Had some goodness from Peak Design recently find it’s way into my mailbox. Will do a review on the gear once I get a chance to use it, but wanted to throw up a quick post as I’d never heard of them prior to last week and they make some pretty nice looking stuff I know some of you would dig (looking at you Rusty Old Camera)
Peak Design Shell
You know that whole “Fuck, it’s dumping, do I really want to drag my dSLR out” feeling? The Peak Design Shell is designed to help if you’re like me and don’t have a pro level, fully sealed camera. I’ve yet to put it through it’s paces to see if it stays out of your way when you need it to but on first touch I’d say it’s better made than some of my outerwear.
Peak Design CapturePOV
The CapturePOV is another interesting piece of kit from the Peak Design crew that demonstrates they’ve put some thought into the little problems you experience as you snap pics in the great outdoors. The CapturePOV essentially takes the place of the GoPro chest mount, opting to use something you’re likely already wearing as the mount instead of yet another piece of webbing mounted to you. I’m interested to see if the offset nature of the product still gives a decent POV.
Also, while on their site be sure to check out their entire Peak Design Clip line of products. I really think the Capture Pro is the real deal as I really hate carrying around my Lowe chest bag and think a Capture Pro + Shell combo would be killer.
The retail machine is doing it’s best to move Christmas into early November. I’m not sure if they realize that offering Black Friday deals in early November doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll make more money but likely means they’ll just shift their revenue from December to November. WHY CAN’T WE HIT OUR DECEMBER PLAN? Of course this is from the viewpoint of a fiscally responsible individual, something rare in this day and age. I’m sure if I was the usual D.R.E.A.M.** consumer I’d say fuck it and just leverage myself and spend moremoremore. But I digress.
Anyways, I got an email the other day from a random asking me for gift ideas for the snowboarder/skier on their list. Conveniently enough I got an email from the homey Erik at Super Happy Wax announcing his new wax kits were available. Fate or coincidence?
Erik has put together three different kits to get your base lube on, the Basic, Deluxe and Ultimate, shown from top to bottom below. The kits he’s assembled are a great value. Compare his Deluxe kit to the Swix Alpine Glide Wax kit you’ll see that you’ll get MORE and have almost $50 leftover for beer.
So I’m not going to lie. When The Concept Agency first reached out to me in regard to testing a wearable action cam for one of their clients my first move was to go to the client’s website, where the below was the lead photo.
Palm and face became acquainted when I saw this pic from their website
Now, I’m not really up on the stock photo market, but I’ve got to believe that Tim Zimmerman has some C-roll footage that would have been a bit less cringeworthy. They really should ditch that pic, as well as the one of the guy on the bike and just roll with the image of the guy surfing and the guy snowboarding (and maybe airbrush out those approach rollerblades on the snowshred’s back). Anyways, after judging a book by it’s cover I had to ask them if their client was REALLY trying to compete with GoPro? Given their website it seemed as if the cam was purchased separate from the accessories, which seems MASSIVELY ridiculous as to me the only way to compete against the brand GoPro (aka the Kleenex of the ‘wearable action cam’ market) has created is undercut them on price and overdeliver on value and quality. After a bit of back and forth with Stacy over there she filled me in that it actually comes with a ton of accessories, and I decided that the stream to phone feature sounded pretty rad (my GoPro being the first gen HD, pre-app/streaming) and worth checking out – especially as with Alibaba and offshoring these days it could possibly have the same guts as the
Flash forward a few bounced emails and a week or so later and a package arrived at my door. I tore it open and had immediate flashbacks to Zinka and Gotcha trunks (yeah, pre-boardshorts, the kind with the ball hammock).
COME ON GUYS, YOU’RE NOT MAKING IT EASY TO LIKE YOU! Barefoot waterskiing? Make it stop.
Anyways, after digging into the package full of accessories and turning the cam on the little blue OLED came on giving me warm fuzzies, that the IronX was of higher quality then the website and packaging would lead you to believe.
Things are looking up
Anyways, first impressions thus far
-Well equipped package for a street price of around $160 bucks (Best Buy)
-Feels similar in quality to my 1st gen GoPro HD
-The OLED screen is NICE
-The 1080P is soft when going direct from cam to TV (no vid converting involved)
-The audio seems a bit harsh (could be muffled with a poor man’s windscreen aka a bandage over the mic)
Below is a quick comparison of my GoPro vs. the IronX cam for you to make your own conclusions. Note that both of these looked FAR better before being saved and uploaded as supposedly HD quality.
Well this came as a huge shock to me today. Guess I haven’t been paying attention but even Feathered Friends is now offshoring while claiming the ever so popular in the bike scene “engineered in…” I guess now you’re paying a premium price for their “engineering”. At least their factory workers got the logo right and didn’t accidentally sew a swoosh on. Looks like I’m out the $12 for shipping now cuz I believe this baby is going back. No point in paying a premium for just another made in China piece of gear.
We have recently made the difficult decision to expand a small portion of our production to China. With 40 years of domestic, in-house manufacturing and a loyal customer base that has come to equate that legacy with quality and craftsmanship this was not a decision we undertook lightly. Please understand that we are not displacing our domestic production, we have actually increased output in recent years, but difficulty finding the highly skilled sewing labor that our products require coupled with a high demand for our lightweight garments necessitated that we expand production beyond Seattle. Our lightweight garment production still utilizes the exact same down and fabrics that are used in our Seattle production, with the same time-tested designs so quality is not compromised. All of our sleeping bags and a large portion of our garment line will continue to be produced in our Seattle based facility and we will make every effort to keep you informed of any future changes.
Coming soon, my own brand of down jackets “engineered in Portland!” I think I’m gonna call my company Tarred and Feathered Friends. Sort of a double entendre there, tarred/tard.
Feathered Friends made in China
UPDATE: I brought this back. Kind of a pain and they originally didn’t want to do it as their web and store retail are apparently separate. 2014 what?
The homey Erik from Superhappywax is launching his surf wax line in a few weeks.
It smells damn good and is stickier than your batwing on these 90 degree days. He’ll have some at the Cape Kiwanda contest, look for his shiny new Econoline and tell him I sent you and he’ll hook you up.
Jeez, talk about falling off the wagon. Let’s get this look at 2012-13 splitboards back up and running before the 13/14 gear drops!
The boys at Chimera made it through their first year in biz and are back with the same solid lineup from last year. For those who don’t know Chimera is a splitboard exclusive company – no skis, no solid boards, no snow skates – and take their boards seriously. With innovations like their Toe-To-Heel Carbon (THC, a reference to weed in the snowboard scene, very original), a reinforcing layer of carbon fiber between the touring bracket and heel rise, to their Killerbites (essentially shortened inner edges), the folks at Chimera are not just doing the status quo.
Chimera splitboards are all limited production and made in the USA (surprisingly not that rare in our little niche) so if you see something you like reach out to them ASAP so you can make sure you’ve got your new ride before it starts nuking in the hills. You can call them at 801-512-0571 or email email@example.com. They were cool cats at the Baker splitfest so I’d recommend letting your fingers do the walking and bullshit with ’em for awhile.
The big mountain board in the Chimera line.
Medium, positive camber with a large sidecut maximizes edge contact and hold on steep, firm surfaces. A mellow taper, gentle early rise rockers and blunt nose/tail shape trim overall length for turning ability and clearance without sacrificing float, while running length is maximized and flex / dampening dialed for maximum stability at speed.
Sizes: 161, 165, 172
Mace with their Passport topsheet
Remember this? It’s called camber. CAM-brrr
The Orb is Chimera’s same thing coming and going/true twin of the lineup. I’m tall, unathletic and uncoordinated and thus have never been a good enough rider to benefit from a true twin, but if that’s your high Chimera’s got your drug.
Sizes: 156, 160, 164
Chimera Orb with logo topsheet
The Sceptre is the directional freestyle board (or as I like to call them ‘snowboards’) of their lineup.
Medium taper combined with Chimera’s NoWave profile give the board powerful, yet controllable float, while providing control at speed, on chunder, and in deep turns. A stiffer tail lends extra pop and helps stomp landings while allowing you to hold the line at speed. The floaty Sceptre may be sized-down for freestyle-influenced riders, while those who barge may prefer the progressively stiffer flex patterns of the larger sizes.
Sizes available: 154, 157, 161, 16
Sceptre with logo topsheet
Like your jr. high girlfriend between the bindings
Chimera Unicorn Chaser
As I’m a sucker for unusual shapes the Unicorn Chaser is the board in their lineup that gets my panties wet. Not heavily swallowed and a fish-esque shape, this board just looks like it’ll go off on the type of days you got into splitboarding for.
The rockered nose and massive taper will keep you on top of the deepest, fluffiest stuff, while the stiff, hollow tail, short, nimble sidecut, and Chimera’s LongWave profile will keep your eye on the twitching tail of your glittering prize. Chimera recommends stepping down 5cm-10cm from your powder board for increased awesomeness and maximum Unicorn slaughter.
Sizes available: 154, 157, 161
No bullshit, the guys and gals at Chimera are the types you want to support. Small crew of snow stoked riders putting out the product that works for them. They were all great to talk to, stoked out of their minds and knew their stuff, and their boards felt** lighter than most, if you’re in the market for a new split I’d recommend keeping them on your short list.
**May have been drinking that night so senses may have been off.
Jones is back in 2012-13 with essentially the same lineup as last year (different size runs) as well as a women’s line. Hopefully the production/QA problems that have been seen in the past have been put behind them as I don’t think releasing some of the boards that have reached some shop floors has been been doing the brand any favors. As before all Jones boards have ‘Mellow Magnetraction’ (a less aggressive version of the wavy sidecut Mervin made famous) on both the inner and outer edges as well as Karakoram hardware.
The ‘our founder rides bigger lines than yours’ pro model with the name a well played take on the old ‘Splitboarding is the Answer’ sticker, the Solution is the Swiss army knife of the Jones lineup. Directional shape and rocker with a nice helping of camber underfoot, the Jones is a quiver killer ready to step to anything you will.
Sizes: 154, 158, 161, 164, 163W, 168W
Mountain Twin Split
The Mountain Twin is billed as “a freestyle board with a freeride heart.” A twin shape with a setback stance, directional rocker and camber underfoot help you get your ambidextrous backcountry jibbonk on.
(Note: I was going to make a joke about that girl in college that you’d hope would go both ways, or something along those lines, but couldn’t tie it together. Feel free to make the joke for me in the comments)
Sizes: 157, 160
Winner of a Poormansheli “Most likely to be in my quiver if I actually had a quiver” award, the Hovercraft oozes fun on looks alone. Nobody got into splitboarding to ride ice and suncups but shit happens thus most of us ride less specialized boards. However, for those ‘there’s no f’in way there’s any mank out there’ days The Hovercraft looks like the bees knees.
The Hovercraft’s pow specific shape with a setback stance and long/short tail keep you floating in the deep, and the stiff tail and Mellow Magnetraction will help keep the fun going as things start to get tracked.
Sizes: 156, 160
The splitboard for the fairer sex aka shrink it and pink it (and tweak the width/flex).
For 2012-13 Voile has revamped their entire lineup with the help of Ben Harmon courtesy of their Sentury Snowboards acquisition. Still made in the USA by polygamous skiboarders with jobs.
No longer capped construction, all 2012-13 Voile splitboards come with all the hardware you need, so if you’re price conscious factor that into your decision (also if you’re price conscious you may want to consider NOT getting into splitboarding…)
Remember the days when you just rode your snowboard wherever the hell you ended up on the mountain and didn’t worry about whether it had a symmetrically asymmetrical flex pattern on top of a rockambered shape with little lights on the tip that show it’s absorbing chatter before deciding where to go? That’s the Artisan, the quiver killer of the Voile lineup. Winner of a Backcountry Magazine Editor’s choice award this year, the Artisan is a twin shaped ride with a directional flex pattern and their own version of a flat in the middle/hybrid rocker/camber profile. The Artisan doesn’t give a damn where you bring it it just wants you to bring it.
MSRP: $850 with all hardware (including dual height climbing heels)
Part of Voile’s reason for acquiring Sentury was for their unique ‘gender sensing technology’, which has been integrated into their first female offering, the 2012-13 Women’s Artisan. No longer will women have to suffer through days of riding on a board that thinks they are a man, with Voile’s new technology….OK, not really, it’s a thinner waisted, softer flexing version of the Artisan that even smaller dudes can ride.
Sizes: 148, 153, 156
Winner of Poormansheli’s “Best Name for a Splitboard” award in 2013, the Palindrome is Voile’s backcountry freestyley jibbonker offering. The same coming and going, the Palindrome has a true twin shape and flex, and a camber free profile.
Like always I’ve waited to pull the trigger on a look at the new year’s split in half hotness until the first day I had to turn the heater on. Today was that day so I’m dusting off the asdfjkl and semicolon and gettin’ ta bloggin’. Getting the pole position in this year’s look at new skiboard hotness are the love children of Klemens and Lisa Branner, the first couple of splitboarding**.
Venture is taking an ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ stance with this year’s splits – with the exception of new topsheets and one new model (which was actually a late 2012/limited release from their Skunkworks ‘Shape Shack‘ last year) the Venture lineup remains more or less the same as last year. Realizing that snowboarding is really fucking hard to do with no snow Venture takes great efforts to minimize their environmental impact. From building their cores from Forest Stewardship Council certified wood to using Purl wax to running their entire operation on wind power they are practicing what others preach.
Like most splits out there Ventures come only with Voile hooks/clips, so you’ll still need to pick up the rest of the Voile (or Karakoram) hardware and your choice of skins. UNLIKE most split manufacturers out there Venture realizes that not everyone of a certain weight or height have the same size foot and offer a ton of waist widths in most of their boards. If you’ve got a particularly small or large foot size you should definitely check out the Venture Snowboards website to get the full 411.
Local shop dropped the ball and doesn’t carry Venture splits? You can pick ’em up online from the fine folks at evo and backcountry.com
While it shares a name with a board from their lineup a few years past this is definitely NOT your father’s Euphoria. Designed to be ridden with or without bindings (no, I’ve never seen someone split up a mountain only to take their bindings off to pow surf down, but there’s always this year) this Backcountry Magazine Editor’s Choice winning board looks like it’d be stupid fun on the right day.
Sizes available: 156, 162, 168
The Zephyr is Venture’s flaghship board and is a good ol’ fashioned, do it all quiver killer. A Backcountry Magazine Editor’s Choice winner for 2011, the Zephyr is a lightly tapered, slightly setback, rockered tip/tail everyman’s board.
Sizes available: 150, 154, 155, 159, 160, 163, 164, 165, 168, 169 (close size ranges due to waist width offerings)
The Odin is big mountain legend Johan Olofsson’s pro model split. A 2012 Backcountry Magazine Editor’s Choice winner, Venture made slight changes from last year, blunting the nose a bit and adding more sizes to the range. With it’s tapered shape, setback stance, stiffer flex and flat between the feet and rockered nose/tail profile this is the big mountain riders split.
Sizes available: 160, 164, 165, 168, 169, 173, 174 (close ranges due to waist width offerings)
The Venture Storm tows the line between pow specific board and all ’rounder. For 2013 Venture rounded out the nose a bit, likely to help it lose it’s ‘quiver board’ look and sell more. A 2010 Backcountry Magazine Editor’s Choice winner (notice a theme here? Venture’s ish performs) the tapered shape, rockered nose and tail, softer nose and stiffer midsection/tail of the Storm makes it a board ready to take on anything thrown your way.
Sizes available: 152, 156, 157, 161 ,162, 165, 166, 170, 171, 181 (close ranges due to waist width offerings)
The Helix is “the world’s first twin tipped, rockered splitty” and is waaaay outside of my non-freestyley wheelhouse. True twin shape and flex, the type of board that I find unexciting.
Sizes available: 158, 162, 163
**I’m patenting that phrase, you heard it here first ladies and gents