Borealis Shaman 2020-2021 Snowboard Review

  • Price: £574 / €629 / $767
  • Category: All-Mountain, Freeride/Powder
  • Ability Level: Intermediate, Advanced
  • Size: 159, 162
  • Flex: 6.5/10
  • Shape: Directional Twin
  • Profile: Hybrid
  • Base: Sintered

You’re not tripping, the Shaman snowboard from Borealis does indeed look uncannily similar to many of the shapes and profile’s coming out of the Mervin factory. At a glance, this aggressive directional twin seems to depart from many of the hallmarks we’ve come to associate from the French brand. On closer inspection, all the signs of their reliable and sustainable construction are still present.

This is the only snowboard in the line to feature Borealis’ Hybrid Rocker profile and Sidewaves 5.0 edges. The profile features a tip-to-tail rocker, broken up by two distinct camber sections underfoot. The thinking behind this one is quite straightforward: rocker sections in the tip and tail generate float, camber sections underfoot provide grip and response, while the rocker section in the middle create a pivot point for super easy manoeuvrability.

“If it’s a powerful, adaptable daily driver you’re looking to take your next trip to the mountains on, the Shaman is your best match from Borealis”

Any shortcomings compared to the grip of a full camber are countered with that wavy sidecut, which creates various contact points along the effective edge for increased traction on groomers – especially on icy patches.

So long as you’re a confident rider, the Shaman will reward you on every side of the mountain. The mid stiffness flex is packed full of sustainable and performance focussed tech. Carbon Power Beams run from each insert out to the contact points in a “V” shape to step up pop and response at the ends of the board. A basalt stringer also runs right through the centre of the board and creates a dampening rod that will absorb the inevitable high speeds you’ll clock on the Electra 4000 Graphite base.

Riders looking for something to press and jib their way around the resort would be better served on the Origins, as the Shaman takes a bit more work to bend and has the minerals for big backcountry freestyle more than flatland tomfoolery. Equally, if you’re after something to elevate powder days from fine to sublime then the Leviathan or Marauder will be more to your liking. But if it’s a powerful, adaptable daily driver you’re looking to take your next trip to the mountains on, the Shaman is your best match from Borealis.

Tester Verdict 2020/21

Ed BlomfieldEditor-At-Large, Whitelines

“There’s a lot of exciting tech in here: a hybrid, gullwing-style camber profile; bamboo topsheet; basalt-infused core; tapered shape; wavy ‘Sidewaves’ edges – the list goes on! It’s a lightweight and beautifully-finished snowboard, and you get the impression Borealis have chucked the kitchen sink at it. The problem is, like Frank Lampard’s Chelsea, I’m not sure all these expensive additions quite gel together – at least not yet.

“It’s a lightweight and beautifully-finished snowboard”

In deep snow it was great – the nose floats effortlessly and it’s easy to get airborne – but on hardpack it felt slightly ill-at-ease, most likely because of the rocker in between the bindings. With a couple of tweaks to make the performance more predictable this could be a great board, but in its current (elaborate) form it somehow feels less than the sum of its parts.”


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