Positives

  • Amazing Directional Float For This Shape
  • Upper Tier Base Glide
  • Easy Ride In All Conditions
  • Fits A Wide Variety of Boot Sizes
  • One of the Most Versatile Snowboards I've Tried

Negatives

  • Set Back Inserts Only Work With Full Size Discs
  • Not the Best For Hard to Icy Snow
  • Sizing Is Spaced Out 4cm Per Board

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Riding Style Freeride
Riding Level Intermediate - Expert
Fits Boot size (US) 8-10, 10-12
Manufactured in
Shape Tapered Directional
Camber Profile Directional Camber
Stance
Approx. Weight Feels Normal
Split No
Powder Great
Base Glide Great
Carving Great
Speed Great
Uneven Terrain Great
Switch Good
Jumps Great
Jibbing Average
Pipe Good
On Snow Feel

Stable

Turn Initiation

Fast

Skidded Turns

Moderate

Flex

Medium/Stiff

Buttering

Moderate

Edge Hold

Hard Snow

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United Shapes Cadet Written Review Review by The Good Ride

A Breakdown Of How the United Shapes Cadet Rides And Who It Is For

United Shapes Cadet Review - The Good Ride
United Shapes Cadet

How It Was Tested:

How It Was Tested

Thanks to Gravity Sports at Mt. Bachelor, I borrowed the United Shapes Cadet for an extended demo, but I liked it so much that precious Good Ride dollars were spent to add this to my quiver
Size: 158
Days:10+
Conditions: Everything from hard snow to great groomers to uneven snow, really deep pow, and some early morning slackountry time with Drift Boards & Union Rovers
Riders: James (Size 9, 5’10”, 185-190lbs). I’ve tested and compared 800+ boards.
Davey (Size 12, 240lbs, 6’4”)
Boots: Ride Deadbolt, Bataleon Acid BOA, Ride Torrent
Insoles: F.I.T. Gamechangers
Bindings: Union Atlas, Union Force
Redundancy: Strapins in case boots or bindings break.
Jacket: Jones Mtn Surf Anorak, Skyline Fuse Jacket
Pant: Jones Mountain Surf Bib, Jones Shralpinist Stretch Bib
Helmet: Smith Method, Smith Scout
Goggle: Smith 4D Mag
Gloves: Burton AK Clutch Mitt, Burton AK Tech Leather Glove, Drop Tahoma Mitt,

James’s Set Up: 21.5” Wide. Stance Angles +18/-3, +18/+3, +24/+6, +18/-9. Close to Reference on groomers and Set all the way back in powder.

Similar Boards We Like (but not the same):

Amplid Souly Grail, K2 Alchemist, Burton Skeleton Key, YES PYL Uninc, Weston Backwoods, Cardiff Powgoda, Jones Mind Expander, Jones Flagship, Jones Flagship Pro, Stranda Descender, Jones Stratos, YES All In/Pyzel

Approximate Weight

The United Shapes Cadet is pretty standard for this length and width. (We don’t put in the exact weight because, with wood cores, there is no consistency in a board’s weight)

Sizing

One thing! I accidentally entered the wrong measurements on the YouTube video. This pic has accurate measurements.

United Shapes Cadet Sizing

The 158 United Shapes Cadet is pretty wide for my size 9 boots, but it works for some reason, and it turns like a board a bit narrower. It works really well for my weight. I feel like I have a perfect balance between speed, control, stability, and float. It feels so good that I am not curious about how the 162 rides and the 154 seems too small.

Here are some ideal US boot sizes for these boards.
150: 7-9
154: 8-10
158: 9-11
162: 10-12

Sizing is all about balancing what fits your boot size and your weight for how you like to ride. If your boot is too wide, you can’t turn it; if it’s too narrow, you get the dreaded Toe & Heel Drag. Your weight is a close second to boot size because it determines how the board will feel under your foot.  Height comes in a distant 3rd. Some prefer control, so matching the boot size is the priority. Others prefer dampness over control and like to size up.

I would stay close to the brand’s recommended weight ranges. If it comes down to boot size or weight, I would ensure it fits your boot first, but you can go wider with United Shapes than you normally would.

Shape

Shape

The United Shapes Cadet has a somewhat directional and mildly tapered shape (5mm), but it feels very centered on the board when in the reference stance. When set all the way back, the ride changes into a much more set-back, directional ride.

Camber/On Snow Feel/Ability Level

Camber

There is a healthy camber from almost the tail to a good bit past the front inserts. From there, you have a decent amount of early rise before the nose. It feels stable and pretty easy to skid a turn, but it’s on the technical side of stable. It’s best for strong intermediates up but far from being super technical like full camber either.

Flex Personality

Flex

There is a pretty medium/stiff flex that you would expect from a standard freeride board. The nose has a little more give, but the tail is pretty stiff. The early rise before the nose and tail makes it easier to butter on snow.

I found the Cadet to have a good ollie to it as well as a good spring out of a turn. It’s not ultra poppy, but it’s far from feeling dead.

Uneven Snow

United Shapes Cadet in Uneven Snow

United Shapes found a nice balance between dampness and good pop. I rode this in all kinds of uneven snow and found the Cadet never too bucky or bouncy in soft, uneven snow or send too much chatter into your body in hard, uneven snow. It’s a very good all-day ride.

Edge Hold

The United Shapes Cadet doesn’t have any real disruption I can see in the side cut, but it grips well enough. Having a mellow disruption somewhere in the sidecut to increase the edge hold would really round out this ride for those who see harder snow on a consistent basis.

Speed

The United Shapes Cadet can go straight and go pretty fast, but it’s not a full-on freeride bomber, either. I’m not much of a straight-liner, and I felt far away from its max speed.

Base Glide

Base Glide

United Shapes has a very good base. It’s not the fastest I’ve tried, but it’s all black, and when well waxed, it’s far from being a slouch. It’s the kind of base I would expect for the price point.

Turning Experience/Carving

United Shapes Cadet - How It Turns

Turn initiation was surprisingly quick for size 9 boots with a 26cm waist, 29.8cm tail, and 30.3cm nose. I would have guessed a 25.5 cm waist, 29.8cm Nose, and 29.3cm Tail. I never felt lacking in any condition I rode.

When I got the United Shapes Cadet on edge, it had a pretty balanced turning experience. It could turn equally well with front foot, center, or back foot weight, especially on reference. When set further back, it favors a little more back foot weight, but it was still doable center to front foot weighted with a more posi stance.

Carving was pretty satisfying, and I felt it to be a good slow-speed carver. However, it really lit up at moderate to somewhat faster carves when set back or on reference. There is a very good spring out of the turn.

Powder

United Shapes Cadet in Powder

I was super impressed with the directional float of the United Shapes Cadet. It’s hard to find a competitor in this Freeride category with such easy float—especially those with only 5mm of taper.

United Shapes Cadet Setback On Board

If you use the set-back inserts, you get 5.5” back from the center of the board at a 22” stance width. Most freeride boards are closer to 3.5-4”, so this is uncommonly but gloriously set back. It’s more like super set back boards like the 2025 Cardiff Powgoda with 6″ back on board and further back than all of Jones’ boards with their set back inserts. I felt it could easily handle more when I got it in 2 feet of powder. It was a step up from the Jones Flagship, Flagship Pro, and Strato’s when it came to directional float. This really makes this an exceptional one-board quiver.

Switch and Jumps

This is a very doable switch, and it’s a great board for tracking into and landing jumps when at or close to the reference stance. You have less landing gear when on the set-back inserts, but it’s still doable.

Final Thoughts

I’m really impressed with how versatile the United Shapes Cadet is. It’s everything I wanted the too-light and chattery Jones Stratos to be. It’s great in all conditions, can float almost like a dedicated pow board, and when on reference, can even ride switch. If it had a little more grip for hard snow, it would have been almost perfect.

Ethics Statement: This review has zero brand oversight. This is our best effort at an honest, objective review to help you, the consumer.
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United Shapes Cadet Specs

 
United Shapes Cadet Images

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2024

United Shapes Cadet User Reviews

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