|Overall Rating||Liked it!|
|Riding Style||All Mountain|
|Riding Level||Intermediate - Expert|
|Fits Boot size (US)||8-10, > 12|
|Manufactured in||USA by Never Summer|
|Camber Profile||Hybrid Rocker|
|Approx. Weight||Feels Normal|
|On Snow Feel|
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Never Summer Cobra 2016 - 2013 Review by The Good Ride
The Never Summer Cobra has got a very versatile personality that allows you to have fun all over the mountain in all kinds of conditions. Lately we have been more into the NS West but the Cobra is still a great ride.
So a lot of people thought the NS Cobra got a stiffer flex and different side-cut this year but it did not. They were going to and put it in the dealer catalog but then decided to keep it the way it was and that’s reflected in the consumer catalog and on their site. It’s still the same ride as it’s always been so the review below is still 100% applicable to the 2016 model.
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.
2016-2013 Never Summer Cobra Snowboard Review
The 2016 Never Summer Cobra is going to be the same ride as the 2015 and 2014 Never Summer Cobra. Not much has changed since 2013 when it came out.
2013 -2016 Never Summer Cobra Review
Size 158, 161 and 163 Wide
Conditions: 2+ feet of powder to pretty hard snow but not icy.
Riders: James, Peter, Kyle, Jimbo, Mike, Mary, Lee, Stephen, and many others not on the site.
Bindings: Burton Cartel, Burton Genesis, Burton Diode, Burton Stay Calm, Flux SF, Flux DS, Union Factory, Union Contact Pro, Union Force, Burton Cartel Limited and a few others
Boots: Burton Imperial, Burton Hail, Burton Ion, Burton SLX, Nike Lunarendor, Nike Kaiju, DC Judge, Burton Ambush, Salomon Synapse, DC Judge, Nike Zoom Ites
Set Up: Set all the way back to centered. Usually 22.5 to 23″ wide but sometimes set super narrow for Mary’s weird stance. 18 front -6 back, 15 front -19 back,15 front and -15 back and Mary’s weird 12 front and 6 back or something weird like that.
The Never Summer Cobra has a personality of it’s own but It can be described many ways but we feel it has the feel of a directional set back Proto. It’s a very easy one board quiver to recommend.
Approximate Weight- 158 weighs in at 6.2lbs but weights vary from board to board. Wood isn’t like steel so not every board will weigh the same.
On Sow Feel– The Cobra is made for those who spend most of their time on the mountain and likes a board that can adapt it’s personality to varying conditions/moods. The feel between the feet is pretty much standard for most hybrid rocker boards. It’s stable on good snow but as conditions get harder the Cobra feels pretty loose and can at times give you the feeling like it wants to auto spin on you. It’s fun to center up on groomers and ride more like an all mountain freestyle board and when it gets deep it’s fun to set back and ride like a freeride/powder board. It’s not perfect in all conditions but it’s fun in almost all conditions you want to ride in.
Powder: This directional shape and set back stance offers a lot of effortless float in powder. It borders on the excellent side and gives a confidence inspiring directional ride. There is a 3/4″/-20mm setback and combined with the hybrid rocker makes for really easy directional riding in trees or tight chutes or on wide open faces. Also the nose does a good job at floating and the tail at sinking down to keep the nose up. It’s a little more on the surf side of things which most like in the powder but it also has a little skate personality as well if you choose to ride with the stance more centered. It’s more slashy and really quick turning in tight spots. It can also pick up some speed on an open deep face. It is the kind of board that can own light fluffy powder and comes pretty close to owning it in thicker sierra powder we ride in. If you see a lot of powder but want one board for everything this is a great choice.
Turn Initiation: if you know what you are doing and get the right size for your feet you have an easy turning board. Short turns are pretty snappy and quick and it’s fun to try to turn as fast as you can from edge to edge. Medium to wide turns is fun and playful too.
Carving: It doesn’t feel like a grade A carver but it’s got a little spring out of the turn and doesn’t get too washy. With the Cobra It definitely helps if you go for more of a gorilla stance with your knees out to put more pressure on the camber near the tip/tail. It doesn’t like if you carve with more of knees together surfer style kind of stance. It would be nice to see a bit more camber in the tip/tail like the West has or even something in between so it still keeps its outstanding float in powder.
Speed: The rocker between the feet has a little more flat than most to make for a pretty stable hybrid rocker ride and it can bomb rather well. Its base can keep its speed on a long flat cat track without much issue if it’s waxed and the board is pretty damp when you pick up speed. You feel a little of the tip and tail bounce when you pick up speed on a long, steep groomer but the rubber in the board makes it feel a lot less bad than it would if it wasn’t in there.
Uneven Terrain: The dampening system and middle flex make the Cobra friendly in the shitty end of the day bumpy groomers filled with displaced snow. It’s also easy to get through shitty bumpy 100% tracked out powder runs off-piste in order to get to harder to reach areas that might not be tracked out. It’s great for riding a crowded mountain all day too. It’s also not bad as a chunder buster and it’s good at getting you through powder with intersecting tracks.
Edge Hold: For those that don’t ride in consistently icy conditions the edge hold is perfect. Never Summer is one of those companies that makes great edge hold for almost any condition a normal rider needs. It grips without being clingy in powder or snowment. Ice it can handle but it’s not a dedicated ice board. It’s more about hard to super soft.
Flex: So when we first rode the Cobra it felt a little stiff but many of Never Summer’s demo boards ride much stiffer than the production models. When we got the production model we had a sigh of relief when the flex was softer. It’s still not mellow by any means but it’s a little more playful. It’s not bad if you want to slow down and butter. You can bend it a little past its hybrid rocker profile and then it snaps back making it really fun to play around on the mountain. Most of our riders are strong or thick so if you are more on the lighter side then you might prefer the Snowtrooper. Just to reiterate what I said up above. Never Summer was going to make the board stiffer but they didn’t so the flex is pretty consistent over the years.
Switch: It’s no twin but it’s also not as directional as you would think. With the stance centered you can quickly get used to the subtle differences, it offers riding in the other direction. It’s not in the same league as the True Twin Proto but after a little bit you get used to it.
Jibbing: The NS Cobra is ok but it’s not for those challenging rails or narrow boxes with kinks. As the board softens up a bit it’s better but if you are into NS and want a jib board the better call would be Evo or even better the Funslinger.
Pipe: This is a fun pipe board. The Never Summer Cobra is Twinish enough to throw down switch landings and climbs a pipe wall pretty well. It’s very comfortable transitioning through the flats and the edge hold works pretty well for getting through that hard snow in the pipe. It’s also pretty forgiving so it allows for some mistakes without catching an edge. A real technical pipe rider might want something more old school but for me and many of the Good Riders we don’t own the pipe so this made us all feel better in there. The longer all mountain sizing is not too long for the pipe but a little bigger than some might like. Still, it’s a great pipe board for those that treat the mountain first and the pipe second.
Jumps: We felt this was on the poppier side of things and pretty fun for an ollie. The Never Summer Cobra has a bit of a rubbery feel which makes you feel less of a snap but the end result is the same when it comes to the height of your airs from an ollie. It’s also fun to lap the jump park. Yeah, a true twin would be a little better for those who take off and land switch a lot but its got some good stuff going on here.
In conclusion, this is one of those boards that really excels in powder, is an excellent mountain/groomer board, handles crowded resort snow like a champ and really makes that mostly mountain rider very happy. It has nothing that really stands out but it’s that kind of board that makes everything easier and has a consistent ride in most conditions you want to ride in.
Never Summer Cobra Past Reviews
2014 Never Summer Cobra
2013 Never Summer Cobra
Never Summer Cobra Specs
Never Summer Cobra Images
Never Summer Company Information
Never Summer Cobra User Reviews
In 20 years of riding, hands down the best all mountain board I have owned. I'm on the 14/15, and now in 2019 the board is still ripping with likely close to 100+ days on it. This thing porpoises in deep powder with little effort, floats like a dream, slices through trees and lays down a trench when I need it. Butterability is surprisingly easy. My main problem with this board is NS discontinued it. WTF. I'm getting some edge separation and a few too many core shots. From what I have read about the West is it doesn't compare. Not sure what Good Ride is talking about. I've heard the West is dead from both Angry Snowboarder reviews and a few trustworthy friends that have ripped it. They also state the West and Snowtrooper are more beginner / intermediate friendly.
I echo the comments here and the Good Ride review. Very solid board. The most fun I had on the board was in powder, where it really shines with terrific float. Downside is that with the dominant rocker, its definitely less stable one-footing and on traverses. At higher speeds, I tended to feel the instability a little as well. That said, the hybrid rocker certainly helps in powder, so if you enjoy that type of ride, this is a great board.
A quick add-on to my earlier review: As James corrected for us, the 2016 retains its flex and sidecut from before. I widened my stance right before hopping on the newer Cobra and that's why it felt like they had actually stiffened it. My bad. Cool is though, how much more confidence/stability a stance change can have. Everything positive mentioned about the Cobra stands-bring on the snow!
Best all mountain board I've ridden!
I echo the comments down below and James and Co. from TGR. They are on point for sure. I rode a Never Summer SL for a few seasons and then hopped on a Ripsaw to start this last one, hoping for a little more stability and spring out of turns. The Ripsaw delivered, but just (for me), didn't float well in the powder. I'm sure others have liked it in the powder, it just seemed to want to dive with that extra camber. That being said, NS is adding an "extended transition zone" to their 2016 boards that have the Ripsaw Camber/Rocker profile. That should help the float a bit.
I don't do park after putting my collar bone in a new zip code and I ride with a forward stance: Rear +9, Front +21.
That being said, I was able to pick up a 2016 Cobra towards the end of this season and I am very impressed! We are all experiments of one, but for me, it gave me everything I was looking to improve upon the SL . Super stable at speed on some hardpack. It just doesn't feel squirrelly at all and there's more projection out of the turns. Ollies were improved and it's definitely better in powder. Jumping rollers felt great and the boards instills a lot of confidence. We finally got a late storm and I had it in 6-8 inches of decently dry powder at Copper. The drawn out nose with the quick spade tail are very noticeable. It wasn't a steep section, but I actually had to lean forward a bit to get the nose to sink. Even then, it still came right back up when I centered my weight. And that's with my stance centered. Good Stuff! I'm sure there's some dedicated powder boards that will perform a little better, but the Cobra just does so many things really well.
On a side note, the 2016 Cobra is a little stiffer than previous models and they tweaked the sidecut a bit. It felt really stable though without needing to muscle through turns. And, the carbonium top sheet is stellar. Super scratch resistant and there's no need for a stomp pad.
Well done Never Summer!
When I first starting riding about 20 years ago, the boards were shaped like bullets, sank like a stone, and if you caught an edge, you were going home with your ears ringing and a busted shoulder. The tech has improved over the years, and this board is as close to perfect for me as anything I have ever ridden.
I went open-to-close this season (Nov-Apr), 20+ days, in just about every Colorado snow condition imaginable. Deep pow days in Copper Bowl to the long corduroy groomers to icy/slushy spring conditions. The edge busts through ice. It's nuts. I actually was confident even going backwards on a flat in the ice...no edge grab...that would have been a bell-ringer on most boards. The float in pow is great. Keep your speed up of course, but I can get S-carves down the bowl that are just harmony to look back up and snap a picture of on a first-tracks kind of day. I love the Subie comment another reviewer made...that is so true. The board turns on a dime with little effort. Switch takes some getting used to, but thinking through your setup can alleviate this if you ride a lot of switch in the trees and bumps.
The thing about a great sports car is the feedback the car gives you. I never thought of it until the Subie comment below, but the Cobra gives you great feedback on the snow, the edge, when it's going to wash if you push it too much this way or that. That gives you a level of precision that inspires a lot of confidence. I used to dread spring boarding with the ice and hard-pack...which were just not a factor this year.
As the TGR reviewer mentioned, a slightly forward gorilla stance propels the board forward aggressively, and just slight rear-leg kicks to turn it and control speed. All I have to do is shift forward and pop my back leg, and the thing takes off quick. If you're one of those riders who stands like a corpse with your arms down at your sides...you're not going to get as much out of this board. Bend your knees, lean into the nose, square your shoulders and rip it down the hill.
Took me 3-4 rides to get used to the stiffness, but by the end of the season, I was appreciating the responsiveness and realized that I needed to up my fitness level to get more out of the board. Last weekend on (probably) my last day out, it was mostly slush at the base and sun-softened snow up top at 12,000'. I just had a ball going top-to-bottom in monster runs through maybe 3 different kinds of snow.
Pure confidence. Hard to explain. Grinning ear to ear every time I ride it.
No, I don't hang out in the park. Plenty of stuff to hop and jump in the trees, back in the bowls, etc. For this, the board is great.
SURFBOARD FOR THE SNOW!!
This board is AMESOME! Best board I've ever had. I'm fortunate to live in Denver, CO. Mountains are my backyard and NS is my local brand. The guys at Never Summer know what they are doing - Excellent, hand-made, goodness :) This board is perfect for all mountain but also can play hard when it comes to freeride/freestyle. As someone else previously commented, this is like driving a Subaru STI ! True to Fact, this ride is fast and smooth. I can edge-to-edge flawlessly and fly switch with ease. It was between this and the Proto HD (Also an amazing board) and I liked that this had a little better float as it is set back a little. We get some really fluffy POW here in CO and this board just surfs! Groomers are good but its like driving on the main road. Totally capable but it just wants to go off-road. You will not be disappointed with this stick :)
Really good board !!
I own the Cobra X 161cm. This board is amazing in powder with the hybrid rocker shape I tried it in 20 inches of fresh snow and it floats really easily its like surfing a wave . Fast turning edge to edge in tight trees run is fast !! the board topsheet is made of high quality carbonium im sure it will last forever. On hard groomed runs the board edges grip is amazing I had never loose an edge even in downhill run !! Just one thing I feel average about this board is the speed. But its a minor thing, this board is a must buy it now !!
My goodness...the best board ever.
It wasn't until I rode this bad boy that I felt more control and confident in charging. The float is amazing, so much fun riding. Edge hold is wonderful, actually bites like a cobra. Catching an edge is near to impossible! I swear, when you ride this board, you'll be feeling like you're driving a Subaru WRX sTi! So much control!
Best quality board ever!
Amazing control out on any run, edges hold great on ice and float on pow. The edge hold makes you feel like you are in control at all times, even when you think you have caught an edge, the board corrects it in no time. A bit heavy compared to some of it's competition but easily makes up for it in how stable it is. The carbonium top sheet very durable. Love this board! You will too!
Guys, you really messed up this review. I will give you the benefit of doubt that you did not have the right conditions and/or runs on your test day to test the powder and off-piste side of this (or other boards). But saying that "the Cobra is made for those who spend most of their time on groomers" is just plain incorrect. The board was specifically designed with powder and off-piste riding - that is where it excels, no on groomers.