Riders like Marc Frank Montoya, Danny Kass, and Gigi Rà…f could ride a damn ironing board and still out-shred every other dummy on the hill. It’s called natural talent, and it takes up the slack where torsional flex patterns and progressive sidecuts cut out.
But we want to ride like the dogs in the magazines and videos, too. We want to take it to the raw, and for us, that takes the right equipment. Jeenyus Snowboards pro and freestyle expert Kevin Jones offers this: “Most boards have too much crap inside. They’re too stiff and last too long. I want to take that stuff out of my boards-make them more flexible. Plus, my board has a smiley face on the bottom. If you go up to the jump and your board is frowning, you’re done.” Okay, so forget what the so-called “experts” say.
A smart consumer should understand the basics of board geometry and construction-at least enough to fire a few well-aimed questions at the salesperson. Freestyle boards are typically shorter (less swing weight for easier spinning) and more symmetric (not as directional) than freeride boards, and most riders get on ’em centered or just slightly behind center.
FS sleds are built for the park rails and pipe doggin’ and- because a lot of riding is going down at faster speeds and on bigger trannies-trends this season lean toward longer, slightly stiffer boards than in years past. Lib Tech’s Dark Series and Capita’s Human Series are fine examples of top-shelf, power-packed freestyle boards, while Santa Cruz C-Series boards offer a hell of a bang for the buck. Regardless of which board ends up on your roof rack, remember: it’s not called freestyle for nothin’, so get one that works for you.-Joel Muzzey