K2 Special Effects 2023-2024 Snowboard Review

Tested and selected for our top 100 snowboard products of the year: the K2 Special Effects

  • Price: £565 / €620 / $620
  • Category: Freeride + Powder
  • Sizes: 140, 144, 148, 152
  • Flex: 7/10
  • Shape: Directional
  • Profile: Combo
  • 3D: No
  • Base: Sintered

Why We Chose The K2 Special Effects: Weird and wonderful, the Special Effects has a special place in our hearts.

Okay, so it might not look like the most versatile board in your locker, and while it can do more than you potentially give it credit for, there’s no denying that the K2 Special Effects is a quiver board. One of the special ones you wait anxiously for the best conditions to pull it out, and when you do, boy oh boy, is it worth it.

“Short, shapely and extremely bodacious- the Special Effects has our pulses racing”

Short, shapely and extremely bodacious, the Special Effects has our pulses racing. We’d classify the Special Effects as primarily a freeride snowboard, but not in the sense that you’d ride it down Corbet’s Couloir, think less ball shrinking descents and more undulating hills covered in fluffy white gold. You’ll want to size down significantly with this one, but just trust the process!

Who Is The K2 Special Effects For?

The Special Effects is admittedly possibly more of a special occasion board, surfy turns on blower pow days or party laps slush slashing in the spring sun, but pretty much any rider who wants something specific to suit those occasions will find a chum here. It might be a bit much for a complete newbie, but otherwise you’re hot to trot.

Buy the K2 Special Effects: £565 at Blue Tomato UK 

Buy the K2 Special Effects: €630 at Blue Tomato EU 


Shape, Profile and Sidecut

There’s more than one way to skin the cat to ensure you’ll float easily in powder, and the K2 Special Effects is a bit of a swot in this regard. Following the recent trend of volume shifted powder shapes, the Special Effects opts for a shorter silhouette, with increased surface area through the width rather than the length. These shorter, stubbier decks, while probably not so apt for more technical descents, are ideal for powder fields and tree runs, where short, sharp turns and big slashes are exactly what you’re after.

In addition to the bodacious width, the Special Effects puts the majority of its volume up in the 3D shaped nose, plus the flat rocker profile lends itself perfectly to skimming along the top of snowpacks. For such a well-upholstered board, the Special Effects is surprisingly nimble, substantial width can be cumbersome in a snowboard, especially when getting in and out of turns, so to counteract the portliness of the Special Effects K2 have used a tight sidecut and a taper to increase agility.

“Sometimes, a lack of camber in a snowboard can leave it feeling a bit ‘meh’, and this is where K2 steps up the response of the Special Effects through the construction”

Construction and Materials

Sometimes, a lack of camber in a snowboard can leave it feeling a bit ‘meh’, and this is where K2 steps up the response of the Special Effects through the construction. 10 carbon stringers run tip to tail, giving a lively boost of dynamic energy that’ll supercharge the lengthways flex of the board, allow for a smoother power transition and help to dampen chatter, especially up front.

The core is K2’s Bambooyah tri-wood blend, which uses bamboo (obviously) for its reactive and responsive properties. As a bonus it’s also a super sustainable wood to use in production thanks to its incredibly fast rate of growth. It’s a win-win. K2 put their money where there mouth is here, and offer a 5 year warranty for the Special Effects, so don’t be afraid to push it.

Speed is important in any snowboard, but more so of a powder board of this ilk is the importance of reduced drag. Not every powder day is light and fluffy, especially towards the end of the season the snow can start to get thick and heavy, the Special Effects’ sintered base is designed to stop it sticking when the snow isn’t quite up to dream level.

“Speed is important in any snowboard, but more so of a powder board of this ilk is the importance of reduced drag”


K2 have heavily leaned into the fun shape here, and as such it’s not quite as versatile as something like the K2 Passport, but that’s not to say it’s not bags of fun in its own right. It’s different, but different doesn’t mean bad, especially if you’ve been snowboarding for a while and are looking for something to shake up your riding.

Picture the scene: it’s been puking all week, you look out the window and it’s waist deep powder, your homies are coming to pick you up for a day blasting round the hill. What board are you grabbing? The Special Effects, duh.


  • It can float in deep snow with the best of them
  • Thanks to the volume shifted outline, it’s way more nimble than some other powder boards


  • Not ideal for sketchy, icy conditions

Tester’s Verdict

Paul Wool – Snowboard Workshop Technician

“This thing encourages fun. I had a massive grin from ear to sunburnt ear from the first turn to the very last. We made not have had the blower pow that this thing is really built for, but I had an absolute blast on this sunny spring day slashing up the poor man’s powder.

The super volume shifted shape meant that even at 6ft3 with size 11 feet I had no issues with overhang on a tiny 144 and instead could really enjoy it as an ultra nimble spring slasher.

It had wayyy more pop than you’d expect given that it has no tail… which obviously also means you can slash all day long with no troubles.
The tight sidecut also made it super nimble. The board pretty much ran the show and made decisions for me to be honest, it wanted to turn tight, spray snow and get in the air and I just followed its lead.

I even took this tiny terror for a lap through the park and it was better than a lot of “all mountain” boards that I’ve tried. I did dodge the switch landings though…”

Tester’s Verdict

Holly Burns – Snowboard Instructor

“I had my eye on this board from day 1 of the test; short, directional, wide nose, swallow tail – it looked so fun and this board did not disappoint.

The tapered directional shape works really well to give the board added float through the slushy afternoon pistes. A volume shifted board, shorter in length and wider at the nose, allows the rider to ride this board much shorter than they normally would. The shorter, wider nose added stability through the chopped slush at speed.

I managed to take the board for a few runs through the trees higher up, the snow was quickly becoming heavy due to warming temps but the board stayed on top and was surprisingly nifty through the tighter sections. This board was born to slash and pop off rollers, and get launched into the deepest snow you can find. An ideal board for riding off-piste and trees, because of it’s manoeuvrability and flow. It’s a 10/10 from me.”

Tester’s Verdict

Joy Dutch – Whitelines

“Okay, so this is wide. Like reeeeally wide. It was undeniably too big for me, you’re meant to size down considerably when riding the Special Effects, but I usually ride a 144 anyway. I’ve got pretty small feet (UK 4) so I did find it a little unwieldy when trying to go edge to edge and had to make an effort to get it up into a carve*.

That said, it’s definitely fun. It’s real nice in the slush, really surfy and slashy and super playful in the nose for pressing. I wanted to see if you could ride it switch out of pure curiosity and I was surprised to find how okay it was despite how directional it is.

We didn’t manage to snag any powder runs, but I would LOVE to get this out in deep snow, the way it plained across lumps and bumps of slush I think it would be pretty much unsinkable.

I’m not sure I’d have it as my only board, but to a quiver it would for sure be a nice addition.

*Disclaimer: Don’t take this as gospel, like I said, this was way too big for me so I didn’t get the full Special Effects experience.”

Buy the K2 Special Effects: £565 at Blue Tomato UK 

Buy the K2 Special Effects: €630 at Blue Tomato EU 


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