Board: 2015-2016 Amplid UNW8 159
Dimensions: 159cm length, 250mm waist
Shape: Directional, set back 10cm for stance
Sidecut Depth: 22mm
Actual Tip-to-Tail Length (straight tape pull): 1590 mm
Running Length: 1190mm
Boots: K2 Thraxis & Flow Rift Quickfit
Bindings: K2 Cinch CTX & Salomon Cypher
Stance: Tried them all, 4 options for mounting, Ref Stance 56 (52-60)
Test Locations: Taos Ski Valley, NM; Crested Butte, Telluride, & Monarch Mountain Co; Fernie Alpine British Columbia
Days Ridden: ~70
- PopCamber (maximum ollie power)
- Hexo 2 Core (Replaces portions of core with lightweight paper honeycomb)
- Sintered GE 7200 Base with Stone Finish
- V Pop Carbon Stringers at tip and tail
- Helio P15 lightweight wood core
- PLT gloss UV coating (crack proof?)
- Tapered Fly tips (decreases swing weight at tip and tail)
The Amplid UNW8 was my main board for the entire 14/15 season. It performed well in all conditions, and in some, it performed surprisingly well. And given the length of time I rode this board, I was able to get it in a wide range of conditions—including some that I never even thought possible.
The UNW8 is Amplid’s lightweight, high precision, expert level board. It is fully cambered and surprisingly stiff given its light construction.
It’s been labelled as Amplid’s flagship product, and in my mind, needs to be ridden by more people so the sport as a whole can continue in the right direction.
In sum: the UNW8 is my favorite ‘Do Everything’, one-board-quiver I’ve ever ridden.
Confession: Amplid is a company based in the European Alps that I hadn’t heard of before riding the UNW8. But after riding both the UNW8 and the Amplid Creamer, the quality and designs of both boards have truly made a mark on me—they are two of the best boards I’ve ridden, and possibly the best boards I’ve ridden.
Amplid’s original co-owner (and now sole owner), Peter Bauer, has been heavily involved with snowboarding pretty much from the start. He has been world champion multiple times in a variety of snowboarding disciplines and worked with Jake Burton for many years before moving to Amplid.
But back to the UNW8 in particular…
The Amplid UNW8
The name UNW8 suggests that the board is “unweighted” or super light, and in fact, it is very light.
Amplid claims to have stolen some secrets from the military (???), and used that information in the design of this deck. Whether that’s true or not doesn’t matter to me, but what does matter is that what they’ve done is something that I haven’t seen from other manufacturers.
The three things I want to really drive home in this review are the speed, playfulness, and control of the UNW8.
I have been on on other boards that would fall into this same category of directional freeride boards (e.g., the Burton Custom X, Kessler Cross, and K2 Slayblade), but no other board I’ve been on excelled at all three points like the UNW8.
I chose to review the UNW8 because Amplid’s description of it seemed to hit all the marks that suit my riding style and board choice. It’s stiff and fast, and as we heard from the folks at Amplid, it can be a challenge to ride at first.
The UNW8’s camber profile also was intriguing to me, since many boards these days are either flat or built with a combination of rocker and camber. Traditional camber is something that I still really like—I generally appreciate how solidly traditionally cambered boards ride.
The board did take some getting used to, and my first few rides seemed strange in a few different ways. I couldn’t tell if it was the weight, the camber, or the shape of the board. I had to adjust and learn how to ride the UNW8, and at first, the board was taking me for a ride.
In short, riding the UNW8 took a much lighter touch than I initially expected. It was when I was forcing my moves that it seemed to grab when I didn’t want it to or end up moving too fast. Because it’s so light, the board doesn’t require much input to control it, but it does require that input to be intentional and precise.
Design / Flex
Given the low weight of the UNW8, I imagined that it would not be great at high speed in mixed conditions. So I was incredibly surprised to find this board maintaining control and dampness at very high speeds with very little chatter. This is a fast board, and it can be ridden very fast.
I found the UNW8’s traditionally cambered profile to be one of the board’s best attributes. It really holds an edge, and can be driven deep into carves. Combined with its stiff flex, the board’s contact points felt super solid and grippy. Even in rough, chattery conditions, the board remained composed while slicing through the snow, and I think the long effective edge / running length of the traditional camber is largely responsible.
And yet, the board also has a significant amount of sidecut, which didn’t make the board feel twitchy or overly eager to turn, but did make the board feel quick and easy to turn. Stable yet easy-to-turn — that’s a very difficult and pretty unique achievement.
Since there is nothing flashy about the UNW8’s shape, the materials Amplid uses do seem to be key.
There are sections of the board that incorporate a lightweight honeycomb pattern made from paper to reduce weight and better balance the swing weight.
The base is sintered to 7200, so it’s strong and fast.
The wood core has been constructed of Amplid’s lightest woods.
Basically, Amplid threw all of their tech into the UNW8.
And what I’ve often found when companies do this (Burton did it with the quite-expensive Vapor) the boards don’t last. The UNW8, has the tech, but also, oddly enough, the strength. As I noted, I rode the UNW8 hard for a full season / 70 days, and I’m not very easy on boards.
NEXT: Groomers, Pow, Moguls, Etc.