The Never Summer Insta/Gator is unique from the vast majority of snowboards in that it has a much shorter and stockier aspect ratio. This board is so wide that Never Summer even recommends going a size down. The Insta/Gator carves quite well and is stable at speed, bringing a freestyle feel to everything across the mountain. It has alright float in powder, but it is one of the heavier boards of the group. Overall, we weren't the biggest fans of the board, but it is a board to consider if you love the shorter stubbier snowboards.
The graphics on the Insta/Gator are updated and can be seen in the above photo. However, the construction of the board remains the same as during our test period.
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Insta/Gator finished at the back of the group overall. While this board has its merits, neither have the widespread appeal that our award winners have.
This board delivered a mixed set of results in our edge hold tests, earning it a 7 out of 10 in this metric, worth 25% of its total score. The Insta/Gator has decent edge hold if the snow is consistent — even if it is quite icy — but we found it slips quite a bit when going over bumps or choppy snow. This is particularly surprising, given its stiffness.
We also thought that its stiffness and profile weren't the best with choppy snow or slush. It didn't necessarily lose the edge and start to slide, but it gets squirrelly and flexes in such a way that it makes you feel like you are about to, making it very disconcerting to ride in these conditions.
Next, we moved on to assessing how the Insta/Gator performed in powder, which accounts for 20% of its final score. We looked at both how much float the Insta/Gator had and how it turned and handled overall.
This board has a fusion rocker camber profile with an upturned transition area towards the nose that combines with the huge amount of surface area its base has to give it a decent amount of float. However, this is somewhat mitigated by how heavy the board is. You can enjoy yourself on the Insta/Gator on a powder day, but we would suggest you exercise some caution when in tighter trees or glades; the Gator isn't the most nimble board we have seen to date.
We liked the Insta/Gator a bit more when it came to stability and carving, with it scoring well in this series of evaluations, which also comprise 20% of its final score. For this set of tests, we bombed the steepest groomers on the resort in a wide variety of different snow conditions to see just how well each board carved and how it managed when ridden at race speeds.
This board is a little on the short side to be a true carving board, but it does quite well given its fusion rocker profile. It has Never Summer's RDS 2 damping system and elastomeric material underfoot which should quell any vibrations or chatter and we never really had any issues with this board getting a speed wobble. It just has a little too surfy of a feel for us to be confident carving icy terrain at high speed.
The Insta/Gator's performance dropped even further in this metric. For this group of evaluations, we tried out each board in terrain parks, boardercross courses, and through the trees and off natural features, looking at how it flexed and turned, which also is accountable for one-fifth of the final score for each all-mountain snowboard.
The Insta/Gator is a stiff board, but it does have softer flex in the middle. Regardless, we still wouldn't recommend this board for the park or jibbing. It does ride alright switch, but it isn't the board for someone who switches to switch a significant amount of time. Its flexible section in the middle gives it a fun surfy feel through the trees, but its stiffer sections mean that you have to be a larger or more aggressive rider to throw it around.
Pop and Jumping
Our final set of assessments for the Insta/Gator dealt with how much spring and pop it had, worth the unaccounted for 15% of its total score. For this test, we launched the Insta/Gator off every natural lip and jump we could find, went off kickers, and ollied across the mountain. Unfortunately, it didn't impress us.
This board has a long nose and a short tail, but you can still ollie — if you really, really want it. On top of having almost no tail, this board is one of the heaviest ones of the group, so expect to struggle quite a bit if you are planning on catching significant air. It's not our go-to park board, but it is a fun all-mountain freestyle choice that is more than happy to launch off natural features.
The Insta/Gator is an abysmal value, being one of the most expensive boards and receiving one of the lowest scores overall.
The Insta/Gator appeals to a niche group of riders who want to bring a freestyle feel to everything they ride. Unfortunately, we feel the vast majority of people would be much happier with a longer and skinnier board. This board didn't have a standout performance in any of our tests and isn't a women's-specific board — we included it to see how it would stack up for female riders.
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