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Discussion Starter #1
Hey

Got an Academy Collective 158 Camber from 2009 that’s not really worn out. But I’ve started looking at a Burton Custom 158 Camber and started believing that there will be a big upgrade and more enjoyable to ride a newer and higher end board. But will there really be that much different, or am I fooling myself?

Rode a lot as a kid, so I’m a decent rider even thought I didn’t ride that much in recent years.
 

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Depends? If you plan to ride a lot, I would upgrade. If you're still going to ride pretty seldom, a 2009 Academy in good shape is fine. The newer board will be an upgrade, but doubtful it'll be game changer. Ultimately the carpenter is much more important than the tool kit.
 

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Custom Camber 158, Skeleton Key 158, Blur 159, National 156, Stale Fish 153, Alpha 158 - 8 Photon SO
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Yes I agree. If you plan on at least doing 10 days a season definitely pull the trigger on the Custom. If less than that just enjoy the board you have if it's still in good shape.

The Custom will be an upgrade and feel better but not enough to matter of you're not riding a lot. Both are good old camber and will feel similar.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for replies.

I see you have a lot of boards, Jack. Including a Custom C 158. How would you rate it in terms of a do it all board, excluding rails? I'll get to test my buddys 156 custom, and if its not that different from my current board, I'll maybe look for a more off piste/tree/pow friendly board as a second board instad of a Custom which seems to be pretty similar to my current board in terms of specs.
 

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I still have a board from 2009 in my quiver and it's a ton of fun, still. In fact I like it more than a lot of new boards because it has a ridiculous amount of camber in it, and that's hard to find now when it was very common back then. As long as it's not so old that it's the old style board with the old sidewalls you should be fine.

That said, you could absolutely get a another board, and make it something that does what your Collective isn't good at. For example, I've built up a few boards over the years
Hot Knife 159W: stiff groomer charger
Flow Quantum 155w: Fun and playful compared to the Hot Knife but still can hold and edge and charge (it's the 09 board)
Salomon Huck Knife: Great park board for buttering, jumping, and some jibbing
Rosi mini 123cm: for fun!

I have three big boards in my quiver and they all do something very different. As long as you go a lot (I live 20 minutes from a small hill so I go a ton) it's very worth it to have a few different boards that do different things better. I can charge groomers hard on my hottie, but it sucks for jumping and there's no chance of jibbing at my skill level. The Quantum is fun to jump on, still aggressive, but I don't have to pay so much attention to what I'm doing. And the hucker is the only thing I have I can really butter on, and it feels the most comfortable to jump on, it really let me push myself in the park. I made more progress in the park on my Huck Knife in three weeks than I did all winter long on my Hot Knife.

I think you need to look at a board that will excel at something your camber Collective isn't very strong at and expand your riding, instead of looking for an upgrade. What that is depends on what you want to do, but snowboarding is a very diverse sport and there's a ton of different ways to ride. Snowboards came very far from 2000 to 2010 and then they got crazy with all these different shapes and stuff and didn't progress as much as they did back then. I.E. the difference between a 2000 and 2010 board is far larger than the difference between a 2010 and 2020 board.

Sometimes those boards from that era are pretty great. The camber on my flow quantum makes the "C3 camber" on my Hot Knife look like a flat board. There's a lot there. There is NOTHING wrong with a board from that era. I used to think there was and when I finally brought my Quantum out of storage and rode it I forgot what I missing.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for getting my mind off the Custom, guys. Ended up getting myself a Hometown Hero 156 at a 30% discount. I think it's a much better board fore me after all. After watching the videos of the Burton reps and other riders at YouTube, their eyes seem to light up when talking about the Hometown Hero, while they where pretty meh on the Flight Attendant, Deep Thinker and the Skeleton Key. Can't wait to test it!
 

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Custom Camber 158, Skeleton Key 158, Blur 159, National 156, Stale Fish 153, Alpha 158 - 8 Photon SO
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Great choice! Hometown Hero, Flight Attendant, Deep Thinker, Skeleton Key are all pretty similar boards with similar specs. I have the Skeleton key. It's a lot of fun but a bit to soft for my liking. I think the Hometown Hero takes the skeleton key and stiffens it up.

I do love my Custom great board. Old school Camber. If there is one board I will grab without considering the condition it will always be my Custom. But it's too similar to your current board which is worth hanging on to when you want to change things up.

The Hometown Hero can definitely be a one board quiver and kick tons of butt in Powder.

Congratulations on the new board. And awesome deal! Enjoy!
 

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I still have a board from 2009 in my quiver and it's a ton of fun, still. In fact I like it more than a lot of new boards because it has a ridiculous amount of camber in it, and that's hard to find now when it was very common back then. As long as it's not so old that it's the old style board with the old sidewalls you should be fine.

...

Sometimes those boards from that era are pretty great. The camber on my flow quantum makes the "C3 camber" on my Hot Knife look like a flat board. There's a lot there. There is NOTHING wrong with a board from that era. I used to think there was and when I finally brought my Quantum out of storage and rode it I forgot what I missing.
I rode a 08 Malolo and fell flat on my ass my first heelside turn. Locked in on the sidecut and didn't disengage as easily as I thought. Way stiffer and way more camber than a modern board. Took me about half a lap to adjust back to it. They definitely don't build them like than any more. Funny thing is that board was only rated at 7/10, and these days is probably more like an 8.5 or 9.

The one thing I'll say is boards these days are waaaay easier to ride. The average snowboarder out there is rear foot skidding turns and frankly doesn't need the performance of heavy camber. That sort of heavy camber probably contributed to me scorpioning a ton. I have mixed feelings because it allows riders to get by with weaker technique, but if it lowers barriers to entry and decreases attrition of folks trying snowboarding that's better for the industry and the culture at large.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Yes, seems to be pretty similar boards, excludings some flex and the sidecuts on the Deep Thinker. The Burton reps were likely also tired of explaining the specs of FA, SK and DT, since they have been in the lineup for a couple of years already. Think you are right that HH is a slightly stiffer SK.

Tested the board on the carpet at home, and could easily feel that it was softer and more tortionally flexible than my old board. I think the HH will be a lot more fun to ollie it, butter etc. I think the HH will be a way better jibber than my current board also. And i don't really jib, only if the conditions don't allow going at medium speed.

My friend also bought a Custom 156 I'll be able to test. Saturday can't come soon enough now!

I set my bindings up 15 degrees front and 0 degrees rear, as I never ride switch unless it's in like 5mph. What binding setup to you use for this kind of board?
 

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Totally give the Custom a shot. It's a nice experience to be had. I feel like it'll be familiar to you though. It's always an eye opener for anyone who hasn't ridden camber before. It was for me and several friends of mine.

I personally ride 15/-12 but it's because I am comfortable standing with slight duck foot. Each person is different; it's personal preference. The HH is a very directional board so your set up sounds good if your comfortable standing like thay. Although it can handle switch really well on hard pack.
 

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Snowboard technology has come a long way in the past decade. There will definitely be obvious differences. However, if there are any nearby resorts that do demos, best thing to do would be to try different boards in the sizes that fit you. From there you can see if the difference is big enough to warrant the investment in a new board.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
I've now tried the Home Town Hero. It's defenitly a board made for good conditions with fresh snow, like the ones you see on the Redbull Natural Selection competitons. The board is always inviting you out of the groomers and into trees or fresh snow. Was wonderful to ride it in the 10cm of fresh snow and could turn on a dime within the trees. Float was also great. Even though the flex was pretty soft compared to my old board, I could ollie a lot higher. What strikes me the most is that this board actually has a personality, whereas my old board is a dead plank in comparison.

Where it was good to ride it:
  • Fresh snow off piste. This is obviously what this board was made to do.
  • On off-pistes with downridden fresh snow it performed really good.
  • Turns on a dime within the trees. Could just footsteer it no problem in beaten and unbeaten tight off piste places.
  • Groomers with some snow on top to turn on.
  • Also, some places there was warying between maybe 3-5 cm of fresh snow and medium/hard crust. Even when I rode from the fresh snow over to the crusty parts, it was very forgiving and I was in full control even when the switch between the terrain was unexpected.
Where it was not good:
  • It was horrible to ride it on the icy wind blown groomers, but it is to be expected I guess. These are also conditions I'm not looking to ride in anyways.
  • At high speed in groomers, I'd prefer a stiffer board with more camber. Might get more used to it over time thought, as I come from riding a stiff camber board.
Also tried to ride it switch for like 10 seconds, it can go in that direction too i guess ...

If I were to choose again, I'd get the 160 for the added stiffness. Or maybe an X version if that was available. I'd easily sacrifice some of the ultratight turning within the trees for some added performance in higher speeds on the slopes. The Hometown Hero is certainly not a one board quiver type of board, unless you only see good riding conditions.

*Edit. I mounted the bindings with a Burton baseplate, which is kinda soft, cut in and not round like normal ones. Might help a little to get a properly stiff baseplate.
 

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I've now tried the Home Town Hero. It's defenitly a board made for good conditions with fresh snow, like the ones you see on the Redbull Natural Selection competitons. The board is always inviting you out of the groomers and into trees or fresh snow. Was wonderful to ride it in the 10cm of fresh snow and could turn on a dime within the trees. Float was also great. Even though the flex was pretty soft compared to my old board, I could ollie a lot higher. What strikes me the most is that this board actually has a personality, whereas my old board is a dead plank in comparison.

Where it was good to ride it:
  • Fresh snow off piste. This is obviously what this board was made to do.
  • On off-pistes with downridden fresh snow it performed really good.
  • Turns on a dime within the trees. Could just footsteer it no problem in beaten and unbeaten tight off piste places.
  • Groomers with some snow on top to turn on.
  • Also, some places there was warying between maybe 3-5 cm of fresh snow and medium/hard crust. Even when I rode from the fresh snow over to the crusty parts, it was very forgiving and I was in full control even when the switch between the terrain was unexpected.
Where it was not good:
  • It was horrible to ride it on the icy wind blown groomers, but it is to be expected I guess. These are also conditions I'm not looking to ride in anyways.
  • At high speed in groomers, I'd prefer a stiffer board with more camber. Might get more used to it over time thought, as I come from riding a stiff camber board.
Also tried to ride it switch for like 10 seconds, it can go in that direction too i guess ...

If I were to choose again, I'd get the 160 for the added stiffness. Or maybe an X version if that was available. I'd easily sacrifice some of the ultratight turning within the trees for some added performance in higher speeds on the slopes. The Hometown Hero is certainly not a one board quiver type of board, unless you only see good riding conditions.

*Edit. I mounted the bindings with a Burton baseplate, which is kinda soft, cut in and not round like normal ones. Might help a little to get a properly stiff baseplate.
Great review thanks for sharing! I came to a similar conclusion for the 158 Skeleton Key. If I had to pick a board from the quiver and not know what I'm riding it would either be the Burton Custom or Rome National they ride similar to me. But on a ice a nice snow day or off pist skeleton key has a spot!
 

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Discussion Starter #15
From what i understand, the Flight Attendant is a little stiffer, so it might perform better at the groomers, while it is a slower turning board in tight spaces. That said, the Hometown Hero was much better at turning in tight spaces than I need. The Hometown Hero is also extremely forgiving IMO, it saved me from falling several times. Haven't tried the Flight Attendant thought.

While I got myself a Hometown Hero, my friend got himself a Custom. In the fresh snow, he described the Custom like it was best to ride it in tracks that were already ridden once before. While at the groomers, he seemed to have more control with the Custom than I did with the HH, and thus he was able to go faster than I was. Might just be that he has bigger balls than me, but for my egos sake, I claim it was the board.

I think the Burton- all mountain ish boards go in the following order, from fresh snow to all-mountain focus. Correct me if I'm wrong:

Hometown Hero ---> Flight attendant/Deep Thinker ---> Custom
 

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Discussion Starter #17
If you see a lot of good snow, I'd defenitly get it. Even when the good snow is well ridden at the end of the day, the HH is supernice. I didn't try many other boards thought, so don't got much to compare it to.
 
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