Share

Snowboards

KORUA Pencil 2019-2020 Splitboard Review

It’s not just the solid Pencil, but the split version too that’s now available in the women’s friendly 147 size. The fellas from KORUA have made a real push to get the ladies decked out in red and white this season, and with the Pencil Split their reach spreads far beyond the resort boundaries.

The size is definitely worth another mention here, especially for the men’s version. 164cm isn’t the most agile for navigating a kick turn heavy ascent. Nor, will the extra width underfoot make it the most efficient for breaking trail.

“The Pencil Split was made for drawing big, flowing lines on a blank canvas”

That said, you’ll soon forget all about that once you’re descending. The length is reason enough for the Pencil Split to float effortlessly in the deep stuff, and combined with that endless nose rocker and cut out tail at the back, it’s just made for blasting along the surface.

It’s a proper rocket missile, and the lightning-fast sintered base underneath makes it travel at the speed of one. In solid mode, it’s surprisingly nimble and rides deceptively shorter than it looks. With a decent section of camber for much of the running length and KORUA’s carving specific sidecut down the metal, it has plenty of finesse when you need to make some quicker turns. It’s definitely one for laying out big, fat, roosters on wide-open faces though. The Pencil Split was made for drawing flowing, lines on a blank canvas.

As with all of the classic line and split variations, the core is kept relatively lightweight and stripped back – with a flex pattern sitting just above the halfway mark. This makes the ride far less demanding than it may appear at first glance, but it’s still one for the more experienced backcountry riders out there. If you know how to ride it, you’ll be drawing lines of a lifetime with every descent.

Tester’s Verdict

Paul WoolProfessor

“This is the first splitboard I’ve ridden that isn’t a Jones and it offered a truly fantastic day out in the backcountry away from the lift and crowds. It is an affordable, solid, fast, and durable piece of kit that presented no problems or technical difficulties on the way up and gave sublime powder runs on the way down, letting you forget your even riding a split

I rode the 164, a big board for sure. After attaching a pair of Sparks on voile pucks, I was ready to go. The way up it was a breeze, no major slippage. I thought the length would cause problems with kick turns but not at all (bear in mind I’m a lanky 6,1ft, smaller folk may find it tricky). My Spark skins behaved well and the switch at top presented no hassles. The nose and tail hooks work well with the plum hooks, all appearing solid and durable.

All set and ready to go the thought that you just assembled this giant kinder egg toy disappears, it truly feels like a normal snowboard, nothing loose or rattling. From here you just have to admire and enjoy a world-class snowboard shape, the pencil is a rocket made to run fast and blow up powder with ease.

“A beautiful board that rides as it looks; fast and smooth”

It is stiff and long, maybe about a 7 out of 10, both laterally and torsionally it feels sturdy. This coupled with a long fast base makes this pick up and hold speed well, you’re never worrying about getting stuck in the snow – just about being able to stop. Having said all this, it is a surprisingly manoeuvrable beast, the long swallowtail belying a very responsive, dexterous, rudder. After a big hike, the Pencil Split is perfect. It handles with ease, maintaining control, and taking the stress off your legs – very relaxing. I like the stance offered by the setback inserts, the board really lifts allowing you to sit up on the snow and enjoy the ride.

I caught a bit of on piste action with this too, again it handled very well – the camber really coming into play snapping in and out of turns, and its width demanding you to get low and plow through low long and fast turns.

Overall I’d say this is an excellent option for an advanced rider wanting to get into splitboarding. A beautiful board that rides as it looks; fast and smooth. Mind you, it is pretty big – so beware.”

Tester’s Verdict 2018/19

Sam McMahonwhitelines.com

“I’ve ridden a few KORUA boards over the past four years and, for the most part, I love ‘em. Not only is the design obviously minimalistic, but their whole approach means that the focus is on the shape rather than material or core technologies. Simple to look at, fun to ride.

So when there was a chance to jump aboard a split version of the Pencil 164, I was all for it, and with high hopes. Straight out the box it’s a beast to behold – one hundred and sixty-four centimetres of white topsheet just looks badass. Be aware though; unlike some other boards it doesn’t come with pucks. Just the nose/tail clips, and a pair of Plum hooks.

“It’s certainly big, but it’s so well balanced that cruising down powder faces feels like flying”

On the way up it’s as good as it gets. Plenty of camber means you’ve always got grip, and paired with crampons it’s pretty much unstoppable. It’s length means I wouldn’t recommend it for a first-time splitboarder, as kick-turns will inevitably be a bit of a mindfuck, but for anyone with a bit of experience there’s nothing lacking here.

My one problem is that due to the shape of the swallow tail it’s hard getting most skin tail clips to attach, as most are designed to fit on the flat inner edge of a ski. I remedied this by switching my Spark R&D clips round, but it’s a bodge job and after a few hikes I found the base started chipping a little.

On the way down it’s, well, a KORUA – that is to say, it’s a fucking beast. It’s certainly big, but it’s so well balanced that cruising down powder faces feels like flying. With an edge engaged it cuts in and yields plenty of control, but the short tail allows you to easily pop out of a turn and get loose for slashing or just blasting cloud bursts.

Over chop the nose can get a bit rattly and could almost do with an extra hook along its length, but when it’s in contact with the snow it behaves as it should. It doesn’t feel like a splitboard, it feels like a KORUA. Full disclosure: I bought one of these.”

Share

Newsletter Terms & Conditions

Please enter your email so we can keep you updated with news, features and the latest offers. If you are not interested you can unsubscribe at any time. We will never sell your data and you'll only get messages from us and our partners whose products and services we think you'll enjoy.

Read our full Privacy Policy as well as Terms & Conditions.

production