List Price US $499
Gnu Essential Service 2021-2023 Snowboard Review

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Riding Style All Mountain
Riding Level Beginner - Expert
Fits Boot size (US) 8-10, 10-12
Manufactured in USA by Mervin
Shape Twinish
Camber Profile Hybrid Rocker
Stance Setback -12.5mm
Approx. Weight Feels Normal
Split No
Powder Average
Base Glide Average
Carving Good
Speed Good
Uneven Terrain Good
Switch Great
Jumps Good
Jibbing Good
Pipe Good
On Snow Feel


Turn Initiation


Skidded Turns






Edge Hold

Hard Snow

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Gnu Essential Service 2023 - 2021 Review by The Good Ride

Turn Ons/Swipe Right: Easy, Forgiving, Playful, Good Pop, Buttery. Versatile One Board Quiver. Some Proceeds go to charity.
Turn Offs/Swipe Left: Base could be better at this price point.


The Gnu Essential Service transformed from a mostly camber tapered directional freeride board to a forgiving hybrid rocker all mountain board anyone can 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.

Gnu Essential Service 2022-2023 Snowboard Review- How it rides and who it is for

Gnu Essential Service Review

How This Review Happened:

Precious Good Ride dollars were spent to buy this and review it.
Days: 2
Conditions: Mid summer Mt. Hood snow. Conditions looked horrible but were really fun.
 James (Size 9, 5’10” 185-190lbs)
Boots: Burton Kendo
Insoles: F.I.T. Gamechangers
Bindings: Union Atlas
Jacket: Burton Surgence Jacket
Pant: Burton AK Gore-Tex 2L Swash Pant
Helmet: Smith Maze
Goggle: Smith 4D Mag
Gloves: Burton AK Tech Leather Glove, Burton AK Tech Glove

Similar Boards (but not the same): Never Summer Protosynthesis, Yes Greats, Prior Wildcard, Marhar Darkside, Lib Tech Box Knife, Capita Outerspace Living, Yes Basic, Rossignol Jibsaw, Yes Jackpot, Never Summer Protoslinger, Ride TwinPig

Set-Up: 21.5” Wide. +15/-15. Close to reference. 

Approximate Weight

The Gnu Essential Service eels a bit on the heavy side of normal but its far from being heavy. (We don’t put in the exact weight because with wood cores there is no consistency in a boards weight)


The 157 felt a little big for my size 9 boots but I liked it. I think 155 would be best but 157 worked well enough. I think I would prefer the 155 as a daily driver and the 157 if I had to ride this in powder.

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.
155: 8-9
157: 9-10
159: 9.5-10
158w: 10.5-11.5
160w- 11-12

Shape/Camber/On Snow Feel/Ability Level

Gnu Essential Service shape




The shape of the Gnu Essential Services is almost a directional twin and if you called it that no big deal. It is just barely directional. The nose is a little longer than the tail and there is only a little bit of set back on sidecut. It makes for a pretty centered double ender kind of ride. Especially coming from the old Essential Service when it was a slightly softened up tapered directional ride made for Nico Muller before he was dropped from Gnu.

Gnu Essential Service Camber





The Gnu Essential Service has that hybrid rocker feel for sure. It rides very centered and is very forgiving. It isn’t super easy though to one foot or flat base but at least you just spin in circles if you don’t pressure one edge a little.

Flex Personality

There is a very mellow mediumish bordering flex to the Gnu Essential Services. This combined with the rocker between the feet makes it a very easy board to butter. There is a lot of pop though and it is very easy to access. You can load this between the feet or get spring out of the tip/tail as well.


Not for bombing but the Gnu Essential services isn’t bad if you keep one edge slightly weighted if you have to straight line to make it through a flat section or up a hill for a hike. The nose can clown shoe a bit but overall its not bad. The base glide isn’t amazing but it doesn’t shit the bed when you have no wax like some. So good for those who don’t wax a lot.

Uneven Terrain

All I had was messy mid summer snow and the Gnu Esssential Service did a great job. Sure it bucked and bounced a little but it was totally managable. This is a really good all day resort ride.

Edge Hold

This has what Gnu and Lib Tech use to call .5 MTX which is a pretty mellow mag that doesn’t grab too much in soft snow but also keeps you from sliding out on your but on a harder day. I really like this disruption in the sidecut and feel its great for all conditions most of us out west see. If you want a hard to icy snow specialist go full on MTX.

Turning Experience/Carving

So with the Gnu Essential Service you have to lean into the front foot or back foot when driving through a turn to keep it from washing out. Turning it centered can feel washy because you aren’t engaging the camber that doesn’t come back down to the snow. Other than that it has a balanced do any kind of turn kind of turning experience. This was more medium bordering on medium fast turn initiation wise. If I was a 10 boot instead of a 9 this would have been medium fast.


Didn’t get the Gnu Essential Service in powder but I’ve ridden many boards like this from Mervin. I think it would be pretty good. So there is a little set back on sidecut  and a little more on board. This is great on those pow days to get a little extra directional float. Sorry but I forgot to measure the setback on board vs. sidecut but my guess is it will be similar to the Lib Tech Terrain Wrecker. That 


So overall, the Gnu Essential Services has this very familiar feel and was a fun ride. It is a very versatile one board quiver and I’m sure I’ll be recommending it often.

If this review helped, we’d appreciate if you:

Gnu Essential Service Past Reviews

2021 Gnu Essential Service Review

Completely Changed in 2022

List Price US $599

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Riding Style Freeride
Riding Level Advanced – Expert
Fits Boot size (US) 8-10, 10-12
Manufactured in USA by Mervin
Shape Tapered Directional
Camber Profile Mostly Camber
Stance Setback over 20mm
Approx. Weight Feels Normal
Split No
Turning ExperienceGreat     
Uneven TerrainGreat     
On Snow Feel

Semi-Locked In

Turn Initiation


Skidded Turns






Edge Hold

Gnu Essential Service Snowboard Video Review Fast Forward Markers

0:00 – Intro 0:38 – Summary 1:27 – Sizing 1:50 – Camber/On Snow Feel 2:40 – Flex/Butterability/Pop/Air 4:07 – Speed/Dampness 5:02 – Uneven Terrain 5:17 – Edge Hold 6:00 – Turning/Carving 7:05 – Powder 7:49 – Switch/Pipe/Jumps 8:10 – Conclusion 8:29 – About Our Reviews

Turn Ons/Swipe Right: Big springy bow of camber. Dynamic turner/carver. Borderline excellent Grip.
Turn Offs/Swipe Left: Pretty technical/catchy. Not the best floater compared to its peers.


The Gnu Essential Service is not the best in low angle pow and is pretty technical but it’s a hard carving very energetic fun ride. It still has all the magic that the Mullair it replaced has.

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.

Gnu Essential Services 2021 Snowboard Review- How it rides and who it is for

Gnu Essential Services








How This Review Happened: We spent our precious Good Ride dollars to buy this and review it.
Size: 159
Days: 2 and more coming
Conditions: Excellent early winter groomers with only a little micro bumpy snow.
Riders: James (Size 9, 5’10” 185-190lbs)
Boots: Burton SLX, Burton Ion
Insoles: Sandsole Custom Insoles, F.I.T. Gameghangers LP
Bindings: Union Atlas

Similar Boards (but not the same): Yes Pick Your LineBurton Flight Attendant, Jones Flagship, Never Summer West Bound, Rossignol XV, Lib Tech BRD, Weston Backwoods, Burton Hometown Hero,

Set-Up: 21.5” Wide. 18 front -6 back & 21 front +3 Back.  Close to Reference and Set all the way back with the Mullair (almost exactly the same board) in powder.

Approximate Weight:
It feels medium bordering on heavy for its size but solid and damp.

(We don’t put in the exact weight because with wood cores there is no consistency in a boards weight)


Here are some ideal US boot sizes for the Gnu Essential Service boards. You can of course go bigger or smaller but these are what we feel works best for not having Toe & Heel Drag and also have the right size for proper turn initiation.
155: 8-9
159: 8.5-9.5
161: 9-10
161w: 10.5- 11.5
164w: 11-12

Shape/Camber/On Snow Feel/Ability Level

Gnu Essential Services Shape




The Gnu Essential Service’s taper isn’t too much at 8mm but you feel that tapered shape more than other boards with a similar lightly tapered shape. Despite the 1” setback on sidecut it rides pretty centered on board for a tapered directional board and there is lots of tail.

Gnu Essential Services Camber





Now the camber of the Gnu Essential Service is pretty much full camber with only a touch of early rise in the nose/tail. There is a passive bend in the middle but it doesn’t touch and seems to come down pretty abruptly at the tip/tail. It really enhances that mostly camber feel. That is great for those that love full camber but pretty bad if you want something easy to skid a turn if you get off your game. Its got a technical slashy thing to it as well that is pretty fun.


The Gnu Essential Service has a medium flex in the nose, medium stiff flex in the middle and medium to medium/stiff flex in the tail. I was surprised my early season legs could get this to butter on the tail as easy as it did and the nose was even easier.


I’m not a bomber but the slightly softer flex than its predecessor, the Gnu Mullair, was still fine for bombing and it had all the speed I ever will need. If you really like to point it there are faster boards but this is fine for most. The base had good glide to it as well. Not amazing but nothing to complain about when well waxed.

Edge Hold

Uneven terrain riding is pretty good with this. The slightly softer flex with my board vs. the Mullair it replaced seemed to do really well with micro bumpy snow. I think this is a better version of the Mullair for all day resort riding. This is one of the better options for those that like to turn around bumps too.

Edge Hold

There is some pretty impressive sidecut disruption that isn’t quite full on magnatraction but pretty close. It is in between the Lib Tech E Jack Knife and the Lib Tech BRD in terms of disruption and grip. If you see a lot of hard to icy snow but still want it not to grab too hard in soft snow the Gnu Essential Service is a good call

Turn Initiation

Medium fast to fast and springy! All that camber pops hard and it is really good at quick changes of direction. Once you get the sidecut committed the Gnu Essential Service mellows out the speed of the turn a bit but it’s a good overall feel.

Turning Experience/Carving

All this camber with this middle ground side cut radius makes for a lot of fun from high speed narrow radius carves to across the groomer carves and even a circle carve or two. The definitely needs more weight on the back foot to keep the tail from washing but that is what taper does. Going a little posi like +3 on the back foot helps reduce back foot pressure but it’s not necessary.


So the Gnu Essential Service is one of those boards that is best in steep snow and it isn’t quite a low angle master like some. There isn’t much early rise in the nose but it is much bigger than the tapered tail. 2.35” set all the way back from center of the board with a 22.75” stance width it isn’t that much compared to many freeride boards so it rides a lot more centered in powder. That is what makes it so competent in steep terrain but not easy to float in lower angle powder. I haven’t ridden this but rode the Mullair (same board except for a slightly softer flex) in a good bit of thick wet powder. It taxed my back leg.


So if you ride steep terrain and want a hard driving springy camber feel that can do some technical slashes in all conditions the Essential Services might be a good call.

Gnu Essential Service Specs

Gnu Essential Service Images

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Gnu Essential Service User Reviews

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