The Gnu Riders Choice is the all-mountain freestyle board of pros like Mathieu Crepel and Blake Paul, but does that make it a good choice for riders like you or me?
To say the Gnu Riders Choice is long running standard in the Gnu line up is no exaggeration – it picked up a Transworld “Good Wood” gong all the way back in the year 2008 B.B (Before Banana! – it was camber magne-traction back then). True to its name, it’s been a team favourite ever since, with Mathieu Crepel, Blake Paul and even Nico Muller (but presumably no longer now that he’s got his new Mull-air pro model) listed as using it now.
I have to admit that I didn’t know much about this board and so, when the Almo Film crew gave me one, I had to quickly google the specs to see exactly what the heck it was.
The Gnu Riders Choice is a true twin all mountain freestyle board, with a C2 PBTX profile. The P stands for A.S.S. Pickle tech (snicker). This is just a cheeky way of saying the board is shaped asymmetrically. There is a deeper sidecut on the heel edge to compensate for our bodies’ natural turning tendencies. I don’t notice it but that probably means that it’s working. Check out the following graphic to see what C2 PBTX really means.
As you can see it’s just regular C2BTX – a camber-rocker-camber hybrid board. Since the tips don’t come back down all the way, it looks like it’s fully rockered, and sure, when standing on it at home, you do get the see-saw effect. However, on snow, you don’t feel the banana very much and it feels very close to camber. This is a good thing in my opinion and it’s big part of the appeal of this board – rocker versatility without too much of a “rocker feel”. Sintered base and regular magne-traction edges round out the specs.
How does it ride?
The Riders Choice feels really lively underfoot. Like I mentioned earlier, it feels quite close to camber and doesn’t wash out of turns. It can hold its own carving and has good pop. The nose and tail are pressable and it feels good at all speeds. Most importantly, it feels FUN.
I was given the 157.5, which is a good size for park and resort for me. For powder and big mountain, I’d definitely prefer the 161.5. Speaking of powder, thanks to the rocker it floats quite well.
I think you’d have no problems using the Riders Choice as a quiver killer board. The first person I saw ride it was Gnu rider Mathieu Crepel sending it into Japan powder. When I asked him about the board, he told me he wanted one board for all conditions and the Riders Choice fit the bill. Like many pros, being 100% in tune with one board overrides running a quiver. Unlike stories of some pros on specially beefed-up non-production boards, he runs the stock model that you or I can buy – a testament to Gnu’s quality.
If the C2 camber-rocker-camber profile gives you the impression that the board might not handle big mountain conditions, just watch Crepel’s full part from last year:
For 2016 there are three different graphic lines for the Riders Choice: the regular version, the Aspen Edition and the Club Collection (pictured below).
Finally, here is the Gnu product video for the regular Riders Choice. If you look on their site they have slightly different videos for the other two Riders Choice versions.
Get more info and specs at the official Gnu Riders Choice page here.
Disclosure: The Gnu Riders Choice was a gift from Almo Film.