Lost surfboards meets Lib Tech snowboards in this wide slashy surf machine. Will this Rocket blast you to new shredtastic heights?
I have to admit that I became infatuated with this Mayhem series by Lib Tech. To a non-surfer like me, there was something about mixing the surf pedigree of a core brand like Lost Surfboards into a Lib Tech powder board that just sounded so right. Surely this famous surf shaper, Matt Biolos, had some new design tricks that would revolutionize snowboarding. Was it too much to dream? Perhaps. A little research explained that ‘Mayhem’ is Matt Biolos’ nickname from his time as a singer in a punk band in the 80’s and he has been using it as branding for Lost Surfboards since 1987. That’s over thirty years of surfboard shaping experience that have influenced this Mayhem Rocket design. It also helps that Biolos has been snowboarding all that time, so here is a guy who can naturally fuse the two worlds of surfing and snowboarding. Maybe my dream would come true.
The Lib Tech Mayhem Rocket is based on one of Matt Biolos’ best selling surfboards, also called the Rocket. If we look at the marketing blurb for that Lost surfboard, we can get a feel for what the snowboard version is like:
The board features a wide forward outline with round forgiving rails, flat deck and a wide “rocket” tail. The rocker is extremely low in the entry, for instant speed, with an exaggerated kick in the tail for tight arcs out of turns. An average wave all-rounder that can be effectively ridden…shorter, … thinner and just slightly wider than your normal short board without sacrificing any carve or drive.
Cool, sounds like a board that is flat, wide, made to be ridden shorter, and is built for ripping in all conditions. Will the snowboard version actually be like that in real life though?
The topsheet has an unfortunate graphic for us non-Americans, which may cause some to reconsider a purchase. A rather large redeeming factor, however, is to be found upon closer inspection, as you realize the graphic is made up of many tiny sparkly flakes. It definitely has a certain ‘wow’ factor (if you’re into shiny things). When riding and looking down, all I can see is the fat blue glittery nose with Lost surfboards logos, so in the end I can overlook the strong ‘USA! USA!’ vibe that I get from any board decorated with the stars and stripes. This is, of course, mostly a non-issue for the primary market of red-blooded Americans.
The Lib Tech Mayhem Rocket has a DRC profile, which is a new bend in the Lib Tech lineup. DRC stands for Directional Rocker/Camber and is a setback low-rise camber with a long gentle rocker nose. It’s a profile built for planing over the snow rather than sinking the tail and plowing through it.
This DRC profile replaces the C3 (essentially camber) that was on the 2016 Mayhem Rocket. Another change is the most welcome base upgrade from TnT to sintered. It only comes in the one 157.5cm length.
This is a fat board boasting a waist width of 26.9cm, yet the contours are smooth and the overall width doesn’t jump out at you. It looks regular-sized, until you put it back to back with another board. It has 17mm of taper for extra float and maneuverability. The Rocket does not have magne-traction which makes for smoother carves. The tail is cut in a neat little pintail that throws up a distinctive spray in powder. Overall, the lines of the board flow incredibly well and you can tell that it was a designed by a master shaper, surfer or otherwise.
How does it ride?
First impressions will be all about the overall width of the board. It takes a bit more to get it on edge, but after that first little adjustment stage, you’ll find that it’s not that much more than normal. With size 10 boots, after day two I totally forgot about the width, but I do find my other boards now seem ‘skinny’. Overall it carves well and you can forget about any toe drag problems when getting low in those euro turns.
On hardpack, as the binding inserts are over the camber zone, you get the full performance of camber. It is a nice medium flex: stiff enough for serious trenches but soft enough to be playful. In the video below, Matt Biolos talks about the two flat transition zones between the camber and the rocker, on the outside of each foot. He explains how they are pivot points and yes, he’s right. It is possible to do a rocker-like wiggle or throw a desperation pivot turn to avoid a tree.
In chop and what I like to call ‘garbage’ snow conditions, it’s easy to blast through. The combination of the flat fat nose and large surface area translates to a stable ride that just planes over uneven ground. It takes a lot to get bucked around.
In powder, this 157.5cm deck has the float of a much longer board. While not long or exceedingly rockered, the nose is really wide and doesn’t sink, even when weighting your front foot. It is advertised as having 657 square inches of planing surface which sounds great, but doesn’t mean much without anything to compare it to. Lib Tech only lists the planing surface for the other Mayhem boards: the 159cm Round Nose Fish has 630 sq in and the 146cm Short Fat has 656.3 sq in. What can we infer from this? Well, I’d say this is a way to keep the surf theme going as another way to differentiate the Mayhem line. Compared to other companies who list surface area (Korua, Hightide Mfg, Never Summer) the Mayhems fall in the middle of the pack for that particular stat.
In the deep stuff the Rocket feels like a very nimble, yet incredibly stable 160+ powder board. The ride is smooth and flowy, and the board flexes enough to give you a nice floaty feel, but not one as extreme as with a rocker board. The Mayhem Rocket has enough stiffness for power in your turns and slashes, quick response and the ability to ride out a bumpy landing. Actually, landings were the biggest surprise for me on the first day – when airing into pow the Rocket gives you such a wide platform to land on that stomping sketchy landings becomes automatic.
Here is a video of the Mayhem Rocket in powdery conditions. Notice the stability in the landing and bumpy runout in the third cut:
Although it is a smaller length than I normally ride in powder (usually over 160), the Mayhem Rocket doesn’t feel small or skateboard-y. There is a nice kick in the tail, but it’s not long enough really for extended switch riding in pow. This is a directional board after all. It’s okay for 180’s to quick reverts or pow butters though. Compared to the other powder boards in this newer category of shorter, stubbier snowboards, one advantage of the Rocket is in its length. 157.5cm makes this a true all mountain deck, and it won’t limit you to only powder conditions.
This is a lot more than just a powder board. Described by Lib Tech as a pow floater that rips the hardpack and slashes everything in sight – you know what? That’s pretty accurate. It can definitely work as a daily driver type of board. It’s one of those boards that give you confidence when you’re lining up for first chair, knowing that you won’t be under gunned anywhere you go freeride.
As for my unrealistic hopes that this could be something groundbreaking – no, it’s not going to revolutionize snowboarding, but it’s not going to let it down either. I’d say that the Lost colab has been a success in design and is worth checking out. There’s no one feature that will blow your socks off, but the combination of the wide width, Directional Rocker/Camber and medium flex make this a versatile deck, and one that I keep reaching for in the quiver.
Get more information on Lib Tech at their official site.
Disclosure: The Lib Tech Mayhem Rocket was purchased by the Japan Grabs Team.