SummaryTurn Ons/Swipe Right: Fast Base. Very Turny. Seems like a great steep angle pow board. Turn Offs/Swipe Left: Could be too turny/technical/borderline hooky for some. The Cardiff Swell has a beautiful look, a hard engaged carve and it seems like it would be a great steep angle pow ride.
Update 2023: The Cardiff Swell has not changed so the 2021 review still stands.
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Cardiff Swell 2021-2023 Written Review Review by The Good Ride
Ethics Statement: We don’t get paid by the manufacturer to write these reviews and this is our unfiltered opinion. We do make money from the “Where To Buy” links, but this is our best attempt at an honest and objective review from an average riders’ perspective.
How it rides and who it is for
How This Review Happened:
We borrowed this for an extended demo and sent it back.
Conditions: Good snow but no pow. It shut off in March when we got this and it never turned back on.
Riders: James (Size 9, 5’10” 185-190lbs), Clint (Size 10, 175lbs, 5’11”)
Boots: Burton Kendo, Burton Ion, Burton Imperial,
Insoles: Sandsole Custom Insoles, F.I.T. Gamechangers, F.I.T. Gameghangers LP
Bindings: Union Atlas
Jacket: Burton AK Gore-Tex Pro 3L Tusk Jacket, Volcom TDF Infuse 3L Gore-Tex Jacket, Burton Banshee Gore-Tex Jacket
Pant: Burton AK Gore-Tex Pro 3L Hover Pant, Burton AK Gore-Tex 2L Swash Pant, Burton Gore-Tex Ballast Pant
Helmet: Smith Maze, Smith Vantage
Goggle: Smith IO Mag, Smith 4D Mag
Gloves: Burton AK Guide Glove, Burton AK Clutch Mitt, Burton AK Clutch Glove, Burton AK Tech Leather Glove, Burton AK Tech Glove, CG Habitats Glove, CG Habitats Work Glove, Drop Tahoma Mitt, Drop Cascade Glove, Drop Web Glove,
Set-Up: 21.5”, 22” Wide. 18 front -3 back, 21 front +3 back 24 Front +6 Back. Close to Reference
(We don’t put in the exact weight because with wood cores there is no consistency in a boards weight)
Feels normal for sure.
Here are some ideal US boot sizes for these boards. You can of course go bigger or smaller but these work best for not turning the board slower than it should be and not having the dreaded Toe & Heel Drag.
Shape/Camber/On Snow Feel
The Cardiff Swell has a pretty tapered directional shape with a pretty pronounced sidecut near the tip and tail. If you add that to the 60% camber that runs from just before the tail to a little bit past the front binding you have a board that feels a little more locked in than you would think for the specs. So not ideal for intermediates who skid turns a lot. It felt like it always wanted to be turning.
There is a lively flex to the Cardiff Swell and it pops well. It is also doable on a butter and pretty easy to do so for such a medium stiff flex.
The base of the Cardiff Swell and pretty much all Cardiff boards is exceptional. It has such easy glide. The boards overall personality is damp but not dead. This can go fast but it seems like the really pronounced sidecut in the tail keeps this from being the bomber like the Bonsai is. This, to us, felt more like a constant turner than a straightliner.
The Cardiff Swell can deal with uneven terrain really well. So can all Cardiff boards we tried. It is very balanced and can handle micro bumps to tracked up messy snow really well.
Really good grip here without being grabby. Not the best for icy snow but great in medium bordering on hard.
For Clint, this turned on a dime. For me, The Cardiff Swell, was pretty quick and the more you got it on sidecut and leaned back into the tail the faster it accelerated into that turn.
Once you get that edge committed the Cardiff Swell really likes to lay out a hard across the groomer carve. It is not shy of a circle carve either. In fact the overall turning experience seems to favor tighter radius turns than long drawn out turns. I would have guessed the sidecut would have been deeper than the specs say. Maybe it is because the tail seems to have a more pronounced sidecut that seems to hook out a little more than other Cardiff boards. It made me feel like I was much more connected to the end of the sidecut in tip and especially the tail. That is a great thing for some and not so great for others. Who knows for sure though but that is what I was feeling.
We did not get any powder but if we did it would probably be pretty fun. It didn’t feel like it would be as set back and slashy as the Powgoda. Nor did it feel like it would be a great low angle pow board. That being said it seemed like it would shine over other Cardiff boards in steeper technical pow lines that we really don’t have at Mt. Bachelor. All this aside the Swell would probably be a pretty good all around floater. On reference stance at 22.5” it is set back -2.625” on board. Set all the way back at 22.5” it is -3.875” on board. Combine that with the early rise before the wide nose and all that taper (30mm) you have a very turny floaty board in powder that isn’t super far back on the tail compared to some with this much taper.
So I think the look of the Swell really got me excited as it is soo beautiful but it turned out to be not my style of board. The Powgoda actually became much more beautiful after I rode it. I do wonder how much more I would like this if I was still living in the Sierras and riding steeper terrain. Clint really liked this board and when I was on my game it was a really rewarding board to turn.
Cardiff Swell Specs
Cardiff Swell Images
Cardiff Swell User Reviews