Boot size: men’s 8 Height: 5′ 10″ Weight: 175 pounds
The man for all snowboarding occasions, former ISF Overall World Champion and television personality Kevin Delaney can tell you more about a board than you’d ever want to know¿especially if it’s not up to his high-powered standards. With his unparalleled background as both an athlete and a coach (Kevin founded his Delaney Snowboarding Camps in 1992), Kevin’s is the definitive word. Just a couple tweaks and bends under his knowing quads will brand a board either winner or loser.
Kevin’s picks: 1. Burton Custom, 2. Ride Profile, 3. Palmer Circle Carbon
Boot size: men’s 11 Height: 5′ 10″ Weight: 175 pounds
Big-Bear born and raised, Neal was just the rider to round out the Top 25’s slew of testers¿who else would confirm whether a board is suited to tip-grab nosepresses? A proud member of the now-defunct Smirnoff snowboard team (use your imagination), Neal turns heads in more than the park and pipe. In addition to running his own skatepark (Grandville in Big Bear), Neal holds the record for wearing his snowboard boots longer than any other human¿29 hours.
Neal’s picks: 1. MLY Variable, 2. Burton Custom, 3. Morrow Blaze
Boot size: women’s 7 Height: 5′ 4″ Weight: 105 pounds
Associate Editor and four-year snowboarder Robyn Hakes made up the “better half” of the editorial representatives in the Top 25. When she’s not surfing the Pacific Beach Pier before heading to the office, the So Cal loc is usually plying her craft on-snow at West Coast resorts like Mammoth and Snow Summit. In her quest for the perfect ride, Robyn leaned toward boards she felt comfortable on: “I don’t want to feel like the board is controlling me.”
Robyn’s picks: 1. MLY Variable, 2. Nitro Team, 3. Burton BMCWomen’s pick: GNU Barrett
Boot size: women’s 7 Height: 5′ 5″ Weight: 125 pounds
No relation to Terje, “Hawk” is a seven-year, fully certified snowboard instructor from Steamboat Springs, Colorado. An AASI (American Association of Snowboard Instructors) national team nominee, she knows the needs of real, everyday riders. Janet jumped at the opportunity to preview next year’s boards and to sneak out of the drought-ridden Rockies for a taste of Mammoth’s twelve-foot base. Her riding style? Smooth and light, mildly aggressive.
Janet’s picks: 1. Burton BMC, 2. MLY Bi-Polar, 3. Airwalk A-1Women’s pick: Nitro Glide
Boot size: men’s 10 Height: 5′ 9″ Weight: 160 pounds
Another member of AASI’s top brass, Jonathan made the trip down from Tahoe’s South Shore and left his mark on Mammoth’s varied terrain. Hard-carving and adept in both park and pipe, he rounded out the Top Two-Five’s world-class testing “board.” Although he goes by the alias of “Jib-a-than,” Jonny’s no stranger to speed. When not honing his own all-around riding, he coaches the snowboard team at Heavenly Valley¿rippers ages six to twenty.
Jonathan’s picks: 1. Nitro Team, 2. Airwalk A-1, 3. Arbor Koa
Boot size: men’s 9.5 Height: 5′ 11″ Weight: 160 pounds Photo whore turned Editor, Kurt’s years of pro riding and product-testing experience make him a board-test natural. Whether twisting, tipping, or talking splay, he can dissect the goings on and translate them into layman’s terms¿calling a spade a spade in true, opinionated editorial style. On the slight (okay, scrawny) side, Kurt generates power through technique and mixes it with his own special blend of finesse, demanding full-on versatility from his boards.
Kurt’s picks: 1. Burton Custom, 2. Sims Descender, 3. Ride Profile
Boot size: women’s 6 Height: 5′ 1″ Weight: 118 pounds An eight-year veteran of the World Cup, Lisa “Kozilla” Kosglow is a hard rider to follow. Her board-testing objective was simple: “I wanted to find one that could hold an edge through fast turrns and be versatile enough to make it through the pipe.” A GS specialist by day and rippin’ closet freerider, Lisa’s powerful style¿she can make the stiffest ride look like a microwaved Abba Zabba¿single-handedly upped the level of the Top 25 testing team.
Lisa’s picks: 1. Sims Daytona, 2. GNU Choice, 3. MLY Bi-PolarWomen’s pick: MLY Tempest