Snowboarding, as we’re so often reminded in chin-strokey-video-part-narration-waffle form, is a rich tapestry – from big-mountain adventuring to one-week-a-year piste bashing, and everything in-between. Of course, since the first flouro-donned mentalist got himself airborne within sight of a chairlift, freestyle has never gone out of fashion.
With park boards, usually you know one when you see one. You won’t find many faux wood topsheets here; graphics for park boards tend to be pretty eye-catching, and some real classics have appeared for 2015/16.
"Since the first flouro-donned mentalist got himself airborne within sight of a chairlift, freestyle has never gone out of fashion"
It’s the same with the ride. Twin-shaped, twin-flexing boards have a certain feel to them. They tend to be light, lively and with plenty of pop, and often draw you towards side hits and park features like a magnet.
Even in this category, there’s a lot of difference to be found among the boards. Some are soft and buttery, designed to press for as long as you’ve got a surface on which to do so. Others are built for serious airtime, and therefore need to be able to handle high speeds and heavy landings.
Whichever one is right for you will still be a matter of personal preference, but these ten – ranging from street dwellers to kicker killers – certainly stood out to our test team. Take a look:
All boards are in alphabetical order, other than the category winner which can be found at the end of the list.
All photographs by Sami Tuoriniemi
Production: Ed Blomfield / Mike Brindley / Andrew Duthie / Sami Tuoriniemi
A jibby, buttery noodle of a thing, the Bataleon Disaster is nevertheless built to withstand a hell of a lot of abuse. While it’s a park board and no mistake, it’s even more at home in the streets.
The camber profile helps you precisely set your edge for that 270 on, while the Triple Base Tech greatly reduces the risk of hang-ups.
Burton Custom Twin
Plenty of folk have been using the standard Custom (and even the Custom X) for their park and pipe needs.
However, this asymmetric twin version has been refined for the discerning park rider, putting all the quality of the original into something that’s all about high-end freestyle.
More forgiving than the Custom Twin, the Parkitect has the specs to suit just about any flavour of park rat.
The classic camber profile has tons of pop, but the flex won’t make you work too hard for it.
It’s a limited edition, but if you can track one down you won’t be disappointed.
This modern classic from Canada is the jewel in Endeavor’s freestyle-focused range.
In the park you’ll enjoy the versatile flat profile with rocker at each end, and the urethane sidewalls mimimise impact damage when you’re stepping it up on features.
As you can see, it now features Burton’s EST Channel system, so if you’ve been eyeing up a pair of those bindings you can use them on this.
K2 World Wide Weapon
Kids today probably don’t even get the wordplay on ‘world wide web’ that gives this one its name – which shows you how long it’s been around.
While technology has come on in leaps and bounds since then, the WWW only packs the essentials, making it perfect for freestyle obsessives who want a great stick at a low cost.
One of the softer boards on this list, the flat-based Ride Buckwild is naturally easy to butter and press, making it ideal for the rail line.
However, you don’t need to be Billy Morgan levels of crazy to send this off a booter; it holds its line well and is light without being flimsy.
This is the board Jamie Nicholls takes to contests, so even with the predominantly camber profile there’s literally no rail trick this can’t handle.
Naturally it pops to the moon off kickers too, making it an all-round slayer that delivers happy laps all season long.
As far as rocker boards go, this one really blew us away.
If you’re more of a rail rat than a pipe-and-kicker guy, you’ll love the light weight and sheer pressability of this.
It’s got that loose-in-a-good-way feeling that lets you experiment on the fly, and our test team noted the surprising amount of pop it has for a rocker board.
Volkl Squad Prime
The ‘Prime’ suffix certainy suggests that Volkl have plenty of confidence in this – and why wouldn’t they?
If you’re a good enough rider, this is a precision tool built for taming the biggest, gnarliest kickers you can find.
Set controls for the heart of the sun, and blast off.
WINNER - CAPiTA Ultrafear
Borne out of the wishes of the CAPiTA pro team, the Ultrafear is a stunning park board that stands out in a crowded field.
The flat profile means it can turn its hand to any feature, although it really excels on rails and boxes. Buttering the piste is incredibly easy too, and it’s lively in a good way when you’re messing around at slower speeds. The sintered base and Kevlar-enhanced construction make it fast and stable enough for bigger jumps too, especially for a medium-flex board.
This one even won over those who don’t usually go for that kind of thing, unlocking the dormant park slayers lurking within. If you can get one under your feet this year, expect the same to happen to you.