Jones Hovercraft Review
The Jones Hovercraft is one of their classic powder boards, and one that I think is an easy choice if you want power, float and reliability with minimal effort.
Features of the Jones Hovercraft
With camber under your feet this profile has a solid and stable feel, while the large rocker section on the nose gives you better float in deeper snow. A smaller amount of rocker in the tail stops the tail from feeling catchy when you don’t get your landings perfect.
3D Contour Base 3.0
This is the highest amount of base shaping, with quite a lot of spoon in the nose of the board, and a smaller amount in the tail.
Traction tech is the serrated edges, which are shown in orange in the picture above. They work the same way that a serrated knife does, the pressure on the edge during a turn is focused on the raised sections, so they are more able to cut into the snow and give you better grip.
Engineered Veneer Topsheet
A composite wood veneer topsheet, that is made from sustainable wood.
Rather than a simple radial sidecut that is made up of one single radius circle, the progressive side cut is made by blending a few different size circles, which help to make starting and ending turns smoother and easier.
The idea of the blunt nose is that you still get good float, with less plowing and a lower swing weight.
As well as the obvious directional shape, the directional flex means that the tail is stiffer than the nose of the board.
Sintered 8000 Base
A tough and dense polyethylene with carbon. Good at absorbing wax. The higher the number the better, with 9900 being used on their higher end boards (Flagship/Stratos etc).
Wend Natural Wax
The brand that the board is wax with at the factory.
Two directions of fiberglass, which gives a predictable feel without being too stiff.
A bio based epoxy rather than a petroleum based one.
Oversized Recycled Edges
Made from recycled steel, and larger than normal to make them a bit tougher.
The edges are detuned at the tip and tail of the board, so you can ride it straight away.
“Broken in” at the factory so that the board won’t change as much in feel through its lifetime.
This core is made up of poplar wood.
Jones Hovercraft womens model
How it Rides
Board size: 156cm
Boots: Salomon Launch 27.5
Bindings: Flux RII +12 -9
I am 6 foot tall and weigh 155lbs – or 183cm tall and 70kg.
I was riding this board at Big White in BC Canada, on a day with some nice fresh snow that had built up quite a bit in the trees. Conditions were good for testing a board like this, from tight trees with deep snow to wide open powder at high speeds.
The Directional Rocker profile makes it sound like it is mostly rocker – though really I think that the large camber section is the main part. Solid camber between your feet gives it a good spring and stable feel, that pushed back nicely and never feels dead or lifeless, even though it is quite stiff overall.
Flex and Pop
The Hovercraft has quite a stiff flex, especially in the short tail. The stiff flex is probably what gives the board so much power, and although I didn’t ever feel like the board was forcing me to ride a certain way, I always felt that I could smash through choppy and unpredictable terrain with almost no consequences.
With the camber between the feet, combined with the stiff flex the pop is really good when you get the timing right. The tail pushes back hard, and I always felt confident in the air knowing that it would easily absorb any landing.
The edge hold is great, nothing that I could complain about. With camber, the serrated edges (traction tech) and the giant sidecut, the Hovercraft is very stable in all parts of a turn. I would have to guess and think that it is the base shaping that is making the start of a turn feel quite smooth and easy to start, and once the edge is in there isn’t ever the feeling that it will slip out.
Although the Hovercraft does have a large amount of spoon on the nose and tail, it is still quite different from the loose feel that I get from other boards with base shaping – especially Bataleons.
Fast, long turns take no effort, and with generous width means you can push it quite far over and still keep your boots well out of the way of grabbing in the snow.
Like I expected, the float is pretty much the best thing about the Hovercraft. It has everything you need to make riding in deeper snow easy – giant nose, short tail, setback stance and wide width. There are plenty of boards that tick all those boxes, but the Hovercraft made it all especially easy,
I am used to the regular feeling of getting tired after a few good laps in deeper snow, though this didn’t seem to happen at all on the Hovercraft. The amount of float that it gives you while not needing you to lean back at all really makes it easy on your legs.
The base is fast, and combined with the stiff flex speed was never an issue, most of the time I was having to manage my speed so it wouldn’t accelerate away from me.
I barely rode switch on the Hovercraft, it doesn’t really matter on a board this directional anyway.
Overall the Jones Hovercraft is hard to beat as a powder board. Keeping it afloat seems to take almost no effort, and the confidence it adds with the stiff flex means you can ride faster through more types of terrain.
You would still want to size this down, or at least keep it around the length of your regular board – for me the 156 was plenty, and I can imagine that if I went any bigger I might have had a bit of trouble keeping it under control – especially of the terrain got tighter.
The main positive is how much longer I was able to ride, as my legs just didn’t seem to get tired.
Although it was really good for the terrain I was riding it on, I really think that it would shine if I got into some proper steep and wide open terrain, somewhere that I could really ride fast.
Jones Hovercraft 2022 Technical Specs
|Length||Effective Edge (mm)||Setback (mm)||Waist Width (mm)||Sidecut (m)||Taper (cm)||Weight Range (kg)||Weight Range (lbs)|