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

Yes. Optimistic Review

"That was totally wicked." -The Incredibles
Editors' Choice Award
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Price:  $670 List | $669.95 at Amazon
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Floaty, precise edging, good construction, playful
Cons:  Tricky to size, unappealing graphic
Manufacturer:   Yes.
By Isaac Laredo ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Feb 20, 2019
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84
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#1 of 17
  • Edging - 25% 10
  • Float in Powder - 20% 9
  • Stability at Speed - 20% 7
  • Playfulness - 20% 8
  • Pop and Jumping - 15% 7

Our Verdict

The Yes Optimistic edges like a formula one car and floats like an eagle riding an aerial thermal. This model can't be judged by its appearance. The unappealing graphic and powder centric shape is not representative of its versatile performance. The strategically designed board is great for riders who love railing turns, riding deep powder and buttering around the mountain. We are stoked to give the 2019 OutdoorGearLab Editors' Choice Award to the Optimistic.

Optimistic Updates

Yes. updated the graphics on the Optimistic since our test period. The board remains largely the same as the model we tested, but the camber is slightly more aggressive this year. We're now linking to the updated board, which is pictured above.

November 2019


Compare to Similar Products

 
This Product
Yes. Optimistic
Awards Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award Top Pick Award 
Price $669.95 at Amazon
Compare at 2 sellers
$589.99 at Backcountry$570 List$479.95 at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
$489.00 at Amazon
Compare at 2 sellers
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Pros Floaty, precise edging, good construction, playfulLightweight, well-made, fun, responsive, user-friendly, made in the USAUser friendly, turning experience, versatile, playfulGreat value, versatile, stable, beautiful graphicGreat value, quiver killer (park or pow), playful, nimble
Cons Tricky to size, unappealing graphicBelow average floatTop sheet scratches easyCan slip on hardbackCan slip on hard-pack, hard to maintain long radius turns on heels, challenging to size
Bottom Line "That was totally wicked." -The IncrediblesSnowboarding can be hard; help lower the learning curve with this model.Has a playful merit to its high-performance abilities.Porsche performance at Honda prices.One shape that can do it all.
Rating Categories Yes. Optimistic Never Summer Proto Type Two United Shapes Cadet Jones Explorer Ride Warpig
Edging (25%)
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
8
Float In Powder (20%)
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
9
Stability At Speed (20%)
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
7
Playfulness (20%)
10
0
8
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
8
Pop And Jumping (15%)
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
7
Specs Yes. Optimistic Never Summer Proto... United Shapes Cadet Jones Explorer Ride Warpig
Shape Directional Asymetrical-Twin Directional Directional Directional
Camber/Rocker Hybrid-Rocker/Camber Hybrid-Rocker/Camber Camber Hybrid-Rocker/Camber Directional Rocker
Flex Stiff Soft-Medium Medium Stiff Medium
Weight 6.2 (lb) 6.2 (lb) 6.22 (lb) 6.44 (lb) 6.2 (lb)
Tested Length 151cm 157 156cm 159cm 151cm
Available Lengths 151, 154, 157cm 152,154,157,160,153X,155X,158X,161X,164X 144, 152.5, 156, 159, 162cm 152,156,158W,159,161W,162,164W cm 142, 148, 151, 154, 158cm
Construction Type Sandwich Sandwich Sandwich Sandwich Sandwich
Core Material Carbon-wrapped wood Wood A11x (poplar, bamboo) Wood Wood
Waist Width 26.6cm 26.3 25.6cm 25.4cm 26.5cm
Radius 6.5m 7.6 toe/7.3 heel 7.5m 7.5m 5.4/6.5m
Taper 6m 0 20mm 0mm 10mm

Our Analysis and Test Results

For the 2018-19 Season, the Yes Optimistic has more camber before beginning its rockered tip and tail. This helps to provide a chatter-free ride and promote stability at speed. Our testers didn't note any chatter which can be prevalent in shapes with longer nose profiles. The Optimistic's shape is different from the rest, and its performance was distinctive.

Performance Comparison


Cultivating stoke with the Optimistic.
Cultivating stoke with the Optimistic.

Edging


At first glance, the Optimistic looks very powder specific. However, the Optimistic carves like a formula one car, holding tight and long turns with precision and power. Our testers felt they could make turns they have never been able to make; in particular the ever challenging heelside turn. This model has a wider waist width yet is easy to roll on edge. This helps to manage toe drag for larger foot riders. This model has a stiff torsional (side to side)flex pattern to provide a stable and strong turning platform. A platform that you can trust helps you get deeper and accelerate out of your turns.


To help your turn radius the Optimistic has one of the tightest sidecuts in the review next to the Ride Warpig. We felt we could make the tightest and most symmetrical turns on both our toes and heel with this model in all conditions. In the firmest of surfaces, this model provided secure edge hold thanks to its UnderBite Technology. Underbite is a form of edge disruption (an intentional inconsistency in the sidecut) to provide additional grip in ice conditions. Although it didn't perform as well as magne-traction, it offered more security than the standard edge. The Underbite is one of the few edge indentions rather than protrusions on the markets. Our testers really liked this style of displacement. It accomplished its goal of increased edge hold but also made for quick and energetic turning character when engaged.

Underbite. A form of edge disruption that increases grip on hard snow and creates energetic turns.
Underbite. A form of edge disruption that increases grip on hard snow and creates energetic turns.

The board doesn't relay a lot of in turn feedback to the rider due to its stiffness. We were thrown out of some turns because of the amount of power that was actually in the turn that we couldn't feel. There is a buy into this model, it is not meant for beginners but perfect for upper-level intermediates and beyond. It generally feels rigid and stable rather than playful when turning. If you're looking for a first board, check out the Never Summer Proto Type Two. If you're looking for a hard carver, then the Optimistic is a great choice. It provides a diverse turning character that can be strong and stable but also energetic and poppy. The ability to hold tight radius turns was unparalleled. Its performance on edge was rewarded with a coveted and fugally distributed 10 out of 10.

Tight sidecut and wide waist width on the Optimistic supports deep carves.
Tight sidecut and wide waist width on the Optimistic supports deep carves.

Float in Powder


Looks like a powder shape right? While it excels on edge the long rockered nose and natural setback provide floatation expected from its powder specific shape.


The uplifted contact points from the rockered profile and length of this nose keep the nose up to work for you. That way you can keep riding powder rather than tomahawking, shaking out your jacket and risking injury. The Optimistic has a 6mm taper meaning the nose is wider the tail by that measurement.

Awesome shape when you look past the graphic.
Awesome shape when you look past the graphic.

As a result of the differing surface areas, the tail will naturally sink further in the snow. It has a unique and surf-inspired tail to promote increased float and maneuverability of the board. This model shined bobbing through trees and also performing longer turns and higher speeds. We found this board to provide an unreal, user-friendly, and nimble powder experience that would keep us on the mountain for two reasons; so much fun and lack of rider fatigue. The Optimistic scored a 9 out of 10 on this metric.

Slide to the right  with the Optimistic.
Slide to the right, with the Optimistic.

Stability at Speed


The Optimistic is often downsized in length. The wide waist width and proportionately adapted effective edge make it ride bigger. Here we tested the 151 model, and it had the one snow feel of a 157/158cm. Its stiff profile keeps chatter to a minimum which adds to mental comfort and physical security. Tight sidecuts can have the potential to passively engage when straight lining.


Our testers did not encounter this problem but analyzing the specs lead us to believe it has potential in incredibly rare circumstances. However, the stiff mostly camber profile provides plenty of stability even for those that charge directly down the fall line. The Optimistic held high speed turns with ease and security. We rarely felt we were going to lose edge hold in long radius or short radius turns. The limiting reagent was generally our skimpy early season quads. This model provided all the stability we feel most riders need and require. From our testing, the Optimistic received a 7/10 score.

Playfulness


This is a stiff board. Yet it breaks the general rule the stiff boards are less playful. This was one of our favorite models to butter and skid turns around the mountain. We found it to be incredibly versatile, but it must be sized correctly.


According to Yes, you should downsize from your traditional snowboard to unlock the true versatility of this model. We can support this statement from our experience as well. The wider waist width and effective edge allow the board to ride bigger when connected to the snow and easy to move around. The long and mostly cambered nose locks into presses well and allows you to place a lot of your weight into the nose without toppling over. The opposite goes for the tail. Tail presses and butters are challenging due to the short and stiff tail. Although, the tail shape does allow for ease edge disengagement to slash around your favorite resort. The Optimistic surprised our testers with its versatility, buttering and slashing abilities especially considering it flex. Its balanced profile earned a 9 out of 10 in this metric.

Lake views and locked in presses with the Optimistic.
Lake views and locked in presses with the Optimistic.

Pop and Jumping


If you are used to popping and landing on a twin tip then be patient; popping off of a shorter tail takes some adjustment. It's just a tighter margin in every step. Once we adapted, our testers felt the pop generated from camber often surprising and plentiful.


Built into this metric is landing security. This also took some adapting to figure the shorter tail. We had a smaller margin for error when landing in the back seat than most models in the review. At times we could save these landing and other times we would wash out. The tail is stiff enough where we could catch our selves when landing off balance but didn't provide as much stability as the Lib Tech Travis Rice Pro Pointy. Once a rider is tuned into this boards popping and landing style its pretty darn good and earned a 7 out 10.

Value


The Optimistic is a great value for the performance and durability provided in this wallet-friendly package.

Conclusion


The Yes Optimistic provided a high quality of experience all over the mountain. It's stand out performance in edging, float in powder, and playfulness makes this an awesome board. Its well-rounded performance helped secure its spot as the 2018-19 Editors' Choice winner. This is a great board for the all mountain rider who spends most of their time in quest of the deepest carves and powder but isn't afraid to venture off-piste and butter around the mountain. In our testing, the Optimistic outperformed the competitors in the overall ranking system. If this style of board fits your riding style, then you should probably go buy it. If not check out our buying advice and other reviews to find your perfect match.

The durable sintered base of the Optimistic.
The durable sintered base of the Optimistic.

Other Versions and Accessories


The Yes Optimistic comes in a 151, 154, and 157. We tested the 151. Remember to downsize to maximize the versatility of the board.


Isaac Laredo