Board: 2015-2016, Never Summer Aura, 152 cm
Dimensions: 152 cm length, 238 mm waist
Actual Nose-to-Tail Length (Straight Tape Pull): 150 cm
Setback: .65 inches
Camber: Ripsaw Rocker Camber (camber underfoot and rocker at the tips and tails and between the bindings)
Boots / Bindings: Burton Women’s Felix size 6.5 boots, Women’s Medium Burton Scribe Bindings
Mount Location: Center mount
Stance: 21 inches
Test Locations: Taos Ski Valley, NM; Breckenridge, Vail, Copper, Snowmass, & Arapahoe Basin, CO; Snowbird, UT; Treble Cone, Cadrona, The Remarkables, Coronet Peak, NZ
Days Ridden: 100[Editor’s Note: We reviewed the 2015-16 Never Summer Aura which returns unchanged except for graphics for 2016-17]
I have really enjoy riding Never Summer boards in the past, and have spent a lot of time riding their previous Raven, Infinity, and Lotus models. I was eager to check out the Aura due to its unique rocker / camber profile, and I was curious how it would ride compared to other Never Summer boards and what the benefits of this style of rocker / camber profile may have.
The Aura is Never Summer’s first women’s board that uses their Ripsaw rocker/camber profile. It’s also present in last year’s men’s board, the Ripsaw, and this year’s The West. These boards have extended transition rocker camber. There is a longer transition area extending from the end of camber and into the low profile tip and tail. Never Summer says these extended transition areas decrease pressure over the ends of the effective edge, allowing the board to float instead of pushing against the snow. This allows the board to change edges easily and glide in powder on the flat areas of the board.
Never Summer claims that the Aura has “incredible edge hold and pop” along with the playful feel of the Infinity. They also say this board is perfect for the aggressive all mountain female rider.
Shape / Flex Pattern
The Aura is a twin shaped board with unique Ripsaw camber that as I mentioned before has extended transition areas that decrease pressure over the ends of the effective edge, allowing the board to float instead of pushing against the snow. You can really feel the extended camber as you pop through a turn.
The board is softer in the tip and tail and stiffer underfoot. The Aura also has a low profile blunt tip and tail, maximizing board contact with the snow for more powerful ollie/nollie pop and added stability on landings (when it is not too firm). This also reduces the plowing effect in the nose for better float in deep snow.
I am a big fan of the carbonium topsheet. I have put this board through a lot of days in multiple countries and the durability of the top sheet is great, it gets damaged less than other topsheets I’ve been on. I also worry less about delamination, the topsheet just chips off when dinged and doesn’t compromise the integrity of the board.
Frozen Crud / Firm Chop
In crud I felt I got bounced around a bit, especially as the season went on and the board softened up a lot. Because it is a soft board, it does lack some power and drive when taken into firm chop to frozen crud. If you are planning to do a lot of off piste riding in variable, frozen and firm snow, this board would not be my first choice. I would stick to a stiffer board such as the Never Summer Raven, that can hold up a little better under those conditions.
Spring Slush / Soft Chop
This board is very fun in the slush. It floats well and is easy to maneuver. I really enjoyed riding soft to slushy bumps on this board, it just turns so easily and can twist and bend right where you need it to. It is a lightweight board that doesn’t get bogged down in heavy slush or snow. In soft chop it handles easily and is fun to take off piste.
The Aura floats well is powder. I really like the effect of the wide blunt nose. It creates a lot of float and is a smooth ride. In the steeps it handles well and charges in soft snow. It is board that allows you to be precise in your movements and quickly maneuver in and out of tight spots.
The first time I jumped on this board I was immediately impressed with its ability to carve on groomers. It holds an edge well and is extremely fun to lay down some euro carves with. Groomers have an endless amount of possibility with the responsiveness and pop of this board. It’s ery easy and enjoyable to ride switch with, ollie, butter and nose and tail press. It is a really flexible board, but still stiff enough to carve when you put it on edge.
In icier, firmer conditions the Aura gets a little loose. When trying to carve in these conditions I found myself needing more power to keep the edges engaged..
Park and Pipe
I enjoy riding the Aura in the terrain park, it is easy to spin and slide on boxes and rails. When put on edge to carve or hit the half pipe the board really performs and can hold a hard carve.
The more you play with twisting the board the more fun it is to ride in the park. When landing jumps and cliffs you do have to make sure your body position is just right upon landing. Because of the softer flex pattern I found it better when I tried landing a little more forward than usual. If the landing is pretty firm I found the board flexed a bit more than desired,the tail felt too soft for bigger, off balance landings.
Bumps and Trees
The Aura is very precise and it’s easy to control in tighter situations. It is easy to whip around a turn and pick a line through tight trees. It does ride a little shorter than most other 152 cm boards, which also helps make it easy to turn in steep bumps and trees.
The board has softened up quite a lot after a season on it and torsionally has a lot of flex, which makes it easy to maneuver, but less stable.
Who is it for?
The Aura will appeal to the playful charging female rider that can move on her board and take an active role in moving across her board to get the performance desired. If you are willing to put some effort into your turns, you will be rewarded with a super responsive and playful ride. If you aren’t actively moving across the board and flexing down you may get taken for a ride instead. This board will be most enjoyable for an intermediate to advanced rider that wants a fun ride that works for most conditions over the whole season. It is a fun board that is versatile enough to take pretty much anywhere, but really performs best in soft conditions.
I have not seen another female board with this flex pattern yet, I would imagine this year’s K2 Spotlight rides similarly due to its flat profile and softer flex and I am eager to spend more time on that board to compare.
Compared to Never Summer’s Raven the Aura softer and more playful and fun to carve, but does not hold up as well as the Raven does in crud and when landing big jumps and cliffs. The Aura is a lot more fun to carve than the Raven because of its pop and edge hold. Due its soft flex I believe intermediate riders will also enjoy the Aura, not just advanced riders.
The Aura is a great choice for the intermediate to advanced female rider that wants an all around mountain board that is playful, responsive, and is easy to maneuver. It’s an engaging board that can set an edge quickly and carve hard, charge in the steeps, and float in powder.