With hundreds of snowboard companies looking for a hook to reel in prospective customers the folks at Arbor Snowboards may have had a stroke of genius. Their angle? Let mother nature do the art work for you. And what you have is quite possibly the cleanest looking snowboard on the market today.
Now while these boards have a clean wood finish topsheet, and look like they would fit into any Ethan Allen showroom, there is more too them than a gorgeous surface.Company leaders Bob Carlson and Chris Jensen came up with the exotic idea of using fine woods like Hawaiian Koa, Bird's Eye Maple, and Rosewood for their topsheets. And the final result is that each board is a one of a kind when it comes to the wood grain design.
Carlson says Arbor is committed to making the most unique board line on the market. " We are producing an alternative for those riders who want more than a plastic topped snowboard, no two pieces of veneer are the same, so your board will be like no other."
While I had no doubts about the clean look of Arbors line, I was some what skeptical about how they would perform on the snow. I checked out a 151 cm twin tip with the Hawaiian Koa veneer top.
Despite looking like something Duke Kahanamoku rode in the early 30's off of Waikiki, these boards are not heavy and sluggish. They have a great side cut and are surprisingly quick to turn. The clean looks do come in handy when riding single up the lift. The conversation will invariably turn to, "What kind of ride is that," and "Does it ride as good as it looks?" Two of the most common questions I fielded on my first day riding an Arbor.
With cap construction and a vertically laminated poplar wood core these boards are amazingly responsive. The main focus of the board is obviously the thin wood veneer. After being impregnated with resin the top sheet acts like a third layer of fiberglass, which in turns makes the board more responsive and adds torsional stiffness. "We've found that this formula makes for a stiffer and much more responsive board," says Carlson.
The only problem you will most likely have with the cosmetics of your Arbor Snowboard will be that first scratch or ding-nothing worse than a scratch on such a fine looking piece of mother natures finest.
Arbor will be pumping out 8 sizes in 2 styles for the coming season; The twin tip will be available in 140,146,151 and a 156 cm length. The Directional series will be available in; 156,158,162,166 and a mammoth 170 cm ride for you soul surfing longboarders. All sizes will be available with all three types of wood top sheets.
The first signature board is going to, not surprisingly, a legendary soul surfer-Mickey Munoz. The Munoz model will have a top sheet with a 5-6 inch wide Maple strip running through Hawaiian Koa.
Arbor Snowboards may not be for everyone. The prices are a bit more than you'd pay for a traditional plastic top, but Carlson thinks the customer they are shooting for will have no problem shelling out a few extra shekels. "We're going after the 24-90-year-old market. They have a little more disposable income and they are looking for something that offers performance and quality. Plus we think the classic look of our boards will appeal to a more mature rider."
Arbor Snowboards are built at Orthodox Manufacturing, and are owned by Joyride. And even with the hand crafted look they are able to make about 250-375 boards a day. Arbor is committed to environmental conservation and uses only environmentally friendly wood veneer. Which means they don't cut down any trees to make their goods. The company also donates a portion of proceeds to groups working to save ancient forests. So do your part for the environment, buy an Arbor and save a tree.
So if your looking for a board with classic looks as well as classic lines, then the Arbor line may be for you. But remember it is still a quality snowboard and not a piece of antique furniture-so leave the Lemon fresh Pledge at home.