The Lib Tech Rat Tail summons visions of busting Jamie Lynn methods over powder pillows. Will the unique shape unleash your ‘inner rat’ or make you call for rodent control?
The Rat Tail seems to be an evolution of Lib Tech’s annual heavily tapered offering. The Snow Mullet was given a makeover as the Brando by Lando, which in turn was replaced by last year’s Jamie Lynn fundaMENTAL. 2016 brings us the Rat Tail, which has 28mm of taper and is distinguished by a half-moon cutout of the nose and a triple-pointed tail. True to a Jamie Lynn pro model, it has lots of camber. It’s officially C3 camber (camber with mild rocker between the inserts). Take a look at the official profile graphic:
The mild rocker section between the feet is closer to being flat than reverse camber and this varies a little among different C3 boards in the Lib Tech lineup. The board feel is full camber and I would give it a medium-stiff rating for the flex.
Here’s a real photo of the C3:
The base is Lib Tech’s TNT base which is extruded. Why Lib won’t put a sintered base on a premium $600 deck boggles the mind. One positive, though, is you don’t have to wax so often, which will leave you more time to wax your boards with more expensive bases.
How does it ride?
It just feels like a Lib Tech. There’s something about the board thickness and magne-traction edges that gives it that Mervin-feel. It feels a bit shorter than a 159, which is not surprising given its 117cm contact length. On groomers, it rides like a 156 Jamie Lynn: it’s stiff and damp and so gives little feedback.
In powder, I felt let down by the late rise on the nose. While the nose does kick up earlier by 3cm when you flatten the camber, it feels like it is too little, too late. If I was given the keys to the design lab, I would add some rocker in the nose for higher snow clearance and more effortless float. Although the Rat Tail has a longer nose than the Lib Tech Speedodeeps, it manages to be a more demanding ride (there are other factors at work here too, but you can’t beat a massive wu-tang nose kick like on the Speedodeeps). While I’m at it, I’d lose the half moon cutout and put a regular nose back on it. You’d lose a little character, but gain a powder board that actually floats well. In chop the current nose slices through the snow (instead of going over) and that leads to a loss of speed. When you do get going, the taper comes into play for added float, but I didn’t feel like it was even close to the powder capabilities of comparable cambered boards with heavy taper (like an older Burton Fish for example). I found that it floats like its listed size of 159cm, and that means “hello rear leg burn” for me. If it was a bit longer, like around a 163, then I think I could deal with the nose and be happier with it. Unfortunately, it only comes in the one size so that is a moot point.
On hardpack it’s not too hard to manipulate – the taper helps turn initiation, and the stiffness helps with stability when going fast. While the tail is one of the more noticeable features of the board, it does little – on hardpack it’s raised and out of the way. In powder I didn’t notice any effect. I assume it’s just a good storyline – Lib Tech says it was “inspired by Jamie’s home town crew skate days” (and his hair) and well, I have to admit it does look pretty cool.
Who would like this deck?
Somebody who loves Jamie Lynn art and wants a board that’s a conversation-starter on the lifts. I’m only half-kidding as there’s no denying it’s an exciting-looking board. Seriously though, I’d recommend this board to someone who’s ridden Jamie Lynn decks and likes them. It’s more of the same. You’ll get more floatation than a regular JL thanks to the taper, but don’t expect it to give you a free ride. You’ll still have to work to keep the nose up in uneven pow. Overall, I was disappointed by its lifelessness, but perhaps someone heavier than my 160 lbs would find it more lively. Maybe the board is more like Jamie’s hair – the rat tail is something he can pull off as he’s a true snowboard legend with legs of steel. A real badass who has never had much time for rocker or doing things the easy way (like floating with rocker) – if you are like that, and want a shape to spell that out to everyone in the liftline, this could be the board for you. Just make sure you have the legs for it.
Watch Jamie Lynn riding the Lib Tech Rat Tail in Alaska:
Disclosure: The Lib Tech Rat Tail was purchased by the Japan Grabs Team.