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Fireside Contra Chat with Bruce


Jack M
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my style is unmistakeable

arms flailing about, falling left and falling right; then forward and backware.  Crash, blame the equipment/setup/weather/condition/people, especially that acorn on the trail about 300 yard away... that damn acorn </shake fist>

repeat and looking to buy new board to resolve the acorn crisis.

Thank you Mr. E. 
I am a nose stomper(center-ish but forward a bit) and got toss by the Contra so will try center on the insert pack a bit back.

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1 hour ago, pow4ever said:

my style is unmistakeable

arms flailing about, falling left and falling right; then forward and backware.  Crash, blame the equipment/setup/weather/condition/people, especially that acorn on the trail about 300 yard away... that damn acorn </shake fist>

repeat and looking to buy new board to resolve the acorn crisis.

Thank you Mr. E. 
I am a nose stomper(center-ish but forward a bit) and got toss by the Contra so will try center on the insert pack a bit back.

I found the nose of mine liked to dive a bit until I moved it back.  Not much, maybe 20mm.

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6 hours ago, pow4ever said:

For contra do we do the same or mount it more center since seems the way to ride it is more neutral/center?

I would suggest center on the Contra boards.  Any YES ride neutral/centered.  Relax and let the magic happen.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 1/26/2021 at 11:12 AM, Jack M said:

Thank you @johnasmo for the detailed review.  After two days on a Contra 174/20.5/12.5, I generally have similar impressions and feelings.  However my preference is for the K168.  If I could own only one board, that is the one.  I did feel the Contra was easier to find edge hold on mid-day well-used conditions, I can see why this sidecut would be useful/popular in places where conditions get bumpy quickly.

However the overall feel of the sidecut was strange to me, something I'd never felt before.  It kind of felt as if the board was riding on two skates, one in front of your front foot and one behind your back foot, and nothing in between.  I didn't sense much feedback under or between my feet.  I felt it was more reluctant to tip up on edge, and low angle cruise carving was kind of "sticky".  It seemed to be happiest inside a certain range of edge angles, and sort of awkward outside of it. 

The KST sidecut is silky smooth to me, everywhere.  I agree all the parameters of the board are in total harmony.  IMO it is noticeably more pleasing on good conditions like early morning groom.  I would rather maximize that time of day.  I have also become a conditions snob in my advanced age.  I get enough days on hill now that when conditions go to hell I'll just call it a day or I'll just cruise and choose good spots to put a carve down.  If I were to be really extravagant, I'd use a KST in the morning and a Contra after lunch.  That's probably the ultimate quiver for my mountain.  But that seems kind of like having two drivers in your golf bag.

The stock Kessler 171, 180, 185 are like that, the 168 is not.  The largest radius on the 168 is in the middle near the rear foot per John's measurements, and then it tightens towards the tail.  It feels this way while riding.  My new custom 180 (avg 15m) is like that too, it's an absolute dream. I'm not sure how the 162 is, but I suspect it is tail-tight.

I have no idea what the shape of the Kessler 162 is other than perfect! Mine is ancient, beat to hell and has thin edges and I’m gonna ride it until it breaks. This contra though.... it’s got some of the same sauce..... just very different at the same time. Both want me a little more centered than my other boards. This is the thing though the contra took a few runs to like and to feel comfortable on where as the Kessler it was literally the second turn. 

The contra is easier to ride all round just.... different and weird at first 

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On 2/7/2021 at 1:05 AM, bobdea said:

Both want me a little more centered than my other boards.

I took my Contra out for the first time last Saturday (Contra 166, 24 cm waist, 11 m SCR according to Bruce). I noticed the same thing. If you happen to have your weight too far back in a backside turn (which, of course, is where it shouldn't be in a backside turn to begin with), it's very hard to get off the edge again.

Which is to say it's a great board, and I love it, and there is a bit of a learning curve for me.

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Cliff notes version for myself.

The word smiths put it much better than I ever could.

Jack M:

However the overall feel of the sidecut was strange to me, something I'd never felt before.  It kind of felt as if the board was riding on two skates, one in front of your front foot and one behind your back foot, and nothing in between.  I didn't sense much feedback under or between my feet.  I felt it was more reluctant to tip up on edge, and low angle cruise carving was kind of "sticky".  It seemed to be happiest inside a certain range of edge angles, and sort of awkward outside of it. 

Aracan:

if you happen to have your weight too far back in a backside turn (which, of course, is where it shouldn't be in a backside turn to begin with), it's very hard to get off the edge again.

my idiotic rant/editorial:

for those very consistent rider.  who ride center.  Contra/WOGO will work great with no learning curve.
for me:  i preferred to ride differently depends on how steep the trail is.
Incidentally - i think this is a reason why some rider once they conquer the steep; they don't like to go back to mellower terrains.  they simply carve away too much speed which is a good thing in term of consistency.  I am a lazy carver that tend to use the least amount of energy to get the job done.

on the shallow:  Contra seems to respond well to various input/style: push pull, rotation, front/back weight shifting , angulation, push the board until it automatic change edges(fun) and etc.
as it get steeper:  for me(due to lack of skill/fortitude and just general sucky rider).  the board seems to want to be ridden in a very quiet/specific way.  It lose a bit of playfulness/dynamic nature(at least for me).

Again:  if you are an advance rider.  I don't think that's a problem.
for someone who is all over the place; it's a bit of learning curve.

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2 hours ago, Aracan said:

If you happen to have your weight too far back in a backside turn (which, of course, is where it shouldn't be in a backside turn to begin with), it's very hard to get off the edge again.

Or..... It makes it absurdly easy to hold a carve...

 

15 minutes ago, pow4ever said:

if you are an advance rider.  I don't think that's a problem.

I am absolutely not an advanced rider and I find the Contra super easy to ride... Maybe I had different expectations. For me, experimenting with binding location (with some help from more knowledgeable riders) really brought this board to life.

 

FWIW, I find this type of sidecut (long, short, long) really intuitive to ride while the more traditional (short, long, medium) I find to be really hooky and scary. It's nice having the option. All I can say is don't discount it based on other people's experience, I think it's very personal and you really have to try it to make up your mind.

 

 

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I agree.  your mileage may vary.  Snowboarding is very individual.
If you are used to ride a certain way; Contra Side cut could work very well. 

on the few occasion i was able to get Contra in the Goldilocks zone it does make riding the steep ridicules drama free/easy.  Tip the board over; stay center and it just cruise.

However i am having a hard time stay in that zone consistently (just not how i ride).  Once again my problem not the board.  Just sharing my humble 2 cents.

It's a process; we are getting better acquainted.
This season my timing seems to be way off so it doesn't help there.

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On 1/26/2021 at 9:12 AM, Jack M said:

 It kind of felt as if the board was riding on two skates, one in front of your front foot and one behind your back foot, and nothing in between.  I didn't sense much feedback under or between my feet.  I felt it was more reluctant to tip up on edge, and low angle cruise carving was kind of "sticky".  It seemed to be happiest inside a certain range of edge angles, and sort of awkward outside of it.

I've been testing this year's iteration a bunch lately, and my mind keeps coming back to Jack's comment about the ice skates.  It's true and it's intentional and you can learn to love it.  There's massive edge hold available if you just imagine your inside leg is on an ice skate and put the load right on it.  On a toe side, the inside leg would be your rear foot, and a heel side, your inside leg would be your front foot.  No matter what the length or radius of the Contra, focus your energies on the imaginary ice skates underfoot and ignore the rest of the board and you will be rewarded with fountains of grip.

Two years ago, when trying to figure out how to improve grip, I asked Bruce for all the details on my Coiler Skinny (a Skwal, 14.5 waist) because, quoting from that email, "Feels like the downforce biting into the snow says centered, like there’s an ice skate blade down there."  To satisfy me he shared the CNC programs, and my custom builds from then on took "custom" to a new level. 

The Contra came about in pursuit of that ice skate feeling.  I've come to love that feeling.  Board length disappears; you just ride the skates underfoot.  There is a bit of wonkiness in low angle cruising because it comes on like a two cycle engine hitting its power band.  You can feel it hitting that power band if you roll in slowly.  To keep it in its power band, avoid low angle cruising.  🙂  Keep it on the steep and narrow runs where it excels at holding its edge.

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^ this is interesting. I am yet to saddle up a contra, but the 2 skates comment is reminisant of some of those mainstream manufacturers proprietry edge profiles (NS ripsaw, LT magnetraction etc). They seem to work 'ok', but I hate the way they feel under foot -  just plain annoying when riding low edge angles.

I certainly don't get that kind of feedback from my Thirst; it folds the whole edge into the flex seamlessly, as opposed to my Nirvana which faithfully rides the part of its sidecut you ask it to. I love both, but it would take some convincing for me to trade either for a 'two skates feel'. Someone (carvin marvin?) mentioned the contra felt like his coiler and thirst got busy and had a red haired step child - could be the full Bayview voodoo is yet to be fully 'decoded'.

Does the segmented 'wogo' sidecut have that skatey nuance?

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33 minutes ago, Lurch said:

Does the segmented 'wogo' sidecut have that skatey nuance?

The WoGoCoCo is the same sidecut as a Contra but with straight lines.  Feels the same, but just a bit better on the icy stuff.  

I guess I do not notice the skatey nuance on it or on the Contra line, but I do certainly feel the board really engage underfoot on icy or firm snow.  

The current Contra’s are designed to be ridden dead center with your weight.  This makes them very easy to ride and ride well. The Contra’s have with widest range of conditions that they are good-great carvers. The Contra is not a replacement for every board you have, but a great board for when you do not know how conditions will be. 

The Contra’s are not has lively as K168, Nirvana Energy, VSR or NSR.  I love those boards, you can change the turn shape and see by twisting the board, resisting board flex, flexing the board, weighting tip or tail.   Those boards are an absolute hoot with good conditions, but when conditions get less than great or if I am out of energy, a Contra is the board I choose to switch to.  

The Contra is not a quiver killer, there is no such thing.  The Contra is just an easy to ride, confidence inspiring, fun board.  

 

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