Gentemstick Super Fish snowboards are the stuff of legend. Snow Action’s Snowboard Editor Peter Wunder separates myth from reality with his road test review from 7 years on Super Fish, from insanely steep Alaska to his insanely deep Rusutsu Hokkaido backyard.
It was a magic day out, in a secret spot in Hokkaido close to Rusutsu Resort and I was riding a Gentemstick Super Fish 176. This board is amazing. It’s a large board at 176cm long but rides like a 160cm. It’s easy to throw around and pick tight lines in close trees thanks to the massive rocker and large split-tail design.
I first rode a Super Fish seven years ago in Japan and fell in love with it in the deep powder.
I called it the ‘Trail Maker’ because while everyone else is struggling to walk out of the deep snow, I’m still floating and going places others can’t.
This is a regular scenario in Japan’s massive powder. I turn around to see all my friends following my track so they can get out of the trees to make it to the groomer without walking.
I also rode my Super Fish in Haines, Alaska on a heli trip to some seriously steep and deep powder – well over 60° is the sharp end of the slope equation. Check out the full story on that trip on the link here.
The Gentemstick Super Fish was incredible in Alaska, performing at its peak on high speed runs on some of the steepest crazy lines you can board anywhere in the world.
I was surprised the American heli guides, who were skiers, all knew about Gentemstick boards. But they’d never seen one, so they were picking mine up and checking it out in awe.
I had doubts about how the board would perform on groomers, but I was pleasantly surprised. It hooks hard smooth turns.
It’s like riding a Harley-Davidson motorbike that’s not going to be aggressive like a Ducati. Or like riding a Malibu over a short board.
The Super Fish likes stretched out smooth carves, giving the feeling that you’re surfing. But it really comes alive in the deep powder.
The split tail design makes the back end very soft and flexible allowing it to spring out of turns in the deepest powder. The bamboo build material gives a high amount of flex throughout the length of the board.
This flex makes it porpoise through the powder like a dolphin rather than a ploughing through pushing snow like most stiffer shorter boards. This is a much smoother feeling for the rider and you can ride faster, higher and further above the powder.
The nose of the Gentemstick Super Fish is very wide giving more float. When I get enough air I can even feel the lift from air under the huge front of the board.
When the guy next to me is face planting because the front of his board wasn’t big enough to take the landing, I’m sailing off to get the powder first.
My favourite thing about the board is the stance set way back so I don’t have to ride with a straight front leg and squatted back leg all day. I ride with my weight evenly distributed 50/50 front to back in a much more comfortable position. In deep and steep snow I sometimes find myself putting 60/40 on the front foot to try and hold the massive nose area down. At the end of a big powder day my legs and body feel so much better than riding a normal board.
Yes, Gentemskicks cost a lot of money – around $AUD 2,000 – but they are well worth every dollar spent. If you’re thinking about buying one don’t think any more, just get one.
There are many different types of Gentemstick boards so you need to find what suits you.
I also ride a Gentemstick Super Fish Cloud Liner. This board is the same as a normal Super Fish, but the waist to back end is a little wider for people with bigger feet like size US 11 plus. The board is a little stiffer as well so you can crank harder turns on the groomers.
We had been watching the weather for a week and eyeing off a blue bird day to take the sleds over to our secret spot where no one goes. It’s a private hill for the day with not one track on it because you need a sled to get there. After a lull in the weather, with little snow for eleven days, it was a treat to find knee deep untouched powder. The hill never gets direct sun so the snow is always soft.
We had three 850cc Skidoo Summits with 176 inch tracks to cope with the deep powder. Six snowboarders took turns to board down the hill and ride the sled back up to the top. We managed 15 laps each which are around 1.5 km long with a lunch break at the top relaxing in the sun looking over magic views of lake Toya, Rusutsu Resort, Mt Yotei and Mt Shirabetsu. For me that’s just the best day out with friends you can have.
Do yourself a favour or buy yourself a present, get a Gentemstick Super Fish soon is my verdict.
Check them out and find your nearest stockists here http://www.gentemstick.com/ttss/
NB: Our writer is not sponsored by Gentemstick and paid for his boards.