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
Last edited by CheeseForSteeze; 12-13-2011 at 03:20 PM.