Expert Review: Never Summer Harpoon Snowboard · 2022Published on 06/23/2022 · 8 min readThis review is my honest opinion of the snowboard which I purchased with my own money in January of 2022.
Never Summer Harpoon with Now Conda Bindings cruising with friends. All photos courtesy of Tyese Messerman
About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the snowboard which I purchased with my own money in January of 2022.
I absolutely fell in love with the Never Summer Harpoon. An intermediate to advanced rider who likes to ride off-piste with a freestyle flair will be stoked on the Harpoon. From trees to powder, this directional board is playful yet charges hard.
About the gear
- Model: Never Summer Harpoon 2022
- Size: 148
- Height: 5’7”
- Weight: 130lb
- Experience: 23+ years
- When I bought these: January 2022
- Days tested: 25+
- Mount position: +12 / -6
- Boots: Ride Sage
- Boot Size: 9 Women’s
- Bindings: Now Conda 2022 & Union Juliet 2022
- Where I’ve used it: Oregon, Utah, California, France
- Terrain: Powder, Trees, Groomers, Park, Chunder, Springtime Slush
How it performs
What I was looking for
I already owned a traditional camber board that carved great on groomers and could handle jumps well, so I was in the market for a board that was good in powder and in the chunder that forms after the snow, gets tracked out and heavy in the PNW. I was very curious about the volume-shifted boards since I tend to like a slightly shorter board anyways. I wanted something that was really fun in powder, trees, and open bowls, and had a freestyle flair still.
Why I chose this gear
I checked out a lot of reviews and comparisons online and found that the Harpoon consistently got rated high for powder, yet was rated as one of the more playful boards in that category. It seemed like a perfect fit for my free-ride / free-style love.
I looked closely at the Ride Psychocandy, the Lib Tech Orca, and the Salomon Dancehaul. The Psychocandy and Orca seemed to be stiffer and potentially better at carving, which is awesome, but wasn’t quite what I was looking for in the end. The Dancehaul also looked fun, but I chose to go with the Harpoon because I wanted the rocker between the feet that Never Summer uses in their Fusion Rocker Camber for that surfy playful vibe.
What I love about it
- Speed: This board is really versatile and it doesn’t compromise on speed too much, although it is not the fastest board I’ve ridden on groomers. If I max out, over 30mph, for example, it does get a bit shaky, but in powder, it can go as fast as I want it to. Generally, it is recommended to ride this board a little shorter than average which will cut down on stability at high speeds a little bit as well.
- Turns: Overall, turning on this board is super fun! The semi-deep sidecut makes it easy to make quick tight turns and it feels very nimble and playful. If I lay into it, I can also get bigger swooping turns, but this board really excels at tight turns. Since it is not quite as stiff as some other volume-shifted boards, even slower turns are easy if I am riding with kids or doing a cruiser day with the fam.
- Powder: Absolutely incredible in powder! The Fusion Rocker Camber they use gives a ton of pop and snap towards the back of the board, and the early rise in the nose makes it float effortlessly through powder. These two features combined offer a really surfy feel in powder. I feel lightweight like I’m floating on top of the powder instead of plowing through it.
- Trees: This is one of my favorite boards to ride in trees. The sidecut makes it easy to turn on a dime, which is perfect for trees! The Rocker Camber profile mixed with the slight setback provides a lot of control towards the back of the board, making it easy to throw around tight trees. I find that on a powder day in trees is where it really shines, and I can go quite fast while feeling confident I can turn quickly.
- Moguls: Again, this board shines doing quick turns, so moguls are no exception. I find that I have a lot of control to turn quickly and stay in control even in tight moguls.
- Backcountry: This board is made in a splitboard as well, and I think it would be amazing in the backcountry. It goes through powder awesome, and often in the backcountry I hit a lot of uneven terrain and the Harpoon plows through chunder and wind lips easily. If I’m carrying this board on my back, it is pretty lightweight so I think it would be a great choice for hiking up or hitting the sidecountry as well.
- Durability: I’m really impressed with the construction and durability of this board. I have used it for well over 20 days already and the top sheet just doesn’t chip. They advertise it as a premium top sheet and it really is. It also has a textured feel that seems almost scratch-resistant and works sort of like a built-in stomp pad. The base is fast and durable, and Never Summer uses a P-tex tip/tail protection that seems to work great as well.
- Weight: It doesn’t feel overly light when I pick it up, but once riding I feel very nimble and lightweight on it. Never Summer uses their Superlight Wood Core construction in it so it is said to be one of the lightest cores out there.
- Stability: The stability of this board really stands out. They use something called RDS 2 Damping System which offers an ideal balance of a damp feel that reduces chatter and plows through chunder, while still being poppy and lively. The wider design also helps with overall stability too. I feel like I can plow through anything, and it also butters surprisingly well for being a free-ride-focused board.
Issues I’ve encountered
- Edge hold: Edge hold is average on this board. For being a playful board that excels in powder and uses the camber/rocker hybrid design, I do think the Vario Power Grip Sidecut they use helps hold an edge well! On hard-packed slightly icy groomers, however, I did have a little trouble with skidding out when I was going fast.
- Groomers: It is not a bad ride on groomers, but I would prefer more of a traditional camber design or a board that really loves to carve on a groomed run. This board shines off-piste more than on, but it is still perfectly fun on groomers!
- Park: I wouldn’t say that this board shines in the park. While it is fun to hit side hits in the backcountry and off-piste, it isn’t ideal for rails and boxes. It is playful on small hits, but when I hit a few medium-sized jumps in the park with it I felt more unstable. Due to its directional design and camber/rocker hybrid profile, I didn’t feel like I could get a solid lead-up to the jumps to feel in control in the air.
- Switch riding This is a directional board designed to be ridden setback, and it also has early rise in the nose. That being said, the nose is much longer than the tail, so riding switch is not ideal. I can land a spin switch, but I’ll want to switch back pretty quickly!
Favorite moment with this gear
I have had a ton of great moments with this board, but I have to say the very first day I took it out was absolutely amazing. I had been riding traditional camber boards for quite a while, and when I got on this board I felt high on life! It didn’t hurt that we had about 8 inches of fresh snow that morning. We cruised through trees in fresh powder all morning, and I had such a blast turning fast through the trees and hitting little bumps and jumps. I felt really lightweight and nimble and not locked into the ground at all. We found a few natural kickers and spent the afternoon hitting those and having a great time.
Value for the money vs. other options
I think Never Summer has always run a bit on the high end of pricing, but I actually think this board is worth it. It is still cheaper MSRP than the Lib Tech Orca, but it comes in more expensive than most of the other options out there like the Ride Psychocandy and Warpig. I love the Hybrid Fusion camber that the Harpoon has though, and I think their durability and top sheets are top of the line. For those who have the money to spend, I’d go for it!
I would hands down recommend this board to any intermediate or advanced rider who was looking for a playful, volume-shifted, free-ride, powder board. I wouldn’t say it is the best ‘one-quiver’ board, but for those who already have a park board or a carving board and are looking to add another board to your quiver, this is definitely worth checking out!