Method

Eight testers, 65 boards, five days. The board test is more madness than method, but certain ground rules apply. Product is delivered with a tune from the manufacturer (or not); the topsheets are then masked, and each board is given a code number by TransWorld’s weekend shift to limit biases-in order to cheat, testers have to make a pretty big effort.The boards are then carted off to Base Camp at Mammoth Mountain. Riders are whipped and threatened with wet noodles as they trudge through ten-plus boards a day, grinning in a sort of sinister way. Minimum two runs per board are required, and in-between, the “Good Wood” scorecards get filled out-completely, dammit. All the while, board-test tech Ryan Eagan, with some help from Jerms, had hardware flyin’ in order to get riders back on snow for another bout. This is life from open to close.

 

Each board is scored in six categories that gauge a tester’s impression of how it rides. Big ups are given to boards that stand out in all aspects of park and pipe riding; the scoring makes sure that one with limitations can’t rise. At the end of the week, our numbers-kid Keith Eshelman crunches and combines, averaging the scores of the five men to find the top ten and those of the three women to name the top five. Good Wood is not an easy label to earn.-K.H.

 

Atlantis
2Face 159

 

In its sophomore season, the Atlantis 2Face barged its way into the top ten with good ol’ design know-how.
The 2Face gets its name from a directional twin-tip shape. A what, you say? Twin in that the tip and tail exactly mirror each other in shape and length, but directional because the stance is set an inch back of center in relation to the deep ol’ sidecut.

TW’s hired shreds unanimously praised the 2Face on jumps, but the Atlantis board also had ‘em claiming well-roundedness: “Great on turns, I like the shape a lot,” Kendall penned on his scorecard. Slantwall (an angled sidewall) construction and a scant waist width probably have loads to do with the positive turning, transfer, and edgehold.

With an apt rider at the wheel, a sound board can perform anywhere, but the 2Face is happiest when leashed to the park-just watch out for big stuff, all that sidecut and a narrow waist width can get you loose.

Atomic
Syndicate 156.5

 

Atomic came out shootin’ once its line of ’03 boards finally debuted. The Syndicate is top-shelf pipe material perfect for riders who are willing to work for a return.

A strong turner, the Syndicate goes gangbusters in between hits. This board’s got more camber than the St. Louis Arch, which makes for a responsive ride. Russell called it “snappy through turns,” but Codythought the Syndicate took things too far-”a race board with a tip and tail added on,” he said.

It was Kendall who pushed the newcomer to the top-he labeled it “Just right. Perfect pop and flex … feels solid.”Solid it is, with Atomic’s 4D construction-four layers of fiberglass runnin’ in different directions across the board-good riders will rock and not roll. An angled sidewall and “superpipe sidecut” round out the package.

Burton
Seven

 

Twenty-five years of board-making experience landed Burton back on top of the ten for 2003. The Seven proved a unanimous choice for any and all park/pipe destruction.

Making up a third of Burton’s Contact series, the Seven is stocked with well-evolved components like the high strength-to-weight ratio Super Fly II woodcore and proprietary EGD technology-a core characteristic that adds precision and responsiveness.

Designed with help from Gigi Rà…f, Trevor Andrew, and Romain De Marchi, Burton’s Scott Barbieri explains the intent of this twin: “The Sevens are able to attack the pipe, but they’re more forgiving for park and rail riding.”Cody may have summed the Seven best; his scorecard read, “Sick, sick, sick”-best leave the tech shit to the Vermonters. If your crosshairs are set on shooting downhe park, read no further than the Seven.

Forum
Bjorn Leines 156.5

 

In its first year of production, Bjorn’s pro model tagged out Jeremy Jones’ in the board test. Envisioned as an all-around weapon for backcountry kicker missions and urban rail assaults, this multitasker is expected to tolerate backseat landings and up-front nose pressing.

For ’03, all Forums have the I-Lock Snowboard Mounting System comin’ standard. Bjorn’s model also features True Flex construction, which is established by a traditional aspen/birch woodcore laid thicker in between your bindings for a more responsive flex. Our testers interpreted it differently-James thought it was a little stiff, while Kendall said it felt “great.”

Forum pro models come with a two-year warranty on manufacturer defects, further proving that you’re not dropping the extra cash just for an expensive autograph and dope graphics.

M3
Hybrid 156
Hy·brid Pronunciation (high-brid) noun.

 

1. Something of mixed origin or composition.
2. A high-powered riding machine that moves with precision and style to dominate both freestyle and freeride territories.

While M3′s presence may or may not be felt post-season 2003, the brand’s legacy will be known as long as the Hybrid is floating the backcountry kickers and slaying the downtown jib scene. Scoring consistently high in the versatility department, Board Tester Russell Winfield threw it down for us: “This board was a dope all-around ripper.” Directional shape and “damp” woodcore provide stabilty, deep radial sidecut allows for ease of turn initiation, and lightweight cap construction keeps things poppin’.

This is the board for the genuine riders of modern snowboarding: Milk the deep stuff in the morning, sesh the pipe in the p.m., and hit a few handrails on the way home. The M3 Hybrid is a machine for the new millenium.

Option
Mirror 159

 

As if the sight of the U.S. Olympic halfpipe winners rockin’ Canadian Roots wear wasn’t painful enough, somewhere between Kokanee swillin’ and beret manufacturing, the eager America-light from the North have laid into the board test with the hard-chargin’ Mirror.

The 25-degree ABS sidewall construction kicks up power transmission, and is backed by triax glass running edge-to-edge for increased strength. The park- and pipe-specific Mirror sees a jib-friendly directional twin shape in its reflection. Canadian sympathizer Nick Francke wrote a run-on sentence about how much he liked this board, how it had a solid feel and good pop, and was fun on the rails and ( The reality is you’ll probably just buy this board for the frightening X-ray skull graphics. If you want a jib board that feels solid and pops but isn’t necessarily a high-speed charger, then you’re making the right decision.

Rossignol
Sly 158

 

Only a year-old and already turning the boy’s heads, the Sly is Rossignol’s answer for riders who don’t want to sacrifice performance for a lower sticker price. The Sly features Rossi’s Combo Core and Dual Torsion box technology for maintaining control through the chop and popping off the top. A deep sidecut maxes out right between the feet for immediate turn responsiveness.

Because this board isn’t someone’s pro model, all of Rossi’s team riders are part of the design process-think Andrew Crawford, Travis Rice, and Jeremy Jones all bundled into a board, and you’ve got an idea of the Sly’s potential. Test rider James Ledford stepped out of the shadows to scribble, “This board is perfect for everything,” while Cody was stoked: “Great f-king pipe surfer.” Like a good date, the Sly seems to be down for whatever you are.

Salomon
Forecast 159

 

All of the engineers at Salomon couldn’t predict the success of the trend-killing Forecast. This well-rounded capper gets the job done in all terrain-pros Josh Dirksen and Jason McCalister wouldn’t have it any other way, and neither would TransWorld testers.

Call it freestyle or freeriding, it’s just snowboarding to those who know. Versatile is the style, and Russell Winfield has seen enough to recognize it: “This is a solid all-mountain/freestyle board,” Russ commented. Nick Francke agreed but was smart enough to change a word or two in his notes so that he wouldn’t get busted for plagiarizing.
A freeride effective edge ratio and longer sidecut radius make the Forecast’s success in the Mammoth park even more confusing, or that much easier to understand-a well-designed board doesn’t need a label. If you ride everything and own only one board, buy the Forecast 159.

The Illuminati
Hybricon 157.5

 

The Hybricon marks a return to sidewall construction for Jackson-based The Illuminati. With the help of teamriders and the crew at Five Axis Mfg., The Ill laid out a board worthy of Good Wood status.

Designed to kill all aspects of real-mountain riding-ripping lines in the morning and working the P and P in the afternoon-the Hybricon is a wise pick for riders who rock a quiver of one.

Hybricon Technology-a capped tip and tail that transfer smoothly to sidewall construction under the feet-may make up a large part of this ride’s secret sauce, but testers more often noted its shape.

“Good pop” came up in scorecard notes more than once, and Cody wrote: “Nice and stiff … very useable shape and flex.”

If you’re a park and pipe rider who’s not afraid to throw some mountain in the mix, log on for the Hybricon-you can only get it direct.

Unity
Pride 159

 

Silverthorne, Colorado’s Unity Snowboards has been hard at it since ’95, counting on the support of local riders who appreciate quality and boards that slay. The Pride is another “directional twin,” which can mean any number of things. In the case of the Pride, it means sound park and pipe handling (the twin part) and freedoggin’ madness (the directional flex and longer nose).

“Bombproof and light,” are words Kendall used to describe the Pride. Nick went so far as to say, “This board is superb overall … it had a really comfortable feel.” Aside from these gushy comments, a majority of testers mentioned that the Pride has pop-probably a result of the strips of Kevlar that run vertically on top of the core.

Add to the well-rounded formula a deep sidecut (7.25 m), and you’ve got a board that’ll come around quick-like. P-tex sidewalls add a super-durability factor, dampen the ride, and make you extra fast if you wax ‘em. Really, try it.

Call it freestyle or freeriding, it’s just snowboarding to those who know. Versatile is the style, and Russell Winfield has seen enough to recognize it: “This is a solid all-mountain/freestyle board,” Russ commented. Nick Francke agreed but was smart enough to change a word or two in his notes so that he wouldn’t get busted for plagiarizing.
A freeride effective edge ratio and longer sidecut radius make the Forecast’s success in the Mammoth park even more confusing, or that much easier to understand-a well-designed board doesn’t need a label. If you ride everything and own only one board, buy the Forecast 159.

The Illuminati
Hybricon 157.5

 

The Hybricon marks a return to sidewall construction for Jackson-based The Illuminati. With the help of teamriders and the crew at Five Axis Mfg., The Ill laid out a board worthy of Good Wood status.

Designed to kill all aspects of real-mountain riding-ripping lines in the morning and working the P and P in the afternoon-the Hybricon is a wise pick for riders who rock a quiver of one.

Hybricon Technology-a capped tip and tail that transfer smoothly to sidewall construction under the feet-may make up a large part of this ride’s secret sauce, but testers more often noted its shape.

“Good pop” came up in scorecard notes more than once, and Cody wrote: “Nice and stiff … very useable shape and flex.”

If you’re a park and pipe rider who’s not afraid to throw some mountain in the mix, log on for the Hybricon-you can only get it direct.

Unity
Pride 159

 

Silverthorne, Colorado’s Unity Snowboards has been hard at it since ’95, counting on the support of local riders who appreciate quality and boards that slay. The Pride is another “directional twin,” which can mean any number of things. In the case of the Pride, it means sound park and pipe handling (the twin part) and freedoggin’ madness (the directional flex and longer nose).

“Bombproof and light,” are words Kendall used to describe the Pride. Nick went so far as to say, “This board is superb overall … it had a really comfortable feel.” Aside from these gushy comments, a majority of testers mentioned that the Pride has pop-probably a result of the strips of Kevlar that run vertically on top of the core.

Add to the well-rounded formula a deep sidecut (7.25 m), and you’ve got a board that’ll come around quick-like. P-tex sidewalls add a super-durability factor, dampen the ride, and make you extra fast if you wax ‘em. Really, try it.