GNU 2016 – 2017 Forest Bailey HEADSPACE | Long term test snowboard review

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In this article I’m sharing my thoughts on the 152cm GNU Headspace after clocking up 6 weeks worth of shred time on it.

Over the past season Onyx Snowboard School partnered with GNU, Lib Tech and Roxy to offer our winter and summer snowboard camp clients (and indeed staff) the chance to demo a huge line up of their 2016-17 snowboards.

This awesome opportunity also gave us the rare chance to conduct long term tests on some models prior to their official public release, meaning we can help you with a far more detailed review of how these snowboards perform over time and in a wide range of conditions.


GNU Headspace 2016 2017 infographic

WHAT GNU HAS TO SAY…

Mervin bill the Headspace as “… jib focused all terrain stick” with “Soft flexing camber designed for progressive snowboarding”.

  • PROFILE = C3 hybrid camber (see photo)
  • SHAPE = Asymmetric  side cut (deeper on the heels)
  • EDGES = Magne-traction edges (serrated steak knife style shape)
  • CORE = Aspen / Columbian Gold (coffee?!?!) / Polonia, with composite tri-ax/bi-ax weave
  • BASE = Sintered (unsure which grade)

You can find more details on the GNU website here.

It’s important to note that the 2016-2017 board has a different core profile (C3) to that of previous years (BTX)

GNU headspace snowboard 2016 2017 spec sheet

 

gnu headspace snowboard review 1

SO WHAT DID YOU THINK ONYX MAN?

As a quick refresh, I am: 175cm tall, weigh 65kgs, stance width 57cm with 15° front, -12° back binding angles. During the test period I used a pair of UK7 Nike Danny Kass boots (from my stockpile) and M Burton Genesis bindings.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS.
My overriding first impression was how soft this board felt in comparison to my usual Burton Parkitect 154cm, which I consider a mid-soft camber deck. GNU rate the flex at 5, which after a few comedy falls during stock flatland combos I think is a tad high. I found the lack of resistance in the nose/tail tough initially so if you’re a heavy rider look elsewhere, same goes for if you have big feet. Once accustomed to the flex I was able to get way more out of the Headspace and was surprised how much edge grip the board had in a carve, along with how much fun it was to jib and throw around on side hits. It does lack pop in some tricks and snap out of turns, but still a good laugh all over the hill. In a quick test through a mellow off piste spot it didn’t have life jacket style buoyancy (not expected from this type of board) but did give just enough float in powder at average speeds to be versatile. Needless to say the bindings remained on when I arrived home.

gnu 2016 2017 headspace snowboard review 2PERFORMANCE OVER TIME.
After 6 weeks on the Headspace in everything from March bluebird days to July glacial park laps, I’ve actually grown quite fond of the board.

It excels in being a fun all mountain jib stick that’s easy to play around on, but that strength is also its weakness. The softer flex cam let go when landing bigger kickers, boosting the super pipe and really letting rip in the carves. But then that’s not what the board was primarily designed for and maybe I just prefer slightly stiffer boards.

Also of note:
–  The sintered base does dry out quickly, however even unwaxed the Headspace was far faster than my back up Burton Antler (camber version) was freshly waxed… so score one for the lazy waxers.
– To maintain a centred stance (without orientating binding discs) your width options are 20.25″, 21.75″, 23.25″ or 24.75″.


2016 – 2017 GNU HEADSPACE SNOWBOARD REVIEW SUMMARY

FLEX (ONYX SCALE):
3/10, pretty soft.

AWESOME IF:
– You’re an intermediate – advanced jibber/flatland shredder, who likes riding park but still wants an all terrain camber board full of buttery soft goodness.
– You’re a higher level beginner – intermediate recreational rider looking for a friendly and forgiving board to progress on.

AVOID IF:
– You have big feet.
– You’re an aggressive rider who thrives on pop and breaking the sound barrier.
– Your regular day on the mountain is predominantly made up of XL kickers and the super pipe.

WORTH THE PRICE TAG?
The RRP of £350.00 ish gets you a lot of board for your buck, definitely worth it!

CONCLUSION
The new C3 core for 2016-2017 really brings the Headspace alive, making this a soft and playful all-rounder with killer edge grip. The board performs exactly as advertised, looks truly awesome and is easy on the wallet. Personally I’d prefer the Headspace be a little stiffer or see another C3 deck in the GNU/Lib line up to fill that void, but then we’re all still searching for that one board to truly rule everything 🙂

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About Author

Baden Knifton

Baden Knifton is owner and head coach at Onyx Snowboard School, holding BASI L4 ISTD Snowboard Instructor certification with further qualifications in Sport Technology (BSc) and Sport Psychology (MSc). He's the head trainer with Snowsport England and responsible for writing their instructor qualification programme. Additionally he works as a freestyle TD (technical delegate), judge, race official and regularly organises competitions around Europe. Away from snowboarding he's a winter sports and travel blogger, presenter, writer, general mountain man and tech geek!

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