The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

United Shapes Cadet Review

Has a playful merit to its high-performance abilities.
Top Pick Award
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Price:  $570 List
Pros:  User friendly, turning experience, versatile, playful
Cons:  Top sheet scratches easy
Manufacturer:   United Shapes
By Isaac Laredo ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 20, 2019
  • Share this article:
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
83
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 of 17
  • Edging - 25% 9
  • Float in Powder - 20% 7
  • Stability at Speed - 20% 8
  • Playfulness - 20% 9
  • Pop and Jumping - 15% 8

Our Verdict

Whether we were ripping fast arcing turns or popping of a jump, the playful feel of the United Shapes Cadet remained consistent, and it carried a playful character into each metric. The medium flex has a plush and lively feel, which was translated into a unique inturn experience. The Cadet can be used in most situations, though we wouldn't recommend it for teaching lessons because the top sheet scratches pretty easily. The Cadet is for intermediate and above riders who are looking for a performance one board quiver that is suited for enjoyment and progression.


Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award Top Pick Award 
Price $570 List$669.95 at Amazon
Compare at 2 sellers
$559.99 at Amazon
Compare at 2 sellers
$479.95 at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
$489.95 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
Overall Score Sort Icon
100
0
83
100
0
84
100
0
83
100
0
80
100
0
79
Star Rating
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Pros User friendly, turning experience, versatile, playfulFloaty, precise edging, good construction, playfulLightweight, well-made, fun, responsive, user-friendly, made in the USAGreat value, versatile, stable, beautiful graphicGreat value, quiver killer (park or pow), playful, nimble
Cons Top sheet scratches easyTricky to size, unappealing graphicBelow average floatCan slip on hardbackCan slip on hard-pack, hard to maintain long radius turns on heels, challenging to size
Bottom Line Has a playful merit to its high-performance abilities."That was totally wicked." -The IncrediblesSnowboarding can be hard; help lower the learning curve with this model.Porsche performance at Honda prices.One shape that can do it all.
Rating Categories United Shapes Cadet Yes. Optimistic Never Summer Proto Type Two Jones Explorer Ride Warpig
Edging (25%)
10
0
9
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
8
Float In Powder (20%)
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
9
Stability At Speed (20%)
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
7
Playfulness (20%)
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
10
10
0
7
10
0
8
Pop And Jumping (15%)
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
7
Specs United Shapes Cadet Yes. Optimistic Never Summer Proto... Jones Explorer Ride Warpig
Shape Directional Directional Asymetrical-Twin Directional Directional
Camber/Rocker Camber Hybrid-Rocker/Camber Hybrid-Rocker/Camber Hybrid-Rocker/Camber Directional Rocker
Flex Medium Stiff Soft-Medium Stiff Medium
Weight 6.22 (lb) 6.2 (lb) 6.2 (lb) 6.44 (lb) 6.2 (lb)
Tested Length 156cm 151cm 157 159cm 151cm
Available Lengths 144, 152.5, 156, 159, 162cm 151, 154, 157cm 152,154,157,160,153X,155X,158X,161X,164X 152,156,158W,159,161W,162,164W cm 142, 148, 151, 154, 158cm
Construction Type Sandwich Sandwich Sandwich Sandwich Sandwich
Core Material A11x (poplar, bamboo) Carbon-wrapped wood Wood Wood Wood
Waist Width 25.6cm 26.6cm 26.3 25.4cm 26.5cm
Radius 7.5m 6.5m 7.6 toe/7.3 heel 7.5m 5.4/6.5m
Taper 20mm 6m 0 0mm 10mm

Our Analysis and Test Results

When we were unsure of conditions on the mountain or were riding with our friends, we would grab the United Shapes Cadet. This board features a mostly camber profile and an early rise nose. It has a very user-friendly and lively directional flex pattern; this means it's softer in the nose and stiffer in the tail.

Performance Comparison


Subtle details on the top sheet of the Space Cadet
Subtle details on the top sheet of the Space Cadet

Edging


The Cadet feels like a Maserati. The directional flex pattern is plush and lively; the plush and energetic in flex makes for a versatile turning style that remained predictable and incredibly fun. It is slightly softer where the rocker transitions to camber in the nose, which allowed us to engage the nose of the board and drive through the tail to influence our turns. Case and point: this board rips, whether it is turning on a vertical 22-foot halfpipe wall or low angle groomers. Euro carves or laid back surf style turns — it does it all on in a user-friendly and in control approach.

Performance and ease of use are attributes that can be challenging to blend. In a turn, some snowboards can sneak up on you with the amount of power generated. The surprise can result in a good turn or a good wipeout. We always knew what was coming with the smooth and energetic flex of the Cadet; strong and playful turns start to finish. At the end of a turn, the stiffer tail supported a quick weight shift to accelerate and generate power out of the turn and into the next.

The board gets on edge easily and loves to make short and medium radius turns at whatever speed you might be feeling like. The turning diversity is supported by a medium-length sidecut that can be manipulated based on the flex. It has a slightly wider waist width than traditional snowboards to help manage toe and heel drag and provide additional stability when turning. The 156 supports a smaller profile size 9 boot and is drag free. The medium torsional flex (side to side) of the Cadet added to its in turn stability yet maintained a playful ride in arcing turns or slashing waves. The waist width, sidecut, and flex pattern allow the Cadet to get on edge incredibly quick and display catlike agility.

With its mostly cambered profile, the Cadet held its own on firm spring snow. The board maintains solid edge contact, whether turning or heelside traversing steep icy snow. If you're looking for a truly fun, user-friendly, high-performance turning board, the Cadet might be for you. It supports a wide array of edging styles, from long high speed turns to surf styled pocket hunting. Whatever it may be, the plush and lively flex pattern makes this board darn fun.

The mid-wide waist of the Cadet helps mitigate heel drag for fully tilted turns.
The mid-wide waist of the Cadet helps mitigate heel drag for fully tilted turns.

Float in Powder


We started this review in the spring of 2019 and have not had the opportunity to get this board in powder. Don't worry; the update will be coming as soon as possible. Our hypothesis of how the Cadet will perform in powder: this board was designed to do it all. Its early rise long nose and tail taper hint toward impressive powder floatation. When the snow gets really deep, this board offers an extra insert pack to set back your stance for added floatation.

Stability at Speed


The mostly cambered profile of the Cadet provides impressive stability, whether we were gunning down the fall line or finding our way into frozen chunder. We never had this board wash out on us, even though it has a medium flex. On a few high-speed turns where we got overzealous with the radius, we had some edge skipping. Overall, this board provided all the stability that riders need for a day in the resort.

Playfulness


United Shapes has nailed the design of the Cadet for playfulness. The board had a unique, playful approach to each metric, which added to its quality of experience. It is a defining characteristic of the board and a huge reason as to why it was the first one we would grab. It's diverse, predictable, fluid, and easy to ride, and maintains these characteristics while providing a refined and high-performance ride. Its character is largely attributed to the plush flex pattern described above. The camber blends into the rockered nose, which provided a large surface for butter that is easy to initiate and maintain. Tail presses were obtainable, but its short nature limited what we felt we could do. It was a blast to butter and slash around the mountain.

Versatility is a large component of the concept of playfulness. The Cadet is incredibly versatile, which makes it a great everyday board. It can be ridden in just about every situation you might find yourself in at the local.

A playful feeling is a continuous thread in the performance of the Space Cadet.
A playful feeling is a continuous thread in the performance of the Space Cadet.

Popping and Jumping


As the all-around workhorse, the Cadet was lively and poppy, thriving on side hits and small to medium-sized jumps. On larger jumps (>35 ft.), we prefer a larger platform for takeoffs and landing, and the shape of the Cadet is still conducive to switch takeoffs and landings. The switch popping off the short tail takes some adjustment. The adjustment is not unique to the Cadet but apparent on all directional shapes with a smaller nose. When ridden in its regular stance, the board provides plenty of pop. True to the character of this board, the pop was easy to load and utilize. This board is best suited for the medium-sized jumps for people who want to put some flair with their best method.

The United Shapes Cadet isn't made for large jumps but excels at putting some flavor on medium size jumps.
The United Shapes Cadet isn't made for large jumps but excels at putting some flavor on medium size jumps.

Value


This board is priced competitively with other models. It can fill a variety of needs of any person, which adds to its value. For its quality of experience, we find it to be a great value.

Conclusion


The United Shapes Cadet was our Top Pick for Quality of Experience. Its plush and lively flex pattern and shaped provide a playful character that is present in every metric. Our testers reached for Cadet more than most models for one reason; it's a lot of fun. This board is great for intermediate and above riders who are looking for one board to ride in different styles and conditions, with the goal of progression and enjoyment.

Surf inspired turns of the versatile United Shapes Space Cadet.
Surf inspired turns of the versatile United Shapes Space Cadet.


Isaac Laredo