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Our test team took to the glacier-blessed Austrian resort of Kaunertal with its extensive park and feature-packed piste with natural hits at either side for tricks, jumps and general fun to weed out the 10 best freestyle snowboards for the 2016-17 season.

top 10 best freestyle snowboards

gnu_velvet_gnuru_2017_top.jpgGnu Velvet Gnuru

BEST FOR Ambitious recreational riders who want a good value all-rounder.

It is hard to pigeon-hole the Velvet Gnuru as it has both freestyle and all-mountain characteristics, but at its heart it’s still a freestyle board - great for park laps and fun for jibbing. The Gnu Velvet Gnuru loves butters and presses, while the mellow camber lets you cruise the groomers with comfort.

VERDICT
A great all-rounder with both freestyle and all-mountain characteristics that’s great for park laps and fun for jibbing.

Price: £338

 

Batalion_Global_Warmer_2017__top.jpgBataleon Global Warmer

BEST FOR Competent riders chasing kick-ass freestyle in and out of the park.

Fantastic for all that is park and pipe, the Global Warmer is ideal for those who want to make the park their playground too.

With a symmetrical nose and tail with a sintered base, the board locks in on park features, has good high-speed stability and a real loose skate feel on groomers.

VERDICT
The higher price gets you top quality and as near to an all-mountain board as you can get in the freestyle category.

Price: £375

 

Burton_Process_Flying_V_2017.jpgBurton Process Flying V

BEST FOR Playful all-mountain intermediate to expert riders.

The Flying V makes for a freestyle leaning board that doubles as an awesome all-mountain board, delivering a softer, more playful ride than the Burton Custom.

So responsive edge to edge, the Flying V is easy to dial-in on intricate short radius turns. For a softer board, it holds an edge well and powered through the spring snow we found locking-in those fast sweeping carves super easy. The Process Flying V also handles speed well, even across flats, tracked out snow and crust.

Add in great pop and edge control and you get a dream ride for buttering, pressing and hitting natural piste side kickers.

VERDICT
A fantastic choice for experienced all-mountain riders that is easy and forgiving to ride but delivers when pushed hard.

Price: £325

 

DC_PBJ_2017.jpgDC PBJ

BEST FOR Beginner to pro, park or street riders that want more than just a jib stick.

The DC PBJ is heavily focused on park and street, but fun can still be had riding around on groomed runs.  When riding at speed it can feel a little clattery, but the slightly lose feel and forgiveness gives the PBJ a playful personality for butters, presses and side hitters.

The PBJ feels at home in the park, and is great for jib/rail and box work.  It also handles small to medium sized jumps well and is forgiving on those scrubbed landings. 

Beginners will appreciate the easy turn initiation and forgiving trait, while intermediates will be able to easily progress into practicing ground tricks and small jumps.  Advanced riders will be able to release the full potential of the PBJ.

VERDICT
A great value choice for those wanting to push their riding to the next level

Price: £255

 

Rome_REVERB-ROCKER_2017.jpgRome Reverb Rocker

BEST FOR Riders who want a fun and playful stick to mess around on.

The Reverb Rocker has a hybrid rocker profile with slight camber ends, but has the feel of a classic rocker profile.

The Reverb is very flexible, rides loose and is generally as playful as a puppy seeing snow for the first time. You can spin the board on the spot and it's ideal for presses and butters. It’ll give you hours of fun in the park and pipe, but it’s versatile enough for a bit of enjoyment on the groomers too with its single barrel bamboo HotRods giving a crisp pop to ollies.

If ridden hard the Reverb can start to feel wobbly, but beginners will appreciate the forgiving nature of the Rocker profile and will find it almost impossible to catch an edge.

The reverb was pretty-good in powder and handled choppy terrain well too.

VERDICT
A super playful board that puts a big smile on your face

Price: £340

 


Capita_Jess_Kimura_2017_146_top.jpgCapita Jess Kimura

BEST FOR Riders that wants a fun snowboard to lap the park as well as the groomers.

Named after one of the most successful pro-snowboarders in the business, the Capita Jess Kimura needs to be good - and it is.

It doesn't matter whether you’re starting out in the world of freestyle, or a full-time pro, this is an effortless board to ride. Designed fundamentally for urban snowboarding, it locks onto rails and has a superb buttery feel for jibbing. A wavy hybrid profile with traditional camber underfoot provide great stability at speed and it ploughs through uneven terrain without batting an eyelid. A rocker at either end helps forgiveness, especially when your landings get washed out. Being true twin and symmetrical, the board is also great for riding switch.

VERDICT
As with many freestyle boards these days, this is not just a simple Jib stick and it proved great for hitting the groomers as well as giving a lovely, floaty ride in powder.

Price: £405

 

SSALOMON-GYPSY-2017_crop.jpgalomon Gypsy

BEST FOR Anyone who wants a soft and playful park board for all-mountain play.

Salomon’s Gypsy is perfect for beginners who want to get into freestyle and super playful for the more advanced rider as it feels light underfoot. In design and character, the Gypsy is a true twin, hybrid camber board and the rocker on the nose makes it easy to jib, pop and get air.

VERDICT
Great value, great looking freestyle all-mountain board that’s a joy to ride on groomers as well as in the park.

Price: £340

 

Arbor_Poparazzi_crop.jpgArbor Poparazzi

BEST FOR All ability riders that appreciate a loose and playful ride.

Arbor claim that the Poparazzi has a woman-specific rocker system designed for riding the whole mountain; and we can’t argue with that as it's a very competent all-rounder but the Poparazzi’s bloodline is still freestyle.

It holds an edge, is stable and handles speed well, especially over flats and cat tracks. The board gives an average performance on uneven terrain, crud and powder, although the spoon tips do raise the ends up.

With the Poparazzi, Arbor have created a playful soul that works well as a jib stick for the more advanced rider feeling loose and light underfoot.

Beginners will appreciate the forgiving rocker profile and will give confidence in learning ground tricks as it is ideal for butters and presses.

Park rats will appreciate the Poparazzi’s freestyle qualities and it really can take on any feature that it comes to on a park lap.  Responsive and effortless, freestyle is where its heart is at.

VERDICT
A playful, versatile board at a very reasonable price, what's there to argue with?

Price: £330

 

Ride_COMPACT-HERO_2017.jpgRide Compact

BEST FOR For those who want an awesome freestyle board that’s also suited to all mountain riding.

The Ride Compact is lovely to ride as it’s so effortless and responsive. We really respect freestyle boards that we can properly lock-in the edges on, especially for pipe work and serious carving.

The compact is also as stable and comfortable as a Bentley at higher speeds. This is due to Ride’s very own ‘Urethane Slimewalls’ that are designed to smooth the interaction with the snow, therefore absorbing impacts.  This obviously works as it is an incredibly smooth ride and chops through crust with equal ease.

The profile is flat with mellowed out rocker at both ends with a narrow waist width. The rocker lifts the contact points above the snow which helps when riding through uneven terrain or in powder.

The board is light and playful and a real joy for jibbing and exploring natural hitters. Once taken into the park, the fun factor goes into overdrive and you will want to hit every feature like a boss. Don't worry about those scrubbed out landings, the Compact is very forgiving of your sins.

VERDICT
The Ride Compact is an awesome mid-way point between a freestyle and All-Mountain board that cover all disciplines - go get!

Price: £275

 

SALOMON-UMTIMATE-RIDE-2017.jpgSalomon Ultimate Ride

BEST FOR Advanced to expert riders who want an All-Mountain freestyle board that is perfect for kickers and the pipe.

The Salomon Ultimate Ride is new for 2017 and has been designed in collaboration with professional snowboarder, Bode Merrill.

It’s a true twin freestyle board with a ‘Quad Camber’ hybrid profile which Salomon claim to be more forgiving than a traditional camber, whilst still retaining an element of pop.  We certainly found this to be the case, the Ultimate Ride is also very responsive, but we found it difficult to initiate a high speed carve in softer spring snow conditions - the board felt as if it needed to be a bit longer to be able to hold the edge well.

We feel the Ultimate Ride should not be pigeon holed into the freestyle box, as it's more all-mountain capable than that. Good at higher speeds, with Salomon’s Gunslinger Sidewalls soaking up the bumps and handling uneven terrain well. We also had great fun in the Spring powder as it gave excellent float.

VERDICT
Not a jib stick and not suited to park rats or urban street riders that hit the rails all day, but if your regular stomping ground is park style kickers and the pipe then this might be the snowboard for you.

Price: £450