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Snowboards

Lib Tech Orca 2018-2019 Snowboard Review

Whale Rider

We’re starting to lose track of just how many Lib Tech boards have been given the Travis Rice seal of approval – but as far as we’ve seen, none of them has been a dud. This winter sees the release of the latest in the T.Rice Collection – the Lib Tech Orca snowboard.

Shape-wise, the Lib Tech Orca is quite a departure from Trav’s usual fare. The only available size is a mere 153cm, although it compensates with a chunky 267mm waist width. That’s even thicker than the 167cm version of the Lib Tech T.Rice Gold Member board.

“The Orca has a light taper, and a deep sidecut that turns on a dime”

We imagine we’re not the only ones stoked to see Travis embrace a short ‘n’ stubby model, and a closer look only increases the froth. The Orca has a light taper, and a deep sidecut that turns on a dime.

The profile is the same as what you’ll find on the Gold Member; a short rocker section in the middle, flanked by two considerable camber sections. The centre of the board works in tandem with the taper to keep you floating in the deep stuff, while the rest of the board delivers grip on firmer trails without feeling mega twitchy (as downsized boards often tend to do).

On the piste there’s the added benefit of Magne-traction edges. With a varying wave running through the steel, the relative lack of effective edge is less noticeable. Factor in the wider waist too, and you’ll be as confident getting your elbow down on this as you would with a true carving weapon.

“Tech wise, this hasn’t gone off the deep end…. it’s the shape that’s the star here”

Tech wise, this hasn’t gone off the deep end. It’s a step up from Lib’s ‘Original Power’ baseline, with a sintered base rather than extruded, but generally it’s the shape that’s the star here. That’s to take nothing away from the OP blend, either; with a mix of Aspen and paulownia woods, as well as triax and biax fibreglass, it’s got a lightweight lay-up with all the strength hope for.

Despite its unusual design, the Lib Tech Orca could be the most accessible board yet to come out of the Lib/Travis partnership.

Tester’s Verdict

Jon Birdldmountaincentre.com

“The Orca is an aspirational freeride stick for the rider who wants to buy in to the whole Travis thing. It felt truly at home in the powder with the longer nose, tapered shape and set back stance giving it a smooth and floaty ride.

“It felt truly at home in the powder”

Although designed to slay and slash powder, the Orca handles the groomers and any icy terrain with no issues, with great grip coming from the magnetraction.
The Orca is a board that will undoubtedly turn heads and stand out.”

Tester’s Verdict

Chris Sturgesssnowfit.co.uk

“This board was getting lots of attention at the board tests. It looks good, has a great story and the conditions when we first tried it were just perfect for a board like this. It was good, held its edge well, floated up with easy and in the trees it seemed to just keep jumping out of the snow as you cranked the turns, much like its namesake.

“In the trees it seemed to just keep jumping out of the snow as you cranked the turns”

But… there was something about it that just didn’t click with me. It seemed almost sluggish when you compared it to, say, the Jones Mind Expander or even the much cheaper Bataleon CT.

My second go on it was on a firmer day and once again it was good; the shape seemed to still work well even when you were not waist deep in snow.”

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