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Weston Japow Review

A superior swallowtail snowboard for the steepest terrain and deepest snow
Weston Japow
Photo: Weston
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Price:  $599 List | Check Price at Amazon
Pros:  Fantastic for powder, phenomenal float
Cons:  Not as versatile as other options, not as playful
Manufacturer:   Weston
By Marissa Fox ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jan 28, 2021
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76
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#11 of 13
  • Edge Hold - 25% 8
  • Powder Performance - 20% 10
  • Stability - 20% 8
  • Playfulness - 20% 6
  • Pop and Jumping - 15% 5

Our Verdict

While the Weston Japow is far from being an all-mountain quiver killer, it is a truly excellent board for the biggest pow days. It's a fast and aggressive board that is a blast for big mountain riding. It has great edge hold and is stable at speed. However, it is relatively limited compared to most of the other boards we have tested when it comes to being a true all-mountain board. It's not the most playful board out there and doesn't have a ton of pop, but it's hard to beat when the conditions are right.

Updated Graphics

The latest topsheet for the Japow is shown above.

February 2021

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Weston Japow
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Weston Japow
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award Best Buy Award 
Price $599 List
Check Price at Amazon
$500 List$580 List$530 List$550 List
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Pros Fantastic for powder, phenomenal floatFantastic all-around board, great in powderUnmatched pop, great edge hold, supremely stableWell-rounded, great edge-to-edge transition, fastGreat value, supremely stable at high speeds
Cons Not as versatile as other options, not as playfulNot the best beginner boardNot the best board for powderNot the best for jibbingNot as much pop as other boards
Bottom Line A superior swallowtail snowboard for the steepest terrain and deepest snowIf you want the best of the best all-mountain board, it’s hard to find a better optionEarning the highest honor, it did exceptionally well in all our testsA versatile all-mountain board for intermediate to advanced riders with a more aggressive riding styleA fantastic all-mountain snowboard that won’t break your budget
Rating Categories Weston Japow Yes. Hel Yes - Women's Gnu Ladies Choice Never Summer Lady West GNU Klassy
Edge Hold (25%)
8.0
9.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
Powder Performance (20%)
10.0
9.0
8.0
9.0
8.0
Stability (20%)
8.0
9.0
9.0
9.0
9.0
Playfulness (20%)
6.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
Pop And Jumping (15%)
5.0
9.0
10.0
8.0
8.0
Specs Weston Japow Yes. Hel Yes - Women's Gnu Ladies Choice Never Summer Lady West GNU Klassy
Shape Directional Directional Twin Asymmetrical Directional Twin Directional
Camber/Rocker Camber-Pow Rocker Nose Hybrid Hybrid Fusion Rocker Camber Hybrid
Flex 6/10 7/10 4/10 3-5/10 6.5/10
Tested Length 154 155 148.5 153 155
Measured Weight (Tested Length) 6 lbs. 5.4 lbs. 5.6 lbs. 5.8 lbs. 6.2 lbs.
Available Lengths 154, 159, 164, 169 146, 149, 152, 155 142.5, 145.5, 148.5, 151.5, 153.5 144, 147, 149, 151, 153, 156 145, 148, 151, 155
Core Material Bamboo and poplar wood Poplar, paulownia, and bamboo wood Aspen, Colombian Gold, and poulownia wood NS SuperLight Wood Core Aspen and paulownia wood
Waist Width 25.6 cm 24.4 cm 24.2 cm 24 cm 24.7 cm
Radius 6.6 7.3 8.2/7.9 7.42 8

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Weston Japow is many things but a solid park or freestyle board isn't one of them. It excels in the deep snow and is fun off natural features but we would strongly recommend you stay out of the park.

Performance Comparison


The large nose and setback stance let the Japow slice through fresh...
The large nose and setback stance let the Japow slice through fresh snow like a samurai.
Photo: David Wise

Edge Hold


For our first metric, we rated and compared how well each board bites into firm snow while carving at speed, which is responsible for 25% of the final score for each board. While icy groomers are far from what this board is designed for, it fared surprisingly well.


The Japow isn't an exceptionally stiff board, but the bamboo and poplar core with reinforcing stringers made from carbon are more than sturdy enough to carve down some groomers without issues. It's quick and responsive edge to edge, letting you cut banked turns smoothly and effortlessly.

This board does a good job of biting into firmer snow.
This board does a good job of biting into firmer snow.
Photo: David Wise

This snowboard is made for powder — no denying that — but it holds its own in icy conditions as well. However, we can't guarantee that you won't get some rather odd looks from the lift if you are ripping groomers on Japow when it's so clearly made for the deepest of snowfalls.

This board was designed for powder and it shows.
This board was designed for powder and it shows.
Photo: David Wise

Powder Performance


We were exceptionally excited to see how the Japow handled deep powder, with our series of powder tests responsible for 20% of the final score for each snowboard. As expected, the Japow completely killed it, delivering one of the best performances we have seen from just about any snowboard when it comes to deep snow.


The binding inserts are set back on this board, creating a much larger surface area under the nose of the board than its tail. The Japow has a taper running the length of the board makes it hard to keep this board from planing and floating to the top of deep powder.

The swallowtail helps lift the nose of the board and maintain the...
The swallowtail helps lift the nose of the board and maintain the perfect angle when riding on the deepest days.
Photo: David Wise

The deep swallowtail keeps the tail of the board down and helps maintain the perfect angle for slicing through deep snow like the samurai sword printed on the top sheet.

We rarely felt nervous from chatter or speed wobbles on the Japow.
We rarely felt nervous from chatter or speed wobbles on the Japow.
Photo: David Wise

Stability


Next, we moved back to the groomers to see how well each board handled when we opened up the throttle. This metric accounts for 20% of the Japow's overall score. While this board might not be our first choice for setting any speed records, it did a fine job when riding at top speed.


This medium flex board didn't give us any major issues with chatter or wobble at high speed. It offers plenty of control and is responsive to ride when jamming down steep runs, giving us plenty of confidence to let the Japow rip.

The setback stance on this board can feel a little awkward at first...
The setback stance on this board can feel a little awkward at first if you are really ripping down groomers.
Photo: David Wise

However, the set back stance can feel a little awkward at higher speeds until you get used to it.

The Japow isn't the most playful board but isn't so stiff that you...
The Japow isn't the most playful board but isn't so stiff that you can't do a press.
Photo: David Wise

Playfulness


While the Japow delivered excellent performances in our first three metrics, it faltered a little in these last two assessments. It's plenty playful on powder days but can't quite match some of the springier boards if the snow isn't fresh.


The Japow isn't so stiff that you can't do a press with it — with the setback stance aiding in this — but it isn't ideal for this by any means. This board is solid for freeriding but falters in the park for sure.

We liked the board for launching off natural features but wouldn't...
We liked the board for launching off natural features but wouldn't really want it in the park.
Photo: David Wise

Pop and Jumping


As mentioned above, we would strongly discourage you from taking this board in the park. It does fine off natural features in wide-open terrain, but this board definitely wants to float more than it wants to fly.


While you can ollie, and the reinforced tail does stomp landings acceptably well with this board, it really feels like you are forcing this board to do something that it simply doesn't want to do. Our advice is to stick with the Japow for the deepest days and leave the tricks to other boards.

Value


Unfortunately, the Japow isn't a great bargain option. It's a far cry from a quiver killer and usually has a higher than average price tag to boot. If you are shopping on a budget, then we would suggest going with a more versatile board.

Conclusion


As the name would suggest, the Japow is a practically unbeatable option if you are riding in Japan-like conditions. Unfortunately, not all of us have the luxury to routinely ride snowfall similar to Hokkaido and would be better served by a more generalist all-mountain snowboard. It's a great addition to your snowboarding collection for advanced riders but probably won't become your daily go-to board.

Marissa Fox