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When it comes to eye catching boards there are few on the market that stand out as much as the Imperator from Carved. It’s very black, very shiny and looks very bling. Then you pick it up and realize that it only weighs marginally more than your bindings. It is a very nice looking and seductive board, but Carved assure it is not just the looks that make it worth the price tag.
The Imperator is now onto V6 so also has plenty of experience and evolution under its belt. So there is their unique Cartan Carbon with its 30° weave, marine grade paulownia, and the Ellipsis channels (with a double concave under the feet changing into a single as it moves towards the tips). We also had the new Ultra pads and straps. These feature plenty of options to duck the stance, and the actual strap itself has a four point ratchet system (much like a snowboard binding) to really give you a custom fit to your foot. The actual footbed is memory foam, and a medium density so it’s super comfy, then there is also a small rise in the pad to give arch support.
Once on the water you really appreciate what this board is all about. It’s fast and grippy, and with its double concave and center spine it offers a super versatile rocker line and flex pattern. You would think that, as it has so much carbon, it must be incredibly stiff and a bit of a knee smasher, but it’s actually quite the opposite. The board has a very smooth, comfortable ride which offers superb pop and it will work in a wide range of conditions. We tested it in some pretty choppy conditions and it held its line brilliantly and offered us a smooth ride. Then with the shaped rails you can also throw this board into some high speed carves and it just holds. The weight of the board really came into its own once we started to jump. The pop is very crisp and satisfying, there is very little swing weight so it was effortless to rotate, then landings are smooth with the bottom contours breaking the water and preventing a hard landing. It’s impressive.
In a sentence: The Imperator 6 is definitely not ‘all looks’ – we were very impressed by the performance and comfort and would recommend any freestyler to at least have a test of one…