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Never Summer Proto Type Two Review

You're blowing it if you don't buy this one!
Editors' Choice Award
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  • 5
Price:  $570 List | $569.95 at Backcountry
Pros:  Lightweight, fun, floaty, uber-responsive, asymmetrical, moderately priced, great looking shape and graphics, made in the USA.
Cons:  Couldn't find any.
Manufacturer:   Never Summer
By Chris Edmands ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 6, 2017
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84
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#1 of 11
  • Edging - 25% 8
  • Float in Powder - 20% 9
  • Stability at Speed - 20% 8
  • Playfulness - 20% 9
  • Pop and Jumping - 15% 8

The Skinny

The Never Summer Proto Type Two takes our Editor's Choice award in a ninja-like fashion - with a hidden secret weapon. The heel side edge on this board has smaller radii sidecuts than the toe edge. What does this mean? It means that the notoriously fussy heel side turns easier. It rode a lot like many of the other boards, but you could hammer it to the max on your heels, getting lower and carving more efficiently, and transferring back to your toes without a hiccup. It was clearly unlike any other board we tested. It has a hybrid-rocker base profile, and tighter sidecut[s] made it playful on groomers and very floaty and responsive in powder. Though softer boards normally lack pop, this one was comparable to the others. Considering how fun and functional it was to ride, along with its moderate price tag — we're sold.

New Look

Since we tested, Never Summer updated the graphics for our Editors' Choice winner. See the current topsheet graphics for this board in the photo shown above.

October 2018


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

Hands-On Review of the Proto Type Two


As a kid, our tester remembers seeing some of the first asymmetrical boards in shops. The tips and tails were shaped in such a way that they looked odd, so odd that he never bothered to try any of them. They seemed to belong in the hard-boot, flat-tailed, hard-pack and blue ice lover's quiver of slalom boards. It was thought then to be an asset only in very particular circumstances and clumsy in others. Would you buy a pair of jeans if one pant-leg was six inches shorter than the other? Most likely you wouldn't find a use for it in everyday life.

Perhaps if you were a bicycle courier though. Hahaha! Thirty or so years later his opinion has greatly changed. No longer does the board have to look weird. No longer is it limited. If you choose, it can be your only board. No one will point and laugh at you in the lift line, but they'll surely wonder how you turn on your heels so precisely (heel side turns have always been tougher to master than toe side). And we're talking about actually carving here, not sliding your turns around. If sliding your turns and not utilizing your metal edges is how you go about your day, perhaps you shouldn't buy a snowboard. Go cut a piece of plywood and staple some sneakers to it — done. That said if you want to learn to improve your carving abilities, or lack thereof, taking a lesson might be beneficial.

Method air in the park on the Best in Class winner!
Method air in the park on the Best in Class winner!

The Proto-Type Two has you covered, whether it's your first day out or your hundredth day. Hands down, it was the most enjoyable and capable of all the boards tested. Fun. Fun. Fun. And that's the goal, isn't it? If after reading the rest of the review, you're not sure this is the right board for you, check out Buying Advice article, as well as the How We Test so you can make your own comparisons.

If everything comes together in the design and build of a great snowboard the rest is left to you. What are you going to do with it? More methods for me  please!
If everything comes together in the design and build of a great snowboard the rest is left to you. What are you going to do with it? More methods for me, please!

Edging and Carving


Hiding somewhere between Classic and Magne-Traction edges, the Proto-Type Two utilizes what Never Summer calls Vario Power Grip Sidecut. This makes for an edge that is not one continuous radius, similar to the cut in other contenders, but rather three different sections - each with varying sidecuts which make for better contact points (when compared to classic edges). Earning a 9 out of 10, the Proto Type Two was a strong contender in this metric. The Jones Explorer and the Burton Flight Attendant scored 9s as well; all three boards shared similar sidecut radii, which allowed them to be nimble edge to edge. The Lib Tech T Rice Pro scored the only 10 out of 10 in this metric, with no other board matching the capabilities when it came to edging and carving.

Never Summer Proto Type Two Topsheet
Never Summer Proto Type Two Topsheet

Float in Powder


The Proto Type Two scored a 9 out of 10 here. It's not cambered, nor entirely rockered, just a perfect combo of both, which allows it to float really well through powder. Its softer flex pattern also helps it climb to the top of the pow. Stiffer boards, like the Rome Agent and the Burton Flight Attendant tended to fight against float, scoring a 6 and 7 respectively. The Arbor Wasteland, which is closest in look to the Proto-Type Two, floated just as well, taking home a near perfect 9 out of 10.

Stability at Speed


Because it has a hybrid base profile and is a bit on the soft side, it isn't quite as stable at higher speeds than some of it cambered or stiffer competitors, and thus scores 8 out of 10. The Vario Grip sidecut (mentioned above) is supposed to help it track better than hybrid boards with standard sidecuts while going straight on flat base, an attribute that did not make itself entirely evident to our tester. Both the Capita Defenders of Awesome and Rossignol One LF scored the same as the Proto Type Two, even though they have longer sidecuts. The Burton Flight Attendant scored the only perfect score in this category, bringing home a 10 out of 10 in Stability at Speed.

Playfulness


It's nimble — that's for sure. It's lightweight, has fun sidecuts, and offers substantial pop, especially for a hybrid-profile board. The Never Summer put a giant smile on our tester's face; scoring a 9 out of 10, the highest any board earned for this category, allowing it to secure one of the top scoring positions. The Burton Custom Flying-V and Arbor Wasteland share the Proto-Type Two's score as well, as does the Capita Defenders of Awesome.

Pop


When pushed on jumps and while ollie-ing obstacles, the flat-ground cambered boards, like the Rome Agent and Burton Flight Attendant, usually dominate. But, because the very lightweight Proto-Type Two's flex pattern is more on the medium side of soft, it came in with an 8, just like the Capita Defenders of Awesome. The placement of the cambered sections and underfoot contribute greatly to the spring-like response that fully cambered boards achieve.

Best Applications


Everyday use all over the mountain.

Value


This is a full value board. Its price is on the higher end of the range we tested, and in our opinion, is well worth the $570 list price. If a Best Buy winner is what you're after, we'd recommend checking out the Jones Explorer. At $479, this board achieved greatness in all metrics.

Conclusion


You cannot go wrong with this choice.

Never Summer photo Type Two Base
Never Summer photo Type Two Base

Other Versions and Accessories


The Proto-Type Two also comes in women's and kid's versions.


Chris Edmands