CONDITIONS TESTED IN:
Gusty, choppy 18 - 30+ knots
The Rip 134 is Spleene's ultimate all-round freeride/freestyle board. The design team focussed on designing a board that is easy-to-use for any up-andcoming rider as well as having enough spice to keep things exciting for the local hot shots and competition riders. Thanks to Spleene's much improved and almost indestructible snowboard construction technology - featuring a PVC-combo core with wood stringers, ABS-rails and extremely scratch-proof polymer top surfaces - these boards stand up to anything you throw at them. Improvements from the 2007 design include Spleene's new 3D-shape technology with sharper, stepped rails, more defined
suspension tips and a newly refined rocker-line. Adding to the comfort levels, the 2008 foot strap and foot pad combination is one of the best set-ups on the market. Whatever your requirements, the Rip series will deliver, every time.
TEST TEAM NOTES:
NEAL: The pads were really nice and cushioned without being too soft and had a really nice toe roll, which is so simple but helps your riding so much. If anything I thought the straps were a bit stiff and the board itself is actually quite stiff for a little board. Powered-up it was nice and responsive but you did start to feel the bumps a bit because of that stiffness. Rather than creating loads of pop as you might expect, the stiffness, however, comes into its own helping the board plane quickly and charge upwind. You can pop it, but it's not a pop monster; in this size a lighter weight freestyle rider would enjoy it. Turning was OK, nothing to grumble about,
although you have to be quite aggressive to get it to slide in turns, but that said it dealt with chop nicely and there was never a hint of losing an edge. It locks in well. Good, modern construction, I would have preferred a little more flex perhaps, but it's one of those boards that does everything nicely, without standing out in any one area.
JAMES: I set this board up out of the box and I have to say those pads and straps are really easy to set-up. Often we have to fight to get some of the screws in the thicker pads to bite in the inserts in the board. The screw holes go either side of your feet and are really easy to set-up. It cut through the water nicely and I thought it was good in the chop. Up until I got on the Spleene I had been quite over-powered, but when I jumped on that everything was much easier. I could hold the power much better and really cruise around. As a freestyle rider, I would have liked more pop, but having said that it was just very easy to get on and ride around. It's not going to set your world on fire, but it's really going to allow you to progress at an intermediate level quickly, in comfort and without fuss. The very thin construction is perhaps why it handles choppy waters nicely, but also why it's not going to give you the biggest jumps of your life. The landings were good enough though and it felt light on your feet in the air. This board doesn't over-complicate things. It's easy to get on and ride around on. You're not suddenly going to catch a rail on it – it's for that simple level of progression.
CHRIS: I just thought it was really comfortable, whether it was popping tweaked grabs or doing a bit of old school. Really held you in tight, but you could also whip the board off for a board-off. It's another board that's filling the gap between freestyle and freeride well. Really thin and light and feels it on your feet. For an old man like me it takes a few years off. You pop off a wave and don't feel fatigued. Really easy to get going upwind with the parallel rails and thin construction. Anything where you leave the kite where it is and just use the board for pop it performed well. Once again, it made kitesurfing really easy and that's an important quality.
A really simple board for the understated rider. Nothing show-offy about the Rip and it has honest, reliable performance that's designed to help riders progress in the areas an intermediate rider is looking to improve upon, rather than having loads of performance that will lie unused and in the end result in compromise on easy handling.
KW WOULD CHANGE:
A little more pop for the stiffness.
129 x 39, 134 x 40, 138 x 44 and 140 x 47cm
This test is in issue #35