|Overall Rating||Liked it!|
|Riding Style||Alternative Freeride|
|Riding Level||Advanced - Expert|
|Fits Boot size (US)||10-12|
|Manufactured in||USA by Mervin|
|Camber Profile||Hybrid Rocker|
|Stance||Setback over 20mm|
|Approx. Weight||Feels Heavy|
|On Snow Feel|
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Lib Tech Travis Rice Orca 2020 - 2019 Review by The Good Ride
The Lib Tech Travis Rice Orca continues on from the Climax and Gold Member and goes shorter, fatter, more set back, more directional in shape, has a deeper sidecut and a decent amount of taper. It’s one of the first Travis Rice boards that we felt we had a connection to and it is a great choice for those that want an alternative to freeride shape that can hold an edge in just about anything but also be a fun board to bomb and carve with. Especially for a hybrid rocker shape.
The 2020 Lib Tech Travis Rice Orca is the same as the 2019 model but the review has been expanded and updated for 2020.
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 had a couple of laps at a frantic manic demo day so take it with a grain of salt. Then I bought it, rode it a few more days, and gave it to a friend.
Conditions: Firm to hard CO snow, Firm PNW snow and bumpy groomer snow and pretty clean well-groomed med/soft snow.
Riders: James (Size 9, 5’10” 185-195lbs), Jimbo (Size 11, 5’11” 160lbs),Grant (size 10.5, 165lbs 6′) Peter (Size 8, 5’11” 185lbs)
Boots: Adidas Tactical ADV for all
Insoles: Sandsole Custom Insoles, Footprint Insole Technology Gameghangers Low Profile
Bindings: Bent Metal Transfers, Union Atlas, Union Strata, Union Falcor,
Set-Up: 21.5″ to 22” Wide. 21 front -6 back. 21 front 0 back. Close to Reference and Set all the way back.
Similar Boards (but not the same) That We Compared This To:
Burton Skeleton Key, Gentemstick Mantaray 156, Korua Dart, Korua Pencil, United Shapes Orbit, Yes Optimistic, Rome Pow Division MT, Salomon Sick Stick and a few more.
Approximate Weight: You can feel a little weight to this for a 153 but for the surface area it’s about on par with being a middle ground weight.
Sizing: I felt like the 153 might be a little bit much for me to handle but as long as I wasn’t in tight spots it works. Weight wise the 153 was fine but boot wise the 153 felt a little slow. I was tempted by the 147’s narrower waist and it seems like it wouldn’t be a great board to turn fast but it might feel a little small with my weight. Still, the 153 felt like it was the closest a T.Rice board ever came to fitting my specs as it usually makes a better experience for those with a little bigger boot size. If you are more like a size 10-11 boot the Lib Tech T.Rice Orca will be a great fit but it can work with a little bigger boot size and it’s still very doable with a little smaller boot size like mine.
Flex/Buttering: I could butter off the tail a bit but it’s not the easy buttery feel you get from a lot of hybrid rocker boards like this but there is lots of potential energy underfoot pop wise if you have the strength to make it do so. It feels like there is some stiff wood underfoot and it pops well off the tail with good effort.
On Snow Feel/Ability Level/Skidded Turns: While the Lib Tech T.Rice Orca still one of the most aggressive hybrid rocker boards I’ve tried and it has a little more consequence than most hybrid rocker boards if you get off your game and need to skid a turn but less than most of its hybrid camber peers. I think this will play out well for those that want a shorter fatter aggressive ride but with less consequence than you would think for its stiff flex/the way it rides. The hybrid rocker profile with not much going on in the front half but then going to a pretty short, curvy camber in the back foot makes for a somewhat stable ride in harder snow that can feel a little loose one footing off a chair or flat basing on a cat track but overall it’s more stable than most hybrid rocker boards. When the snow is softer it feels close to some hybrid camber boards but not quite there. It has that T.Rice let’s go straight personality but it isn’t as overboard as some of his other rides.
Edge Hold: Super strong grip that is great for those that often see hard to icy snow. Some might complain about it being overly grabby in softer conditions like a foot of thick wet powder but it’s not a deal-breaker for all. Some get used to it and some don’t.
Turn Initiation: It isn’t a quick turner but it turns easier/tighter than most of the super straight liner T.Rice boards in the line we tried… and we tried them all.
Turning Experience/Carving: The Lib Tech T.Rice Orca carves pretty hard and while it isn’t a super carver compared to some boards we compared it to above it is the one I want to take out when its hard to icy and I still want to have strong carvy turns. Like a lot of T. Rice boards, it’s more of an across the groomer carver turner but I felt like I could force this into a circle carve easier than most T.Rice boards. So it really likes more of a longer S-Turn over tighter turns it’s a fun board to turn and it has good spring throughout. There isn’t much of a washy feel off the back foot but it does still like a little more
Powder: At a 21.75″ stance width when set all the way back it has a difference between nose and tail of 8.25″ and a 4.125″ set back from the center of the board. That is a lot of directional float and even more than the already generous 2.5″ setback on sidecut would lead you to believe. Combine that with 10mm of taper, a big ass nose with a very mellow camber under the front foot that rises up before and a small tail you have a very floaty small ride. The grab in thicker powder might turn some people off but it’s not like the old full mag days.
Speed: This can bomb for having rocker in the middle. It’s very damp too and the base has good upper tier but not the best glide.
Uneven Terrain: Going through bumps is not particularly easy for my size 9’s on this ride but it’s the best it’s ever been with a T. Rice board. I could actually weave through bumps with a bit of work. It can power over things.
So overall the Lib Tech T.Rice Orca does a lot more to appeal to more average riders and it’s a great call for those that want an alternative freeride/shorter somewhat fatter hard snow specialist that can still
This is the review of the board we tried at the demo was not ready for primetime. The edges weren’t properly de-tuned and it did not feel right. However, the production model that Grant and I got on was much much better.
Lib Tech Travis Rice Orca Specs
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Lib Tech Company Information
Lib Tech Travis Rice Orca User Reviews
Bro! This board is siiiiiiiccckkkk!!!
LIB Tec Orca
Love your site and reviews, very spot on in so many cases but I think you got on the wrong foit with the Orca. Spotted Rice ride in Japan on youtube in November, came to Zillertal the other week with our RV after a long Wepowder.com inspired mega dum forecast drive from Sweden. 3m if snow in one week in Austria. It was so deep and you had to ride the trees for the first part of it. My Nitro Mountain 160 was too small, my Jones Flagship 164 to big in the trees but luckulky they had the Orca in the shop. Albeit wit many other short fatty powder surfers but Orca stood out, no competition in the shop.
And, yes, it did deliver from the first turn. I even owned the Ride War Pig 154 last year, to try out the short and fatty trend but it was very bad, very akward in the trees. The Orca was a dream, very good float and very nimble and fast in the powder, like my old Salomon Sickstick.
Now in Livigno, Italy and after 9 days with powder and a couple of very loong carving runs I must say what an all rounder. So good also on the groomers. I have to toe orient my Cartel M binding on the rear foot but then it is a dream also in the piste. Shure, it is a charger but you can also keep the speed down with tight carves. And it is so good looking.
I have, inspired by this and your reviews also bought a Burton Skeleton Key 158 as the waiting for next dump - tool. Really nice also, and more relaxing and playfull in the slopes but not the same bite on the hard and not the same totally right feeling in the powder as what the Orca has.
Thank you for your good work, just became a patreon.