This summer I spend a few weeks playing with the Feature Boards Side Cutter & Obstacler skis. At first glance, both of the skis look like trick skis but it is not that simple. These skis are durable enough to be used on the ramps and rails found in cable parks. To achieve this level of durability Feature Boards builds them with a poly base, wood cores, and ABS plastic sidewalls. I did not hit any rails or ramps during the review but I would be comfortable abusing these skis a lot more than a conventional trick ski.
The Side Cutter is a high performance trick ski that especially shines for wake spins, flips and ski lines. Pop off the wake is noticeably good.
The C75 is the third ski from Denali and is the first ski from Denali that is legitimately user-friendly enough for the mainstream tournament water skier. The C75 looks strange with its low rocker tip, unique asymmetrical fin, and extreme tunnel shape. The ski rides in the water as unusually as it looks.
The attributes of this ski are a clear departure from any other ski in the sport. The C75 is stable in most ways except that it provides significantly more tail slide than expected. This may sound, bad but the result is angle.
Off Side Turns
Off Side turns on the C75 are the most distinctive attribute of the ski. Ridden casually with reasonably centered weight distribution, the tip of the ski pulls back to the centerline and the turns are smooth and flowing.
When the skier increases their aggression the ski shows its uniqueness. The ski flows out to apex calmly and then when pushed the tail slides around very quickly to establish an unexpected amount of angle. With any other ski this amount of tail slide would end in a fall but the C75 stays in the water and heads back to the wakes. This radical finish to the Off Side turn may scare skiers until they realize that the tail is not going to blow out. The feel is unusual, but the result is consistent angle leaving the ball.
On Side Turns
On side turn are practically foolproof. The tail of the ski slides significantly at the apex of on side but it is not nearly as noticeable as it is at off side. This tailslide is likely a major contributor to the consistency of the on side turn.
Ball to the wakes
Because of the aggressive turns, the voyage from the ball to the wakes can be a little frantic. If the skier can moderate their lean intensity and or temper their angle leaving the ball, things will calm down. Either way, the ski makes speed quickly and holds direction.
Wakes to the ball
The C75 is stable both side to side and tip to tail. What this means is that the ski provides a stable platform to stand on as the ski casts out to the ball line. The ski consistently achieves width and space without requiring special skills or strength.
Quirks & Notes
Throughout the test period, I rode the C75 with the same settings.
The bulk of this review was written describing how the ski performs at/or near my personal limit. If the review was re-written describing my opening passes it would include terms like “Dependable, Flowing, Arcing & Calm”. The C75 is likely as suited for 28 off as it is for 39 off and beyond.
The C75 is radical but in all the right ways.
When the skier gets to their hardest pass and instinct replaces logic is when the C75 shines the brightest. Somehow the ski just stays with you and gets you farther down the lake than expected.
Best ski ever? There is no such thing but the Denali C75 is unquestionably on my very short list of favorite skis of all time.