YES. Hybrid 2020-2021 Snowboard Review

  • Price: £479 / $550
  • Category: All-Mountain, Freeride/Powder
  • Ability Level: Intermediate, Advanced
  • Size: 153, 157, 161
  • Flex: 7/10
  • Shape: Directional
  • Profile: CamRock
  • Base: Sintered

Introduced last year with a name hinting at its slightly unconventional origins, the Hybrid is the amalgamation of the YES. 420 and PYL. It caught the eyes of the riding fraternity and won the hearts of the Whitelines test team in equal measure. Combining the shorter, volume shifted concept of the 420 with the Tapered UnderBite three-step sidecut of the PYL, the Hybrid delivers full-on all-mountain freeride performance with that unapologetically wild at heart, carefree personality that YES. snowboards are renowned for.

Starting with some good news for the smaller, lighter riders out there: the Hybrid now comes in an additional 153 size this season. With its increased surface area, the board can be a little downsized from conventional freeride sizes but will still continue to float and deliver back on the pistes.

“The Hybrid now comes in an additional 153 size this season”

It’s a directional snowboard which bears all the hallmarks of a vehicle that’ll see you through thick and thin (depths of snow). That bulbous nose makes light work of staying afloat in powder, whilst the subtle CamRock profile, with only a solitary 1mm of rocker entering the nose and tail, has near-identical levels of rebound and bite on groomers that you’d expect to find in a traditional positive camber.

That turning performance is then cranked up with a triple threat of sidecut radii known as Tapered Underbite. While traditional tapered snowboards pull the sidecut tighter towards the tail, the Hybrid creates three distinct sections that step horizontally inward. This creates a kind of “hook” effect, where your turn’s grip increases as you move around the arc. The precision on offer is unlike almost any other sidecut profile and truly steps up the performance of the Hybrid for those that aren’t just riding in the white room 24/7, but demanding accuracy and precision back on the piste, too.

“You can shove your Prius up your arse, this is the real pinnacle of hybrid engineering feats”

The Sintered True Base offers speed on tap, with a core that is there to support and give the rider confidence in any terrain. The combination of the lightweight poplar, strong paulownia and snappy bamboo sandwiched between more responsive triax fibreglas laminates means it’s not really one for the lower intermediates, but will suit riders chasing fast lines, big drops and deeper bootpacks.

The opening line in the YES. catalogue reads: “Wait, they made a good-looking hybrid?!” While the graphics won’t be to everyone’s taste (it was certainly a talking point among our team last season) there’s undoubtedly widespread, universal love for the performance and pure stoke-inducing fun that’s offered by the YES Hybrid. You can shove your Prius up your arse, this is the real pinnacle of hybrid engineering feats.

Tester’s Verdict 2019/20

Paul WoolProfessor

“The Yes Hybrid was a major highlight of the season for me. I got out on the 157 for one day hitting a lot of powder and mixed on-piste terrain. I’m a size 9UK (10US) and am about 160lbs, clocking in about 5,10ft. There are all-mountain aspects to it, but the freeride and powder credentials cannot be ignored.

In the snow, this thing rips. It seems to be around a medium stiffness, about 6-7 on the scale with maybe a slightly stiffer tail. It is big and wide, it floats like nothing else and bulldozes everything in its path from pillow to crud, nothing stands in your way. Serious stability in technical terrain or if your charging Mach 10.

“There are all-mountain aspects to it, but the freeride and powder credentials cannot be ignored”

It turns really well for a board with such a big rockered nose, leading you in and out of turns with ease. That underbite tech from the PLY definitely helps dig your edge in for a powerful hold.

My only regret was riding really stiff bindings, I wish I could go back and try some medium or soft bindings to get a more surfy feel which I think is what the board wants to do. It has the illusion of a much bigger board, but it’s far more nimble and responsive once you’re strapped in.”

Tester’s Verdict 2019/20

Alex CheshireThe Snowboard Asylum

“YES Hybrid. Optimistic nose, PLY side cut and a 420 derived short fat footprint = fun! This thing excels in the pow. That huge surface area and stubby length mean it’s super floaty and super chuckable.

The flex feels softer than the 7/10 they give it, meaning it’s forgiving and fun, but the construction and side cut allows you to push it and drive through turns on the groomed stuff. I would happily take this through the park when there is no fluffy stuff to play in.

“Not a single human had a bad word to say about the Hybrid”

For its girth, it’s surprisingly rapid from edge to edge. Disclaimer; the board test had balls deep fresh, so it was literally in its element. Not a single human had a bad word to say about the Hybrid. I’m trying real hard to find an excuse to fit this into my already bulging quiver. If you like to grin, don’t be an idiot. Get one!”

Tester’s Verdict 2019/20

Ryan Van KesterenWhitelines

“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.”


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