Head 2 Head: Lib Tech Orca vs. Never Summer Harpoon
Snowboard experts Colby Henderson and Franco DiRienzo test these boards against each other for carving, freeriding, and freestyling.
This week, we’re headed to Sunday River Resort in Maine for an epic battle - to pit the Lib Tech Orca against the Never Summer Harpoon. Is the Orca going to snap the Harpoon? Is the Harpoon going to deal the whale a deadly blow?
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
- Height: 6’2”
- Weight: 160 lbs
- Years Snowboarding: 20
- Favorite Terrain: Trees and powder
- Height: 5’11”
- Weight: 210 lbs
- Years Snowboarding: 23
- Favorite Terrain: Trees
Lib Tech Orca
- All-mountain freeride
- Medium-stiff flex
- C2X technology (camber/rocker/camber)
The Lib Tech Orca is a directional, all-mountain, freeride board that's designed to be ridden shorter than your normal snowboard. It features Mervin’s C2X Profile, which is rocker between your feet and then camber zones under each foot. It also has Mervin's Magne-traction edges, which are like serrated edges that give you extra edgehold on ice.
Never Summer Harpoon
- All-mountain freeride
- Medium flex
- Fusion rocker camber (camber/rocker/camber)
The Never Summer Harpoon is a directional, all-mountain, freeride board that features their Fusion rocker camber profile, with a transition in the nose, camber zones under each foot with a rocker zone in between the feet, and their Vario Power Grip sidecut for extra edgehold on ice.
[Colby] I think they both carved great, and I think that the Orca might have a slight edge here. It's super stable, the Magne-traction.
[Franco] Especially where we are here in New England, we get a lot of icy patches, a lot of those really hard days. So having Magne-traction can definitely be a big benefit.
That being said though, I did have a ton of fun carving on the Harpoon. I would say overall, the Harpoon is surfier, it's quicker edge to edge, and it just has a more nimble, playful feel, while still maintaining a lot of dampness and stability which I think is really cool.
[Colby] I found the Orca to be just a little bit more stable, a little bit more locked into the turn. And that's probably partly due to the Magne-traction, but once you get it on edge, no matter what's in your path, the Magne-traction's gonna hold, and the board itself, with the HP construction this year, just plows through everything. The Harpoon will get through it too, and it's super damp, it just feels like more of a nimble type board, whereas the Orca feels more of like a power board that just pushes through.
[Franco] It's powerful.
[Colby] The Orca's just more powerful. I think both are good carvers, my pick is the Orca.
[Franco] Yeah, I'm gonna agree with Colby here. My pick is also the Orca for carving.
[Colby] For my style of riding, the more playful board, the more fun to butter, is the Harpoon. If you want a board you can just go dink around on, butter around on, pop off side-hits, spin. It's super short. I had a blast on the Harpoon.
[Franco] For a freeride board, this thing does really well for doing freestyle kind of stuff. I mean, kinda like we talked about, the dampness. I kinda sat back on that tail and just kinda rode the tail butter through a whole bunch of chunder and pow, and all kinds of different conditions, and it was like it wasn't even there. It just plowed right through it. I gotta say actually, to me the Orca was the better switch-rider on a regular groomer or a run-out just probably because of the Magne-traction, and the arc of the turn was a little bit more predictable. It was a little bit easier to ride, a little bit more predictable. The Harpoon is a little bit more unstable riding switch.
[Colby] If you're sending a lot of cliffs, kinda backcountry, freestyle, drops, jumps, I think the Orca’s gonna have better landing gear. The Harpoon will have your back, but I just feel like the Orca's gonna be the more solid board to land on.
[Franco] For the freeride category, they both do exceptionally well in a completely different manner. The Harpoon, when you get into some of that chunder and that mixed snow type of conditions, it's super nimble. You can really weave in between. If you don't feel like doing that though, you could plow straight-line through everything. You don't feel anything. The Orca is not as nimble, it's just powerful. It'll get through anything. The float is insane; it's made for the powder. You almost can't sink it if you want to again.
[Colby] I think the Orca has better float than the Harpoon. I mean, they both have good float, but I just think the Orca's is a little bit better. The Orca, it's a little bit more work to ride. I think with the HP construction it stiffened up the torsional flex a little bit. And it just takes a little bit more effort to drive the board this year.
[Franco] Speaking to that, like I wouldn't have any hesitations putting, even like a more advanced beginner, or a more aggressive beginner on the Harpoon. I would be very reticent to put someone like that on the Orca. It's not the right board for them, whereas this board they can control it still, and have fun with it now and grow into it.
[Colby] Even though the Orca is more stable, kinda like, more for hard-charging riders, my overall pick for freeride was the Harpoon, and that's because I had more fun on it.
[Franco] I gotta go Orca, I like having that solid tail. It gives me a little bit more confidence when I'm getting into some sketchier situations. Maybe it's me and my too many PBR's the night before, and my 210 pounds, I like having that little bit of extra board underneath me, but I'm, I'm picking the Orca.
[Colby] All right, we're just gonna do this. Cause I already know what Franco's picking.
[Franco] He's right, I'm picking the Orca.
[Colby] So my overall pick is the Harpoon. I think with the HP construction in the Orca this year, it took away a little bit of the like, playfulness to it that I liked. So for me, this board has that. It is this amazing blend of playfulness, liveliness, you get good pop, but it's still super damp and stable. And I own the Orca, like I love this board. It's actually a joke at Curated. I'm like, the Orca dude. So for me to pick the Harpoon it's kinda crazy, but honestly like, it's just such a fun board.
[Franco] I had an absolute blast on the Harpoon. It was so much fun. You can do almost anything you want with it. It's very playful. That being said, look at this thing. Look at this board.
[Colby] It's so sick.
[Franco] It's so sick. For my size, for my weight, for the way I ride, the Orca, I could use it as my daily driver.
[Colby] I don't know if it killed it. It might have been like a glancing blow. The Harpoon was thrown. It made contact with the whale.
[Franco] It did.
So as you can see, different snowboards work differently for different types of riders. If you have any questions on which of these boards might be right for you, reach out to us or any of our other awesome Snowboard experts here at Curated.
And if you are enjoying this content, make sure to like our video, subscribe to our youtube channel, and let us know what boards you want us to put against each other next Head 2 Head. Because honestly, we really enjoy doing these reviews and so, the more feedback you guys give us, the more opportunities we'll have to bring you more boards that you wanna see us ride.
In case you missed them, check out the other board rivalries we covered this season: