Expert Review: 2023 Salomon Super 8 Snowboard [with Video]Published on 09/01/2023 · 15 min readSnowboard Experts Everett Pelkey and Mike Leighton tested the 2023 Salomon Super 8 snowboard on carving, freestyle, and freeride at Powder Mountain in Utah.
Curated Experts Everett Pelkey and Mike Leighton got their hands on the 2023 Salomon Super 8 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 Super 8 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 Salomon claim about this board? [Everett] Salomon claims that this is a hard-charging powder board that is meant to rip yet still be affordable.
[Mike] Salomon claims this board is based off of Josh Dirkson's riding style of ripping groomers and also riding a lot of pow. They also claim this board is really designed for the free rider really looking to add a lot of control coming into their turns from their back foot. So what they did is shift the camber profile back and add a bit of a flat spot in the nose. It really wants to drive through any chop or chunder and it shifts that control to that back foot, which really gives you a lot of power out of your turns.
What's your overall impression of the board? [Everett] My overall impression of this board is that it is definitely built for those bank slalom, hard-charging turns; but when it gets deep, you can still get after it on this board.
[Mike] This board's really fun, even though the conditions were a bit challenging today. It’s really all about just cranking turns, having a good time, and exploring the whole hill.
How does it turn? [Everett] This thing is meant to turn. I really get to press on that back foot to drive it; when I press on that gas, it'll get right into those deep turns. It wants to really get those high, hard turns and it'll come right around. And on a dime I was turning. I probably could put one penny down, find it, and turn right around it.
[Mike] It turns really well. The combination of those quadratic sidecuts, the stiffness, and the backseat camber makes it a great board for carving. Because it is set back a bit, that also helps with some of those shorter-radius turns. It helps me feel really confident. If you get into trees or moguls, it's a really easy board to get through there.
How is its edge hold? [Everett] This thing holds an edge extremely well. That’s what it's meant to do. It's one of the highlights of this board. It makes sure that you're holding it no matter what terrain you're hitting.
[Mike] So what's really cool is this board features what they label as a quadratic side cut. So that’s different-radius side cuts in the board, which actually help with the ease of turn initiation. And with the backseat camber profile, it makes it really easy to get up on edge, and you can really hold a solid edge as you're turning.
How is its stability in turns? [Everett] So this board is a little bit more stable than expected, but also you really have to understand the fundamentals of how this board is meant to be driven. To keep it super stable underfoot, since it is a little bit wider, you have to be able to make sure that while you're getting back and forth over it, knowing exactly where your contact points keeps you super steady—wherever you're charging.
[Mike] I will say, I ride pretty heavily on my front foot. So, sometimes on that heel-side or toe-side edge, because it sets the camber onto that back foot, I didn't find it to be the most stable and in-control on some higher edges and harder carves. But overall, this board is incredibly stable. When it's on a flat base, it's great. You don't notice a ton of movement in the tip and the tail. And for a rider that is a little bit more back-foot dominant, they might not notice these issues at all.
How is it in terms of speed? [Everett] It does take a while to get this board really up to speed. You really have to push on the gas pedal and the back foot, since it is meant to be steered with the back foot camber; that's where it's really going to start picking up and going. It's stable, you just have to wait for it to get up there.
How is the board’s acceleration? [Everett] This board accelerates at a very steady speed. It really charges hard, but you really have to initiate it yourself to make it go. If you're not sitting on that, it's really going to stay back and go at a much slower pace. You got to really push down that camber underfoot and charge yourself forward.
[Mike] So, I didn't find this board to have a ton of acceleration in and out of turns. It was a lot more stable in that sense. But because of the backseat camber, it's designed for you to press out of your turn on that back foot, which is going to help increase that kind of energy and acceleration through the turn. So, if you're a rider that is not as dynamic with that movement, you might not notice that there is a lot of liveliness coming from turn to turn; but it also holds its speed of momentum really well as you change edges.
Is it easy to control at speed? [Everett] This board was not the easiest to control, but it took me a while to really understand why. Having that backfoot camber and only the flat in the front instead of a typical rocker in a directional board like this, you really have to press down to initiate the drive.
[Mike] This board feels great and in-control at speed. If it's hardpack snow, it might be a little bit unstable at speed on a higher edge. But if you're running flat based, there are no issues there. It is an incredibly fast board, too. But I'd say it might be a little sketchy trying to turn it at speed on some really hardpack snow. But overall, you feel in control at any speed on this board.
Is there any chatter? [Everett] So the dampening on this board is great. There weren't too many situations I ran into, even on these hard days, where it was difficult to feel what was underneath my feet. I could really flow through anything. Today, I hit some ruts, and there was tons of chatter, but this thing charged right through them.
[Mike] Overall, this board is fairly damp. It doesn't have some of the liveliness of other boards, but it is incredibly stable in turns. The only time that I felt any instability or chatter was when I was a little bit too far forward on specifically my heel-side edge on a groomer and hit a little bit of a harder-packed spot. But overall, there's not a ton of chatter underfoot. It is incredibly smooth.
How playful is the board? [Everett] This board is definitely not the most playful, freestyle-oriented board. That's not what it's built for. That doesn't mean you can't push it in that direction. It does have a little bit of playfulness if you get it into where it needs to be. But with the heavier stiffness, it's torsionally not meant to really move. It's there to be more of a tank of a board to hold those edges and turns.
[Mike] From a freestyle perspective, it's not the most playful. And I mean that in a strict standpoint. You could still press it, butter it around, but this isn't going to be your go-to board for pressing. But if you're surfing a bank slalom and you're slashing turns, that's pretty freestyle to me. So, it is incredibly playful, just not necessarily, say, in the traditional freestyle sense.
How is its pop? [Everett] Pop wise, you get the camber in the back foot but not the front. And that's where you lose out on the liveliness and spring out of it. But if you follow through with a good, hard charge through it, you can still get some air out of this board.
[Mike] The board has decent pop. You definitely have to lean into it to really get a lot of pop in it, but it's still going to get you up there. If you're hitting rollers or jumps, it's still going to be really fun.
How is it riding switch? [Everett] Riding switch is not something I highly recommend on this board. It's not what it's meant to do, but if you're ready to go for it, you can still do it.
[Mike] For switch riding, because of the shape, it does feel like you have a rudder behind you when you're riding switch. The difference in the tip and the tail is noticeable. But you can still get it on an edge. It'll still turn just fine. It's just not something that I would ride a ton of switch on. I've had some close experiences on similarly shaped boards. And once you start riding a ton of switch, when you're getting to higher speeds, that difference in the tip and the tail becomes noticeable, and it can be a little scary.
How is it for buttering? [Everett] Since it's not a freestyle-oriented board, buttering it is not really within its wheelhouse. But since it's a stiffer flex, once you find the right point, you could balance it on there and really get on the nose or tail.
[Mike] You can definitely play around and butter on it, lay back on it, or spin around on it. It's not an educated freestyle board, but for the style of board it is, it is incredibly fun to play around on.
How is the board on jumps and how is its stability on landings? [Everett] From a freestyle aspect, this board would only be good for jumping. Not really initiating spins and hard turns, even though it is good at hard turning; but off a jump, you're not going to be able to really get around too many maneuvers. It is super stable, though, so you can hit some pretty big features when it comes to that.
[Mike] This board is super stable. Once you get it flat based, if you're going to be landing your regular direction, this board is going to be incredibly stable and confidence inspiring on the landing. If you're trying to land it switch, it might be a little sketchier. But overall, if you want to throw a big grab or 360, this board's going to be just fine on that. And then also with pop on jumps, it's stable on the take off. You're not going to jump out of the gym on this board, but it's still going to get you up there. You're going to have enough time to throw that method, grab indy, whatever you're doing. It's a fun board to jump.
How would it be in powder? [Everett] Taking this board off the hard-charging groomers and moving it into the powder actually does it justice. The nose and the little bit of taper is really going to help you lift and get that float. And the way that you're going to be able to drive the back foot will push you through those turns. It’s super comfortable and super stable, and it’ll just charge you right through them.
[Mike] This board is designed to ride powder. It’s a wider shape; it’s set back already. It's got a flat area through the contact point all the way into the nose, so you can think of it like a ship's bow cutting through the fresh snow. And with that setback, this board is a dream in powder.
How is it riding in the trees? How is its maneuverability? [Everett] Surprisingly, for tighter-area maneuverability, this board takes a second. But once you understand the way it moves, you drive it around. Since you can ride it a little bit with that shorter tail, you're able to make those surfy, quicker, dynamic turns. But I wouldn't say it's totally the best thing in the trees or moguls or anything like that. Though you are super stable while going through those.
[Mike] This is a great board to ride in tighter conditions. That quadratic side cut is also going to help with that turn initiation. So if you're hopping in the trees, this is another great board to grab.
To sum up, what terrain is this board ideal for? [Everett] If you're ever joining a bank slalom, pick this board up. This is a good go-to for that. Steady turns is where this thing thrives. You're not trying to do quick, fast maneuvers, you're really trying to just flow through the course as you're going down. It gives you the flow, and then as soon as the powder hits, you'll be staying on top all day long.
[Mike] So this board is going to be happiest on edge and in fresh snow. So if that sounds like the style of riding that you like, then this is a great board.
What terrain should riders avoid with it? [Everett] You would not really want to take this to the park. It's not a jibby kind of board. That's just not what it's meant to do. A good rider could put it through its paces a bit, but I don't recommend that.
[Mike] If you are riding a lot of switch, if you are hitting a lot of rails, if you really spend the same amount of time riding regular-end switch, this is not the best board for you. So if you're a park or rail guy, this is not going to be the board of choice. But if you are a park guy, and it's the end of season, or you're getting into bank slaloms, this is a great option for you.
Any location in the world that it might be good for? [Everett] This board is for places that get good snow: longer runs that are wide open and you can really get those hard-carving turns in. So maybe on East Coast days, if you have wider-groomed runs, then you can flow through them. And then the occasional snow day. But on the West Coast, you're getting that snow. This thing will be right out there with it.
[Mike] This board is good in December and January fresh snow, and it's just as much fun on those spring, slushie days when you're just riding around with your friends. And also, this is a board that's going to excel out West, specifically the Pacific Northwest Sierras. That's where it's going to be most at home. Where you want something that can hit the groomers in the morning or can hit morning powder days is just going to be equally as fun. That's where this board’s sweet spot is going to be.
How does it handle uneven terrain? [Everett] So uneven terrain and chunder does give this thing a run for its money. But it can handle any off-piste conditions, like not really well groomed, harder, icy conditions. It's not going to do so as well here, but it's really going to damp through that.
[Mike] We had some pretty uneven and challenging conditions today. And with the shape of this board, it's super maneuverable and easy to turn. It is fairly damp, so it'll eat up some of that chop. Also with that backseat camber, you can kind of sit back and take the train and snow as it comes. So when things do get a little choppy, it's going to perform just fine.
Who would you recommend this board to? [Everett] I would recommend this board to more intermediate, higher-end riders. But you don't need to be a true expert to really get what's built into this board.
[Mike] I would recommend this board to any freerider who likes to put the board on edge, likes chasing fresh snow, and has grown up watching Josh Dirksen's videos. This is just a really fun board for someone who likes to ride a bit of everything, doesn't spend a ton of time in the park, but can take a park lap or two.
Who should avoid this board? [Everett] I would not recommend this for beginners. It's not a true shape build for them. It can work that generally, but the stiffness is where it's going to get you.
[Mike] I think the main people that are going to want to stay away from this board are the park rats. This is a board that's designed to be turned, and it's designed to ride pow as well.
Snowboards work differently for different types of riders. If you want help finding the right board for you, reach out to Everett, Mike or any other Snowboard Expert here on Curated for free, personalized recommendations. Note that the 2024 version of the Salomon Super 8 is linked below - same tech, just different graphic: