Expert Review: 2023 Never Summer Women's Proto Synthesis Snowboard [with Video]
Snowboard Expert Arielle Busch tested the 2023 Never Summer Women's Proto Synthesis snowboard on carving, freestyle, and freeride at Powder Mountain in Utah.
Curated Expert Arielle Busch got her hands on the 2023 Never Summer Women's Proto Synthesis and put it to the test at Powder Mountain in Utah this spring. Check out how it performed in the carving, freestyle, and freeride categories, but don’t forget, every rider is unique; if you have any questions on the Women's Proto Synthesis or would like recommendations on what board would be ideal for your needs, reach out to a Snowboard Expert here on Curated.
Before we jump in, a quick note that Curated Experts are not sponsored by any brands, all of these reviews are completely unbiased.
What does Never Summer claim about this board? Never Summer claims that this is a women's all-mountain twin that features Shockwave Rocker Camber, which will give you the power of camber, but the forgiveness of rocker; and you'll get back twice as much as you can give to this board.
What's your overall impression of the board? My first impression is this board would be perfect for a rider who is looking to progress their performance skills. This could be a higher beginner to a lower intermediate rider who wants to start getting into ollies, carving, tighter turns, and some trees. I used to own the women's prototype, which was the very first proto-model for a woman, so I was really excited to get on this new model and see what some of the changes were. I didn't think it was stiff, but it also wasn’t as playful as I wanted. It wasn’t what I like to call a playful flex, but I think that's because it’s a hybrid and the camber in it is very low. When I say playful, I want it to be a little poppy, lively, and have a softer flex. And this definitely lacked lively poppiness, but it can turn on a dime. I think a beginner could ride this easily. Someone who has taken a few lessons, can make some turns, and is looking to get their first deck.
How stiff is this board? I actually found this board to be a little bit stiffer than I would've wanted it to be. It's a true 6 out of 10. So it's definitely not the softest. But that also gave it a little bit of control. Though I think I just wanted it to be a little bit more playful. I don’t think taller women, those who are taller than me, would find this board to be incredibly stiff.
How does it turn? Turning on this board is very, very, very easy. It would give beginners confidence in dialing in their turns. For beginners, normally there's always a weaker turn—either your heel side or toe side turn. This board would give someone the confidence that they would need because I don't think they're going to miss a turn on this board.
How is its edge hold? I truly don't think a beginner is going to catch an edge unless they take this board where it shouldn't go. And that is on steeper terrain. Plus, if you've never carved before, this board can help you carve.
How is stability in turns? It definitely wasn't the most stable women's Never Summer board that I've ever been on, but I am also an aggressive, more free-rider boarder. If you're a beginner who’s wary on one of your turns, I think this board is going to progress you to feeling confident and then progress you even more into learning some newer skills.
How is it in terms of speed? The Proto is definitely not going to have a catchy feel. It's not going to be the fastest board under your feet, but it's also not going to be the slowest.
Is it easy to control at speed? I didn't feel that much underfoot chatter when I was riding, which was confidence inspiring. That being said, I did feel a little bit.
How is its pop? I definitely think it lacked a bit of pop and it wasn't as lively as I wanted it to be when I was trying to get it in the air. That could be because it's not a complete cambered profile. And so with that rocker, it does give you a little bit of that forgiveness, and that's why I think it can be approached by a little bit lower level of a rider.
How is it riding switch? This board is definitely an all-mountain twin, so you can absolutely practice your switch. You can definitely rock some 180s on this. If you have never ridden switch before, this board can help you to do so.
How is it for buttering? I was definitely able to press, and butter, and get a little bit playful, but it wasn't the most playful board I've been on.
How does it perform in the park? It's not that you can't take this board into the park, but it just wouldn't be my freestyle-specific board.
How would it be in powder? This would not be my powder-specific board. I was able to take this board into a little bit of fresh powder, but the float was not the best. I think there are some other boards in their line that would float better.
How is it riding in the trees? I think this board thrives on some groomed terrain, and you can definitely take it into some trees.
To sum up, what terrain is this board ideal for? On more mellow terrain, a newer rider would be able to gain the confidence they're looking for in being able to nail their toe side and heel side turns every time and never worry about catching an edge.
What terrain should riders avoid with it? On steeper terrain, this board had a lot of chatter at high speeds.
Who would you recommend this board to? This board was definitely meant for lower level riders: women looking to progress without being on a board that’s a noodle. I don't weigh very much, so for me, the flex of the board is really important, and I tend to like a mid-stiff to softer board. And this one was a little bit stiffer. But with that rocker in here, that's what's going to give you that confidence boost. That's what's going to get you to nail those heels, and toe turns, and really progress you to that next level of snowboarding.
Snowboards work differently for different types of riders. If you want help finding the right board for you, reach out to Arielle or any other Snowboard Expert here on Curated.