And finally, I get around to posting what seems like the review I’ve been asked about the most so far. My thoughts around the Cobra X. I’ve spent quite a bit of time on this board this season, from some time in January up until about a month ago. I’ve luckily had a chance to ride it in fresh snow, (what little we got this season,) groomers, icy hardpack, and of course spring slush. I slapped a pair of Flow NXT FSE in the XL size on a Cobra X 159, with a 12 -15 (21″ stance.) So let’s dive right in..
The Cobra can be considered the offspring of the Proto & Heritage, but designed to provide better flow in powder situations, yet still rally on the hill. With blunted tip & tail, the swing weight of the board has been reduced, without sacrificing effective edge. The tail design is spaded much like that of the premier (not tapered) to allow for more of a paintbrush style slow when slashing through powder. I use the term “paintbrush” ala Vince, as that’s how he best describes it. I can only agree that the board turns effortlessly, and almost feels a bit like surfing with the tail just making nice smooth transitions. The Cobra has the carbonium topsheet, sporting a deep red Cobra Snake set against the traditional black carbonium. A subtle yet sick graphic that still tends to catch peoples eyes out on the hill.
I’ve spent quite a bit of time on the Cobra X, and honestly, I fell in love with the board from my first drop on it. I found it to be almost effortless to initiate turns, and quick to respond from toe to heel. To put it short and sweet, it’s a playful board that while fun, somewhat poppy, and can hard charge the hell out of it, and slay the mountain. In powder the Cobra X is like a dream. The new design, keeps the nose up without much effort, and the spaded tail design makes slashing turns in pow effortless. As a bigger guy, I wasn’t sure what to think about the 159 size, remembering when I rode the shorter Proto, but the Cobra was a pleasant surprise. In the spring slush, you can get the board to kick out a bit on hard turns (but hey it’s slush, so edge hold is a luxury when we get into spring surfing.) The Cobra X provides that damp ride you’ve come to expect from the NS boards, although still damp, not as damp as some of it’s counterparts. The 159 size is a bit shorter than I’m used to riding (effective edge of a 160 due to the blunted tip and tail,) but the board held up well under my feet and size.
In the base photos above, you can see the Carbon X configuration of the Cobra through the base of the board, along with the carbon along the tip/tail. The base isn’t as translucent as it looks in my photos, I had a flash with those photos that helped bring out those carbon pieces, but you can see them if you look at the base.
I didn’t hit the park at all with the Cobra X, but did hit a few jumps here and there, and found the board great to load up, and pop. It’s stable on landings, and really a hell of a lot of fun off of jumps. I have some Contour footage of a few jumps, I’ll have to get edited and put up on the site. I tried to shoot a side profile shot to show the R&C tech on the Cobra X, which runs the same across the line of RC boards. The camera angle really shows the side profile of the board in a bit of an exaggerated way.
Honestly, I wasn’t sure what to think of the Cobra upon first hearing about it from Vince. It seemed like it was a board that might get lost in the mix from initial description, but once you step on the board, you really figure out quick, that the Cobra stands out from the rest of the lineup, and holds its own quite well. The child of two well established boards, the Cobra really has nothing to prove, but definitely makes a point that it’s playful enough to be fun across the mountain, and serious enough to lay down some serious lines when needed. A great board, that holds up to us bigger riders, even on the smaller 159 size.
How does it compare to the Heritage? I know I’ll get this question, so let me go ahead and address my thoughts on that while I’m writing this. Having ridden the Heritage X for multiple seasons, the Heritage feels a bit stiffer to me, and as such doesn’t initiate turns as quickly, or effortlessly as the Cobra does, in my opinion. The stiffness of the Heritage though lends itself to more stability, and dampness, especially when hard charging at speed, and through crud. The Cobra really excels for those riders looking to slice through trees, tight spots, and other situations that lend themselves to tight, quick turn initiation, where the Heritage isn’t going to initiate as quickly or be as nimble in those situations.
How does it compare to the Legacy? The Legacy has long been one of my favorite Never Summer boards, as it was my first ever NS board. With that being said, the Cobra still feels more agile to me than the Legacy, and quicker into and out of turns. The Legacy almost feels a bit more poppy to me, but perhaps that’s due to the slightly stiffer feeling of my Legacy vs the Cobra. I want to spend more time really comparing these two boards, and will write-up more around this later this season.
**Disclaimer: Vince was gracious enough to loan me a board from the factory for an extended period of time, many thanks to him, and the NS Family for their support as always.**