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Snowboards

Jones Hovercraft 2018-2019 Splitboard Review

  • Sizes: 152, 156, 160
  • Flex: 7
  • Profile: Setback Camber
  • Shape: Directional
  • Price: €849

If a brand makes a split version of an already immensely popular freeride board, it’ll be hoping that it’s not only well received by hardened tourers, but also provides a solid ‘gateway’ option for anyone looking for their first splitboard. The Jones Hovercraft splitboard falls into both these categories.

The shape, construction and flex are essentially the same as on the solid version, so for more details check out our Jones Hovercraft review here. For now we’ll offer a quick summary: it’s become one of the most recognisable snowboards around, garnering a loyal following off the back of its performance both on and off the piste.

“The serrated ‘Traction Tech’ edges found on the original Hovercraft are present here too, and you’ll also find them on the inside edges”

The short tail doesn’t offer up much in the way of pop, but on the Hovercraft you could have the best day of your snowboarding life without ever leaving the ground. Inspired by Japan’s long history of powder-specific shaping, it’s all about float, and delivers it like nothing else.

So what about the split-specific features of this version? We’ll start with the Karakoram clips are mounted on a ‘boltless bridge’, meaning that the clips aren’t visible from the base. Thicker wood directly under the clips not only improves the aesthetics, it also makes the torsional properties of the Hovercraft split a closer match with the original.

The serrated ‘Traction Tech’ edges found on the original Hovercraft are present here too, and you’ll also find them on the inside edges of both halves. That means that when you’re needing some extra grip on the ascent, this will get more purchase on firm, icy patches than a regular splitboard.

“The notches at the tail allow for easier application of your skins, taking some of the faff out of the changeover process”

Finally, the notches at the tail allow for easier application of your skins, taking some of the faff out of the changeover process, and don’t have any adverse effect on the ride. It’s a convenience you’ll appreciate when starting out on a deserted pow field, and the Jones Hovercraft splitboard only gets better from there.

Tester’s Verdict

Tom Copseyonboardmag.com

“I’ve finally rode a splitboard that feels like a snowboard rather than a door (previous missions have been on equipment from a few years back, mind), and what a board it is too!

As everyone knows, splitboarding is 95% walking up a hill and 5% riding down it, so the split performance is important. It worked well, the wavy edges even holding on when we were traversing despite my incompetence.

“Nothing short of a joy… Surfy, floaty, and turns super quick”

Once transitioned back into a snowboard, the thing is nothing short of a joy. Surfy, floaty, and turns super quick, but with enough about it to be stable on steeper faces, I was chucking roosters and buttering around as if it was on a regular snowboard.

If you’re looking to tackle nothing but full gnar on every tour, there are no doubt models better suited, but for tackling a bit of everything – mellow trees to steeper faces – I couldn’t recommend the Hovercraft Split more.”

Trade Secrets

Nick Russell – Team Rider, Jones

“There’s just something about the Hovercraft Split that no other splitboard can match. It is such a smooth operator.

I draw my cleanest backcountry lines riding the Hovercraft Split. It’s stable at speed when you want to point it, and turns effortlessly in tight trees or technical terrain.

The shortened length is also super noticeable on the way up. On long days my legs are less tired than if I had been riding a longer board that weighed more.”

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