Startups are everywhere whether they’re clothing companies or two dudes in a garage who bought a press and are churning out snowboards. You’ll never hear about most of these companies unless you’re local and really involved with the scene. I’m not “local” to most places but I try to keep my eye out for opportunities… Enter: Emerge Snowboards, a new company based in New Jersey.
Since the big companies aren’t exactly beating down my door to review their boards and demo opportunities in the midwest are hard to come by, I took an opportunity to review an Emerge deck after seeing them at snowboardingforum.com.
Emerge makes two models of men’s snowboards: The Crow (freestyle) and the Madness (all-mountain). I got to take The Crow for a few demos in January.
Stats: I rode the 159 regular width, rocker profile. I’m 6ft tall, 210 pounds, size 11 boot & large Burton Cartel bindings on two occasions, conditions described below.
Out of the box impressions: fully wrapped edges are a plus in my book. I still don’t understand why all companies don’t do this. Feels somewhat de-tuned not super sharp, but it’s a park deck so that’s OK. Graphics look better in person than they do on the website, it’s a pretty neat looking deck. I went with the rocker but the board is also available in traditional camber. Sight-test tells me it’s almost flat; maybe a few mm rise but it’s hard to tell just by looking at it and the rep didn’t answer my questions about tech specs. One thing off the bat that I notice is that 4×4 inset pattern with 4-pack inserts. It’s not a deal-breaker but I’d prefer more options in 4×2 six-pack inserts. It sounds like this was an oversight and all the 2012 decks will run 4×2 six-pack inserts.
Day 1: Plymouth Ice Festival Rail Jam. Temps were in the high single-digits, sunny and surprisingly warm. Snow was dirty parking lot snow scraped in to a small drop-in with a mini battleship funbox. Spent about two and a half hours ripping it up.
Jibs: First impressions: it’s a flat rocker and I like me some flat rocker – it locked on to jibs with ease. After this session the base was pretty dinged up.
Flex: a bit stiffer than I was anticipating but still had a decent amount of flex.
Day 2: Pine Knob – evening session. Correction: after the first session on that box, the base was pretty much destroyed. A gouge about 1″ long and a few mm wide & deep and a giant gouge running perpendicular to lengthwise was a major drag I could feel it slowing me down unless I was on the toe-edge keeping that gouge from contacting the snow.
Speed/Stability: Couldn’t push speed because I had destroyed the base in a 3-hour jam on the butter box on Sunday. Maybe 2.5 hours of rocking it in dirty snow contribute to the problem but in my opinion the base on a “freestyle” board needs to be able to take some abuse. When I could put some speed on this board (hard to do, because of some bad gouges) it handled well, basically damp enough to ride all mountain.
Pop: There, but nothing to write home about.
Carving/turning: You could flex your back knee in and lay carves with it though. Tail end of board felt a tad hooky some times.
Price: The Crow retails for $300 to $350 (I think it’s on sale right now) and they’ll throw in a free pair of Emerge branded goggles, too. Here I don’t know what the hell they are thinking. When I got The Crow, it was listed at $349 and discounted to $299 on their website. Since then it has miraculously appreciated to $399 MSRP. They still throw in a free pair of Emerge goggles (which I didn’t evaluate). In my opinion, it’s lame to jack up the prices mid-way through the season especially when at this time of year most savvy consumers are waiting for the first price breaks.
I don’t want to come off like I’m slamming them it’s not my nature so hopefully what I write is constructive criticism that they can use. But this is simply not a $400 snowboard. At $400 you can get a brand new Never Summer Circuit. Although far from NS top-of-the-line, it includes industry-leading tech like the Rocker + Camber and a 3-year manufacture warranty (edit: the Circuit only has a 1yr warranty) backed by 20 years of legendary performance and invincible sidewalls. Long story short: at this price point you can buy a good snowboard from any of a dozen manufacturers with years of reputation behind them. You can’t enter the market charging premium prices unless you’re doing something totally innovative. I don’t see any of that with this board.
Disclosures: Emerge sent me a brand new in-the-plastic Crow snowboard to demo for a week, after which time I had to send it back to them. Unbiased reviews yadda-yadda-yadda I didn’t receive any compensation from Emerge Snowboards. They asked me to please post my review also at snowboardingforum.com which I did, but otherwise there were no implied or express conditions governing the content of my review.