I was genuinely excited to put in my pre-order for the Capita Mercury. It looked, on paper at least, to do absolutely everything I’d want – a total quiver killer of a deck for one board holiday riding.
I guess when you set something, anything, up with such all-encompassing expectations, there’s always going to be point where it doesn’t deliver. This was true of the Mercury and in time-honoured tradition, proved there was no such thing as a quiver killer with the ‘all mountain’ tag, just a jack of all trades at best.
I took it away on two trips this year- one over Christmas to snow-barren Avoriaz, the second mid January to Le Grand Massif for what turned out to be an epic long weekend of powder. Contrasting conditions, but both ultimately well within the scope of my expectation for the Mercury and certainly what the blurb would have you believe for this all-mountain shred stick.
I’d researched well – seen it was the reincarnation of the Capita Total Fkn’ Awesome – which by many accounts was a seriously sick board. The graphics are great – just enough going on to not be boring. None of the other crap Capita put on their decks that can sometimes make them unviable for the guy who rides with his wife and kids as well his mates.
First off, it’s not a bad board and despite the hard, seriously harvested snow we had at Christmas, it ripped well enough. Nice and fast and stable when flat basing. It certainly inspired confidence to open it up when space allowed, which sadly wasn’t too often. So as a resort board for busting groomers, yes, I liked it. It carved well and provided options to skate or carve turns depending on what you wanted from it. I dropped through churned up moguls and it did its thing well. Through tighter spots (crowds, not trees unfortunately), it performed edge-to-edge with ease and I’d have no hesitation in grabbing it off the shelf for a day’s resort riding over a lot of boards out there if I found myself hiring. Edge hold was nothing to write home about… it was very ‘snowboard like’ and didn’t take much to push the limit by today’s standards.
edge hold – left me on my arse more than once
Where I felt it really lacked was in the off-piste and deep snow of my second trip. And this was where the disappointment set in. I was expecting more from it. The shape, slight set back and directional side cut should have meant I didn’t have to work it quite as hard as I did to keep the nose up. It was a back leg burner and I just didn’t expect it. I was riding a 159, which should’ve been fine in the conditions. The flex rating from Capita is a 7, so again a little bit of play combined with a solid base. It just didn’t deliver for me in the one place I thought it would excel.
My other main criticism was on how it handled chunder – it just seemed to bounce around off every ice nugget going. I dunno, maybe I needed to set it back a little further off the reference stance, but then you’re kind of defeating the purpose of this board, which is to provide something that feels twinnish that you can ride switch if you want to.
At least this aspect of the board worked quite well. I rode switch without any major concerns and I ended up feeling that maybe I’d got the wrong size with the wrong intentions. Maybe the 155 or 157 and use it as a park / freestyle board that can handle groomers at speed would be a better place for it to be? I’d imagine you could jib it too if you wanted to- Capita have heritage here. It was stable landing off the side hits, which means I guess it’d be good on the park booters for those who ride there. Sadly for me I’d invested on the basis it would be a freeride quiver killer- but this was no Jones Flagship and it’s honestly left me pinning for the 2015 Yes Standard 158 I’ve stupidly sold months ago.
All in all, not a bad board, but for one I was expecting to be a great board there are simply better options out there.
Capita Mercury 2016/17 159
Union TRice Bindings (L)
Burton Ion 10.5 UK