I approach this review with trepidation. What hasn’t been written about the iconic Jones Flagship can probably left unsaid, certainly by someone with lamentable skills like mine. So I’m going to write this from a completely personal perspective. A short review to better understand the technology in play, and why I think it is probably one of the most awesome season step-changes within a snowboard line we’ve seen in recently.
I was very wary of this board. A year ago I had the most confidence debilitating session on a hill in my life. Riding a Jones Flagship – a 2014 model to be precise. I was hungover, travel sick and completely unacclimatised to the altitude as we’d driven up that morning. I then hit the runs in an awkward manner, rigid, lacking any basic finesse; powder game non-existent. I was over-boarded and mentally and physically exhausted after a couple of hours of being spat over. I admitted defeat, went back to the car park and grabbed my freestyle deck for the afternoon – got my shit in one sock, stuck to the piste that day and ended up having a great weekend away with the guys. No damage done, but the Flagship was history to me.
I was fortunate in that I’d also borrowed a Jones Hovercraft. It looked so weird I had to have a go on it on Day 2. Besides it was hossing down fresh snow, my freestyle board was going to suck and I couldn’t let yesterday’s antics dissuade me from an entire brand- I’d ridden a Jones Ultra Aviator a season or so ago and knew Jones made ‘good kit’, even if the Flagship itself was seemingly too much for me.
Last year’s Hovercraft introduced the Spoon Technology- and it really works. You can roll into the turns naturally like a surf board. I’m used to this sensation from windsurfing where the nose of the board tends to have softer rails than the tail.
Some people think it’s like Bataleon Triple Base Technology. I can see where they’re coming from, although this feels a lot more natural and doesn’t have the sketchiness you get when you open a TBT board up. (The freestyle deck I’d ridden the day before was a Bataleon Global Warmer- so I could feel subtle the differences here).
I loved the Hovercraft – and will probably buy one at some point – it was only that I tend to favour something a little more twinnish which means I haven’t actually invested in one to date.
Jones Spoon Technology – it works!
So when I saw that Jones were rolling out the Spoon technology out across their range, I took this as a sign. It was an opportunity to face my nemesis and get re-acquainted with the board I’d wanted to ride for so long, but had failed so spectacularly to do so last year.
And low and behold, one spoon nose later, a summer in the fridge, an autumn of dome progression and YouTube tutorials; a healthy dose of MTFU and aggressive riding tips from my mate John and here I am riding a Flagship through deep powder one minute, on piste the next. Basically anywhere I wanted to and momentarily killing it at points. Sure, my powder riding still sucks, I still turn when I shouldn’t, but this was really a game changer for me and I totally adore this board for all it stands for. I will be hoping to ride it a lot more next year.
The float is insane – all the good bits of the Hovercraft but with a bit more tail to ride switch if you want to. I’ve gone for the 162W – it’s not the most manoeuvrable length to ride, but it’s not too much like an aircraft carrier either. It’s the largest board in my quiver and will be reserved for conditions that suit it.
I was also super-impressed with its on piste credentials too – smashing through lumps and bumps. I actively found myself backing off as it was a little too easy to let it rip through the crowds at speed beyond my real comfort zone.
Would I take this on holiday with kids for cruisy blues? Probably not, not yet anyway.
Will I sell it and replace it with something softer and more forgiving? No fecking chance, she’s a keeper and I’ve worked for it!
Jones Flagship 162W – 2016/17 with Spoon Technology
Union TRice Bindings
Burton ION Boots – 10.5 UK