In a field of skis that all look and perform similar, the O'Brien Conquer stands out like Metallica at a jazz festival. The silhouette of the Conquer is made up of bold straight lines. The forebody is broad and straight. The tip is angular. The Conquer is blissfully different. The Conquer’s width and flat rocker equates to an unusually stable ski that produces crazy width and speed. Perhaps no other ski can get a skier from one side of the boat to the other as fast as the Conquer. The attitude of the ski is relatively flat and very consistent heading to the first wake. From the wakes to the ball, the Conquer gets wider and earlier in front of the ball than any other ski tested to date. The ski flows out and in front of the ball while maintaining extraordinary stability. The fact that the ski is so comfortable underfoot at this point allows the skier to be in better than normal position. Off Side turns on the Conquest are sharp and fast. The ski snaps around from wide as opposed to carving back. Sometimes the ski needs to be pushed a little to initiate the rotation and then it simply changes direction all at once. Pushing this ski too hard at Off Side will result in a radical turn and a frantic exit from the ball line.
On Side turns are more flowing than Off Side turns. The ski is very sensitive to skier weight distribution as well as fin and binding settings. With moderate front foot pressure, the Conquer will turn smoothly when skiing at easier passes, but at the limit, the ski will turn slow if the skier does not move forward over the ski.
Quirks: When skiing in my comfort zone, the Conquer is a favorite. The ski makes it easier for me to be in a better than normal position off the second wake. I find that I hold on with two hands longer off the second wake on this ski. The space and width are truly astounding. I dropped 28 off as a starting pass on the Conquer and hardly missed a 35 off during the all the test rides.
When I begin to run out of talent at 38 off and start to make mistakes, this ski’s need for extra precision and front foot pressure at the On Side turn cost me buoys. My mistakes equate to too much speed going to On Side, and the Conquer simply will not turn On Side with extra water speed and not enough front foot pressure.