OP hope its no too late for me to chime in, i am the exact same spec as u, 6ft 189lbs and 10.5shoes
i have over 10boards including the 159 raptor. i cant say it is better than flagship since i never tried one, but it is amazing for trees. it is super agile, a lot less forgiving than other NS board due to longer camber on nose, set back is for ultra float and very very damp. sometimes it scares me cause i feel like the nose is pulling me to sherr it wants at a fast speed, but if you come from an old school camber board than u shouldnt have a problem
whoever says rap is only for big mountain pow lines either never rode raptor or needs to relearn his skillz
Agree, I think people get scared when they look at NS's board chart and see the Raptor (and Summit) on the far right... I think they get the notion that it's ONLY for gnarly steep AK terrain... well I'm sure it feels at home there but I love mine on ordinary double black tree, hike runs... actually REALLY love it in the trees. Be careful on steep technical runs though, the tail likes to really rocket through turns...