail sticking up.  It’s also very comfortable flat basing in a straight line and you don’t get that squirrelly loose trucks on a skate board feeling.  Another thing we noticed is the base seems pretty sturdy.

Weight– The YES Optimistic runs a bit on the heavy side of things but it isn’t terrible.  Despite some early problems with the build the YES is very well made and very sturdy.  We would like to see it shave off a little weight for next year but it’s hard to really rip.

Edge Hold:  The Optimistic holds an edge well in all conditions but that crazy blue east coast ice.  Maybe it’s the side cut or the hybrid camber pressing the edges down between the feet but something about the optimistic creates great edge hold.  It’s not going to have that crazy bite that many boards with magnetraction side cuts have but it has a very stable feel in most conditions.

Flex: Really stiff at first but after a few days it started to feel more on the medium side of stiff.  Still this is right up there with the Capita Black Death in terms of a stiff flex but for some reason it’s more forgiving.

Carving– For a hybrid camber board that is almost like a rocker board the Optimistic is really fun to carve.  It’s not as much fun as theRome Anthem or the Burton Custom X.   It is still good for a belly scratching turn or two if the mood strikes you.  It will be great holding an edge up a pipe wall as well.  It still has a better feel on an aggressive carve than most hybrid rocker boards.

Switch: The marketing material of the YES Optimistic is very confusing.  They say it’s a directional twin in some places and a directional shape in other.  The reality is that the Optimistic is a Directional Twin that has a directional rocker which makes the nose rise up earlier than the tail.  What does that mean when riding switch?  If you have the Optimistic centered in stance the ride is a little off but if you set the stance back a little it seems more even.  Either way you get use to it.

Rails/Jibbing: The YES is almost borderline rough when it comes to rails and jibbing.  If this is your thing then the YES Optimistic isn’t your board.  It’s just too stiff and will bonk you on any technical rails or jibs.  Take a look at the Great Dudes of History for this task.

Pipe: Just the opposite of Rails.  The Optimistic is going to be the Editor’s pipe board this year if Mammoth can ever make a damn pipe!  What is up with all those stupid landing bags?  Where is the efing pipe?!  Ok sorry for the rant but our local mountain has not made a pipe yet and they have a ton of snow.

Jumps: For some this board might be too stiff but for others this could be ideal.  If you are into back country booters the Optimistic will be one of the best choices out there.  The Optimistic has decent pop and can be pretty springy for a board that looks so rocker like.

All in all the YES Optimistic is one hell of an all mountain board that will ride well in almost any condition.

User Reviews of the YES Optimistic

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Riding Style

All Mountain

Riding Level

Intermediate - Expert

Available Widths

Regular, Mid/Wide

Manufactured in

Dubai by SWS


Directional Twin

Camber Profile

Hybrid Camber


Setback -10mm

Approx. Weight

Feels Normal

On Snow Feel


Turn Initiation




Edge Hold

Hard Snow







Uneven Terrain