2005/2006 Ride Kink, 152cm.
I’ve had the Kink since the beginning of the 2005 season, riding it for a week in Meribel, a week in Chamonix, two weeks in Tignes, a week in Deux Alpes and a handful of times on the indoor slope at Xscape, Castleford, UK. This riding has included jibbing around, hitting rails and boxes, hitting park kickers, riding around the piste and a very small amount of powder.
Shape & Flex
The Kink is a freestyle board – but more specifically it is a jib board. Twin tip and twin flex design – it rides exactly the same in both directions which is pretty standard for a jibbing board. I wanted a true twin so naturally the symetrical aspect of the board’s design was appealing. However it’s not just the shape that I have liked, I’ve also been impressed with the board’s flex pattern. Despite it being advertised as buttery (I recall some slogan like “20% more butter”), it has always felt lively, with a good amount of pop, which you get evenly from both nose and tail. It’s buttery and easy to press, but that softer flex doens’t bring a flat, washed out feel with it. It’s springy. This makes it fun to ride, and easy (easier) to learn new tricks on.
I don’t have much experience of riding rails and, the Kink is the first board that I’ve hit rails/boxes on so I don’t have a reference point for comparison. However, I can say that the Kink feels nice to press with, and, when boardsliding on rails the flex is forgiving and leaves room to shift your weight around. A lot of jib kids are gonna dull their edges down, but I’ve done nothing with mine and I haven’t had too many hang ups… This little clip of the Kink being ridden on boxes/rails might be useful. I’ve also learned to always wear a pair of crash pants when trying new rail tricks. Because… ouch!
The rest of the mountain
The Kink is the shortest board that I’ve ridden; others include a 154, a 155 and a 158. Yet I haven’t felt too let down by its (relative) all-mountain performance. Although the edge hold hasn’t been great in some situations, I think the board does pretty well at speed: not too gittery, not wanting to wash out all of the time. I wad worried that with a pure jib-stick I’d be sliding all over the place, but it’s simply not the case.
It’s probably more accurate to say that I haven’t felt held back, around the mountain. The difference between it and my Rome Anthem for example, is significant. But if you’re looking for a jib board you already know you’re going to be making compramises in this area. It functions, but don’t expect something that’s gonna eat up difficult terrain and float on powder.
How’s it compare with other freestyle boards?
I’ve owned a 55 Rome Agent, a 54 Squad Flex 4 and recently had a quick test run on a 51 Evil Twin. I thought that the Squad Flex 4 had similar feel/design with respect to soft flexing tips, yet it lacked the pop of the Kink. It felt a little flat in comparison. Volkl stopped calling it the Flex 4 and opted for Squad Jibster, so maybe they changed things a little.
Some jib boards, like the Evil Twin for example seem to be softer in the middle and stiffer at the tips. So they have a slightly different ride. Which is better is a matter of preference. What kind of flex do you like? Softer in the middle should be better for connecting with rails; softer tips easier to press, butter and pop. It’s up to you. I thought the Kink was lighter than the Evil Twin.
The Agent is marketed and designed to being a little more all-round freestyle than a pure jib board. It’s not a true twin and sticking to weight ranges will give you a longer board, therefore a little heavier a little slower to spin/move around – but we’re probably talking small differences here. I certainly found the Agent to be better all mountain, it definitely had better edge hold in the halfpipe and it had a smooth, buttery ride to boot. So is it just like the Kink but better? Maybe. But then again it is considerably more expensive and probably doesn’t ride rails as well. You may also crave a true twin, a real jib-stick…
This is my only issue with the board. I’ve done around 6 weeks of riding on this board and I need to replace it. I think the edges have been pretty weak and I picked up a crack near the nose. It wouldn’t have lasted a season. I do hit rails and boxes but that represents a small amount of the action that this board has seen.
Maybe I’ve just been unlucky? Maybe my next board will fare the same? I just don’t know. Given the choice of boards out there I kind of feel it’s worth trying another once just in case.
So what’s my overall take on the board? Well, I’ve really enjoyed riding a true twin board – but this feature isn’t unique to the Kink – there are many twin tip boards to choose from. The board’s flex on the other hand is part of the Kink’s design, and this I am impressed with. Easy to butter with whilst at the same time having a lively, poppy feel. In fact, as I’ve written this review I’ve realised how much I like this board. There’s not a single thing I don’t like about the way the board rides. It’s a lot of fun and it performs. And don’t forget that the Kink is very competitive when it comes to price. Perhaps I was unlucky with the durability of the board, perhaps not; this might be the only thing that stops me from buying another one.
The Kink is a good board – the fact that I’m probably going to buy a different board now shouldn’t count against this one, I simply want to try something different.
The one thing I won’t be changing is my boots – the DC boot line is perfect!