“I’m always excited to get on a YES board, they’re a small company with big ideas; always pushing the boat out and breaking convention. Being a proud owner of the pioneering, ‘short and fat’ YES 420 I was eager to get on the new YES Hybrid. A board believed to be the bastard offspring of YES’s legendary 420 and the PYL (pick your line); kind of like a Pitbull and Grizzly Bear’s love child.
I rode the Hybrid 161 for two days in January right after a heavy dump of snow. In your hand, the board is clearly well built with a nice finish and decent graphics. It has a medium to stiff flex on a directional camrock profile, the camber pitching 4mm in the middle – so not significantly aggressive. Inherited from the PLY is the tapered underbite, right in front of your toes. The 420’s genes are clear to see in the surface area displacement, it is wide in the waist through to the big bulbous nose (yet it is quite a bit longer).
“It is pretty wide, accommodating my big size 11 clown feet, I didn’t feel any toe drag, even on my optimistic Euro-carve attempts”
Not one to ignore a dump, I got some sublime powder experiences on the Hybrid. This thing floats extremely well letting you sit up-right without having to work it too hard. It floats better than the 420 but isn’t as compact, meaning you can’t slash and turn as tight and responsively. On the plus side you’re not leaning back so much and having to manage your speed to avoid getting stuck. It manages well for a board of its size in tight tree runs.
I’m of the opinion that, whether you adjust your bindings or not, most boards can float well on powder – the Hybrid simply manages the flow of snow under the hull better than most, maintaining speed, stability and control, all without chucking snow in your face. Where powder boards, especially those of the rocker variety, fall down is back in on the piste (in groomers or chop). The 420 isn’t a great board on the piste, edges slip and it gets out of control at speed. The Hybrid eliminates this with efficiency, producing an exhilarating carving and charging experience.
The camber, although not as pronounced as some, really comes into effect producing great pop in and out or turns, and helps to really engage the underbite – which is no gimmick. It really digs in and holds, similar to Mervin’s magnitraction. The big nose and stiffness doesn’t deter turn engagement, it will take a bit of getting used to, but it really comes into its own on long fast carves, allowing you to get low and hold on for a rollercoaster ride. Some chatter will creep in on that big nose, but nothing to worry about. It is pretty wide, accommodating my big size 11 clown feet, I didn’t feel any toe drag, even on my optimistic Euro-carve attempts.
It is still a big old battleship, long, wide and stiff, so it will run down crud and plough through slush and pillows with ease. But in rutted out moguls at the end of the day, the board becomes a chore – you can’t win all the time.
The 161 isn’t a board for jibbing, you can press and butter with some effort, it pops an ollie pretty well, but again you have to work for it. The Hybrid’s PLY roots come into effect on the kickers and side hits, it jumps very well feeling stable and nimble in the air. It handles impact well and lets you off with a sketchy landing that a true camber might not.
All in all, I think the Hybrid will be a mainstay of YES’s line up for years to come, it ticks so many boxes. It would suit an intermediate to advanced freeride enthusiast that wants a wide board offering a premium powder ride with plenty of all-mountain abilities thrown in. Awesome job! A major favourite of mine.”