Cross Board Review

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CROSS BOARD REVIEW

I was recently invited to Mt Buller to test the newly launched Cross Board—an invention by Aussie Dave “Max” Elphick. I’ll be honest and say I knew very little about the Cross Board and I certainly didn’t have high expectations. As snowboarders, it’s in our nature to be very skeptical about new products, and rightly so; many have come and gone over the years. Curiosity got the better of me and I was itching to get on the snow, so I accept the offer and made my way down to Mt Buller.

I’m not going to sit here and tell you how it’s better than snowboarding. It’s not. What I will give you is my honest analysis of the Cross Board, what I enjoyed about it, and why it’s worth giving it a try. One thing is for sure: it turned a lot of heads and received a lot of attention.

If I had to compare the Cross Board to anything, I would say it’s a combination of a skateboard, a snowskate—and to a lesser extent a snowboard. It’s basically a super short deck with two snow blades underneath, which are attached to the deck with trucks. And yes, those trucks perform very similarly to skateboard trucks. If you look at it like a skateboard; the deck is the deck (duh), the trucks are the trucks (again), and the blades are the wheels.

I would say its real appeal is to those people who like skateboarding, who like the idea of snowskating, but want more stability than a snowskate and/or prefer the security of being strapped in. The Cross Board also has some very real training benefits in regards to presses and buttering. When you’re skateboarding, a manual takes a lot more finesse, balance and control—than pressing nose or tail on a snowboard—which requires more strength and power than finesse. What this means is you need to develop a finer skill set to make it work with the Cross Board. I found it to be a lot of fun and a challenge to press on the Cross Board. It made me really find my balance points and develop a finer control for this action. I did switch back to my snowboard on the second day after riding the Cross Board in the morning, and I can tell you my pressing ability definitely improved. I felt I had more control than usual, dialling in my presses in a more precise manner.

Similarly, buttering was super easy—almost too easy. Again, I really needed to dial in the balance and control to execute smoothly. Once I had a feel for it, it was super fun to butter around on. Again, I feel there were some real benefits here for snowboarding; having more control and finesse is never a bad thing.

The boards are super maneuverable as expected, yet surprisingly stable at speeds. I bombed some morning runs on fast and rolling terrain, and I was able to hit some decent speeds. The board likes riding over changing terrain, as the individual blades/trucks allows for really good independent foot control. These things also ride switch no problem; the decks are true twins. Overall, they are super easy to ride; if you can ride a snowboard, you shouldn’t have any problems at all.

I did try to take it through some powder and it completely nosedived. The model I was riding certainly isn’t equipped for powder. Trust me and just stick to the groomers. I also would be very hesitant to do anything other than a 50-50 on rails/boxes with the Cross Board, although I hear boardslides are doable (I haven’t tested this theory).

Is it worth trying?

I think so. Here are my reasons:

1. It’s actually quite a lot of fun. It’s not too different to skateboarding and snowboarding, so the familiar board riding elements are all there while providing a new challenge.

2. I think the greatest benefit is as a training tool. I found some real applications for improving my snowboarding, especially in regards to balance and control for presses and buttering.

3. Anyone who enjoys skateboarding or snowskating will at the very least have some fun riding the Cross Board, as the mechanisms are very similar.

Where can you try one?

Cross Board has officially partnered up with Mt Buller, and they have a rental fleet of 400 Cross Boards available for hire. They are also offering free demo boards which you can grab for 30 minutes at a time, between 11:00am and 2:00pm, Wednesday to Sunday, at “The Shred”—look out for the Cross Board branding.

Final thought…

So that’s my completely unbiased review on the Cross Board. I went to Mt Buller with an open mind, gave it a go, and enjoyed my time on it. I also noticed some valid applications in using it as a training tool for snowboarding. There are a lot of new snow products that come and go, and some even deserve to be laughed at. I don’t think this is one of those products. I won’t be giving up my snowboard anytime soon, but I’d be happy to strap into one again. Give it a try for yourself and let us know your thoughts.

Our friends at Gizmodo also have a review on their site from a different point of view, which you can read here.

Please feel free to ask me questions below and I will be more than happy to answer. Also let me know if you give one a try. I’m interested to hear what others think of the Cross Board.

 
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Great review Jez.

It reminds me of some thing your uncle buys when he first gets in to snowboarding because the store clerk has talked him in to buying. I know I’m judging before trying and I have full respect for the team/individual who designed it.

I don’t know what market it’s trying to obtain? The beginner? The advanced? Snowboarding like any other board sport has a learning curve and to get that skill you have to take a fall, that’s the best thing about riding. It stops people who come in half arsed thinking they can rule the slope and not take a hit. Looks like it would be good for the beginner who has two days on the mountain and will fly home back to a tropical paradise.

 
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Looks a bit less fad-ish than some of the other ‘innovations’. Remember this one? http://www.streetboardz.net/boarderkontrol/

After your first hand experience Jez, would you say it’s easier to learn on than a snowboard? ie. Would beginners learn on this first then progress to a full blown board, or the movement/technique required between the two isn’t transferrable?

Also, how does it go on the lift and T-Bars? Easy to un-strap and skate? What’s it like when traversing? Being shorter than a normal board, I’m guessing it wouldn’t be good for maintaining speed.

 
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bkrtron - 17 July 2014 11:23 AM

Great review Jez.

It reminds me of some thing your uncle buys when he first gets in to snowboarding because the store clerk has talked him in to buying. I know I’m judging before trying and I have full respect for the team/individual who designed it.

I don’t know what market it’s trying to obtain? The beginner? The advanced? Snowboarding like any other board sport has a learning curve and to get that skill you have to take a fall, that’s the best thing about riding. It stops people who come in half arsed thinking they can rule the slope and not take a hit. Looks like it would be good for the beginner who has two days on the mountain and will fly home back to a tropical paradise.

Thanks mate.

I think they are trying to target it more to beginners, although it seemed like they have also been learning from recent feedback (instructors etc.)—that there are more—and possibly even better applications for it that they weren’t originally aware of. I was trying to break away from what they told me, and find some valid applications for myself—which I wrote about in the review. If I didn’t find those real benefits, believe me when I say I wouldn’t have written a review.

I was told it’s easier to ride than a snowboard and that it is good for beginners to get them snowboarding quicker. I actually disagree with that notion. I don’t think it should ever be used as a beginner transition tool. Anyone who knows me or has read my posts on here over the years, would know how important I think it is to learn correct snowboarding technique from the start. It’s the same reason I hate seeing beginners on super short, rockered snowboards. It makes beginners learn with bad habits, become lazy riders, and this carries on in the future.

I see the Cross Board as something completely different to the snowboard. If you look at it that way, a) it can be fun, and b) you can actually improve your snowboarding. If you don’t see it that way, then you should probably never worry about using other training tools to improve your snowboarding (not directed at you, bkrtron).

 
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end user - 17 July 2014 01:53 PM

Looks a bit less fad-ish than some of the other ‘innovations’. Remember this one? http://www.streetboardz.net/boarderkontrol/

After your first hand experience Jez, would you say it’s easier to learn on than a snowboard? ie. Would beginners learn on this first then progress to a full blown board, or the movement/technique required between the two isn’t transferrable?

Also, how does it go on the lift and T-Bars? Easy to un-strap and skate? What’s it like when traversing? Being shorter than a normal board, I’m guessing it wouldn’t be good for maintaining speed.

It’s hard to say whether it’s easier or not because I transitioned on it immediately. It took a couple of turns and I felt completely fine riding it. I can’t say one is more difficult than the other. In terms of maneuverability, well, it is easier to maneuver for obvious reasons. In regards to stability, carving, and powder performance, I would say it’s harder (or less performance oriented).

Lifts were absolutely fine, skating was fine, strapping in while standing up was fine, even traversing was no problem. Speed was the one thing that surprised me; these things actually move quite quickly and keep momentum really well. Traversing and cat tracks were handled with no problems. Although I will say the Cross Board is quite heavy compared to a snowboard, which was a bit annoying on the chairlifts with no foot rests.

 
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rider26 - 17 July 2014 02:26 PM
bkrtron - 17 July 2014 11:23 AM

Great review Jez.

It reminds me of some thing your uncle buys when he first gets in to snowboarding because the store clerk has talked him in to buying. I know I’m judging before trying and I have full respect for the team/individual who designed it.

I don’t know what market it’s trying to obtain? The beginner? The advanced? Snowboarding like any other board sport has a learning curve and to get that skill you have to take a fall, that’s the best thing about riding. It stops people who come in half arsed thinking they can rule the slope and not take a hit. Looks like it would be good for the beginner who has two days on the mountain and will fly home back to a tropical paradise.

Thanks mate.

I think they are trying to target it more to beginners, although it seemed like they have also been learning from recent feedback (instructors etc.)—that there are more—and possibly even better applications for it that they weren’t originally aware of. I was trying to break away from what they told me, and find some valid applications for myself—which I wrote about in the review. If I didn’t find those real benefits, believe me when I say I wouldn’t have written a review.

I was told it’s easier to ride than a snowboard and that it is good for beginners to get them snowboarding quicker. I actually disagree with that notion. I don’t think it should ever be used as a beginner transition tool. Anyone who knows me or has read my posts on here over the years, would know how important I think it is to learn correct snowboarding technique from the start. It’s the same reason I hate seeing beginners on super short, rockered snowboards. It makes beginners learn with bad habits, become lazy riders, and this carries on in the future.

I see the Cross Board as something completely different to the snowboard. If you look at it that way, a) it can be fun, and b) you can actually improve your snowboarding. If you don’t see it that way, then you should probably never worry about using other training tools to improve your snowboarding (not directed at you, bkrtron).

Your review is really honest which I appreciate in the Australian snowboard community. It was a great read and it’s good to know both sides of the story. I think you can always learn new techniques in riding even when your a professional they are learning from each other.

I would still give it a go smile just for fun. You don’t know my style! Don’t judge me! raspberry

 
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I wonder how suited these would be to a park like the one they setup in Happo?????

Nice write up, Boss Man!!!!! shaka

Is there any video evidence on the web?????

 
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Can you carve hard with this and also stop on a dime? I feel like with the 2 blades it will have some unwanted effects due to their being seperate?

 
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How do you think it would ride on hard pack or in icy conditions?

 
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RadNappys reaction to his first solid foods is pretty much the same as how i feel about this board

 
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Mizu Kuma - 17 July 2014 09:34 PM

I wonder how suited these would be to a park like the one they setup in Happo?????

Nice write up, Boss Man!!!!! shaka

Is there any video evidence on the web?????

Personally, I wouldn’t choose to take a Cross Board through the park. They are more suited to groomers. You can still do tricks with them; I hit some natural jumps around the mountain, did 180s, 360s etc. Worked fine but not as stable as a snowboard.

There’s limited video here: http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2014/07/watch-the-australian-invented-cross-board-in-action/

I should have taken the time to film something but it was a short trip.

 
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skip11 - 18 July 2014 01:03 AM

Can you carve hard with this and also stop on a dime? I feel like with the 2 blades it will have some unwanted effects due to their being seperate?

You can edge hard, but it doesn’t carve as well—if that makes sense. I mean, I was riding pretty fast on it (maybe about 70-80km/h) and I could stop quickly when I needed too. It probably has about 70% of the capabilities of a snowboard in regards to this. I could edge hard and “carve” so-to-speak but obviously I couldn’t get the same performance or clean line as on a snowboard; you don’t have the one, long, clean edge as you do on a snowboard. Also with Cross Board, the contact points are closer to your feet, meaning it’s easier to over-edge, which took some adjusting to get used to.

 
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Azz - 18 July 2014 07:31 AM

How do you think it would ride on hard pack or in icy conditions?

I feel that’s where it’s best suited, to be honest. It really likes the hard pack and groomers. It wasn’t really “icy” when I was riding, but Max (inventor) said that’s where it really performs well. From what I was feeling under my feet, I can understand his point on that (although untested).

 
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trentradpants - 18 July 2014 10:59 AM

RadNappys reaction to his first solid foods is pretty much the same as how i feel about this board

Haha, I love this kid… raspberry

 
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rider26 - 18 July 2014 01:10 PM
Mizu Kuma - 17 July 2014 09:34 PM

I wonder how suited these would be to a park like the one they setup in Happo?????

Nice write up, Boss Man!!!!! shaka

Is there any video evidence on the web?????

Personally, I wouldn’t choose to take a Cross Board through the park. They are more suited to groomers. You can still do tricks with them; I hit some natural jumps around the mountain, did 180s, 360s etc. Worked fine but not as stable as a snowboard.

There’s limited video here: http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2014/07/watch-the-australian-invented-cross-board-in-action/

I should have taken the time to film something but it was a short trip.

Wouldn’t matter if ya did film it cause ya still have to edit and upload as well!!!!! 

And we all know that you run a close second to Dan in this respect!!!!! tongue rolleye

 
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trentradpants - 18 July 2014 10:59 AM

RadNappys reaction to his first solid foods is pretty much the same as how i feel about this board

You wanna rub the Cross Board all over ya face?????