At first glance, you can tell the Line Sakana is different. At its core is a blend of maple and paulownia wood, which isn’t tremendously unique. Its shape, however, isn’t something you see every day. The Sakana has a very wide tip with a swallowtail. This is a brainchild of the legendary Eric Pollard, who was inspired by fish snowboard designs. In this design, Eric is trying to provide the benefits of a directional ski (stability at speed, effective edge, precision), but repackage them in a shape that allows for ollies, butters, and a more playful skiing style. The Sakana is the result, as well as the wider Pescado model, and overall, it’s a super fun, unique skiing experience. We felt lucky to be able to put the Sakana on the feet of a lot of different testers.
Harrison Gorham skied the 174 cm length and loved it. In fact, Harrison’s final comment on his test form was “My favorite ski.” With well over 200 skis at our test, that’s quite a compliment. 5 out of 5 scores from Harrison for flotation, stability, quickness/maneuverability, torsional stiffness/edge grip, versatility, and overall impression. The other two criteria, playfulness and forgiveness, both came in with 4 out of 5. “Ski is amazing. Plows through crud. Looks short, but skis way longer. Swivels like a linebackers head during a play-action fake.” The Sakana is incredibly quick, which is a really fun characteristic for Stowe, VT where we hold our test. We have a lot of tight trees and even some of the cut trails have mandatory tight moves to make. The Sakana absolutely loves those situations. Harrison also had a lot of fun jumping on the Sakana, “launches and handles air like a bottle of Febreeze!”
It was fun watching Parker Herlihy play around on a 181 cm Sakana during our test. Parker skis with a lot of energy, and when you put a ski as quick as the Sakana on his feet, things get pretty entertaining. Parker’s highest scores, both 5 out of 5, were for quickness/maneuverability and playfulness, two of the highlights and foci of Sakana. “Solid Sakana. Super playful, very turny. Not strong at speed, but a lot more playful than skis like the Mantra 102. Good for New England tight trees.”
We saw similar scores from Brooks Curran after he too tested the 181 cm length. Quickness/maneuverability and playfulness both earned that 5 out of 5 score, with flotation, forgiveness, and overall impression all coming in with an impressive 4 out of 5. Like Parker, Brooks was most impressed by the quickness and maneuverability of the Sakana. “Looks like the profile of a fish and wants you to wiggle mindlessly down the fall line. Incredibly fun in soft slush, but the radius refused to let you open up. Think boogie board or wake surfer, certainly not for the big barrels.” That’s a good analogy. There are plenty of other skis that like longer, faster turns. The Sakana prefers a lot of skier input, moderate speeds, and quick turns. “No hanging ten, but no lack of fun. Wiggle, wiggle wiggle!”
We love that Line created this ski. It’s not uncommon for different manufacturers to make skis that ultimately end up feeling pretty similar, but the Sakana is certainly not one of those skis. It’s precise, responsive, and quick-turning on groomers. You can lay over almost slalom radius turns and it’s an absolute blast, but then in soft snow you can butter, slash, smear, and play. If Eric Pollard was trying to retain the satisfaction of a directional groomer ski, but add in playfulness and versatility, he was extremely successful in the Sakana.