Ski: 2018-2019 Line Sakana, 174 cm
Available Lengths: 174, 181 cm
Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length: 174.1 cm
Stated Weight per Ski: 1770 grams
Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 1747 & 1766 grams
Stated Dimensions: 150-105-138 mm
Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 149.5-104.6-137.6 mm
Stated Sidecut Radius: 15 meters
Measured Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 56 mm / 15 mm
Measured Traditional Camber Underfoot: ~4 mm
Core: Paulownia/Maple + Carbon/Flax Stringers + Fiberglass Laminate
Base: Sintered 1.3 mm
Factory Recommended Mount Point: -10.75 cm from center; 76.3 cm from tail
Two years ago, Line introduced the Pescado, a 125mm-underfoot powder ski from Eric Pollard. The Pescado was (and still is) quite unique, featuring a swallowtail design, lots of camber for a pow ski, a fairly low weight, and a mount point that was much more traditional than what we’d expect from Pollard. The result?
A very unique ride, and a ski we really enjoyed in any sort of soft snow.
But at 125 mm underfoot, the Pescado is most definitely fat, and so for 18/19, Line is introducing the Sakana, a 105mm-wide swallowtail ski that features a lot of the Pescado’s design elements, but in a package that’s supposed to be more all-mountain-oriented.
Here’s what Line says about the Sakana:
“Bred from the Pescado’s DNA, Eric Pollard and LINE present an all-new creation, the Sakana. With an ever-versatile 105mm waist, Carbon/Flax reinforcements, and a shape that encourages a wide variety of turn shapes, the Sakana embraces a fluid, refined skiing experience unlike anything else.”
Here’s how we’d characterize the flex pattern of the Sakana:
In Front of Toe Piece: 8.5-9
Behind Heel Piece: 9-8.5
Compared to the Pescado, the Sakana’s tips and tails feel a bit stiffer, which makes sense since the Pescado is specifically designed to perform well and plane up in softer, deeper snow.
And Line has been very clear about this: the Sakana is supposed to be a hell of a lot of fun carving the crap out of groomers, and its accessible tips and significant sidecut should be conducive to bending the ski into quick turns.
Construction — Carbon / Flax Reinforcements
Beside the narrower waist, one of the primary differences between the Pescado and Sakana is the addition of Carbon/Flax stringers to the Sakana’s core. We asked Line’s head ski designer, Jed Yeiser, to explain the idea behind this construction, and this was his response:
“The Carbon/Flax tape is a material we co-developed with BComp out of Switzerland. It’s essentially a 52 mm wide tape with alternating strands of carbon/flax. Flax has really interesting inherent damping properties that complement the high modulus of the carbon really well – you end up getting an energetic feeling at some frequencies with a calmer, more controlled feeling at others.”
That’s a pretty interesting description, and given the Sakana’s relatively low weight, we’re very eager to see how damp and / or energetic the Sakana feels in various snow conditions and speeds.
Shape / Rocker Profile
The Sakana’s shape is very similar to the Pescado, with a fat, minimally-tapered tip, no tail taper, and a swallowtail cutout at the end of the ski.
The swallowtail is definitely what makes the Sakana stand out most from other skis, and the Sakana’s tail is a bit less carved-out than the tail of the Pescado (i.e. there is less negative space). The Sakana also has a large metal reinforcement around the swallowtail cutout.
The Sakana’s rocker profile is less unusual, with fairly standard tip rocker / splay for a ski of this width (a bit less than the Line Sick Day 104), and very minimal tail rocker.
Compared to the Pescado, the Sakana has a bit less rocker and splay in both the tips and tails, which, again, makes sense given the Sakana’s intended purpose as an all-mountain ski.
Dimensions / Sidecut Radius
Though the Sakana’s waist is ~20 mm narrower than the Pescado’s, the Sakana’s tips and tails are still very wide. So, for a 105mm-underfoot ski, we suspect the Sakana to perform very well in powder.
The combination of a narrower waist and wider tips and tails is also reflected in the Sakana’s sidecut radius (15 meters for the 174 cm version). That’s a very tight radius, and it’s interesting that Line claims that the Sakana “encourages a wide variety of turn shapes.” This will be one of the main things we’ll be looking out for in our full review.
That said, based on the ski’s dimensions (and the Pescado’s own strong performance on spring groomers), we suspect the Sakana could be a lot of fun to carve on soft snow.
While we will be getting time on the 181 cm version of the Sakana (which is the longest version Line is making) and tend to review skis that are significantly longer than the 174 cm Sakana, Line encouraged us to try the Sakana in its shortest length. We’re very interested to see how this shorter ski feels, and whether skiers that are accustomed to longer skis will still enjoy it.
It’s also worth noting that the shorter length, fat tips / tails, and swallowtail design of the Sakana (and Pescado) all mirror the short / fat trend in snowboard shapes. Our snowboard reviewers have really enjoyed the carvy / agile / surfy feel of boards like the K2 Cool Bean and Rossignol XV Sushi LF, so we’re very interested to see if we come away with similar impressions after skiing the Sakana.
At around 1750 grams for the 174 cm version, the Sakana is pretty light. While Line doesn’t mention anything about touring in their description, we suspect that the Sakana could be a very fun touring ski for powder and / or spring corn.
With a weight this light, a shorter length, and a very tight sidecut radius, we don’t expect the Sakana to feel like some sort of charger in variable snow, but we are curious to see whether Line’s Carbon/Flax reinforcements seem to help it feel more stable in difficult snow.
Comparisons — Measured Weights
Here are a few of our measured weights (per ski in grams) for some other notable skis. Keep in mind, however, the differences in length, since the 174 cm Sakana is significantly shorter than several of the skis listed here.
1747 & 1766 Line Sakana, 174 cm
1755 & 1792 Line Sick Day 104, 179 cm
1808 & 1809 Line Pescado, 180 cm
1808 & 1835 Atomic Backland FR 109, 182 cm
1843 & 1847 Head Kore 105, 189 cm
1941 & 1965 Fischer Ranger 108 Ti, 182 cm
1950 & 1977 Blizzard Rustler 10, 188 cm
1980 & 2016 Liberty Origin 106, 187 cm
1996 & 2012 Dynastar Legend X106, 188 cm
2030 & 2039 Rossignol Soul 7, 188 cm (18/19)
2032 & 2062 Line Sir Francis Bacon, 184 cm
Bottom Line (For Now)
The Line Sakana looks like a very interesting offshoot of the Pescado, and seems like it should offer a lot of the Pescado’s fun, carvy personality in a narrower shape. We are getting the Sakana mounted right now, and testing begins in Telluride in a just a few days, so stay tuned…
Flash Review: Line Sakana
Blister members can now read our initial on-snow impressions in our Flash Review of the 174 cm Line Sakana.
(Learn more about Blister Member benefits, and Become a Blister member)
NEXT: Rocker Profile Pics