|Overall Rating||Loved it!|
|Riding Style||Alternative Freeride|
|Riding Level||Advanced - Expert|
|Fits Boot size (US)||8-10, 10-12|
|Camber Profile||Directional Camber|
|Approx. Weight||Feels Heavy|
|On Snow Feel|
Where To Buy
No obligation, but these links & ads support the site.
Korua Shapes Pencil Splitboard
Swix Pencil Groove Scraper
Umpqua Metz Pencil Popper Bodi
Volcom Tripper Standard Neo Pe
Korua Pencil 2020 - 2019 Review by The Good Ride
The Korua Pencil puts out a very unique, powerful driving turn that we thoroughly enjoy. However, it does seem to require pretty directional stance angles and a good bit of weight on the front foot to make it happen. In addition, Its float in powder is almost complementary to it’s carving ability making it a board with few compromises if it matches your riding style.
The 2020 Korua Pencil 164 we reviewed is the same ride as the 2019 we own. In 2020 it now comes in a size 147 and 159 instead of just a 164. They have specs inconsistent with the 164 so we can’t say for sure how they will ride in comparison.
Ethics Statement: We don’t get paid by the manufacturer to write these reviews. 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 This Review Happened: We borrowed this for an extended demo and then liked it so much we asked to keep it (we only do this with our favorites).
Size: 164 & 159
Days: around 8
Conditions: Everything from some really good groomers to messy groomers to wet thick powder to semi-light super deep powder along with some early morning slackountry time with Drift Boards.
Riders: James (Size 9, 5’10” 185-195lbs), Peter (Size 8, 5’11” 185lbs), Grant (Size 11 6’ 160lbs),
Boots: Adidas Tactical ADV
Insoles: Sandsole Custom Insoles, Footprint Insole Technology Gameghangers Low Profile
Bindings: Union Atlas, Union Strata, Union Falcor
Set-Up: 22” 21 front -6 backset all the way back for powder, 22” 27 front +9 back closer to reference as well as all the way up.
Approximate Weight: It’s a big board but it’s made to be super damp and our board was on the heavy side of normal.
Flex/Buttering: Pretty stiff out of the wrapper and it’s not for those that want an easy butter board.
Sizing: Here is what we like about Korua boards. They are pretty wide in the nose and waist but still, it felt like it worked for Peter and me with size 8.5-9 boots but also fit Grant’s size 11 boots too. It seems like all that taper makes the board turn easier. Of the two boards I (James) tried, the 164 was way better for my specs. I thought the 159 might work too because it matched up with my boot size better and also worked with my weight. It turned super quick (almost too quick) but the 164 felt way more ideal for my specs and was a much better all around ride.
On Snow Feel: The Korua Pencil is pretty locked in underfoot with a feel close to full camber that has some consequence to it if you are off your game. Don’t get this if you skid your turns. You would think this much taper might make the Pencil feel hooky but it doesn’t.
Edge Hold: Very competent edge hold that grips well in most conditions you want to ride.
Turn Initiation: So for Peter and I the Korua Pencil felt quick edge to edge and we aren’t sure why with this turns the way it does with this wider shape. So did Grant with his size 11’s and it actually turned a little faster for his boot size. It’s not lightning fast or anything like that but it always went where we wanted it. On groomers, it feels medium but in powder, it felt more like a med/fast board when turning.
Turning Experience/Carving: All Korua boards turn incredibly well. However, for us, this more powerful longer drawn out high-speed turning really is fun with the Korua Pencil. If you surf it’s like going out on a 6’8″ Step Up in some top to bottom well overhead surf. It feels like it sets you up for the next turn while keeping its speed and we all felt like we had better lines down the hill on the Pencil compared to most other boards we tested it against. If I want to go out and carve perfect wide open groomers The Korua Pencil is one of the first boards that comes to mind. Especially when I want powerful front foot driving carves that give me a taste of what it’s like to make a hard-driving front foot heavy bottom turn in bigger surf. The one thing about the Pencil is on groomers it really prefers a positive stance starting with 27 front and +6 back but the more posi you go (within reason) the more the Korua Pencil really shines. Also, we noticed that the more positive your rear foot is the more you can put more weight on it in a carve.
Skidded Turns: Not ideal here and don’t get the Korua Pencil if you like to skid your turns.
Powder: All the Korua boards float well but the Pencil and the Dart are our two favorites. The Dart is more slashy, set back, and quick in powder where the Pencil is more for those that like more speed and bigger turns. Both are super close to some of our favorite dedicated powder boards which almost defies logic with all that camber underfoot but it felt truly effortless in the deep powder. What Peter, Grant and I all felt was how well the Pencil slalomed through the trees and built on each turn. It’s a very easy board to keep your momentum going in powder and we all really appreciated that feel without it feeling sketchy. The Pencil is super set back on board. It has almost a 14″-14.25″ difference between nose and tail making that a touch more than 7 inches back from the center of the board. Combine that with a pretty long board for today’s standards, early rise before a big floaty nose and almost 3cm of taper you have a serious floater. The base isn’t as fast as the Pencil Plus base or some other bases we tried but it’s pretty fast for this price point. With all this powder we gave it a good waxing along with all the boards we tested in this storm. If this isn’t’ enough here is a Peter and James vid from the mountain to the couch on some powder we had. It was massively deeper than it looks and this was right after a storm that snowed 48″ in 48 hours.
Speed: The Korua Pencil is a very fast board that loves building speed as you make one turn to the next. It’s not really a straight line kind of board but it easily can if you want to. It really likes really driving high speed carves or long narrow S-Turns down the hill. We found the base has good glide but it’s not as fast as the plus in powder. We’d love a little more glide in powder compared to others we tried but on groomers it keeps it’s speed very well. The base on the Pencil Plus is faster but we would still rather be on the Pencil because it is much damper underfoot at higher speeds.
Uneven Terrain: The pencil powers over tracked up snow incredibly well and we found that longer boards definitely have an advantage over shorter boards here. Still, even for a longer board, it bashes through tracked up snow without bucking around much. Weaving in and out of bumps is not ideal but doable. You really want this on good groomers but if you hit a bump line it’s ok. It was pretty easy to ride in some thick snow that was bumpy and tracked up which surprised us.
Overall the Korua Pencil is a really hard-charging super carver that also floats as well as some dedicated powder boards. If you like a front foot heavy directional carver and look for super deep powder this is a great call. We are torn between this and the Dart. Both are great boards. Get the Dart if you want a little bit more mellow set back ride on a smaller length and get the Pencil if you like harder higher speed riding/carving.
Korua Pencil Specs
Korua Pencil Images
Korua Company Information
Korua Pencil User Reviews
Selling all my other boards
I've been snowboarding for 33 years and own a large collection boards including the T. Rice Pro, Yes Optimistic, Rossignol XV, K2 Carve Air amongst others. However, after riding the Pencil 164 this season I'm going to sell them all.
The Korua Pencil is the ultimate euro-carving and pow machine. This board is insanely quick edge to edge and is a beauty to ride in pow stashes in the trees. Simply put if you are not into spinning and park riding this board is a joy to ride. Even though it provides locked-in edge hold, it has a great surfy feel with just enough flex to be easy on the knees. I have size 10 boots (Salomon Malamutes) and can lay this thing all the way over for full belly button touching eurocarves without booting out. My recommendation is to ride this board with forward stances on both bindings with at least 21 front and 3 rear (24/6 seems like a sweet spot). Also, for the best carving experience be sure to mount your front binding either all the way forward or one insert set back.
147 for the ladies!!!
I am a lady, 5'5" ~135lbs. The 147 is the best directional board I have ever ridden. Period. I put the board through pretty much all the terrain on a decently snowy day:
• Very nimble in trees and bumps
• Plenty of bite on hard pack
• Has enough weight to pick up some speed, but not too heavy
• Can throw up some serious clouds
• Crushes through bumpy and uneven terrain
• CARVES, (obviously, that's Korua's jam) - when you put it high up on edge, it just drives.
• Forgiving, at least at the 147 length. I had heard it can be catchy as it's camber, but that wasn't my experience. I'm east coast and it can get busy and unpredictable, haven't had any issues when needing to wash out a turn or do some sloppy skidded turns. Not what's it's made for, but you won't die if you do it.
• Even though it's kind of a heavy damp board, when I went through some fluff it just popped right up on top, surprisingly high for the amount of snow there was, probably like 3-6 inches in places where it was truly fresh piles, and it didn't skip a beat - it just floated right up.
• At the end of a turn, washed out or not, the turn felt complete, it just wants to keep going round. It has great turn flow no matter how you're turning. The camber is nice and poppy and will pop out of a hard carve and transition flawlessly into the next one.
• 147 isn't too short. If you're anywhere near my height and weight, I can assure you it doesn't right short. Conversely I had heard that the 164 rides shorter than it is, so I think Korua just put a lot of thought into their boards, sidecuts, and sizes.
BOTTOM LINE: Get this. Double yes if you're a gal, and are looking for something next level, or you want to carve it up. It's not a floppy noodle, and it's very directional, but it's a BLAST to ride and can handle any terrain you throw at it. Also, it's a beautiful looking board. Simple white with a red base.