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Korua Shapes Dart 2020-2021 Snowboard Review

  • Price: €449
  • Category: Freeride/Powder
  • Ability Level: Intermediate / Advanced
  • Size: 140, 152, 156, 160, 164
  • Flex: 7/10
  • Shape: Directional
  • Profile: Directional Camber
  • Base: Sintered

Why we chose the Korua Shapes Dart Snowboard: New men’s and women’s sizes; same legendary piste and powder performance.

It’s hard to believe that the Dart snowboard only turned up in the Korua Shapes fleet just two seasons ago. Since its debut, it’s become a common sighting in the Swiss gang’s legendary Yearning for Turning edits, from Laax to Hokkaido, and has garnered a solid reputation as a modern classic for piste and pow aficionados the world over. Coming into year three, Korua have bookended the size range with two new additions – a 140 and 164 – more or less encompassing the entire riding community.

Even with the new size options to pick from, there’s still no choice with which way to point it. The Dart is about as directional as they come with a setback stance, tapered outline, progressive nose rocker and the most swallow like of tails. Who’s complaining though? That’s exactly what we love about it.

“Coming into year three, Korua have bookended the size range with two new additions – a 140 and 164”

The tail sinks effortlessly into powder and allows for nimble turns in the trees as well as big ol’ roosters out in open powder fields. The geometry takes care of keeping the nose lifted in above the snow so you can ride centred and relaxed without an inch of backfoot lean. That said, it’s pretty tempting just to wheelie your way through an untouched stash, balancing right on the very ends of it.

Back on piste is where Korua have managed to win mass appeal and elevate their fleet of boards from niche pow quivers into snowboards that you can genuinely spend a solid chunk of the season out of the locker. In fact, assuming you’re not lining up any freestyle camps, the Dart will make a pretty reliable (albeit it unconventional) daily driver just about everywhere else on the mountains. Indeed, Korua’s very on “Conditions Scale” highlights the Dart’s competence in every type of environment, from “Slush” to “Hard Pack” to “Aprés”. Not too sure about that last one. Although the Dart’s tail could quite possibly double up as a giant bottle opener.

Really, though, the versatility comes down to both it’s profile and construction. The Dart’s Float Camber blends positive rocker from the tail right out to beyond the front inserts, before transitioning into an early rocker rise. Combined with Korua’s Carving Specific Sidecut, it makes the Dart deceptively agile from edge to edge, despite its whopping waist width (269mm on the 156 model). That width is also the reason it’s possible to get so damn low on those elbow carves without the risk of your boots dragging out and the stiffer, more reactive tail does a good job of holding on as the G’s increase through the arc.

Construction wise, Korua’s Classics Series keep things brilliantly simple. The shape is where the Dart gets its zippy, playful character from. And why compromise that with carbon-clad additives and pricey materials that may ultimately compromise its winning formula. It’s quite possibly the reason the Dart hasn’t been specced up to the Plus Series, as many of the other original red and whites have.

“What makes the Dart such a winner isn’t those big, capital letter moments… it’s the quiet, simplistic approach that has truly defined its status as one of the greats”

A simple poplar wood core, sandwiched with biaxial laminates and a speedy sintered base keep the price of the Dart kinder on the wallet, but also kinder in nature. Even with its stocky dimensions, it’s still relatively easy to bend and manipulate this thing through the waist. Granted, heavier riders will need to size up, and any former hard booters may look to other models for their carving kicks, but most riders will welcome the fun and forgiving nature of this one.

What makes the Dart such a winner isn’t those big, capital letter moments – flashy top sheets, wavy sidecuts, base bevels or futuristic sounding materials – it’s the quiet, simplistic approach that has truly defined its status as one of the greats. Frankly, there’s not a single mishit in their collection, but in terms of the one that encapsulates Korua’s “We Love Turning” slogan best, this one’s hit the bullseye.

Tester’s Verdict

Rob McCreathWhitelines

As someone who owns a Stealth, has spent quite a bit of time riding the Pencil and even managed a few power laps on the Tranny Finder +, I’m quite familiar with the Korua line. So queuing for first lifts with the Dart strapped to my foot felt a bit like a busman’s holiday. That feeling instantly vanished after the first turn.

This is a completely different snowboard. That’s obvious enough from looking at it, but I’d failed to appreciate just how fun and surfy the back-end is with so little board behind your back foot. It’s not a snowboard I’d probably opt for on those big bootpack days when I’m facing any kind of uncertainty to the snow conditions, but for inbounds resort riding, pow slashing, piste lapping days it’s an absolute blinder.

“Queuing for first lifts with the Dart strapped to my foot felt a bit like a busman’s holiday. That feeling instantly vanished after the first turn”

Obviously, you need to be a little more reactive back on the pistes than you do with something like the Pencil. It’s quite easy to over-cook some of those butt-scraping, knuckle-dragging heelside carves, but that’s not surprising given the relatively easygoing flex and stumpy pocket-rocket size of the Dart.

That’s kind of what I loved about it though. It’s wide enough with enough camber to feel stable on and off-piste, but there’s a real fire-cracker feeling underfoot with this one. Bang! Into the white room. Bam! Boost a pillow. Boosh! Slice a carve and ping right into the next one. That said, I rode the 156. I reckon if I sized up one I’d have found it much more aggressive in carves, but possibly at the expense that more lively feel.

Comparing the pros and cons of various Korua Shapes decks doesn’t really achieve a lot. Despite the matching red and white colourways, most of the snowboards in the Classic Series ride very differently from one another. There’s a better litmus test on offer here, and it’s one I’m loathed to be the test patient for:

Do I prefer it to my Stealth?

Yes. 100%. Absolutely.

Looks like my all-time favourite board’s just been pipped by its little brother.”

Tester’s Verdict 2018/19

Tom Copseyonboardmag.com

“This is a quick-turning, nimble little arrow of a board. Edge-to-edge it was rapid, and with a mellow flex you can tell that this is built for old school snow surfing in powder or on hardpack.

As you’d expect, given its stubby, deep swallow tail, there’s not a ton of pop in the Dart, but if you’re considering this board then that shouldn’t be your prime concern anyway – it’s built for riders who want to chuck buckets and throw shakas.

“It carved well and felt stable at most speeds – only becoming a bit too loose when you tried to dig the edge in at full pelt”

I took the shortest version out for a summer day lapping Les Deux Alpes and it was super fun. It carved well and felt stable at most speeds – only becoming a bit too loose when you tried to dig the edge in at full pelt. It was certainly too short, but even if I’d had the 160 there are certainly harder carvers and harder chargers out there from KORUA themselves, not to mention other brands.

But if you’re just after a board that will bring the mellow goodtimes to trees, pow, hardpack and slush, this would be an excellent – and eye-catching – choice. I’d love to take tree laps on this thing.”

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