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United Shapes Covert Review

Freeride, freestyle, or powder specific; now you don't have to choose
United Shapes Covert
Photo: United Shapes
Best Buy Award
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Price:  $799 List
Pros:  Durable topsheet, versatile, responsive, good offering of sizes
Cons:  Challenging to smear turns in firm snow at slow speeds
Manufacturer:   United Shapes
By Isaac Laredo ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Dec 28, 2020
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74
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#5 of 11
  • Powder - 26% 8
  • Firm Snow - 26% 8
  • Climbing - 28% 7
  • Binding Adjustability - 5% 5
  • Playfulness - 15% 7

Our Verdict

The United Shapes Covert has excellent overall performance and high-quality features. It has shaping tactics inspired for freestyle, freeride, and powder boards to provide a versatile ride. It can turn at high speeds riding down corn snow in the Sierra. The Covert provides a user-friendly yet snappy experience when surfing your favorite low angle terrain. This model is a blast to ride, but it wouldn't be our first choice for consistently icy days or areas. It's proficient but not mind-blowing. It's ideal for splitters looking for an all-around board that is capable in steep terrain but fun to ride when things aren't as gnarly.

Compare to Similar Products

 
United Shapes Covert
Awards Best Buy Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award  
Price $799 List$899 ListCheck Price at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$650 List$751 List
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Durable topsheet, versatile, responsive, good offering of sizesDurable topsheet, great powder floatation, excellent climbing, snappy turn experience, bolt-less baseStable, stiff, lightweight, solid, predictable, reliable, supports diverse riding objectivesDurable, affordable, versatile, easy to adjust stanceCustomization, powder floatation, driven strong turns
Cons Challenging to smear turns in firm snow at slow speedsExpensive, switch ridingExpensive, narrow waist width, shallow nose riseGeneralist, soft for aggressive riding or heavy snowHard to smear turns, not for firm complex terrain
Bottom Line Freeride, freestyle, or powder specific; now you don't have to chooseClimbs like a bird in thermals, rides like your trusted solid boardProvides versatile performance to support daily or ambitious backcountry objectives, the Solution is a satisfying rideA minimalist board that has everything that you need and nothing that you don'tPowder specific? Nope
Rating Categories United Shapes Covert Weston Backcountry... Jones Solution Spli... Voile Spartan Ascent Prior Slasher
Powder (26%)
8.0
8.0
7.0
6.0
9.0
Firm Snow (26%)
8.0
8.0
9.0
7.0
7.0
Climbing (28%)
7.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
Binding Adjustability (5%)
5.0
5.0
5.0
9.0
5.0
Playfulness (15%)
7.0
8.0
7.0
9.0
6.0
Specs United Shapes Covert Weston Backcountry... Jones Solution Spli... Voile Spartan Ascent Prior Slasher
Weight 7.45 lbs 7.33 lbs 7.38 lbs 6.08 lbs 7.75 lbs
Tested Length 158 157 158 158 156
Flex Medium Medium - stiff Stiff Soft Medium
Weight in grams 3382 g 3325 g 3346 g 2794 g 3532 g
Weight Per Surface Area 0.75 0.74 0.74 0.62 0.8
Available Lengths 149,152,158,161,166 152, 157, 160, 163, 163 (w) 154, 158, 159W, 161, 162W, 164, 165W, 166, 169W 154, 158, 162, 166 156, 161, 167
Construction Type Sandwich Sandwich Sandwich Cap Sandwich
Core Material Blended wood Wood/ bamboo Wood paulownia, carbon Wood
Waist Width 25.7cm 25.6cm 24.7cm 25.7cm 25cm
Shape Directional Directional Directional Directional twin Directional
Radius 7.5m 7.3/6.5/7.5m 8.5m 7.7m 6.5m
Camber/Rocker Rocker/ Camber/ Rocker Rock camber rocker Directional rocker Freeride camber Camber

Our Analysis and Test Results

Covert Updates


Since our testing period, the Covert has been revised with a new topsheet, and the mountain areas now feature X-Glass in an attempt to provide more durability and improved boardfeel. The sintered base is now wax-infused, and the board includes Karakoram Locking Clips. The latest graphics are shown above, and any affiliate links will point to that version. However, the review to follow still pertains to the model we tested.

Performance Comparison


The United Shapes Covert blends shaping techniques from freeride, freestyle, powder, and surfboards to channel the benefits from each discipline. It has 5mms of camber between the bindings for power, pop, and stability. The camber blends into a rocker near the contact point to aid in turn release and floatation. The all-around design of the Covert provides a fun user experience in all conditions.

The Covert has a surf styled look and feel.
The Covert has a surf styled look and feel.
Photo: Isaac Laredo

Firm Snow


The Covert is a diverse and strong performer when it comes to firm snow performance. The mostly cambered profile lends itself to handling icy, steep couloirs or arching turns down your favorite corn run. The medium to stiff flex and medium length effective edge create a stable platform that envokes rider confidence.

The Covert found a good balance between response and playfulness. Its quick response is blended with a playful and surfy feel. The blended wood core provides the unique plush and lively feel we have begun to associate with the United Shapes brand. This board is user-friendly, responsive, and quick edge to edge, which makes for a fun turning experience. The Covert can be smeared but prefers and on edge and driven style of riding. It has a powerful, yet fluid in-turn feel and relays a lot of energy to the rider which makes it predictable and fun. The predictable nature of the board and supportive tail allows you to accelerate out of turns and add to the enjoyment of corn riding.

Sometimes the snow just doesn't soften as you had forecasted. The hopeful corn snow is still locked up as an icy and textured surface. This might happen when the winds or cloud cover were higher than forecasted. Whatever the influencing factors were, you still have to descend. The Covert was able to obtain solid edge purchase to make cautious and controlled turns down icy slopes. We felt we had acceptable edge hold and appreciated the extra width to avoid heel drag in steep and icy conditions. Its longer effective edge can make it harder to move it slow sections. The Covert performed well. If we rode a lot of tight, steep, and potentially narrow terrain we would look for something the has a little more smearability when turning in firm snow.

Whether you are looking to slash corn lips like your favorite surfer, rail turns like a pro giant slalom racer, or make hop turns like Jeremy Jones, the Covert is happy to oblige and excel.

Bottom turns on the smooth corn of the Sierra. Board: Covert.
Bottom turns on the smooth corn of the Sierra. Board: Covert.
Photo: Isaac Laredo

Powder


The strategic use of shaping techniques from the three broad categories of snowboards freestyle, freeride, and powder limits the trade-offs with this board. The Freeride camber profile is combined with a powder nose and freestyle like tail. The three together create a very versatile board that provides great floatation and maneuverability.

The Covert is at home wherever the powder is. In the trees, the taper and shorter tail design increase maneuverability for quick wiggles or snappy and quick turn endings. In open terrain, the stable and buoyant properties of the Covert support fast, open, and big turns. The long powder inspired nose easily planes above the snow provides close to effortless floatation. The drawn-out smooth lines make the tip less grabby and allowed the board to cut through breakable crusts well. Whatever style of powder riding you prefer, the Covert is a great option as it provides excellent floatation, maneuverability, and stability.

Climbing


Weight, stability, and edge security are three metrics that create a solid performing split board on the way up. The Covert provided diligent performance in each aspect. It's relatively lightweight and fell in the middle of the bell curve for our surface area to gram comparison.

The Covert on the Scale.
The Covert on the Scale.
Photo: Isaac Laredo

The camber provides tip to tail stability when skinning up steep slopes. The Covert had plenty of edge purchase for traversing icy slopes. For heavy riders, the torsional flex could be a little soft for sidehilling as the board breaks in more, which could compromise some of the sidehilling stability.

Use this review to help you identify the binding that best fits your...
Use this review to help you identify the binding that best fits your needs and go storm the castle.
Photo: Isaac Laredo

We all have scraped our inner edge along the side of our splitboard. With the Covert, you don't have to worry as much. The durable nylon-based top sheet is very resistant to scratching or peeling for the abuse of touring.

Binding Adjustablity


The Covert features the standard splitboard insert pattern. Splitters can expect to take off the pucks or entirely to switch up their stance.

Playfulness


The Covert exhibits the same character unique to the United Shapes brand. The board has the same alluring feel that is just downright fun. Its medium flex creates a stable ride but isn't necessarily aggressive. It provides a lively and snappy feel with a good amount of feedback.

The Covert supports diverse styles of riding.
The Covert supports diverse styles of riding.
Photo: Isaac Laredo

The tail has plenty of kick to bolster the freestyle abilities of this board. It looks more reminiscent of the snowboard legend Craig Kelly's pro model, the Burton Air. You can take off and land switch or maneuver switch to adjust your positioning.

Value


We recognized the inherent value of The Covert. It has a middle of the road pricing structure between value and performance splitboards. That being said, it is featured and rides like a performance splitboard, which helped earn its status as an award winner.

Conclusion


The United Shapes Covert has influences from a variety of snowboard disciplines and provides a versatile ride. Our favorite thing is the feel of this board, which is lively, snappy, and plush. A fine-tuned balance that stays true and supportive in firm snow and provides excellent floatation and maneuverability. The Covert is a good quiver of one board that is capable in all conditions without being overbearingly stiff.

The Covert gets a thumbs up from our tester.
The Covert gets a thumbs up from our tester.
Photo: Isaac Laredo

Isaac Laredo