Lib Tech Orca 2020-2021 Snowboard Review

  • Price: £580 / $650
  • Category: Freeride/Powder
  • Ability Level: Intermediate/ Advanced
  • Size: 144, 147, 150, 153, 156, 159
  • Flex: 7/10
  • Shape: Directional
  • Profile: Hybrid
  • Base: Sintered

The Lib Tech Orca is Travis Rice’s weird and wonderful freeride go to. In their natural habitat these killer whales have been known to gobble up couloirs, devour cliff drops, and serve up face shots on a black and white platter. Snorkels at the ready, this thing is made for exploration of the deep, steep, and unknown.

Tight tree runs, fat slashes and backcountry freestyle are on the cards when you strap into the Orca. The volume in the board is found in the width, allowing you to ride it up to 6cm shorter than your normal stick, making it far more manoeuvrable, playful and nimble. Like its namesake, with a flick of the tail the Orca shoots off to scout its next target.

“This gives an even pressure down edge as the board is weighted and keeps you locked into your turns when you crank them in”

Width alone does not a powder board make, and Lib have also given the Orca a massive hooter, setback stance, and a large taper- keeping your nose in the air has never been so easy. The central rocker functions as a pivot point for the snowboard, and when the tail is weighted the nose seesaws up out of the snow with minimum effort.

This ain’t your average pow board, the Orca is set to perform far better on hardpack than you’d assume. The tight 7m sidecut paired with Mervin’s Magne-Traction edges means you’re all set to dig trenches from dawn till dusk, a far cry from a fish out of water. Elongated camber sections run underfoot increasing pressure through the initiation and release of your turns, increasing power and aggression, and doubling up on pop power. When you consider that the 153cm Orca sports a waist width of 26.7 it’s got more than enough chops to get you turning and burning your nipples off with laid out eurocarves.

“The tight 7m sidecut paired with Mervin’s Magne-Traction edges means you’re all set to dig trenches from dawn till dusk”

While you probably wouldn’t want to go toe to toe with the Orca as a total novice, you don’t have to be a Freeride World Tour champion either; the bar is surprisingly reachable. Although, if you’re worried the Orca isn’t gnarly enough for you, bear in mind it’s Travis’ weapon of choice for competing (and winning) his FWT stop in Hakuba.

Like the good dudes they are, Travis and the Mervin crew are donating a portion of each sale to an Orca Conservation charity. Check out more of their work here:

Tester’s Verdict 2020/21

Mike BrindleyWhitelines

I’m a big Travis Rice fan, I mean, isn’t everyone? Earlier this year after few seasons of gazing longingly at the Orca I finally managed to snag one to try out. Holy shit, this is next level.

“Holy shit, this is next level”

My feet aren’t huge by any stretch of the imagination, and I’ve been stung in the past riding unwieldly volume shifted decks so I did have some healthy scepticism about getting on a board with such a huge waist width. I needn’t have worried at all, despite the gargantuan underfoot surface area, the Orca is deceptively nimble. You can pump in and out of turns and get up onto your edges with ease. And oh boy, once it’s on its edge, it ain’t going nowhere. This thing can dig a trench with the best of them.

“Even Edward Smith would have a hard time sinking this one”

In deeper snow, there’s not a lot I think can rival the Orca, even Edward Smith would have a hard time sinking this one. It floats like a champ, and the shorter length makes it so manoeuvrable, we were zipping through trees that would normally give me heart palpitations, but I felt super in control with the Orca.

I’m nowhere near the same level of riding as Travis, (is anyone?), but that’s what I like about the Orca, it’s made for having fun and blasting all over with your buddies. Bottom line, would I buy one? Hell yes I would.

Tester’s Verdict 2019/20

Alex CheshireThe Snowboard Asylum

If you like POW, buy one. If you don’t like POW, don’t buy one. Shame on you! This board got a lot of hype last year with people saying “works all over the mountain…blah blah”…………………shut up. Negatives are; it’s a wide, stiff, rockery thing on piste. About the worst combo I can think of. Positives are; it’s a wide, stiff, rockery thing off piste. About the best combo I can think of. Super positive; Base graphic is siiiiiick!


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