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When it comes to North’s Big Air focused products, the Orbit gets the bulk of the limelight as regards competition success, but as we are all aware that’s only half the battle for achieving epic boosting. Often overlooked by the more casual observer, the board is probably equally important. The Atmos is North’s aptly named Big Air focused board used by altitude aficionados such as Marc Jacobs and Nick Jacobson.
We’re going to focus on the carbon version, which is the top of the product line. This is built around a Paulownia wood core, which is well trodden ground in its application to twintip manufacturing, offering a solid base in regards to flex and shock dampening and also a natural product. On top of this, it’s a full carbon fiber layup, which has been redesigned for 2023. The orientation of the cloth has been tweaked this year to increase the board’s responsiveness.
Shape-wise, we’re looking at a mid-level of rocker and some very strategic distribution of thickness over the board’s length, solidifying the mid-section and thinning out into the tips to give the necessary flex for a comfortable ride and decent edge holding in that crucial area. The outline of the tips is slightly pulled in and tapered rather than squared out, meaning there’s no annoying spray in your face, and the upwind ability is increased which is particularly noticeable when riding in chop. The base shape contains a single concave in the center which fades out into a quad concave in the tips to help improve high impact and faster landings.
A nod to Big Air and board-offs is a recessed grab point located in the center, set back from each rail to give you a nice positive grip here, also providing a practical way to carry the board on the beach. North also sell the adhesive Grab-It accessory if you want to extend the board-off potential even further.
Fliptech mounting inserts are symmetrical running centrally along the stringer, not offset like most twintips which have ducked out offsets for the footpads. This allows you to flip the board round and have a brand new rail to destroy, which will increase the life of the board for someone that rides in shallow water spots prone to wear out your ABS. Fixtures and fittings are top notch with the stealthy black bolts specially coated. The similarly discreet composite fins feel tough and will wear well in the long term.
The Atmos is also available in Hybrid construction, and from our back-to-back testing this brings much of the same attributes of the carbon version albeit with a slightly softer flex level, perhaps more comfortable for the all-around or lighter rider. Four sizes are available in both constructions from 136 to 144cm.
In the water the Atmos Carbon feels delightfully premium, like driving a high-end German car. You immediately notice that, considering it’s a full carbon board, it’s not horrifically jarring on the knees like some full carbon boards. There’s more than enough crisp response and feedback, but that carbon harshness seems controlled, almost dampened which is important for a board that is likely to make most of its outings in the horrific close chop water states nearly always associated with high wind speeds and therefore good for Big Air. Rail grip is solid but the main event is the sublime edging control. It’s easy to load considerable power into the board and your lines and release it cleanly exactly when you want to. This predictable load and release is going to help propel you further vertically. Swing weight in the air is very minimal with the deck weight on our 138cm hovering around 2.2kg. Coming in hot, the base shape does an excellent job of absorbing impact on landing and keeping the board tracking straight when it’s under fire in chop of all angles.
Perfectly designed for its proposed usage, for the wonky water states that come hand in hand with Big Air riding, this comfortable but alert feeling twintip is going to really aid your Big Air progression with its lively performance, and also shouldn’t be overlooked for general premium freeride.