THIS SHINN SLICER BOARD TEST REVIEW CAN BE READ IN KITEWORLD #109 ON OUR NEW FREE DIGITAL PLATFORM, FIRST PUBLISHED MARCH 2021
Shinn Slicer Board test review – 138
“A firm, direct and reliable ride with very few limits on freeride performance. Splitting the board also couldn’t be simpler or less fiddly.”
Tested by Jim Gaunt
TEST TEAM NOTES:
The Shinn Slicer is a twin-tip that easily and quickly splits into two for travel / storage convenience. When split in half (82cm), the Slicer could realistically fit into a regular roller travel bag, possibly eliminating the need for a bigger board bag and extra airport charges.
We interviewed Mark Shinn in issue #106 about the Slicer and its technology when it was first released in early summer 2020. You can read that feature and see the video clips in it here.
The Slicer is remaining current this year too, so read on to find out if the benefits of being able to split in two will end up compromising your ride.
Firstly, if you’re an advanced twin-tip rider your commitment to height and hard, fast landings will mean that you’re unlikely to believe a split board is right for you. Your riding style is uncompromising, and so too are your design requirements. So we’re aiming this review at intermediate freeriders. If you’re looking at the Shinn twin-tip range, then more than likely you’re also considering the ever-present, always impressive, Monk. It just so happens that this is also a board we’ve ridden a lot in the last six months. It’s very special – read our review here.
At just a shade under three kilos, the Slicer is heavier than the Monk by around half a kilo. The Monk is thin and sleek, while the Slicer’s splitting functionality means that it must naturally be endowed with a thicker wood core. It’s not bulky compared to the median of many freeride twin-tips, but it’s certainly more of a chunk than the Monk.
SCALE OF PERFORMANCE:
I do believe that the Slicer offers a better basic light wind performance than the Monk. In high winds the Monk shines brightly, remaining extremely fluid and untiring because (among other things, including its carefully crafted base channels) the thin rail grips so easily. The Slicer is very acceptable at its top end when the wind gets strong, but needs a little more robust heel pressure. The Monk moves deftly across the water like a cat in peak physical condition. The Slicer is just a little longer in the tooth in terms of pace and energy.
In light conditions up to mid-strength (normal) winds, the Slicer maintains excellent drive and float. In fact a stand out element is the easy upwind performance. Perhaps the steadier riding speed means that there’s no wastage when it comes to getting going early and making ground upwind.
The 138 was absolutely spot on for me, carrying my 70 kilos of weight ideally in all conditions. When I didn’t have much power in the kite, the Slicer helped out with a good, floaty feel but is also very easy for me to influence and dig in when the wind picks up.
The generous 53mm fins deliver loads of grip and positive handling. I have to particularly note how secure I felt when carving from heel to toeside, beyond 180 degrees, to come back up a wave face in very onshore conditions. There’s very little tendency to skid at all with the thicker rail section also playing its part alongside the fin engagement.
The Slicer’s easy speed pick up is helped by the flat section in the middle where the join is positioned, but I absolutely could not feel the join when riding, only the benefit of the Slicer’s quick planing characteristics. (I do have some experience of the first split boards when they hit the market and there was certainly a sense of having independent feet placed either side of a fence at times with those. The Slicer is nothing like that).
A SLICER OF LIFE:
I’ve used this board loads now. I shouldn’t really compare it to the Monk because the Monk Glitch is one of my favourite freeride twin-tips; it feels light and nimble, handles strong winds with ease and cuts through difficult waters like a hot knife through butter. The ride feel is completely different between the Monk and the Slicer, but they can both do the same job. Fundamentally they’re both easy and accessible twin-tips.
Apart from overly heavy landings where the Slicer’s rebound is less responsive, you’re unlikely to suffer any hindering of the Slicer’s performance just because the board splits. There’s a bit more of a dead moment on a big impact, but the board never over flexes; the join never feels compromised and I never sank the nose. The pause on impact I’m trying to describe doesn’t give you the exciting forward propulsion that some performance freeride boards do, including the Monk. In relation to that and the final difference in feel I want to highlight is that generally there’s less back foot refinement in feel that the Monk delivers. The Monk, like the best performance freeride twin-tips, allows you to really use the back section of the board and pressure it like an accelerator for speed, control and pop. There’s no doubting the Slicer’s comfort and ease of use, but there’s a difference in connection here between rider and board that more experienced riders may notice.
However – and this is a big however – that’s only noticeable if you’re swapping back and forth a lot with something like the Monk. If you like the idea of a split board, the extra benefits of the Slicer’s easy, forgiving and still commendable ride performance will out weigh what you’re otherwise missing in a one-piece board.
There’s also no reason you couldn’t progress with some basic unhooked manoeuvres. The Slicer holds power, locks into a carving pop well and the fact that it maintains momentum will help when you’re unhooking in lighter winds, too. Obviously pros will lack the absorption they’re looking for from big tricks, but you’ll find plenty of secure handling and tracking when you land relatively hot from a raley.
CARVING AND MOMENTUM:
The Slicer’s tips are beautifully pulled up and even in really difficult waters there’s no hint of spray. You can load your front foot when playing in waves without fear of digging your nose and use the natural float underfoot to carve straight down the face towards the kite, creating slack lines and then re-engage your toes using the board’s natural, floaty momentum to carve back up the wave. This sort of fake surfboard wave riding in onshore conditions is great fun. The thicker middle section, substantial rails and easy rocker mean the Slicer carries your momentum really well, demanding less from your kite handling skills.
The Monk is like slicing through velvet and, although delivers loads of easy and comfortable grip, is also the easier of the two boards to break the edge free when you want to slide the board round to toeside. At speed, the Slicer needs a little more persuasion than the Monk to slide into toeside; stepping more on the heel of your front foot to free up your back foot rail section, but it’s an easy technique. I guess generally manoeuvres happen a bit less automatically on the Slicer because the gearing is a little less pacey, but nevertheless it’s rock solid, assured, very evenly paced and simple to just get on and ride.
CARE AND FUNCTION:
Unless your travel destination is a very high wind location like Cape Town, then having good light wind performance along with a manageable top end performance is probably the ideal scenario for maximising your holiday sessions. The upside for travelling is that the Slicer splits in two. The downside is that it is a little bit heavy by today’s carbon freeride twin-tips standards, but it’s perfectly acceptable. Splitting the board apart is really easy and there’s no awkward jamming up of the parts either. We left the board in one piece for most of the winter and it then split apart with ease. It’s not like a foil that seizes up if you leave it screwed tight for too long. In fact the Slicer doesn’t need any tools to split apart. Another bonus.
PADS AND STRAPS:
Shinn’s new Sneaker HMT pad and strap system is very adjustable and well cushioned. I tested this board all over winter in boots and found it very comfortable. No wallowing at all and in fact once I set the straps up I haven’t had to touch them again. Two Velcro straps sit under the big overlaying strap cover and are easy to adjust and ensure coverage over the entire arch of your foot, while there’s also enough contour in the pad for your toes and heels.
Although this primarily isn’t a twin-tip for overly aggressive riders, the wider stance option allows for hard riding and feels decently balanced with the lift in the tips also ensuring that digging the nose will be very difficult to do.
I’ve used the Slicer a lot this winter, always deciding to take it again and again because the conditions were slightly different / more challenging / rougher / stronger / lighter than before. I was always interested in trying to find its limit. Apart from on very heavy landings (the likes of which most freeriders are either trying to avoid, or aren’t jumping high enough to achieve) that’s the only real moment that the board’s flex takes a little longer to absorb than something else. But I can live with it. Other than that you just wouldn’t know that the Slicer is a board that splits in two across the middle. It’s capable, comfortable, delivers excellent low end performance and very manageable top end handling. If space is an issue for you, you can’t really go wrong here.
A firm, direct and reliable ride with very few limits on freeride performance. Splitting the board also couldn’t be simpler or less fiddly.
KW WOULD CHANGE:
You’re missing some of the back foot refinements and subtleties of feel that you get with a one-piece board like the Monk, but if you’re in the market for a space-saving design that’s ideal for travelling / commuting / city living, this is surely as good as it gets.
SLICER BALANCE POINTS:
Build quality: 9
Fixtures and fittings: 8.5
Slider proof: NA
Boots applicable: No
Ease of use: 8.5
SIZES: 140 x 43 and 138 x 41.5cm (82cm when split)
Here is an in-depth tech video reviewing the Shinn Slicer against the legacy model, the Shinn Monk Glitch:
Watch the Shinn Slicer product video here:
For more information on Shinn and their product range, visit:
THIS Shinn Slicer board TEST REVIEW WAS FIRST PUBLISHED HERE IN ISSUE #109
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