GNU Mullair 2019 Review
The GNU Mullair is Nicolas Müller’s pro model snowboard. GNU describe it as a “directional all terrain freestyle/free ride power” board, but to me it rides like a good, old school traditional camber board.
The GNU Mullair has GNU/Lib Tech’s C3 camber profile, which for all intents and purposes is just a regular camber board. If you look at their little graphics, they show that there is some mild rocker between your feet, but in real life it is hardly there, or at least not on the board that I rode. Looking straight down the board, there might be the a change of less than a millimetre in the middle, if that.
Features of the GNU Mullair
- Directional Shape
Depending on the size of the board, there is between 4mm and 10mm of taper, which means that the nose of the board is wider than the tail, which helps with floating in deep snow, and making turns nice and easy to start.
- Balsa/Aspen/Paulownia II Core
A mix of sustainably harvest wood, that gets a mix between being light, strong and poppy.
- Mini Magne-Traction
A less aggressive version of magne-traction, still gives you better edge hold but without that hooked in feel of the original Magne-Traction.
- EcoUnreal Construction
- C3 Camber Profile
A fancy name for a pretty much standard traditional camber profile, there is supposedly some rocker between your feet, but none that I could see, or feel when riding.
- Sintered Base
A hard and fast base material, that is good at soaking up wax, and keeping you moving fast.
- 159cm Wide
- 164cm Wide
When the GNU Mullair originally came out, there were only a few sizes, and no wide versions. The waist widths of the regular width boards are quite small (around 250mm) so keep in mind that even with regular sized boots, it is possible to hit on deep turns. With the 2019 model, there are a couple of new wide options, which have good wide widths (260mm+).
How it Rides
Board size: 159cm
Boots: Salomon Launch Boa SJ
Bindings: Salomon District set with a 22.5″ stance width, at +15 and -9.
This review is based on me demoing the 2019 model, which I was able to ride in Niseko Japan, in conditions varying from more than knee deep powder, to hardpacked and windblown groomers. Normally I would have been riding the 155 if it was an everyday board, but I was in Japan for powder, so I went for the bigger board, to get more float.
Aside from the fancy marketing names, the GNU Mullair is a camber board. It rides just like a traditional camber board does, which is a good thing.
Flex and Pop
Depending on the size, the flex varies from a 6.5 to a 7 out of 10. It felt a little stiffer than that to me, it took lots of effort to flex, one of the stiffer boards that I have ridden. If you are loading the tail up for an ollie, it pushes back really hard, giving plenty of pop.
You can’t really beat the edge hold of a camber board, and although I don’t know how necessary it is, the toned down magne-traction adds extra hold. You still get that magne-traction tearing sound in a turn, but it isn’t as hooky as it was on the old, exaggerated magne-traction designs. Coming in super fast to turns on hard snow is no problem at all, you can count on the grip the whole way through the turn. I did have to always make sure I was concentratin on alternating from edge to edge, otherwise it would want to catch. Though, I was riding a brand new board, that wasn’t detuned, so you can’t expect it to have any forgiveness.
Turning edge to edge is very quick and smooth, which I think is helped with the narrower waist width. I didn’t have any problem with boots hitting the snow on hard turns, and I was riding size 9.5 boots with the waist width of 250mm on the 159cm board.
Boards with a traditional camber profile, stiff flex and directional shape have everything you need for riding fast, and I felt more comfortable riding faster than normal on this board (assuming I was clearly on an edge). I was riding on cold snow, and the sintered base had a fresh wax, so there was no problems on even the flattest terrain I ran into.
Although it looks much closer to a twin board than something with a crazy powder shape, it floats well in deep snow. I was able to try it in fantastic conditions, with between boot to knee high fresh light powder on a wide open face. There is a 1 inch setback on the board, and combined with the taper it wants to nicely float, sinking the tail. The stiffer flex really helped here, you could get plenty of speed push in hard for a deep turn and the tail will consistently hold you up, I was able to lean much further back and into a turn than I normally would. I didn’t ride it switch in deep snow, so I can’t comment on how it would be – though I imagine it would be more work than normal.
- Very good edge hold
- Classic camber feel
- Narrow waist widths
Overall, the GNU Mullair is an aggressive, poppy camber board with a nice shape. It rides really well in deep snow, as it does on hardpacked groomers. If you are someone who learnt to ride back when all boards were stiff (by todays standards) and camber, it could be a really good choice. Even if you don’t get to ride pow that often, it would suit someone who gets out early and just wants to ride fast and carve. Keep in mind that they waist width is on the narrower side, so a wide version might be a good option if you have even a 10.5 or bigger boot.
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