The Never Summer Insta/Gator is a fun directional hybrid rocker take on a short fatty that we had a pretty good time on. It did ocassionaly flex a bit too much in the middle in uneven resort runs but other than that it is a pretty solid surfy not just a powder board kind of ride. Overall it’s a pretty fun daily driver for a short fatty.
Conditions: Sloppy groomers to about 2 feet plus of really good Sierra powder
Riders: James, Peter, Jimbo, Tim and Matt
Boots: Burton Almighty, Adidas Tactical ADV, Burton SLX, Burton Rover
Bindings: Union Atlas, Burton Genesis, Burton Genesis X
Set Up: Set all the way back 22.5″ wide 18 front -9 back
Approximate Weight: Felt normal
Flex: It’s got a fun flex that feels much easier to butter than you would think from a flex in the shop. It breaks easier than you would think in the middle and it’s easy to butter off the tail and easier to butter off the nose.
On Snow Feel: The Never Summer Insta Gator is pretty loose and playful and sometimes is has moments of stability but it wants to spin on you pretty easy when you flat base and one foot. The short fatty design here is fun and if you surf it feels like a pretty dynamic fish that sits on top of the water but also can snap it under a semi-steep lip. It’s not a dynamic super slashy up and down type of surfer like the Maverix but we all preferred the Never Summer Insta/Gator in all conditions except quick turns in bumpy snow.
Edge Hold: Never Summer has pretty good grip and in the few hard patches we found the grip seems to be on par with most NS boards out there. Not the best in hard snow but it can hang.
Turn Initiation: So even though this 151 is pretty wide
Skidded Turns: Really easy to skid a turn and it’s very forgiving for a ride of this flex. Pretty hard to catch an edge compared to many camber profiles out there.
Carving: So this is an off the tail kind of carve and you want to lean back on the tail but if you do it’s pretty fun. It’s not a dynamic rewarding camber style carve or as fun as the 25 but it’s way more fun than we all thought it would be.
Speed: It’s super damp but a little loose to be a bomber. It’s more of a board that likes to turn and slash than bomb.
Uneven Terrain: Never Summer does the Insta/Gator right when it comes to uneven bumpy snow in terms of how the board is damp. However we felt that the board was bending too much in the middle instead of powering through bumps in powder. It sometimes felt like it would through you out of your line. It’s something that you can get use to but it will take a little time. Some of our hybrid camber favorites like the Yes Optimistic fared better here in chunder or the ocassional dip but we’d all rather be on the Insta/Gator if it’s almost a mogul day or a super bumpy mess
Powder: The 151 Insta/Gator felt like it had more volume and float than the Maverix. It sat on top of the snow like most short fatty’s and it’s definitely a fun way to ride powder like the Optimistic 151 we compared it too. We felt that in good un-tracked powder the Optimistic felt smoother and we all had better lines but as the day got tracked up and we slowed down the Never Summer Insta/Gator started to do better weaving in and out of the turns. Both felt a little slower than the Maverix and other more narrow waist boards. Seems that longer and narrow is still better for super tight trees and bumps than short fatty’s.
Switch: nah…doable but nah.
Jibbing: no thanks.
Pipe: We didn’t have a pipe up but never liked that short/wide board in there. Maybe someone who air’s out every hit might like it better but I personally never liked the feel going wall to wall with a wider board.
Jumps: Nice pop off the tail and it’s great for a straight air but not the best for those who like to land fakie/switch.
So the Never Summer Insta Gator has a very similar build (other than the camber profile) to the Yes Optimistic and many readers have asked us to compare these two. So we compared the Optimistic 151 I own to this 151 Insta/Gator we had for extended demo. In the conditions we tested these boards the Optimistic shined but the more I thought about it the more I came to these conclusions. With the Optimistic carving was more fun, speed/stability was better, edge hold was better and un-tracked powder had a better flow through the line you set. The Never Summer Insta/Gator was more playful/catch free, more buttery, easier to ride in all conditions and especially so in really uneven snow. So all of us felt like the Optimistic really shined as a quiver board in the conditions we like to ride short/fatty’s the most but we felt the Insta/Gator, while never shining bright at one thing, did everything well and might be a better solution for those that want ride a short fatty full time. It’s especially good for those that ride all day on weekends and often see lot’s of uneven snow.