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!