I want to start this review off by explaining exactly why I’m writing this…Never Summer has been around for a while now, and when modern longboarding still wasn’t sure exactly what it wanted from a board, Never Summer was one of many companies that took a shot in the dark. Someone told me back then that they were also a snowboard company. I rolled my eyes and thought “well that makes sense…”, I wasn’t very impressed, and I feel like a lot of people retain that attitude even still. Today however, is a different day! The sport has refined itself, longboarders know what they want now (very specifically sometimes). So for the 2014 lineup Never Summer grabbed their bag of tricks from snowboard manufacturing, took one look at our current list of demands, and said: “We can do that, and we can do it better!” Don’t believe me? I was hoping you wouldn’t…you’re gonna want to keep reading.
While the Admiral itself doesn’t seem to be made specifically for DH, several features give it a surprising advantage given its shape. In fact, the very first thing I noticed about this deck was how ridiculously light it was. I knew the channels on the bottom provided strength while lightening the board…and it was clearly made of bamboo, but that didn’t seem enough to explain this featherweight board. So I contacted Never Summer to see what mysteries hid in the core and found out that it was a dual core of poplar and ash sandwiched around a layer of bidirectional fiberglass. (For those of you unfamiliar with poplar, it’s a wood so strong and light that the Greeks used to make shields out of it!) So…light as it is I wouldn’t personally think you need to shed any weight…but I can’t help but notice how clean this thing would look chopped. Although, even then it wouldn’t exactly be very streamlined.
With a wide W concave that mellows towards the kicks, plus flares that are actual flares and not “wheel bumps” the deck offers one comfortable locked in feeling. I’ve tried very few concaves that didn’t have to trade comfort for control (or vice versa)…this is one of them. However, with all its sleek smooth lines it can be hard to know exactly where your feet are on the Admiral without looking. Luckily, that doesn’t seem to be much of a problem though because the Admiral is pretty clear about where you’re stance should be, and the angle of the kicks let’s you know if you’re getting to close to the ends of the deck. In fact, the kicks are so perfectly scooped that I’ve never felt more locked in with my foot ON a kick (as opposed to wedged in the corner made by the base of the tail). Not to mention the rails built in to the bottom of the board assist in pre drifts and stalefish slides as well!
The Admiral doesn’t have the EFP of your designated dancer, or the flat riding platform…but the oval shape of the wheel flares and tub concave surrounding the wide W concave create a circular track that cups your feet no matter where you decide to place your steps. It’s like a funky disco skate rink for your feet. Short steps like 180s, 360s, chop the wood and single Peter pans are a breeze on this deck. Bell bottoms aren’t required, but I think it goes without saying that they definitely help your steeze factor (+5 speed if they’re pink).
Whoa man, is this a fun freestyle deck! It actually took a while to get used to how absolutely light the deck is…and the pop you can get out of those tails! So with these things coming stock with coarse DH grip you can expect some sliced fingers at first. Once you learn to anticipate this beasts pounce though…you’ll be tossing this thing around like it’s nothing. Indian burns and other over-the-head tricks are fun and easy. We already discussed why the board is so light, but most of the pop comes from that beautiful carbon fiber bottom. Plus, the tails are going to stay strong and snappy because they’re reinforced by Ptex (an extremely durable polyurethane thermoplastic used in snowboards).
So yea…Never Summer is REALLY stepping up its game. Maybe there are other companies out there that have developed similar features or used similar materials, but it’s the attention to detail and finesse that makes Never Summer stand out. The fact that so many ideas fit so seamlessly into one board that you might not even notice them unless you were looking…it’s pretty amazing. If the Admiral isn’t in your local shop, see where you can get it, or tell them to get their shit together and contact their distributor, because you have to try this deck!
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DISCLAIMER: This company was confident enough in its quality that they were willing to provide me with product to review.