As a surfer, I have finally (after 15+) years found a board that can truly surf down the mountain. It is with great pleasure that I introduce you to Korua Shapes and specifically the Korua Apollo 156 Snowboard.
Before we dive into this board’s glassy offshore specs lets talk about the who and why. Nicholas Wolken and Stephan Mauer started Korua Shapes, both former professional snowboarders who to be blunt probably got forgotten about by the industry as of late.
Nicholas spoke to Onboard Magazine back in November of 2015 and has this to say “I had been struggling to identify with snowboarding for a while; I guess it had to do with the fact that I was getting older”.
Nicholas, you are not alone, I respect the hell out of that comment above! As of late I too have felt that either I am getting old or more importantly that snowboarding as a whole needs to grow up. You can’t ride park forever and as we age one thing seems to be constant across all channels everyone loves to ride pow and this is why you NEED a Korua Shapes in your quiver. And considering that these boards are works of art, you might as well pick up a second to hang on the wall.
Korua Shapes Apollo Review
To be honest this review is long overdue. I have had these boards for just over a year now and have had the pure joy of riding the Apollo 56 in deep snow, hard pack and even pond skimming. I will start with the pond skimming.
Each year Snow King Mountain in the town of Jackson, WY throws a pond skimming contest. As I looked around my quiver it becomes clear as day that only one board would be fit for such a session, the Korua Shapes Apollo 56. Just look at the shape, this thing screams surfboard kick nose and I figured as long as I kept it straight and leaned back the rest would be easy, and it was. I nailed it, and you will too. However, odds are you’re not just buying this board to ride over a pool of water, even if it has a Fish style design.
When it comes to riding powder, like big mountain lines this is a beast of a powder slayer. The board is wider than most and with that comes some serious surface area aka float. What I liked doing with this board was fully opening it up, ride as straight and as fast as possible before hammering a massive overhead turn. You can do this over and over and over again.. One thing I can guarantee is this will never get old. Nor will you really ever be able to move as much snow as you can with these unique powder shapes.
The board I have been riding is the Apollo 56 designed by Nicholas Wolken (who I assume is regular foot) reason being is this board comes with an asymmetrical tail, its the most interesting design we have yet to lay eyes on in the snowboard world.
For a while I just would stare at the board and wonder, will this really work, will that tail catch? Could a goofy-footer even ride this board? Well to answer those questions, sure a Goofy footer can ride this board however it will feel very different than that of a regular footer and here is why. These tails were really made for either a goofy-footer or regular footer. The regular foot version, for instance, has a much shorter and narrower tail section on the right side of the snowboard, where your toes would go. And the goofy version is flip-flopped.
What this does is make the board lighting fast going from edge to edge. When you on your toes this board responds quickly, almost without having to think. Another benefit of this is when you really get sideways on a turn like full white room pitted the board wants to return to the fall line.
Outside of an old O-Sin surf shape from a decade ago, this is the first board that actually really snapped back the way a surfboard would.
Personally, the carving phase currently seen in the snowboard industry has passed me by… As a surfer, you would never lay into a wave-like this unless and only if you were trying to escape out the back of a barrel. Sure maybe Tom Curren can pull off carves like this, however, I can’t afford lift tickets and rarely ride groomers if I’m at a resort. I snowboard for a living but will always be a surfer first and foremost.
I can say that this board was fast on the hardpack, and to be honest it was a little bit too wide for me to feel comfortable ripping around on groomers or hardpack for that matter.
My thoughts are you buy boards like this to ride powder. I wouldn’t paddle my shortboard into a mellow rolling wave, nor would I paddle a longboard out into heaving barrels. So it sort of surprises me to see surf shapes being ridden on groomers? Is hard booting coming back next, if so rad, otherwise search out pow your body and mind will be much happier.
If you’re interested in the specs on this board head over to the Korua website. There is a lot of tech listed, to be honest, most of it is over my head as I couldn’t tell you the waist width of any board I have ever ridden or really care for that matter. That being said this board is a bit wider than most at 344 mm tip width, you still with me?
Do you surf? If you answered yes to that question YOU WILL LOVE THIS BOARD. Have you been to Japan to shred and witnessed all the soul shredders in person, if so you will REALLY appreciate this board? Clearly, Nicholas and Stephan have spent many years in the deep snow of Japan. With that, they become inspired, and we can all thank the Car Danchi Crew for passing on the torch to the Koura Boys.
Shapes like these are coming back to life and for good reason. Local board shapers from Jackson Wyoming, to Austria, Japan, and even Montana are now changing the way we ride snowboards and for the better. As I get older I will continue to seek out deep untracked snow as it’s one of the best endorphin highs in the world. And when I am on the hunt for said pow I will always make sure to have one of these incredible powder surf shapes nearby.