With schools of powder fish shapes available, will the Round Nose Fish be your go-to to surf the mountains?
A recent trend has been to bring in surf-inspired designs or colabs with established surf shapers and in doing so, create ‘surfy’ powder boards. Unforturnately for the layman, surfy has to be currently one of the most vague terms to describe a snowboard. To some, surfy means soft and playful, to others setback and taper enabling backfoot drive, while to others short and turny/tight sidecuts making for ‘slashy’ boards. It can be quite confusing as surfy boards seem to run the gamut of soft to stiff, ultra short to long. In any case, calling a board surfy is a positive thing, regardless of the shape or stiffness. So when it comes to reviewing a board with a strong surf backstory like the Lib Tech Mayhem Round Nose Fish, it would be easy to just label it as surfy and call it a day….but that wouldn’t explain much.
The Mayhem Round Nose Fish has an XC2 profile which is a strong rocker section between the feet and longer camber sections underfoot. Those longer camber sections give the board a more aggressive profile than C2, EC2 and BTX.
This Lib Tech has 16mm of taper and a cool-looking swallow tail. It also boasts 630 square inches of planing surface, which while a little less than the Mayhem Rocket, is still plenty for pow float. It has a sintered base for best wax absorption.
The 2017 graphic was airbrushed by Lost Surfboards board painter, Terry Shin, and like the Mayhem Rocket, the graphic is made up of tiny reflective flakes.
How does it ride?
On hardpack the xc2 profile keeps it nimble on the carves and it works great for sidehits. You won’t feel like you’re riding a powder board on hardpack at all. In fact, the shorter effective edge (107cm) actually makes it feel like you’ve sized down for groomers. I found it quick edge to edge and the medium-stiff flex lets it rip without being overly stiff. For spring days it is so fun.
One big difference with the rest of the Lib Tech line is the lack of magne-traction edges. When riding it back to back with other Lib Tech or Gnu boards, you’ll notice a difference: you gain a smoothness in carves but lose the aggressive bite of those wavy edges. At first I felt like it was squirrely without the mag, but then noticed that proper technique made up the difference. Could it be that magne-traction helps lazy snowboarders?
In chop and bad conditions, that previously mentioned nimbleness will result in the board getting bucked around. Bending your knees more to dig your edges in will alleviate this to a point, but the light weight, thinner construction doesn’t make this a damp board to charge with.
It’s not hard to guess that the Lib Tech Mayhem Round Nose Fish has excellent float. The big nose, 16mm of taper and swallow tail all combine to keep the nose up on the deepest runs and make for a snappy, quick turning tail. There’s also the rocker portion of the XC2 profile that provides natural buoyancy, especially at low speeds.
While I’m in the recommended weight range, my wide stance (60cm) leaves the Round Nose Fish with a nose a touch shorter than I would like. It works but it’s not ideal. If I could get another 2cm added to the nose then it would be perfect (for me), but someone with a narrower stance will be right in the sweet spot to max out the deep day float.
Along with its sibling, the Rocket, the Lib Tech Mayhem Round Nose Fish is a board you can ride all season in all conditions. It excels in soft snow, deep or slushy and has an eye-catching shape and topsheet graphic. Lift line compliments are not uncommon, but it could also be due to the eye-watering price markup here in Japan (124,200 yen/$1,138USD at time of writing). As for ‘surfy-ness’, if surfy to you means airing off a sidehit on a cat track, then cutting back hard for the next hit (just like a bottom turn) then yes, it is surfy. The Round Nose Fish rides like I hoped it would: a zippy groomer carver and sidehit killer, that turns into a powder board on deep snow days. This is the final year of the Round Nose Fish, so if you’re on the fence about getting one, reel one in fast before they become extinct.
Get more information on Lib Tech at their official site.
Disclosure: The Lib Tech Mayhem Rocket was purchased by the Japan Grabs Team.