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Head 2 Head: Salomon Super 8 vs. K2 Instrument

Published on 02/04/2023 · 8 min readSnowboard Experts Everett Pelkey and Mike Leighton test these boards against each other for carving, freeriding, and freestyling.
By Curated Experts Everett Pelkey and Mike Leighton

On this episode of Head 2 Head in Powder Mountain, Utah, we’re featuring a super-charged battle between the Salomon Super 8 and the K2 Instrument. Which snowboard will claim victory today?

Check out the video below or read on to see what happens.

And before we jump in, a quick note that we aren’t sponsored by any brands to create this review. These are our own personal opinions on these boards. Now let’s get to it!

A bit about us

Everett Pelkey

  • Height: 5’7"
  • Weight: 180 lbs
  • Years Snowboarding: 19
  • Favorite Terrain: Anywhere you can bring freestyle fun and turn the mountain into a playground

Mike Leighton

  • Height: 6’2”
  • Weight: 185 lbs
  • Years Snowboarding: 23
  • Favorite Terrain: Steeps or trees if the snow is soft. Ripping groomers or the park if it's sunny

K2 Instrument

  • Directional
  • Stiff Flex (7/10)
  • Rocker

K2 claims that the Instrument is an all-mountain freeride board with a heavy dose of fresh snow and carving.

Salomon Super 8

  • Directional
  • Very Stiff Flex (9/10)
  • Camber in Back / Flat

Salomon claims the Super 8 is a precise-maneuverability board that's also powder friendly. It’s able to rail-in carves and turns all day long, but as soon as it hits any soft spots, it can float as much as needed.

First up…

[Everett] The Super 8 is very backseat driven, which is not typical for a snowboard. Having that backfoot camber makes it that you really have to press it on like a gas pedal to get it to go. But as soon as you do that, it just goes.

[Mike] One of the big differences between the two boards is that there's rocker in the nose in the K2, but the Salomon is actually flat. So, the camber starts a little bit further back, and it really wants to accelerate on the turn. I found the Salomon would get chattery when it was a little bit harder packed and I would try to get my hip forward in a heel-side turn. But once I shifted my weight a little bit further aft, I found the sweet spot.

I think the Instrument is a lot more of a traditional carver, so it's got a wider platform. The Instrument is designed to be ridden three to five centimeters shorter than your normal board. It has a bit more traditional camber, even though it does have that bit of rocker. But as a result, once you get it up on edge, this thing is so much fun. Whether you're putting your chest to the snow, or you're just like trying to lay trenches, you get real low. But, honestly, they each had very different approaches to a similar style of riding. They both lived up to the build. But for me, I had way too much fun carving on the Instrument. Can we go again? I want to go faster.

[Mike] How do you think they handled speed?

[Everett] Especially on the Super 8, I feel like it has a gas brake when you want to open up. The Super 8 you press back, the Instrument you press forward, and they just go. They will just take off on you. Through all of K2's new lineup this year, the boards are really trying to push that lightweight material, but they’re also really snappy and responsive. And it shows in the Instrument for sure. Whereas on the Super 8, it’s a little bit more laid back, but it doesn't mean you're going slow. You're definitely pushing into it. You have to be ready to really commit to going fast and charging hard.

[Mike] Well, with the Super 8, you hold on for dear life and surf it out. As a result, you kind of get into a flow. And all of a sudden you say, "whoa, I'm flying."

[Everett] These are two different ways of driving. The Super 8 is a backseat driver, the Instrument is right up front.

[Mike] My pick for carving is the Instrument. It matches the energetic style I look for, especially on a carving snowboard.

[Everett] The Super 8’s way of backseat driving, you're really able to adjust the degree of how much you want to put into it or take out of it; you're almost able to brake while you're in carves. So that's why I personally like the Salomon.

Next up…

[Everett] Disclaimer, we are not supposed to be riding these as freestyle boards, but yet we will take anything as a freestyle board. And surprisingly, these could take a beating. You feel super stable when taking off and landing. Initiating a turn into more of a spin won't be the best, especially in the K2—I felt it was a little more torsionally stiff. And somehow we found ways to butter on them. Though I would not recommend it.

[Mike] I think the Instrument is the runaway winner for pop.

[Everett] It’s a springboard.

[Mike] From a stability standpoint, though, with the Super 8, you're locked in when you land. And if you land in the backseat, you can definitely find stability.

[Everett] I felt that the Salomon was a little bit softer, which gave me more of that playful feel. Especially that flat nose. I was able to actually get on the nose or tail when I wanted to. I was able to like roll it around a bit more; it's a bit more forgiving, so you can have more butter-style playfulness. But when it came to pop, the K2 had that taken care of all day.

[Mike] In terms of switch, obviously both boards are directional. They both have longer noses than tails. And they both have some form of either flat or rocker in the nose. So, you can ride them switch. I wouldn't recommend it, though, because it does feel like you have a rudder hanging and dragging behind you on a boat when you're turning. So for freestyle, I would go with the Instrument, just because I just enjoyed how much pop it has.

[Everett] I would give only the pop aspect to the K2. But every other aspect, when it came to freestyle—messing around, the softness, the flat in the front, and being heavily set back with that camber, so it feels a little bit more forgiving—I’m going to go with the Salomon.

Last up…

[Mike] We didn't get to ride in a lot of powder, but slush is like wet powder. I really enjoyed how the Instrument handled the slush. It’s quick edge to edge and really maneuverable. The only knock on the Instrument is, because it's so lively, it can get chattery on more uneven terrain. So at lower speeds, it's going to be just fine. But once you get into higher speeds, on choppier, more tundra terrain, it gets a little loose. Whereas I think the Salomon was a little bit more stable in those situations.

[Everett] I would definitely say in conditions like today—extra slushy springtime conditions—you find more stability in the Super 8. Just the way it's meant to just be backseat driven. You're able to whip it around in more nimble spots, and it provides more of a dampening system. And that's due to that backfoot press—it lifts up that nose even better. So, you're going to get extra float when you do hit powder. I was able to find softer spots where it would go. The Instrument, however, will shine on more technical days.

[Mike] On a harder-packed day with more challenging conditions, the Instrument is definitely the choice. But here on slush—where you have to perform more slashes and cruise—the Salomon's been really, really fun. Because of the way they're both designed, like they're each incredibly maneuverable in trees. I think the Instrument is quicker edge to edge and in tighter stuff. But at the same time, you're not gonna go wrong with the Super 8 either.

[Everett] For freeride, I want to keep going with the Salomon, but this is the one time the K2 takes the cake.

[Mike] For freeride, overall, I say the K2. It's just fun.

The verdict…

[Mike] For the type of rider I am, I really think the K2 Instrument is the best choice for me. I really enjoy the wider platform over the front foot, and because of the volume shift, you can run it a bit smaller. So when you get into tighter trees, moguls, whatever, it stays incredibly mobile. There's a ton of pop. So if you want to send rollers, send them. It also holds a great edge.

[Everett] Yeah, that K2 Instrument is a lot of fun. I would say it holds an edge much better. But, for some reason I felt I could get a much higher edge control on the Salomon 8. And understanding how to use the back foot, which is not the most traditional way of riding a snowboard, took me a little bit. But once I figured that out, it opened up a world of possibilities. So, I'm sticking with the Super 8.

[Mike] This all came down to personal opinion, and a board that works for Everett might not work for me. Different snowboards work differently for different riders, and in different conditions. Get connected here on Curated with Everett, me, or another Snowboard Expert, and we'll help you get set up with the best board for you.

[Everett] If you like what you saw here today, click the subscribe button on Youtube to see more from Curated.

[Mike] And let us know in the comments of the Youtube video what board you'd like to see in the next Head 2 Head.

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Matthew Kaminski, Curated Expert
Snowboarding Expert Matthew recommended it to a customer in Odessa 13 days ago
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Snowboarding Expert Matthew recommended it to a customer in Junction City 2 days ago

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Written by:
Everett Pelkey, Snowboarding Expert
Everett Pelkey
Snowboarding Expert
Hi, my name is Everett and I am a professional photographer who specializes in extreme sports and landscape photography. I love adventuring around the world with my dog. Whether its surfing and sailing the Great Lakes or hiking peaks in Montana, I'm always looking for the next big adventure. I spent time living off the land in the bush of Australia to move back to the U.S. to Colorado where I coached snowboarding for 10 years. I have extensive experience in the outdoors; camping, rocking climbing, snowboarding, skiing and anything that involves me to be active.
29 Reviews
560 Customers helped
Mike Leighton, Snowboarding Expert
Mike Leighton
Snowboarding Expert
After earning First Team All-America Honors in Snowboardcross in 2008 & 2009 at the University of Virginia, I started competing professionally in 2009. From 2009-2016, I competed at the NorAm and Grand Prix levels (finishing 12th at NorAm Finals in 2016), and I competed in the Rahlves' Banzai Tour, as well, in Lake Tahoe. My career took me all over North America and to Japan. ​ I was a Snowboard Professional for Breckenridge Resort from 2010-2017. During that time I earned an AASI Level 2 Snowboard Certification and an AASI Level 2 Snowboard Freestyle Certification. I also coached for Method Snowboard Academy from 2016-2018 in Snowboardcross and Big Mountain, qualifying two of my athletes for USASA Nationals, as well as, multiple podiums and wins in both disciplines. ​ I enjoy riding all over the mountain with an ideal run starting off with steep, fresh snow and ending with a run through the park with friends. I also love skinning to and accessing big lines in the backcountry, when the conditions are right, and have my AIARE Level 1 Avalanche Certification. ​ One of my favorite questions for my students when teaching was, "Who is the best snowboarder on the mountain?" Someone would inevitably ask, "You?" I would respond, "No, it's the snowboarder who is having the most fun!" That's my goal. I want to help each person be the "best snowboarder on the mountain" by helping them find the best equipment for their goals.
32 Reviews
426 Customers helped

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