|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 Light|
|On Snow Feel|
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Korua Shapes Pencil Plus Snowb
Korua Pencil Plus 2020 - 2018 Review by The Good Ride
The Korua Pencil Plus takes the Pencil, gives it a faster base and ultra-light tech. As a result, you get a much lighter, somewhat softer and overall poppier ride but at the expense of uneven terrain performance. This board took me a while to understand but the more I put my stance into positive angles and drove a little more off the front foot the more the board came alive.
The 2020 Pencil Plus is just like the 2018/2019 model we reviewed. However, the review was just updated for 2020 to reflect our take after riding the Pencil and many more boards in the Korua line.
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.
Check the written review below to see our take after more time on the Korua line.
How This Review Happened: We borrowed this for an extended demo and then returned it.
Conditions: some decent winter conditions but mostly spring conditions that had hard mornings quickly turning to soft late mornings.
Riders: James (Size 9, 5’10” 185-195lbs), Grant (Size 11 6’ 160lbs)
Boots: Adidas Tactical ADV, Adidas Acerra, Burton SLX
Insoles: Sandsole Custom Insoles
Bindings: Union Atlas, Burton Genesis X,
Set Up: 22-22.5”, set back all the way, set forward all the way and what I think is the reference stance 18 front -6 back, 21 front and 0 back, 21 front +3 front
Approximate Weight: Feels really light and not like a 164. No pun intended with the color scheme but it’s a night and day difference from the Puzzle Clasic.
Flex/Buttering: Not as stiff as the Pencil. The Pencil feels on the stiff side of Med/Stiff where the Pencil Plus feels like it borders more on the Med side of Med/Stiff. It’s easier to butter off the tail or even the nose with this. Not saying the Kora Pencil Plus is easy but just easier than the Pencil.
Sizing: So the Korua Pencil Plus felt fine with my size 9’s and it really surprised me. I think it could work up to a size 11ish boot (depending on the footprint) without having toe/heel drag issues and so does Grant with size 11’s. It really works well with a wide variety of boot sizes and weights. It surprised me that both Grant and I had similar experiences with this board where usually width determines more of how we like a board with such contrasting boot sizes. That being said it doesn’t handle heavier guys like the regular Pencil will.
On Snow Feel: So the Korua Pencil Plus really has an interesting personality compared to the many boards I tried. After riding the Pencil, more boards like it in the Korua line and similar boards from other brands the more I’m figuring it out. First off it really likes you to set it up with positive stance angles. Riding it the way I first did I wasn’t getting it to turn the way I’d hoped to. After cranking it forward to +30 front and +9 back on the Pencil Classic I finally started to feel more of what the Pencil is. What makes it different is it really likes you to drive a good bit with your front foot and with a positive rear stance angle it drives even harder. When I tried to ride it heavy on the back foot with a 0 to negative back foot stance angle, as I did with my old Puzzle, the Pencil Plus washed out. When I had the best turns on the board I was giving my front leg a lot of weight and work. If you surf it has that Step Up kind of feel that likes more speed and powerful tuning in good clean surf and like a Step Up the Korua Pencil Plus likes it clean n smooth snow too.
Skidded Turns: Not easy for those that skid their turns and it’s going to lead to catching an edge. Definitely more for an advanced to expert rider. It’s not a chill board and although it’s easier than a full camber board it’s still pretty unforgiving if you get off your game.
Edge Hold: Pretty solid edge hold for a standard sidecut and it gripped pretty well in harder snow. It’s not ideal for carving in hard snow but it still held an edge. I wouldn’t want this for riding in hard to icy conditions but it can for sure hang in hard snow if you dial your turns back a bit.
Turn Initiation: Pretty quick for how wide the nose and waist is. I felt it was a board I could take in the trees if there was some powder without it being sketchy. The about 3cm taper seems to make it faster than you would think for how wide it is.
Turning Experience/Carving: The feeling you get turning this board is very rewarding if you set up with a positive stance angle and give it a little more front foot weight on the board. Korua Puzzle (now discontinued), Korua Stealth 156 and Tranny Finder/Tranny Finder Plus seemed to like weighting the back foot more and felt more stance angle neutral but this, like the Dart and regular Pencil truly shine with a positive more front foot weighted turn on groomers. There was tons of spring out of each turn and it out popped the Pencil Classic for us. However, if you are heavier you might not be able to get the spring we got. It’s just a powerful carving monster.
Speed: You always trade off dampness for ultralight models like this but I was surprised a board this light wasn’t a complete chattery mess. In comparison to the Pencil Classic, you could really feel more chatter underfoot with the Plus if the conditions weren’t smooth and perfect. The faster base is nice and in some situations, like getting out of a long flat run back to the chair the Pencil Plus will for sure keep its speed better. It’s way more fun on a long traverse as long as it isn’t too bumpy.
Uneven Terrain: It’s pretty easy to weave in and out of bumps for how wide it is but I wouldn’t choose the Korua Pencil Plus for that. The more uneven the snow the more you feel the plus technology giving you more chatter than the standard tech but it’s not bad for these types of boards. I’ve ridden so many ultralight models and usually, I’m not that into them because I would rather have dampness and reliability instead of a lighter board but there wasn’t as much of a compromise here. Still, you definitely feel a massive difference in dampness but I felt a little less with the Pencil vs. Pencil Plus compared to the Tranny Finder vs. Tranny Finder Plus.
Powder: We were unlucky to get any powder but check out the Pencil review where we got it super deep in 2-3 feet with over 4 feet in some places. This will float the same as the Pencil Classic because it has the same shape and camber profile. The base will keep speed better in those long outs back to the chair that you often see after a good off-piste run on a powder day. It won’t power over tracked out snow and chunder better though so it’s a trade off on what is more important to you.
Switch: Far from ideal but rippers can make it happen for sure.
Jumps: The Korua Pencil Plus feels like it’s not as much on the tail as the Dart but still less than the Tranny Finder. There is loads of pop and landing on this board is very doable.
Pipe: Very fun for carving pipe walls and it has enough edge hold to feel pretty comfortable.
Jibs: No way! Not even gonna try but also this super poppy ride doesn’t seem like it wants to be even close to a jib.
Grant’s Take: This is a very expensive board due to the choice of materials used in the manufacturing process. I personally believe that it is worth every penny! In comparison to the Korua Pencil, I found this board to have a more dynamic feel and superior glide in the base. Initially, I did find the board to feel a little chattery when straight-lining, however, it only took a few runs to get used to this boards personality and when that happened it was mind-blowing. I think for my weight, boot size and riding style, Korua Shapes “souped-up” Pencil may be my favorite board of the year.
So all in all the Korua Pencil Plus is a very fun ride and it carves like a dream. This ultralight tech really drops weight and doesn’t sacrifice too much in terms of dampness. It makes me wonder what the Tranny Finder Plus will be like.
Korua Pencil Plus Specs
Korua Pencil Plus Images
Korua Company Information
Korua Pencil Plus User Reviews
The only board you need
This board is INSANE! I'm done with twin tip boards after riding the Pencil. Board will destroy any snow conditions. Hard pack, no problem. The camber and side cut provide incredible stability. softer packed snow, this board just comes ALIVE. Rail to Rail transitions are powerful and sharp. Banking onto hills this board is the most stable thing I've ever ridden. Twin tips I'm always fighting the crud coming down off banks. The Pencil there is none of that. Just power and it wants to continue into another hit off a bank even though there's crud. It just wants to go and go and go. Contrary to Goodrides review the Pencil can go short "surfy" turns. and it has incredible release out of the tail. Still it's best feature is bombin hills at high speed with long drawn out carves, which as me being a surfer I'd equate to riding a 6' to 8' point break day doing big top turns. The stance is significantly set back to compared to my Flagship, but little less rocker in the nose. But with the stance back and larger surface area nose the Pencil is a powder board too. This is a one board quiver killer.