2012 Nitro Rook Used and Reviewed

The Rook is not a Pawn and thus is a board for people that won’t be manipulated into believing something is better than it is. Since day one this board has been a quiver killer and for 2012 it continues this trend. With some tweaks to the core and flex profile this deck did not disappoint. Here’s how it stacked up.


Board: Nitro Rook

Size: 156

Camber Option: Flat Camber

Bindings: Raiden Phantoms

Stance: 22.5

Angles: 18 Negative 15 Goofy

Boots: K2 T1 DB size 10

My Weight: 165

Resort: Snowbasin

Conditions: Sunny blue skies with some of the firmest corduroy I’ve seen since leaving the east coast. The pipe was half in the sun and soft the dark side was a wall of sheet ice that had holes the size of bowling balls in it. What little park features they had wouldn’t even be part of Breckenridges baby park.

Preconceived Notions: I rode this deck when it first came out and loved it but would have liked to have seen it stiffened up just a hair. When talking with The Foundries (Nitro’s U.S. Distribution Company) Tonino Copene he told me it was a bit different in terms of flex.

Flex: True twin all mountain freestyle flex not too stiff and not too soft.

Stability: Great dampening in this board when flying through the death snow and busting up the chunder. Even while being damp it was still lively.

Ollies/Pop: Amazing pop out of the tips and off the edges. Busting ollies and nollies off rollers and cat tracks was a total breeze.

Butterability: The tips were slightly softer than between the feet so you could flex the board and spin around like a dainty ballerina if you wanted to.

Cruising: This stood out to me as a great aspect of the board the sidecut is deep enough to rail a turn and lock in on edge but still mellow enough that it doesn’t force you to have to rail a hard turn when charging. In the death pipe it was nice to know that I didn’t have to fear the edge giving out on me.

Jibbing: Locked into presses perfectly fine. Just like buttering it did its job no questions asked.

Rider in Mind: The guy that’s going to slay some pow, hit some jumps, ride the half pipe, butter around, and then do it all over again.

Personal Thoughts: I don’t say this too often but this is a board I don’t want but I need to have in my quiver. It handled everything that was open at Snowbasin with ease and still left me wanting more.

What They Say: The Rook is a true twin that has won multiple board tests in the last two seasons, giving it the instant legendary board status. The mid-wide shape and Zero Camber makes the board easier to transition from rails to jumps. The Bi-Lite Laminates give the Rook a very forgiving flex, while the Ballistic Impact Panels and Railkiller Edge take all the abuses that the park dishes out. Rounding out the Rooks insanity is the dual degressive sidecut that keeps the board from being catchy on take offs and landings, but provides a solid hold between your feet. Don’t be a mark for those other companies- try a board that will give you some love back.

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  1. Twin says:

    Good to hear that Nitro is continuing to put out good decks.

    a review of those phantoms would be awesome.

    also props for churning these reviews out this month.

  2. Leo says:

    Been wanting to try Nitro for a while now. Nitro, Smokin, Yes, ah fuck it… I want to try everything.

  3. LBC says:

    Would you say the Rook is comparable to the Proto CT?

  4. No they’re two entirely different boards built entirely different.

  5. CJ says:

    I noticed in your first review of the Rook (Austin Smith 156) you mentioned the tips were stiffer than between the bindings but vice versa for the 2012. Which one do you like better or feel works better with this board and the zero camber?

  6. Jake says:

    I’m looking for a board that I can take all over the mountain – mostly groomers with some buttering/ollie-ing around, and progressing into the park (10-15% of my time maybe?). I’ve looked at the Darkstar, the Sherlock and the Rook so far (all 2010/2011 models), and looking for a quiver of one. Which of these would you suggest? Or any others for that matter! I’m a big 200lb rider, don’t know if that makes much difference.


  7. I’d probably go Rook out of those three or I’d look at the Nitro Team, K2 Believer, or Arbor Coda.

  8. Jake says:

    From your review of the Believer it sounds a bit stiff…..what about the Turbo Dream? How would that compare to the Rook?

    I’ve looked for the Coda and can’t seem to find it on sale, not surprising given its reviews. I can only find the Nitro Team Gullwing in 159, but I think by weight I should be riding a 161 or so. :(

  9. Turbos stiffer than the Believer. Rook is softer than the Believer.

  10. Jake says:

    Sounds like the Rook could really give me a taste of everything on the mountain without any major drawbacks (and at a reasonable price as well, which is a bonus).

    With my weight, ~200lbs (91-92kgs), and height, 5’10” (~179cm) do you think I’d be better with the 158 Rook or a 159 Team Gullwing? (I can’t find the 2011 normal Team board, only the white 2010 one – sucks getting this stuff in the UK clearly :( )

    Thanks for the fast responses by the way! Appreciate the advice.

  11. I’d go Rook for what you’re looking to do in the 58.

  12. […] Park Rocker Lite Signal Yusaku Park Never Summer Evo Smokin Buck Ferton Smokin MIP Flow Verve Nitro Rook Nitro Rook Factory Nitro Swindle Nitro Kooley Pro One Off Ride Buckwild Ride Kink Burton Hero […]

  13. […] Nitro Rook: If you can find a new board that rides like you have a 100 days on it and still gives you everything you’ve ever wanted you might have found the board for you. This is one of those boards that stood out as meeting that criteria. The Rook has always impressed me with it’s versatility. The $499.95 price tag does put it up there at the upper tier for boards in this category but it’s well worth it in my opinion. […]

  14. dainjah99 says:

    I read that the rook 2012 is half lighter than the model 2011.
    I have the opportunity to chose between those 2, but with a different price of course.
    Is it really and so importantly noticable ?

  15. Nic says:

    I’m now using 2012 Rook 156 and I can say it’s softer between the bindings.

  16. Matt says:

    Nice review. I will be buying another Rook in a couple years. I have the 2011 model and it kills it anywhere I take it. Have you gotten the chance to ride the 2012 T1? Their new reflex profile looks very interesting.

  17. Liv says:

    I’m really interested in purchasing the Austin Smith Nitro Rook 2012 model as a park board. I’m a huge fan of Nitro, and refuse to use brands like Gnu or Lib Tech, even though they’re known for their park boards. The only issue I have is that I ride a 2009 Nitro T1 right now, and it’s very stiff. I’m looking for a board with flex. Honestly, what do you think of the flex on this board? Thanks

  18. booby says:

    Would you recommend getting the 154 if you ride everything or stay with the 156. I weight close to the same as you. Love you

  19. I don’t know if I should be scared that you love me or flattered, probably more scared. Your call on sizing you know what you need better than myself.

  20. booby says:

    You always know just exactly what to say, you make a man feel right in this crazy world.



  21. el-niko says:

    Hi! Nitro rook is great board, but design…
    What can u say about this boards:
    – k2 parkstar
    – salomon grip
    – forum destroyer

    Something of this feels like Rook, or nitro is better?
    50% – big jumps, 20% jibbing, 30% out of park…

  22. Destroyer double dog is the only one that sticks out for those ratios.

  23. el-niko says:

    So, destroyer DD or rook?

  24. el-niko says:

    So, destroyer DD or rook? I can’t find it for test in my local shops, your advice my finale hope :D

  25. Either or will be fine for what you want get which ever is cheaper.

  26. el-niko says:

    Thanks. I will try to buy Salomon Grip, it the cheapest and has nice design :) Have you a review of this board?

  27. david says:

    how does the neversumer sl compare to the nitro rook?

  28. Well it’s stiffer, dead, and has different edge hold.

  29. david says:

    Oh so similar to the evo but better for backcountry…nitro rook it is

  30. Kyle says:

    I’m looking for a board that can handle whatever I throw at it, primarily rides nice in pow but also playful and fun in the park. By the sounds of your review this would be the board for me, but I just wanted to know how to Nitro Team Gullwing stacks up to Rook since it’s a little cheaper.

  31. Well first off it’s a different camber profile so it’s going to pop differently and hold an edge a lot differently as well. The team is also a hair stiffer.

  32. Kyle says:

    Is there any kind of riding the Rook isn’t good for that the team would be? Also I heard that gullwing camber on the team has some problems chattering at higher speeds.

  33. I hear I’m an asshole, doesn’t mean you should believe everything you hear. Plus any board will chatter if you really want it to. I wouldn’t recommend the Rook for mogul freestyle combs or Euro gate bashing. Then again I wouldn’t recommend any board for that crap.

  34. Kyle says:

    What do you think about the Team with Gullwing camber?

  35. I think it’s a solid deck, little on the stiffer side though.

  36. Kyle says:

    For someone who’s been riding a 2008 Ride Kink for a couple years which one would you recommend, the Rook or the Team? I’ve been getting tired of the stiffness of my kink but I’ve never tried a rocker deck or a hybrid rocker.

  37. You think the Kink is stiff? You should probably ride a Nitro Swindle instead or Cinema.

  38. Kyle says:

    Nah. Although I love the park I’m no park rat and I want to be able to hit jumps and charge some steeps when the chance provides itself . Another question. I read your review on the T1 and know your not a big fan, but it doesn’t seem like there are too many technical differences between the Rook and the T1. What makes them different?

  39. Core profiling, camber profile, sidecut, etc. etc. Two entirely different boards.

  40. Kyle says:

    So the Rook is a more versatile board?

  41. In my opinion yes.

  42. Kyle says:

    How does the versatility of the Rook compare to the Bataleon Goliath?

  43. Well one has TBT and the other doesn’t. One is camber and the other is flat. Two different boards.

  44. Kyle says:

    Can the Rook handle cliff drops and tree riding?

  45. Can you handle cliff drops and tree riding? Board

  46. Kyle says:

    I’m getting myself a Rook

  47. Sorin says:

    If u have to choose between this board and Nitro T1 series 2012, what willl be ur chioce? I like freestyle mostly, but will hit the park when i can… thanks in advance

  48. Brandon Spencer says:

    I am torn between this board and a rome mod rocker. I’m looking for a freestyle board that could do all mountiain but is mainly jumps and rails. Which would you suggest?

  49. Brandon Spencer says:

    The rook is a mid wide though, and I’m only a size 9 1/2. Is the rook to much board?

  50. Mark says:

    Trying to decide between a Never Summer SL and the Rook. Ride mostly fast on groomers, trees when the conditions allow for it and as much powder as we are supplied here in Summit County. Intermediate rider and have been on an old 161 cambered board that is way outdated. The Rook sounds like a solid board but everyone I know on a NS loves it. Any suggestions?

  51. Neither go look at the Nitro Uberspoon instead. The Lumberyard on main street in Breck carries it and I think this will be more of what you’re looking for.

  52. gonzalo says:

    hey, im not sure if its to late to comment on this review but ill try. Im an intermidiate rider who wants to ride a board with the best of all worlds because my first snowboard that i have being using the last 3 years, was a rental snowboard. I dont know if i will prefer freeride or freestyle and thats why im looking for a board that will work perfectly fine on whatever a intermidiate rider can deal. Would it be a good desition to buy this board? The real quistion is if its ok to use it as an allmountain board? Sorry for my english, im from Chile btw. TY.

  53. You’ll be fine on this board for what you want.

  54. Bob says:

    Is the rook a board you can downsize on?

  55. I wouldn’t recommend it.

  56. Bob says:

    Coming from a 159 team gullwing, would a 156 rook or a 157swindle feel short and unstable? Im 6,4 and 180lbs.
    And i have heard that the swindle have most flex between the bindings, does that mean that the tips are stable and poppy?

  57. Swindle is a lot softer than the Rook.

  58. fromdolenjska says:

    Hi, my local shop is cleaning their suplies and I can get the 2012 for a steal but they only have a 156cm version. I just want a good allround park bord, I already have a jib bord Forum Manual but dont know how will this bord react with my weight, I just dont want it to be too soft as my jib bord because then it wont serve its purpose. Do you think the size is ok, would really apreciate your opinion, my height is 180cm, weight 200lbs

  59. Might be a little soft for you.

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