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  1. #1
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    Review: Surface Live Life 2

    Review: 189 cm Surface Live Life 2, mounted -2 from true center with FKS 185

    Design: Flat camber underfoot and "Abrupt 3-Stage Rocker" design, which basically has an angle on both ends of the skis - check out the Surface website for details as I don't have the technical specs on it. Also, attached a picture from the website to show the design.

    Skier: 27 years old, 5'11" 170 lbs. Skied so long I don't remember being a beginner. Just old enough to be a "traditional" skier in the sense that I never spent a ton of time in the terrain park, but like air and landing switch. I like to ski fast and generally prefer medium-stiff skis.

    I've only been out on this ski for 3 days total this past weekend but have been asked by multiple people how I like the ski, hence the review. Plus it's such a unique design that I basically am answering questions about the ski at every lift (maybe that just PCMR).

    Short Answer: This ski is a ton of fun in the deep stuff, good float for a 112mm and stiff enough to charge when necessary. It's not as bad on groomers as I expected - mostly due to the abrupt rocker design that keeps tips and tail off the ground. Versatile to be both powder or everyday ski.

    Conditions: All three days were spent up on Jupiter at PCMR. Conditions were thigh deep untracked powder the first day to more chopped up snow on the third.

    Here's my thoughts on how the ski performs in each type of conditions:

    Powder: I will preface this answer by noting that I've never skied on a rockered/reverse camber prior to this ski. This is really what this ski is made for. We hiked up Scott's Bowl and were lucky to catch it right after patrol opened up some ropes. In nearly waist deep snow I was able to float effortlessly, make both short and long turns. I had skied on the Scott P4 prior and this ski made the P4 look like a GS in powder. I opened it up a few times and just charged down the slope and the ski kept up with me. I'm unsure of the sidecut, but it didn't feel hooky at all. The ski also feels very balanced for landings (granted anything feels good in snow like that). My biggest complaint was that with a nearly center mount I wanted more tip, but the ski is designed with more of a progressive skier in mind.

    Crud: Again I think this ski handles the crud very well. It's definitely stiff enough to bust through the choppy snow, but the rocker keeps you from sinking to far. I haven't had that much fun in cruddy snow before.

    Trees: This ski is a ton of fun in the trees since it's so easy to turn given the mount and how light they are. Especially in the deep snow I could turn on a dime and get through some really tight spots. I was skiing some lines through trees that I would have overlooked in the past.

    Groomers: My first day out I thought these were miserable on the groomers, but as I've gotten a few more days on them I think they handle just fine. The abrupt rocker keeps the tips off the ground and prevents chatter at higher speeds - granted they still chatter a bit, but it doesn't affect your turns. These things do not make wide arcing turns, but they're not designed for that. The flat camber under foot actually makes it pretty easy to hold an edge when getting back to the lift/car.

    Downsides: Really the only complaint I have is the top sheet chips pretty easily, however the bases seem bomber.

    Overall: I'm really impressed by this ski's overall performance in varying conditions. It's a pretty unique design that I think has some serious potential. There don't seem to be a lot of folks out there with these guys so I'm trying to get some stoke with mags. I'll be using this as my daily ski for everything but times when there is no new snow, like it's shaping up to be this week.

    I'm happy to answer any questions since I think mags will really like this ski. I'll also try to update my thoughts once I've been out a bit more, and possibly tried other skis to compare.
    "Obviously you're not a golfer"

  2. #2
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    I have received a ton of PMs asking for a review so I figured I would post it here.

    Skier: 24 years old skiing for 21 years. 5'7" @ #130. Ski pretty aggressively and fast. Likes air.

    Ski: 189s mounted true center with 900s


    I have skied these 3 full days now. All of which have included waist deep blower, trees, cliffs, and groomers. They kill it in the deep and float well. Perfect for slashing high speed turns in untracked. They can be arced on groomers if you weight the ski correctly and the tips don't flap around as much as expected when bombing a groomer back to the lift.

    The construction seems totally bomber. My pair has seen 40 feet of air and held up just fine with a flat landing. Get these and get the 189 even if you are short and light cause they turn like a dream in tight trees, etc.

  3. #3
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    trying to figure out what the advantage of the abrupt rocker over a continuous rocker could be? the arg for instance is flat under food still, but without the abruptness.

  4. #4
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    I checked out a pair of 179 LL2's in a shop yesterday. Fuuuuunky. It seems like the rocker/shaping scene is in it's infancy. Reminds me of surfboards, wonder why? Also makes me torn between jumping on something this year or giving it a year to let the big thinkers hash out designs. Hmmmm.

    Would I be making a mistake to get a pair of Obsethed to bang around on this year and see what shakes out for next season?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by ticketchecker View Post
    I checked out a pair of 179 LL2's in a shop yesterday. Fuuuuunky. It seems like the rocker/shaping scene is in it's infancy. Reminds me of surfboards, wonder why? Also makes me torn between jumping on something this year or giving it a year to let the big thinkers hash out designs. Hmmmm.

    Would I be making a mistake to get a pair of Obsethed to bang around on this year and see what shakes out for next season?
    Any big rockered ski will be a blast in deep snow. I wouldn't bother waiting.

  6. #6
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    Yeah I wouldn't wait either - there's always some new technology coming out next year. Plus most of next years skis are already designed and I don't think there's anything like the LL2 out there.

    Also, tc not sure how tall you are, but I would not go with the 179 cm unless I was like 5 feet tall.
    "Obviously you're not a golfer"

  7. #7
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    Alright. First, props to Sean for the hookup and for the covert handoff at the 7-11. As for the skis, sick.

    Skier: Old, 6'1", 190.....bred on the ice, live in the west.

    189's w/Solly's mounted -5 from center.

    Skis I like: 195 Praxis Pows, Gots, AK King Salmons, and my Nordy GSR's on the bulletproof days

    Fresh: Skied these for the first time in a solid foot of blower at Alta last week and thought they were one of the most playful, poppy, easy to ski skis I've ever ridden. Super quick when they need to be but also really comfortable at speed, they inspired a ton of confidence in both fresh and chop. They really make you want to get in the air as they stomp although as with all rockered skis they'll wheelie big time if you land back seat. Super light and easy to ski all day.

    Day after/wind affected/crust/etc: Handled it all. Not quite as good as the Praxis on breakable crust but better where it was wind blown and variable.

    Groomers were ok, way better than my Praxis but because the running length is so short, I felt like I was on super short skis.

    Not my first pair of rockered/reverse camber skis but very different from the Praxis. Like the reverse/reverse skis, I still seemed to want to ski very centered. Unlike the Praxis, these skis are super nimble. Yeah, the Praxis can turn on a dime but these feel way lighter and thus quicker. Maybe it's the 3 stage rocker but turns on these aren't anywhere near as slarvy as on reverse skis. Where the Praxis just plow through anything, the LL's had much more finesse. Not saying I like one better than the other cause I do love my Praxis but the LL's are probably a better all around ski.

    All in all, stiffer than I thought, not hooky, very little deflection, don't chatter, and the tips never dove on me.

    I like 'em a lot.

  8. #8
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    Thanks for the thoughts Mod. It means more to get some comparisons from those who have been on other funshapes. No offense to the others who posted, but I recall my first 2-3 deep days on Pontoons were mind-blowing. Then when I got them out in deep, but higher water content, variable snow, the love affair ended. In other words, initial impressions are nice, but objective comparison (as much as that is possible) to a common experiece others have had (Praxis in this case) lends credibility to the review.

    I've tried several and keep coming back to the Reverse/Reverse setup for my style and the PNW mank I get to ski regularly. These are interesting though.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bandit Man View Post
    Thanks for the thoughts Mod. It means more to get some comparisons from those who have been on other funshapes. No offense to the others who posted, but I recall my first 2-3 deep days on Pontoons were mind-blowing. Then when I got them out in deep, but higher water content, variable snow, the love affair ended. In other words, initial impressions are nice, but objective comparison (as much as that is possible) to a common experiece others have had (Praxis in this case) lends credibility to the review.

    I've tried several and keep coming back to the Reverse/Reverse setup for my style and the PNW mank I get to ski regularly. These are interesting though.
    Guess I should have added that I skied my spats about 275 days before I snapped the core on one, so my review isn't initial funshape mind-blowage.


    Oh, and the LL2s like air.


    Horrible light for pics that day unfortunately.

  10. #10
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    ^^^^I think we get the point. And I agree totally^^^^

    Bandit man, totally different skis. The LL2's are light and poppy which definitely isn't the Praxis feel.

  11. #11
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    so fun, i ski a 179 for park and non pow days and a 189 for sending it days. these skis are the jam!

  12. #12
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    nice looking pic whiteroom, i love the suit.

    can anyone tell me about how much power it takes to turn these? Kinda sounds like a silly question but im light for my height and have always skied 179-184's and am a bit sketched out with the thought of a 189. I know they ski short and thus am wary of the 179 as I am currently mounted at -3 on a pair of 179 seths and find they i dont have enough tail.

    pm coming your way seanpistol if theres anymore left

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by lookinback View Post
    nice looking pic whiteroom, i love the suit.

    can anyone tell me about how much power it takes to turn these? Kinda sounds like a silly question but im light for my height and have always skied 179-184's and am a bit sketched out with the thought of a 189. I know they ski short and thus am wary of the 179 as I am currently mounted at -3 on a pair of 179 seths and find they i dont have enough tail.

    pm coming your way seanpistol if theres anymore left
    They don't seem to take much power and I am a pretty light guy.


    Skied them again today. Everything is either sunbaked mank or frozen. They do pretty well in the gloppy stuff, but thats never that much fun to ski anyway. I am learning that they actually carve pretty well on groomers, you just have to focus your weight on a shorter length of edge than a normal ski to get them to engage.

  14. #14
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    Any big guys skiing these?

    I'm thinking about picking up a pair. I like tight trees and a poppy feel but am 6'3" and 200+ lbs. Any big fellers rippin on these? What are your thoughts, they seem a bit short to me.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by northcoastrat View Post
    I'm thinking about picking up a pair. I like tight trees and a poppy feel but am 6'3" and 200+ lbs. Any big fellers rippin on these? What are your thoughts, they seem a bit short to me.
    I'm 6'2, 220lbs and i really dig them.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by ticketchecker View Post
    It seems like the rocker/shaping scene is in it's infancy. Also makes me torn between jumping on something this year or giving it a year to let the big thinkers hash out designs. Hmmmm.
    Ummm.....we've been on skis with rocker for 5ish years now. Nearly every company has a rocker or rocker-ish offering. It's been long enough that lots of companies have come out with designs, and then improved on them. What's there to hash out? Nearly everything that could be done with rocker has been done, you just gotta figure out what you prefer. I've been on 10s of rockered skis. I like tip rocker with flat camber.

    I have to say I'm interested in this three-stage rocker. It's something wakeboards did a while ago. Theory was the abrupt three stage rocker would give better pop off the wake. I had a Hyperlite with it. It popped for sure.

    I'd like to see this ski in a slightly fatter version. 120-125mm underfoot.
    ROBOTS ARE EATING MY FACE.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by bossass View Post
    Ummm.....we've been on skis with rocker for 5ish years now. Nearly every company has a rocker or rocker-ish offering. It's been long enough that lots of companies have come out with designs, and then improved on them. What's there to hash out?
    Ummmm.....not everyone on the planet has been on skis with rocker or even knows about them. Prior to my research mode this season I was really only aware of Spats & Pontoons. As a newbie to the rocker thing the variety of shapes and designs took a bit to wade through.

    Thanks to this forum I got a pretty good education quickly and am now riding the LL2's. And they are pretty sweet.

  18. #18
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    Alright, I just got my pair from SP (thanks mang). Curious for some feedback on mount point -- ski has "here" and "there" markings. I don't ski switch much, so I want them to roll fast & hard in pow, allowing me lots of aggressive stance. Where are people mounting? I see above everything from -2cm from true center to -5cm from "center."

  19. #19
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    Finally got mine mounted so here's a few words:

    Me - skiing 25 years, ex-racer
    Location: Blackcomb
    Conditions: dry blower, dust on crust, knee deep, crud, rain chud, cement.

    In the pow & chop these skis were a breeze, with easy turn initiation as long as one kept the knees together and smeared the bases. The skis floated through everything and felt light & poppy. Very playful. At medium mach speed they kept their balance effectively by floating above the snow. I didn't feel comfortable enough letting these rip at a higher speed; the balance seemed touchy.

    In the deep they didn't respond too well to an aggressive forward stance. Though the tips floated perfectly fine, they actually began to dive if too much pressure was exerted forward. The LL2 definitely favours a newschool, center balanced stance. In large pow-mogul fields (think the Bite on Blackcomb) the ski's shorter effective edge came in to play, and without a tail to carve, a few turns where an effective tail was necessary the ski simply bumped down sideways, almost flipping me over the fall line.

    Launching -- while the ski had a solid platform, on a few dives where the landing was curved or off the fall line, and the launch meant landing on a steep incline, the heavily rockered tip pushed the ski down significantly, almost pushing the ski head over heels. Pushing the weight back towards the tails had the same effect, except this time the ski wanted to flip over backwards. Drops must be weighted absolutely center.

    Cat tracks -- sketchy & squirrely, with the bases constantly hooking. Near impossible to get the skis to track in a straight line, with each ski running off in all directions. First time in my life I've been worried about the ski hooking and bailing me all over the cat track on the way to the chair.

    Jib potential -- lots of it. With the wide base and less effective edge, the ski can smear damn near anything. Natural wall rides and smear pillows were fun.

    Groomers -- as one reviewer put it, "miserable." Again, not enough edge to effect turn initiation, and unlike Capman, this ski chattered considerably. It was difficult to find an effective turn radius. Short turns required significant quad strength & totally burnt me out. Longer smear turns had the ski bumping horizontal over all kinds of surfaces -- a little out of control. The ski didn't track whatsoever.

    Crud -- once rain-effected snow came underfoot, the skis went in independent directions like two squabbling anarchists. Each ski hooked every single potential edge-grab, and riding suddenly became freakin' dangerous when I simply wanted to put the cruise on & jet down the remaining vertical to the bar. At the end of the day, I would consider downloading over riding out in crud, chud or otherwise rain-effected or difficult snow conditions. The ski simply has no effective edge to speak of, and hooks & grabs on everything without the ability to hold a longer carve, or to straightline effectively.

    Overall impression -- mixed. The jury is still out on these for me. While the ski performs well in pow, so do skis with less rocker. While the ski jibs well, so does a traditional twin. The radical design in this ski has sacrificed its versatility. While a powder specific tool, they don't have the cajones to play in the big mountain all-over-the-map conditions of somewhere like Whistler. That said, I'll probably hang onto them for a little bit longer & haul 'em out on the remaining pow days, but you'll probably also see me downloading at midpoint at the end of the day.

    If my impressions change over time, I'll update this review ..
    Last edited by khyber.pass; 03-15-2009 at 03:32 PM.

  20. #20
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    My experience with the live life 2's is similar to Kybers. Me: 6'1" 185lbs on a good day, life 2's mounted at old school line. I haven't had these in pow yet... I have too many others, hellbents, powder rx's, double helix's and huge troubles. I've had about 2 or 3 days on them and I've found that they are starting to get easier to ride on groomers than they were the first day, but that's not what I bought them for though. In mixed conditions they are a handful and I cannot bring myself to take these out anymore unless there is fresh snow fallen. They are super light... I actually think that I would have gotten along with the live life 1's a lot better.

  21. #21
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    I've only had one day on my LL2s, and there was no pow. Conditions ranged from winter groomers to corn groomers to winter crud to refrozen crud to firm, nearly icy chalk to spring mush.

    Weight: 2090 grams/ski @ 189cm. This is very, very light for such a wide ski.
    They're a touch short: perhaps 1cm taller than 186cm Spatulas.
    Stiffness: roughly as stiff as Spatulas, and about a million times stiffer than Hellbents.

    I mounted mine about 5mm behind "center of running surface at ball of foot", which for me ended up about 4.5-5cm behind "Here Here Here" and 2.5-3cm in front of "There There There". The lines were off by nearly 1cm on my pair, so make sure you measure or you may end up with one binding noticeably forward of the other.

    I'm not sure what people are talking about when they say the ski won't carve and won't track on cat tracks. Like any ski this wide, you have to roll them way up on edge. I had no problem making big, fat GS carves on groomers. I could even link normal skiddy-bouncy turns once I was going fast and charging hard enough...at slow speeds they're just sort of dead and planky feeling.

    In week-old crud and mank they were very interesting...they carved like a traditional ski, but that huge tip rocker makes it nearly impossible to bury a tip. I could basically pretend I was on a groomer: initiate with shin pressure and angulation, and trust that the tip would scoop me through the turn instead of stuffing into a bump and dumping me on my face. Be careful, though: the fact that you're carving turns means you're getting a lot of speed quickly, which can be scary in trees.

    Moguls were about as easy as they get with this big of a ski. The huge tip rocker really eased the impact of the troughs, and the short contact length made them easy to pivot down the far side. But honestly, a 140mm tip sucks in moguls no matter what you do.

    The only trouble I had was on very steep pitches with very firm snow. The LL2s chattered somewhat...but I didn't bother to tune them before heading out, so I'll have to try that again.

    I've skied Spatulas for several years, and they're completely different skis. Spatulas skid, slarve, and pivot, and don't feel like "normal" skis at all. LL2s feel like normal short skis, on which it's nearly impossible to bury the tip. They carve hard with sufficient angulation, and come around in the traditional manner...with a lot of shin pressure or some unweighting.

    I suspect that with such a short running length, mounting point is critical. I wouldn't have wanted to mount any further back: where I was, I already had to use some shin pressure to initiate, and if I were back at "There There There", I doubt I would have been able to carve turns at all. If you're back at "There There There", I'd seriously consider mounting at least 3cm forward even if you never ski switch.

    Some other notes:
    -They weigh a LOT less than Spatulas
    -They're a million times easier to carry than Spatulas because of the flat spot
    -Standard "110mm" Duke brakes work fine

  22. #22
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    Spats, thanks for the mounting info... I had mine mounted at old school which equates to there there there, I'll have them remounted 3cms forward.

  23. #23
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    I seriously recommend the "ball of foot at center of running surface" (BOF) method -- especially since the marks are on the topsheets and could be a couple cm off. Usually BOF is a hardpack mount and I go about 15mm back from BOF for all-mountain, but given the huge tip rocker I figured BOF was fine. I'm 5mm back from BOF, and I probably could have gone even further forward.

    Here's how you measure for BOF. Step 1 requires a pencil, crayon, marker, or something that will mark the sidewall; a tape measure; and a business card or credit card.

    Step 1: find the running surface.
    -Hold skis firmly together, base to base
    -Slide the card down between the tips until it stops
    -Mark sidewall there
    -Slide card up between tails until it stops
    -Mark sidewall there

    Step 2: find the midpoint between the two marks. On mine this is 2-3cm forward of "Here Here Here" (topsheets and lines were different ski to ski).

    For Step 3 you'll need a medium-size screwdriver or small hammer.
    Step 3: put one ski boot on. Find where the middle of the ball of your foot is by tapping the shell with the screwdriver handle or small hammer. Mark the side of your boot there. It's also a good time to measure and mark the middle of your boot if the shell isn't already marked.

    Step 4: Put the ski on a bench or floor. Align the "ball of foot" mark on your boot with the mark on the ski from Step 2.

    Step 5: Mark the ski where the middle of your boot is. This is your midsole line. It'll probably end up right in the middle between "Here Here Here" and "There There There", or slightly behind it if you have big feet.

    Step 6: Mark the other ski at the same place. I recommend using a tape measure pulled straight from the tip.

    Use those marks as your midsole mounting line.

    My midsole mark is 98.5cm straight tape from the tip. If you have smaller feet, yours may be more like 97cm or 97.5cm.

    Let me know how it works out for you!

  24. #24
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    Spats, good stuff... you've renewed my interest in these sticks. I'll let you know how it works out for me.

  25. #25
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    Alright, I got back on these pups after remounting them as per Spats instructions above.... they are like a totally different ski. I had them out in less than favorable conditions(hard pack with a micro thin layer of soft) and had fun on them. I felt that I could do any type of turn and not think about it. Obviously on real hard areas these things sucked, but I didn't buy them for that anyway. My interest has been renewed and I can't wait to get back on them when the dump comes in. I wound up mounting the 98.5cm back like Spats for a 315mm bsl length.

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