Have been on a board only once or twice before but looking to purchase a beginner-level board just to save the hassle of renting.
I'm 5"10 and 165lb. Boot size is a US 10. Looking for a freeride board. Budget is up to about $250. Given my boot size I've been looking at regular, and not wide, boards.
I've been eyeing up a 158cm K2 Brigade, a 158cm Ride Crush and a 155cm K2 Playback.
K2 Brigade - K2 Brigade Snowboard Review | The Good RideThe Good Ride
K2 Playback - K2 Playback Snowboard Review | The Good RideThe Good Ride
Ride Crush - Ride Crush Snowboard Review | The Good RideThe Good Ride
[rated intermediate to expert here... but it's listed as a beginner elsewhere?]
The K2 Brigade apparently has some tech that helps with avoiding catching edges (or is this just marketing waffle?), so I was leaning in that direction. Anyone have any thoughts on the above - or are there some fantastic deals on other boards I should be eyeing up...?
Thanks in advance!
I went with the Brigade for my first season.
I'm 41 with a torn right ACL I've never fixed and had not boarded or skiied before. My first day on the mountain I rented a Never Summer board (just what they gave me) and hit Brighton. I started to shred immediately after I actually made it to the bunny hill lift - mostly, shredding my buttocks into the mountain. It was still fun, after the first 20 minutes or so, and I started to pick up heelside / straight / slideout pretty quickly. Got cocky on the bunny hill after a dozen runs - never learned how to falling leaf until day two because I didn't know what it was. I assumed the top of the mountain was just like a really big bunny hill run - oops. Went up in the dark and the comedy of wipeouts began from getting off the lift all the way to the bottom of the mountain. I tried going toeside in the icier conditions because i had no idea how to turn to the right any other way. Multiple helicopter yard sales. Schneikes. NO helmet, either. My family let me do this? WTF? Concussed myself twice. Don't remember much of the run, actually, or the 2nd half of the mountain, much but I do remember the bottom. Broke a sign I grabbed to keep from falling down a closed run, and hit my own head with it. It would have been funny if it wasn't dangerously foolish. OK, it is funny NOW. I injured my elbow, hyperextended it, on a wipeout that left bruises up and down my arm. Yeah, men are stupid. OK, we had all been drinking all day as well. Stupid.
Anyway, I went back to AZ battered, tattered, and with a busted arm that would take 8 months to get close to healed to lick my wounds. I researched the hell out of forgiving beginner boards. There are many very good ones, as there are many very good manufacturers (Never Summer will get some of my money when I get better - love what they're about and US based) but the K2 Brigade came out, from pure research / comparative analysis, as the most stable, indestructible, performing board to learn on for me (163w, 6'2 230 when I learned, now 210 for upcoming season 2) - and I got it for $275 @McAfee Ski, with Union Flite bindings.
The K2 Brigade isn't all that nimble compared to the Never Summer Evo I tried my first trip, but the board is like a B52 bomber, and if you're able to catch an edge with it, you probably would have also caught an edge in a hollowed out wooden canoe.
The board helped me quickly learn toeside - probably due to confidence (anti-catch tech DOES work) as much as the board itself. Also, it is SO damn fast and easy to scoot around on flats (blow by anybody even as a newb on long flats) and skating between runs to lifts. Getting off the lift - such a terrifying adventure as a newb - is also much, much aided by the Brigade's anti-catch tech and rock-flat-rock shape. Some of my more experienced pals were often picking themselves up off the lift bus stop ground while I shimmied around them, blaring the Rolling Stones out of my phone pocket like the seasoned vet I was NOT. I'm athletic (for 30 lbs overweight) and a quick study (relentlessly obsessive as you may be able to tell from this post) but the board made me look better than I was all season (4 trips total) while I was improving quickly. It wasn't long until I was cruising right alongside my more experienced pals down groomers - which was all I could have hoped for my first season. Priceless and worth every bit of soreness that carried over into the off-season. Boarding, and just being on the mountain, is spiritual and I'm forever grateful to those chumps for talking me into trying it after a decade of blowing them off.
I'm interested in trying another board for season two, but I'm a self-admitted tinkering idiot.
I'll be keeping the Brigade just in case. Anyone who searches the web, finds this thread, and is wondering what board they'd like to stay upright as often as possible while learning to board should make sure they think about the K2 Brigade.
Plus, it will make sure you have enough fun while you learn to keep boarding.
And is cheaper than a Tijuana.. Um, er... taco?