Review: 2012 Arbor Westmark 150
This format was borrowed, with permission, from Snowolf. Thanks!
The MSRP for the standard board is $419
Available sizes: 150, 153, 156, 159
THE ARBOR SYSTEM
A FUSION OF INTERDEPENDENT TECHNOLOGIES THAT SUPPORT TRUE-ROCKER PERFORMANCE
Arbor offers The System to provide riders with an amazing amount of edge hold in a rocker design that preserves the full range of performance associated with true-rocker shapes. We did this by perfecting the true-rocker profile (Parabolic Rocker), while building in real edge control through a unique sidecut (Grip Tech). In our opinion, the award winning “System” has proven to be the best rocker design yet offered.
This design is built on the Park System, which utilizes a flex and shape that are specifically tuned to Park oriented riding.
OTHER FEATURES & TECHNOLOGY
Power Ply Topsheet
Bio - Film
Unblended Progressive – Grip-tech
Rhythm Rails Side Walls
Butter Glass – Biax over Biax layup
Sumo Stance - 2X4 14-PACKS Inserts
Recycled Steel Edges
Two Year Warranty
Overall Length: 150 cm
Construction: The System Rocker
Effective Edge: 116.9 cm
Sidecut: 8.4m / 7.5m / 8.4m unblended
Nose Width: 29.1cm
Waist Width: 24.8cm
Tail Width: 29.1cm
Stance Range: A lot. Sorry, no numbers listed.
Weight Range: 106lb (48kg) – 186lb (84kg)
Boot: DC Park 9.5, regular laces
Binding: Burton Malavita Restricted, size M
Stance: Regular, 23.5", 15/-15 and 18/-18
Rider Skill: Freeride and Freestyle Intermediate
Wax: Hertel Super Hot Sauce
Conditions: Keystone, A Bay and Breck. Choice pre season parks, frozen granular, softer hardpack, chop, dust on frozen granular, 2-3" of fresh on frozen granular, windblown artificial packed and night conditions. Mostly bluebirds with the conditions softening throughout the day then freezing up as the sun went down and a couple of overcast days.
Philosophy of Use: This is a term I'm borrowing from "nutnfancy" on youtube, a guy who does excellent and quality reviews of firearms and knives. If you are into either, go check out his youtube channel. He does very high quality reviews and has experience in field to back it up.
Anyway, this is a park stick that is neither biased toward jibbing nor jumping but also designed to ride the whole mountain with a park-approach airing side hits, snapping ollies off rollers and transitions, bonking gladed trees, jibbing natural features and buttering up the mountain. As far as the succeeding in this mission, which is their stated goal, they have succeeded and done so admirably. I'll speak in detail to those elements further in this review.
Sidecut/Manuverability: Wow, this board is *dialed*. There might be more mellow cruisers out there on the market, but I would be hard pressed to find one that matches the versatility of the Westmark. From carved turns to skidded turns, this thing just behaves with great predictability and approachable limits. I'd find myself cruising down hardpack with a nice 2" layer of fresh on top, hit a patch of frozen granular and I could instantly transition to tip toeing it and save myself from an embarrassing wash. This predictability is awesome for riding variable conditions. The grip on hardpack is not Magnetraction level but riding it is not undoable at all. You just need to have some caution. I didn't find any of the above listed conditions more than a rider with intermediate skill could handle. Most of all, it's just fun to ride around.
The sidecut is a park cut and gives you good finesse for approaching jib features. It's not overly deep, but deep enough that you can really get on at the angle you want. I found myself getting front boards to fakies deep on longer features and the ability to approach exactly at the angle I wanted definitely helped. Most of all, there isn't a learning curve to it; you just drop in and ride it and that's it.
Dynamic short radius carves on this thing are awesome, like widdling a sculpture with a sharp bowie knife. That center side cut is right there at your toes. Grip-Tech isn't propaganda, it's the real deal. I couldn't believe how well this thing carved on edge for a short, softer park stick. I'm not the best free-rider (understatement) and I could lay pencil-line trenches everywhere I went and had fun doing so.
This predictability and stability gives a good platform for carving off the lip of park jumps or rollers for throwing down spins and progressing your park riding. I started learning to throw frontside off my heels and I'm not going to credit the board as being exclusively responsible for helping progress this area, it certainly never hindered me.
Stability/Damping: Here you might make a decision based on preference, but you're not going to get a Never Summer like ride. You will feel the texture underfoot and get feedback like a finely design sports car steering/suspension. That said, while you do feel everything, this board never seemed really upset with bombing down A Bay through frozen granular balls of death chop left behind by people getting in their pre-season lines. I was actually surprised how fast you could push it on questionable conditions and given the intention (park driven approach to the mountain), I think it's plenty stable enough. For all you park rats, I think you'll find more than enough stability here to meet your needs.
Flex/Snap: Longitudinal flex is a right around where I prefer it. It's soft enough to press easily and presses right inside the binding and throughout the tips. It's still plenty snappy off lips, rollers, side hits or whatever which is good given that it's design to get hits anywhere you ride. After I found the balance point and broke it in a bit, I could easily nose press the daylights out of this thing. It really locks in.
Torsional flex is a bit stiffer and perhaps this is what gives it such good stability on edge. It's not "stiff" perse, but it doesn't match the longitudinal stiffness as well for groundwork. You can butter it, but it's not necessarily effortless as some other boards. Perhaps I'm just spoiled by overly soft boards. This isn't a big gripe, at all.
Base: Plenty fast and durable. I got a few deeper gouges and they p-texed out nicely. Thanks goes to the dudes at Mountain Wave for fixing my shit while I went and got hammered at Mi Casa happy hour. I pre-waxed this season with Hertel Super Hot Sauce and the Rocket Base really gives you speed for dropping in on jumps. I could drop the jumpline at A51 too far down and have more than enough speed to nail the sweet spot.
Other note: I didn't find anything in the park that this board couldn't tackle. There were plenty of things in Park Lane and A51 that I didn't ride (or only aired or 50-50'd) but that's my ability, not the board. I have no question that this board will let you progress your park riding as far as your ability and work ethic will take you and that's exactly the board you want. It's a tad more expensive than some of the really bang-for-buck park sticks but it's still an incredible value. A perfect quiver killer for park kids or for full spectrum riding, it would be an awesome addition to any quiver.
edited: adding some formatting for readability
You have also rode the 2012 Evo right? Could you provide some thoughts between the two? I had a real hard time choosing between the two
Nope, not the 2012, I owned a 2011. Not really a fair comparison. I think the Evo you will definitely get more damping and ability to blast through variable conditions, but I like the Westmark for the feedback in jibbing. The flex points are different, too, for pressing.
I don't think you can go wrong with either. I like the idea of full rocker and if I can get the snap and grip without adding camber to it, I prefer the flex points and butterability of pure rocker.
Interesting. I didn't think the Evo with it's lower dampening rating would still be above the Westmark. Going to keep an eye on end of season sales for the Westie and grab one. Seems like a fun board.
Great review Steeze. Have to agree with you on rocker. I tried to get on a Westmark, but the best I could find last weekend was a Coda. Also jumped on a Salomon Drift. I agree that for the park, a full rocker board makes a huge difference. NS' are great, and super damp, but just don't seem to have the same playfulness.
I am now torn. Was going to go with the Drift for my park board (really loved it), but not being able to find a Westmark to demo is killing me. Might be the perfect board. That or the midwide blacklist.
I ride those same mountains Steeze. Where did you find a Westmark to demo?
I've heard great things about the Salomon and it was in top consideration for my choice along with the Signal Park Zero and Forum Destroyer DoubleDog. I think the Equalizer sidecut looks similar in theory to the Grip-Tech. I do know that Grip-Tech is flawlessly executed and just feels right and I cannot comment on Equalizer never having the chance to ride it.
Unfortunately, I do not live near Summit County, I was just visiting and the board was my own. I bought it on confidence of both BA's and Nivek's recommendation and was not disappointed. Honestly, I think the Drift Rocker is probably a solid choice but I wish I had the chance to demo it to say for sure. If I break this board or the glass presses out, I'll replace it with another one. It had that tiny missing element that the Evo didn't capture.
Trying not to hijack this thread. I'll just be quick, maybe write a review on the Drift so you have a comparison. I really like everything about the Drift, but there was a noticable difference between that and Arbor. After riding a Coda, you can feel the difference in build. Certainly a handcrafted board, and had that feel like a NS, Smokin, or Lib Tech in build.
Edge hold was my only problem with the Drift. It would wash on icy patches. Had decent dampening (I personally thought more than the Double Dog Destroyer / Honeypot from Forum). But I railed into some turns of some side trails to hit kickers and washed hard twice. Demoed the Evo the next day, did the same thing, no problem. Same with the Coda.
Problem was, for me, the Evo was just meh when it came to playfulness, while the Drift was pure fun. Thought the Drift had more pop as well.
Which rolls back to this review. Loved the Coda, but it was too all mountain, and not enough park. So now I wonder, is the Westmark / Blacklist the perfect park board. Has edge hold, a higher quality build, but still the same amount of fun and ease of buttering as the Drift?
I need to find a demo.....
The malavitas match up well with the stick? I just bought 2012 restricteds for cheap for the Evo, but it sounds like it would be at home on the Westie too
Yea, the ReFLEX baseplates go well with reverse camber boards. The winged backs don't do shit except catch my pant legs. I think the idea of wings on the inside the legs might have some use based on the way your leg moves when you press because it would help bring the board up on the opposite leg. The pressing leg doesn't really create any drive into the scrub hook when it's on the outside. ReFLEX is a good idea but it's impact is minimal. To really affect board feel, you need a completely different system like EST. AutoCANT is nice, not too much canting and is comfortable. Then again, I can ride noncant beds and they feel fine. The hammock felt fine but not any better than normal highback pockets.
My opinion is that less is more for bindings. Work and improve the simpler stuff because completely reinventing the way bindings attach to the board is going to mean a radically different design. Until then, just keep refining the current design.
The Hinge is very good in that it enables more natural feel and better ergos for pressing and ollieing. It just gave you some pliability that made the movements feel more natural.
What the bindings did really, really well are the straps and ratchets. I could ratchet these things so fast on and off I actually started to lap people while hiking jib features at Park Lane. They are that fast, they never slip, never catch ... they just work. The toe caps are Burton's GettaGrip, similar to the Baltimore toes you find on TechNine and they are the best in the biz, IMO. The ankle strap is really killer, here. It's 3D molded and the kushest strap I've ever worn. It's so comfortable. If you are getting the Cartels, upgrade to the Cartel Restricted because the fatter strap is really worth it. I can't say enough about that ankle strap, it is fucking gravy on your feet. Seriously, someone should grow a new strain of weed and call it "Asym Superstrap". They are that good.
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