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2024 Radar Vapor Review


Horton
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Since 2014 Radar has introduced a major revision to the Vapor every other year. The 2024 Vapor represents the most significant evolution since the seminal 2016 Vapor.

Is it Fast? Vapors are known as fast skis and the 2024 Vapor challenges the definition of what it means for a ski to be “fast”. If “fast” means the skier does not have to work very hard to get from side to side while making buckets of space then the 2024 is a very fast ski. During the review period, I skied more hard passes per ride and/or more rides per week than I would normally be able to because the ski requires less physical work.

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Fast skis traditionally have the reputation of being at least somewhat unstable, unforgiving, and finicky. The 2024 Vapor is NONE of these things. This ski is exceptionally stable, forgiving, and easy to ride.

Especially noticeable for Off Side turns, the Vapor does not seem to tail slide or smear through apex. The front of the ski pulls the skier through the turn. Imagine driving through sharp corners in a front-wheel drive race car. The amount of inside front bevel in the water and the rate at which the ski is rolled dictates how fast and sharp the Vapor will turn. This ski naturally rides flat and tip down so having enough ski in the water is nearly automatic. If you just trust the ski, you will leave every ball with more than enough angle. 

On Side turns are very much the same as Off Side. If you approach the ball centered on the ski and roll it to the inside the tip will pull under the line and send you to the other side. My personal skiing has long been plagued with poor On Side turns and the Vapor’s stable and forgiving nature ignores more of these faults than expected.

On both sides, the finish of the turn is fast, sharp, and symmetrical. If it were possible for any ski to have On Side turn mechanics on both sides of the course, the Vapor would be that ski. 

This ski’s “turn from the front” behavior also shows up at gate turn-in. Rolling in from a glide the grip of the front of the ski is distinctive and offers an unexpected level of control.

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I found the best results on the Vapor when I made an effort to minimize upper body movement and delay putting my free hand back on the handle after apex. If you just let the ski roll to the inside, turns will be fast and consistent. This ski does not need to be or like to be pushed unless you literally want to go 90 degrees at the ball.

From the second wake to the ball the 2024 Vapor flows out wide of the ball line dependably and without drama. The ski’s stability and consistency allows the skier to perform his/her technical takes without ever wondering what the ski is going to do. 

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Because of the way the ski flows out at edge-change, the skier may find it easier than expected to control rope tension off the second wake and be able to keep a tighter line from edge change to apex. I do not understand how a ski this fast can feel like this but the Vapor does it. 

This ski breaks preconceptions. It has a combination of attributes previously thought impossible to be found in one ski. It is stable, predictable, fast, and with crazy sharp turns. This ski is an engineering achievement. 

Historically the Vapors have been designed for very short-line skiing but have also been a surprisingly good choice for a wider range of skiers. The 2024 appears to follow this tradition and may be the best yet in terms of wide appeal. 

If the 2024 Vapor does not become the best-selling Vapor of all time I will eat my hardshell boot liner.

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Settings:

  • Short/Deep (29 ¾ - 2.505 – 6.850 - .758 - 9)
  • Long/Shallow ( 30 1/8 - 2.480 - 6.945 - .750 )

The above review is based on the Short/Deep settings. If I had to run the most perfect 35 off possible or run the most 35 off passes back to back I would take Short/Deep.

When it is time to shorten to 38 and beyond, Long/Shallow will likely yield higher scores.   

Get your own Vapor at PerfSki.com

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@Mastercrafter

 if you're blowing the tail then you have a settings issue. when I went down my unfortunate rabbit hole ( see thread about me being a bone head ) I certainly had some similar issues, but once I got my settings right the tail is absolutely secure. are you on short deep or long shallow?

the issue is very likely boot placement not fin setting. please note that boot placement is substantially different depending which fin settings you use

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IMPORTANT NOTE

settings for the above review are for a 67. boot placement is with a Radar Vapor boot measured from where the back of the boot hits the plate. if you're in a classic reflex boot the boot measurements is 1/8 of an inch less. 1/8 of an inch back.

@ColeGiacopuzzi did I get this correct?

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@Horton  Maybe blowing the tail wasn't the correct thing to say, it's not like happens all the time or really much at all. But I have had it a couple times when I scramble and try to push the ski, when all I need to do is wait another moment for it to come around. 

I will, though, double check and experiment with boot placement  at some point. I an on SD but my hardshell plate doesn't allow me to get the binding exactly where it's supposed to start. 

 

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@Mastercrafter with short deep I preferred an eighth or more back from stock. if you had a choice between being a little forward or a little back I would go back. this does not necessarily apply to long shallow

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17 minutes ago, Horton said:

@Mastercrafter with short deep I preferred an eighth or more back from stock. if you had a choice between being a little forward or a little back I would go back. this does not necessarily apply to long shallow

Thanks Horton. 66" calls for 29.25 and I may be at 29.375, measuring to the Edge boot underneath the locking lug. I'll check and try moving it if my memory is correct.

 

 

 

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@lw_moskier  typically I measure the HO syndicate the same way as I measure reflex. The one boot that people measure from a different point is the vapor boot.

anytime you go from boot to boot your ankle bone placement is not going to be exactly the same. Ankle bone placement is what we're all trying to approximate in this process.

what I'm saying is it's not an exact science. simply going from a thinner to a thicker liner is going to move your ankle bone which is going to change your balance on the ski. we as skiers just have to be smarter than our equipment.

I wish there was a simpler and more concise answer but there isn't

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@Skiphreak I honestly have not assessed the 2024 at slower speeds. What I can say is in years past I had crazy good results putting college kids on Vapors.  I am inclined to think you would really like the new Vapor.

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Great review and fantastic ski!  This is my 5th Vapor and the best one yet.  Running right in between long and shallow and short deep settings right now and it feels fantastic.  6 events on this ski, and I’m headed into the offseason with my highest average ever.  I’ve tied my best tournament and practice scores on it already and I’m certain there is a lot more in it.  This week our water temps are plummeting, and the typically challenging transition from skiing warm Florida water to mid/low 60’s in NH has been a non factor- no adjustments made.

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@ Bdecker That's a subtle but remarkable endorsement in my mind.  Many skis are really hard to get to feel right at all in cold water, much less with the same settings used for very warm water.

(Off topic, but this is the one thing that prevents the Goode Nano One from being my clear favorite ski ever:  That ski was so amazing when tuned perfectly, but settings seemed to not translate from lake-to-lake, and it also fell off a cliff in cold water.)

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On 9/28/2023 at 9:30 AM, Horton said:

IMPORTANT NOTE

settings for the above review are for a 67. boot placement is with a Radar Vapor boot measured from where the back of the boot hits the plate. if you're in a classic reflex boot the boot measurements is 1/8 of an inch less. 1/8 of an inch back.

@ColeGiacopuzzi did I get this correct?

So to be clear, if the measurement for a 67 Senate calls for 30 1/4, the reflex measurent should be 30 1/8 from where the heal meets the ski?  Sorry for the confusion....

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On 9/27/2023 at 10:37 PM, Horton said:

Settings:

  • Short/Deep (29 ¾ - 2.505 – 6.850 - .758 - 9)
  • Long/Shallow ( 30 1/8 - 2.480 - 6.945 - .750 )

The above review is based on the Short/Deep settings. If I had to run the most perfect 35 off possible or run the most 35 off passes back to back I would take Short/Deep.

When it is time to shorten to 38 and beyond, Long/Shallow will likely yield higher scores.   

 

So did your run 38 on this ski?

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5 hours ago, aupatking said:

@BdeckerWhat settings are you using and what length ski?

I’m on a 67” - boot at 29 7/8th - I’ll probably try long and shallow again, short and deep was fine but didn’t have the same cross course direction for me, adding a little tip seemed to bring it back.

6.900

2.480

.751

9 degrees

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@ColeGiacopuzzi the Senate vs Vapor choice can get a bit personal depending on sizing.   A 65 inch Senate is recommended for me, as is a 66 inch Vapor.   At that sizing the Senate is 1/10th +or- wider. So the trade off is 1 inch in length vs 1/10th in width.    A bit more flotation vs a quicker edge change and a bit more edge.    Overthinking????


I’ve been on the 2020 senate since august 2019.   Never skied as well, or as consistent, as I did on the 2016 Vapor which I was on previously.   I’m going to get on the new Vapor to give it a try, hoping to get that consistency back.   I’m 70, skiing at 32mph by mid season, starting season at 30mph.

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I bumped my boots back 1/4” from 29.375 to 29.125 on a 66”.  Overturned at the first buoy of the set but settled in quick and I think I’ll stay here. Little more free with more smear though the turn and less grabby as the turn finished. Easy skiing.

At stock S/D settings right now and may try .005 more depth, but also going home to cold water.. so maybe next year. 
 

Got lots of comments at a tournament this weekend about the ski: 

… super fast side to side

… turns like mad

… that ski rips 

… that thing is a rocket 

… fix your gates 

… fix your gates 

… fix your gates  

I’ll work on my gates.  

 

 

 

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@Horton I may have misunderstood boot placement. On a Radar boot, I have measured from the furthest back part of the heel, which is about a 1/2" up from the ski. It is the furthest aft or back portion of the boot or heel bulge. I measure from that part of the boot back to the tail of the ski. 

Is that not correct? Using that I am on a 66 and at 29 9/16. If I move the tape forward to be almost underneath the heel right on the plate the measurement is much different. 

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12 hours ago, coach3 said:

@Horton I may have misunderstood boot placement. On a Radar boot, I have measured from the furthest back part of the heel, which is about a 1/2" up from the ski. It is the furthest aft or back portion of the boot or heel bulge. I measure from that part of the boot back to the tail of the ski. 

Is that not correct? Using that I am on a 66 and at 29 9/16. If I move the tape forward to be almost underneath the heel right on the plate the measurement is much different. 

If I understand @ColeGiacopuzzi, it depends on the Radar boot. Vapor - measure from the bottom of the boot (easy). Vector - measure at the stitching on the back of the boot and not the rear most point (you can't easily get to the bottom most point with a tape measure on this boot). I recently switched from Vector to Vapor boot on the MOB system, giving me the opportunity to see how the two boots measure when in the same mounting position and I checked my ankle position. For me, the two boots at the same mounted ski position measured the same DFT and located my ankle at the same place on the ski.

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2 hours ago, jjackkrash said:

On the new Vapor boot (hybrid hardshell) measure to bottom.  Old Vapor boot, measure to stitches (not very bottom).  Is my understanding anyway.  

Yes. Doesn't look like I can edit that response now. In my post above, Vapor is the New Vapor (plastic bottom) and the Vector instructions apply to Vector and previous (softer) Vapor. Sorry for any confusion.

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28 minutes ago, Chris Rossi said:

 I disagree with Horton as I do not believe the 24 Vapor is highly boot placement sensitive, rather that skiers tend to set their boots to factory and then just get hyper focused on fin settings. 

Yea I can not argue with that.

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After reading this review and thread I abandoned my “in between” settings posted above for stock long and shallow, and it’s better in every way.  Wish it would stay warm a few more weeks, it feels like this ski could take me from “very rarely” running 38 to at least “occasionally” or better!

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@Bdecker yeah Long/Shallow & Short/Deep seem to be unique zones on this ski. I wasting a bunch of boat gas in the no man's land in-between. It took some convincing but once I committed to long shallow it was pretty fantastic.

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7 hours ago, Bdecker said:

After reading this review and thread I abandoned my “in between” settings posted above for stock long and shallow, and it’s better in every way.  Wish it would stay warm a few more weeks, it feels like this ski could take me from “very rarely” running 38 to at least “occasionally” or better!

You finally listed to me and went to long and shallow, told you I was right 🤪

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@Chris Rossi Chris, could you please clarify something for me?  The Radar fin settings webpage says the factory boot placement for my 65" '24 Vapor Pro Build with the L/S fin setting is 29".  Following your advice to experiment with boot placement first and leave the fin alone, I'm confused about exactly where on the back of the front boot to measure from.  If I measure from the rearmost bulge of the heel of my Radar Boa Vector boot, the boot is at the factory recommended 29" from the tail. But at that point the mounting plate is already all the way forward as far as it can go, and therefore doesn't permit experimenting with any boot placement further forward than the 29" factory setting. I checked the underside of the mounting plate and it does not have any optional boot mounting holes that would allow to the boot itself to be moved forward on the plate, just hole slots in the existing holes to allow for canting. Alternatively, if I measure from the apex of the curve at the back of the mounting plate, then the boot is 29 1/2" forward, but I'm quite sure that's not the correct measuring point.  So assuming as I suspect that I should measure from the back of the heel, what options, if any, do I have to try a boot placement forward of the factory 29" other than drilling a series of new boot mounting holes in the mounting plate in front of the existing ones?  And if that's my only option, what increments would you recommend... 1/4" perhaps?    Thanks for any advice.

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Thanks to @Bdecker, I've had the opportunity to test a 67" Vapor. I have been overdue for a new ski for a while. On a good day I can run 35, but those days seem to be fewer this year. After observing Brian's improved position and less effort required on this ski, combined with the measurable improvment of bigger scores,  I was compelled to try it. The first set was with the short and deep fin settings along with 29.75" DFT. It felt easy to ski on, but struggled with my onside speed in the preturn at -32.    Day 2, Brian set it up with the long and shallow, and 30" DFT. It immediatly felt comfortable and easy. I skied 2 sets, staying mostly at -28 and -32. Less effort=easier on the body, ability to get back into the pass after making a mistake, abundant local skiers on it to collaborate with @Bdecker @Ali makes this ski a winner for me. For the first time in 25 years, I won't be starting the season out on a black and orange ski. 

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@Chris Rossi thanks for that clarification.  Based on the lower stitch line, my boot is actually set at 29 1/4".  I can go back as much as I want, and I'll certainly try the factory recommended setting of 29", then move back bit by bit as you suggest, finding what feels best.  With the current mounting plate holes, 29 1/4" is my forward limit unless I drill some extra boot mounting holes in the plate to allow me to find that forward point where it feels worse and then zero in on what works best for me.  Thanks again.

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