Buying a new snowboard purely because of who rides it makes even less sense than choosing your razor based on which one is backed by your favourite smooth-faced tennis player.
That said, it’s not something to discount entirely either. Brands have long been making the smart decision to work closely with the guys and gals who best know how this whole snowboarding malarkey works, and the results are rarely less than excellent. If you love riding park and your favourite rider has developed a freestyle deck, chances are it'll be right up your street. Ditto pow boards that have been designed by the masters of the craft.
"Brands have long been making the smart decision to work closely with the guys and gals who best know how this whole snowboarding malarkey works, and the results are rarely less than excellent"
That's not to say any pro model board is by definition a cut above the more common-or-garden sticks out there. At the end of the day, what works for you might not be what works for anyone else - not even one of the über pros we cover here.They're always worth a look, though, especially those for which the rider has had a hand in the artwork too.
Without further ado, here's a closer look at some of our favourite pro models of the season.
All photographs by Sami Tuoriniemi - click any image to enlarge
Production: Tom Copsey / Andrew Duthie / Tobias Grünwald / Sam Oetiker / Sami Tuoriniemi
Burton Easy Livin Snowboard 2016-2017
Considering how stacked their team is, it’s surprising how few Burton riders have their own signature board. However, if anyone's worthy of one, it’s Danny Davis.
He’s put a different spin on each length, from the stubby 152 to the pointy 158, and finished them all with a Led Zeppelin paint-job. This will kill it in the pipe, obviously, but it’s also great for riding across the whole mountain.
CAPiTA Kazu Kokubo Pro Snowboard 2016-2017
The CAPiTA NAS had some Kazu flair to it, but this year there's finally a board with his name on it.
Given that Kazuhiro Kokubo turns the gnarliest terrain into his personal funpark, it’s unsurprising to learn that his board is designed for just that. It can't give you his inimitable style, but it can help you step up your game all over the hill.
CAPiTA Scott Stevens Pro Snowboard 2016-2017
This one has been around a while longer, becoming increasingly popular with riders looking to emulate Scott Stevens’ unique style.
It’s lightweight and versatile, with a flat base and twin shape that are perfect for tricks of all kinds. On top of that, its cork reinforcement will protect it from heavy impacts.
DC Supernatant Snowboard 2016-2017
Devun knows; this all-terrain vehicle is Mr. Walsh’s baby, and he’s given it some thorough testing in the BC backcountry.
This is another one for taking tricks into trickier terrain (try saying that five times fast). It’ll perform just fine inbounds too, so you don’t need to wait for a dump to break this out.
Dinosaurs Will Die Geeves Snowboard 2016-2017
DWD dishes out pro models to its favourite riders, a tight crew that perfectly encapsulates the ethos behind the brand.
Andrew Geeves is a big guy, which explains why his board is only available in larger sizes. For the lofty and large-footed riders out there, this is a top freestyle whip.
Gnu Eco Choice Snowboard 2016-2017
This year, long-serving powder hippie Nicolas Müller finally gets his own pro model – but this isn’t it.
It does have his name on it, though – while Jamie Anderson took care of the women’s version, ‘Eco Nico’ has helped design the men’s Eco Choice. Naturally, it’s greener than a jealous sea turtle.
Gnu Klassy Women's Snowboard 2016-2017
The Klassy has had a major overhaul at the hands of Kaitlyn Farrington.
Much like herself, this was once a park killer but now is more at home in the deep stuff. It’s directional but not overly so, giving you the option to throw shapes if you want to.
Gnu Ladies Choice Women's Snowboard 2016-2017
Jamie Anderson is a park rider almost without equal, and her pro model is designed to handle the biggest kickers and the toughest rails.
It’s also built to last, and will hold up just as well away from the park, so there’s never a need to hold anything back with this one.
Gnu Müllair Snowboard 2016-2017
Here’s the Nico pro model – the Müllair is just the thing for blasting down pillows, and taking big surfy turns across an open field. As long as it’s pow, this will eat it up.
Lib Tech Travis Rice Gold Member Snowboard 2016-2017
As the shape implies, you can really point this, but freestyle is always on the table. If you like your tricks big and burly, this is the ideal snowboard for you.
Selected for the Snowboard 100 - take a closer look at the 2016-2017 Lib Tech Travis Rice Gold Member here
Lib Tech World's Greenest Snowboard 2016-2017
Scotty Wittlake would probably balk at the suggestion that he’s still ‘pro’, but nevertheless it’s his name that graces the World’s Greenest Snowboard.
He’s ensured that this is as eco-friendly as can be, and he even did the artwork for it too.
Nitro Mountain Snowboard 2016-2017
If you like to spin off cliffs in the backcountry, this almost-twin pow rocket will see you right.
Ride Berzerker Snowboard 2016-2017
The setback camber gives you shedloads of control when whipping this from edge to edge, and it has tons of pop. Naturally, if you really want to make the most of it then into the pow you should go.
Rome Buckshot Snowboard 2016-2017
Another joint effort, the Buckshot is what happened when Toni Kerkela and Ozzy Henning put their heads together in pursuit of the ultimate park board.
Every inch of this is built for freestyle, so if that’s your bag then you’ll love the Buckshot.
Salomon Ultimate Ride Snowboard 2016-2017
If you haven’t yet seen Bode Merrill’s movie Reckless Abandon, stop what you’re doing and get it watched.
The Bodeman delivered a stormer of a part, packing in more WTF moments than anyone has managed for years. Everything, from his mini-shred antics to the high-risk hammers, is epic - thanks in part to the versatility of the board he designed.
YES Hel Yes Women's Snowboard 2016-2017
Helen Schettini likes to get amongst it in the backcountry, and needs a weapon that can keep up.
It’s stiff enough for a proper razz both on piste and off, with the ‘Underbite’ sidecut making groomer carves more fun than ever.