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Old 06-07-2010, 07:52 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default choosing an all-mountain board (element v custom)

I'm getting ready to buy my first board, til now I've been riding my friends old board for a couple years. Its done me well, but i'm ready to move on.

Me: 5'11, 160lbs, intermediate/advanced rider, i ride a bit more powder than park, and the occasional groomer, love my freeriding.
What i want in a board: Won't kill me if i ride switch (this is a skill i'm trying to improve, but its not something i do that often), can handle both the park and backcountry. Its also pretty important to me that my board will last me a good couple years, and wont get trashed by a couple wipeouts or skiers running over it. Price range ~$300ish.

I've done a fair bit of research, and looked pretty hard at the Arbor Element, Burton Custom, and Ride Antic. The element is my clear favorite, it gets great reviews, is fast, perfect for my price range ($300 at rei right now), and has SICK graphics. Possible downsides, its not twinish (im just nitpicking), and I've heard reports that the topsheet gets damaged kinda easily, so not great marks for durability. This is what concerns me the most. The custom of course sounds great, only downsides are that i dont like the graphics, see this board everywhere, and it's $50 more than the element. Still, i can live with all those if the element isn't for me. The antic is my backup choice, i don't know as much about it as the other boards except that it's cheaper and doesn't have a bad rep.

So, i'm looking for recommendations, and help making the choice, cause i just can't decide anymore I also know i haven't looked much at boards outside the mainstream, so if you think there is something that would fit me better, mention it. thanks guys!
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Old 06-08-2010, 09:51 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Take a look at the Never Summer SL-R. Sounds like it's up your ballpark, with freeriding being priority and freestyle being second. Never Summer also has stiffer boards if you want to go even more freeride. Never Summer boards are kinda expensive, but if your in the intermediate/advanced bracket it's worth getting a really nice board to help you progress faster. These boards are super tough, American made, and high-preformance. If you look hard for a sale, you should be able to pick up a 2010 SL-R for around $400, it's going to be one of the most expensive just because it's their best seller.

SL-R: { SL-R } Never Summer Boards
Heritage,(more of a freeride board): { Heritage-R & Heritage XR } Never Summer Boards
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Old 06-08-2010, 10:56 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I bought the Element as my first board and I love it. Yes the top sheet can get nicks but any board will, it still looks fantastic. 2yr warranty too. I can't remember if the Custom has the channel -- if it does, you may want to think about that; you'll need to get EST bindings or at least adapter discs for whatever binding you choose, the Element has a standard binding screw pattern. Custom is a great board too though you're splitting hairs. I looked at Never Summer boards they are great no doubt, but in the end I didn't feel like I was getting a ton more for the extra $$ -- if you think it will be worth it, they're fantastic and have a 3 year warranty.
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Old 06-08-2010, 12:50 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Awesome, thanks for the recommendations guys! I checked out the SL-R, and it looks pretty good, but like mwl001 said, I don't know if I can justify dropping the extra cash to myself. Now I just have to choose between the Custom and the Element, which I'll prolly stress over for a bit, lol. I think I'm leaning towards the Element, cause it's cheaper, and I can feel better about trading up in a couple years if I want.

Any suggestions on what bindings go well with the element? I haven't really checked any out at all yet. Thanks!
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Old 06-08-2010, 01:05 PM   #5 (permalink)
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The Element's really not an ideal park board, so unless you're really partial to flexy bindings go with something a little more responsive, you'll get a better ride in my opinion. I ended up getting Rome Targas, but you can't go wrong with these other options, all of which I considered:

Salomon Relay (best for F series Salomon boots, which I own)
Rome Arsenal
Burton Cartel/CO2/C60/P1.1

Ride, Union, and K2 are also good binding companies, but I narrowed my search before doing much research on what they offer. With any company, stay away from entry level stuff, not worth the savings. And those C60s are sweet (especially the Choco ones on that wood grain), but as with the board it'd be tough to justify dropping $300 plus on bindings when you can get great quality stuff for half that.
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