Wednesday, 29 January 2014


 So, back from a cold but very snowy Geilo in Norway and a few thoughts on the new Lib i rode as promised.

 I've ridden a lot of snowboards over the years and seen some massive  changes in the technology and thinking behind board design over that time. When i started, the cheap stuff really was pretty rubbish but now things are at a point where there arent really any truly bad boards at any price point. In fact i stoppped reading catalogs a while ago since if you believe what you read, every board anyone sells is perfect for everything! Lib have always stood out to me for their slightly counter culture stance and their willingness to do something different.

Just to recap, it's a 153 Lib Tech attack banana 2014 model sporting classic Mike Parillo Lib graphics. Its got what Lib call their EC2 banana tech which,if you strip off the marketing BS, means there's rocker between your bindings then camber from binding to tip with the apex of the camber moved towards the binding a little to mellow it. Lots of companies produce some kind of variation of this now and it is supposed to offer a mix of the forgiveness and "butterability" of rocker with a bit more of the edge hold and torsional stiffness to cope with speed that traditional camber board gives you. The board has Lib's "magnatraction" serrated edge which i definately feel gives better edge hold on icy piste from my experience.

Bottom line (first!) i really liked this board.

 It's a twin shape thats a little narrower and more freeride oriented than the 156 skate banana that i had before.  Despite being shorter and having less nose width it still floated plenty well enough in the pow although it definately needed to maintain a little more speed to keep the nose up compared to the skate banana. That said, it's only a 53 and at a comfortable off-piste pace it was happy to float and slash without inducing undue back leg burn. the slightly narrower width definately helped to change direction more quickly and it was easier to thread through the trees than my old board as a result.

On piste whether corduroy or crud, it held a really good edge at speed with plenty of pop. This is the camber working for you as well as the greater stiffness in the flex. An oft quoted criticism of the rocker only boards is their floppiness at speed or with big landings and that has been my main gripe with the skate banana. Lib seem to have got the flex just right with the ec2 banana, stiff enough to hold and inspire confidence blasting along the piste but flexy enough to butter around and enjoy popping off stuff at the piste edges. It certainly got me hitting some bigger jumps than i've done for a while.

 It's a good compromise for the type of resort riding most of us do most often, alittle bit of everthing. Lib's more freeride oriented boards like the dark series are stiffer and feel amazing at full speed but need quite a bit of pace to wake them up, more pace than you might want to have if you are learning things or cruising with family. The skate banana is real fun in the park but shows it's limitations at speed and off piste. The attack banana sits in the middle, good enough at everthing to put a smile on your face and progress!

Super big thanks again to Stentiford Snowboarding for sorting it out and to Phil for the shamelessly self promoting pics of "dad awesomeness" ;-)

Friday, 24 January 2014

flat 'n' loose

Cotic Bikes Presents #26aintdead from Steel City Media on Vimeo.

 Wherever you stand on the wheel size debate that's entertaining countless internet bike nerds as you read this, there's some fine hardtail ragging going down there!

I've been back on flat pedals too after a year clipped in (riding nothing like the video though!) Mainly because my flat pedal shoes are a lot warmer and more waterproof than my spd's and i was fed up with getting numb toes!

I'm really enjoying getting loose in the mud and hopefully my bike handling is improving too. According to evil that is strava i'm no slower so maybe they'll stay on for the summer!

Sunday, 19 January 2014

slouch five

Proving that even at a slack wave like saunton, 17.25 inches of nosewidth is plenty for noseriding as long as you stuff the tail in the right part of the wave!

CP by ZG

Hopefully my being away from the coast is bringing the rest of you some nice waves like this. With any luck i'm surfing waves of fluffy snow as you read this on a shiny new snowboard.

I've got a new Lib Tech attack banana to try out which felt pretty good on the bounce around the garden test. It's got rocker between the bindings but an elliptical camber from bindings to tips so hopefully should still have the float and forgiveness of my old skate banana but give a little more confidence and edge hold at speed. I'll let you know.

The board is through my friend James Stentiford, peerless UK freeride legend and all around top chap. After qualifying as a proper mountain guide last year, this winter he has launched his own guiding company Stentiford snowboarding offering free riding and splitboarding courses in the Chamonix valley. If you find yourself in that area of the alps and want an inspirational day of snowboarding, especially if you fancy earning those turns then look no further!

Monday, 13 January 2014

hunkered down

Lovely memories of using a tent to shelter tired sun burnt arms from the sun and not other elements!

One of the cooler things about running this blog is the random worldwide connections it creates with  other creative, surf stoked people. Case in point was a recent email from Evan at from california whose got a pretty slick looking site based on his passion for travel on a budget, waves and music. Worth clicking through to if you have a fwminutes to spare.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

the path.

I remember feeling all Endless summer as i walked along this path through French dunes, crossed the horizon and saw empty small warm beach break in front of me. Not quite Cape St Francis but not a bad substitute for a couple of hours!

I'm actually off to the snowy vistas of Norway again in a week or so, looking forward to some nice mellow snowboarding and hopefully some sneaky fresh pow turns.

Norway is not really high on most peoples bucket lists for snow trips. Most people’s preconceptions are that the mountains are small and it’s really cold, and expensive.

That’s kinda right. It’s certainly a different experience to visiting the alps. There are no towering crags and precipitous roads as you approach, no winding hairpins and heart in the mouth moments as French locals overtake you on blind bends.

It’s more of a snowy wonderland. The last tarmac you see is the runway at Gatwick. The plane lands on snow and all the roads are white. The hills are rolling and pine covered and white as far as the eye can see and you’re just as likely to see locals zoom past you on cross country ski’s as pass on foot.

The resorts themselves are pretty small with a limited vertical drop and it’s not that steep. It’s not a place for motorway skiing or ticking off several places in one day. You’re not sold so far I know.

But…… the snow quality is excellent, pretty much guaranteed. The cold temperatures prevent any kind of freeze thaw freeze cycle like you often get in France so it stays as packed powder that holds a beautiful edge on-piste for ever after a snowfall. I reckon Tahoe is the only other place with such consistency I’ve been. When there are freshies to be had there’s amazing, safe tree runs to be had, which don’t get tracked that quickly because the resorts are pretty quiet out of weekends.

It’s not that cold either really as long as you have a decent set of gloves (mitts are good) and a good jacket. I’m a sucker for a nice down jacket and I’ve been loving my volcom one the last couple of trips. I digress but check out if you are in the US reading this, they have big discounts on ski equipment and other outdoors gear at discounts up to 70% off retail!

The parks are ace too, really well maintained with kickers from tiny up to scary giant size. Quite often they are dotted around at the sides of main runs so easy to hit if you are spending the day with non freestyling family!

And that’s where the real strength of the place comes. It’s a great place for getting your kids stoked on skiing. The instruction is great, their English is better than some Englishmen I’ve met and the resorts are perfect for building confidence in children or that non skiing girlfriend / wife you have coerced into joining you!

It’s not even that expensive, with the euro so strong and the “off the radar” nature of the place it’s a similar cost to going anywhere else.

It’s also a really great, different experience to the classic brits abroad/ party vibe that you get in the big alpine resorts and sometimes doing something different to the taking a low budget flight to Geneva and beyond can be good!

Monday, 6 January 2014


I was reading one of Tom's blog posts about popping up on waves as a beginner the other day. It got me thinking about one of my favorite things in longboarding, a true simple pleasure, the old "left go right"

There's something incredibly satisfying about a well executed fade take off, the pendulum swing of inertia as you stand and turn in one fluid motion, ideally timed perfectly to allow the section to steepen and smoothly followed by a swift cross step to toes over.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

happy new year

Hope it's a good one for you and yours!

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