Whitelines Test Team 2015/16

UPDATE: See our Whitelines Test Team for 2017/2018 here

It’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it… Introducing the Whitelines snowboard test team. Made up of a mixture of heights, weights, foot sizes and riding styles, what unites them all is plenty of experience on the hill and an eye for what makes a board tick.

Hannah Bailey | Ed Blomfield | Mike Brindley | Andrew Duthie | Tammy Esten |Sarah Fish |Matt Higson | Adam Hoskins | Ed Leigh | Lauren MacCallumSam McMahon | Barry Parker | Jason RickwoodJames Stentiford | Chris Sturgess | Darren Williams

WL’s chief idiot Ed smokes one out in Chamonix. Photo: Sam McMahon

Hannah Bailey 

Communications Consultant, Neon Stash
Snowboarding since: 2008
Height: 5’7” (170cm)
Weight: 8st 7lb (54kg)
UK Shoe Size: 6

Favourite rider: I’ve always been a fan of Hannah Teter. The first snowboard film I watched was First Descent, and she was ripping it in huge backcountry Alaska alongside the guys.

First ever board: A K2 Skyla with Burton bindings. Although it got dinged on the first day, it lasted me a while! I still have it as a memory, and I lend it to friends.

Board preference: Something smaller but with stiffness, as I’m not a mega park rider. I love to ride powder but attempt playful stuff in it, so need the best of both worlds. I quite enjoy a bit of tech in my boards, like Magne-Traction or something, but the main thing is that it feels stable.

Ed Blomfield 

Head Of Snowboard Content, Factory Media
Snowboarding since: 1993
Height: 5’11” (181cm)
Weight: 13st (82kg)
UK Shoe Size: 9.5

Favourite rider: David Benedek. In his pomp he slayed it all – powder, pipe, park, piste, street – and still found time to push the creative envelope. Plus, he’s just a super nice guy.

First ever board: 1996/7 Lib Tech Jamie Lynn 153 – the one with the girl and the guitar on the tail. I bought it from Rollersnakes in the spring sales and was soooo stoked on it. Only trouble was the fragile cap construction, and I managed to delam it at some point. I swung a new one via the warranty which I was well chuffed with at the time, but now I wish I’d just kept it for posterity and bought a new one instead.

Board preference: Something mid-flexing and stable that I can take from park to pow – basically, your classic ‘all mountain’ board.

Mike Brindley 

Contributing Editor, Whitelines
Snowboarding since: 2001
Height: 5’11” (181cm)
Weight: 11st 3lb (71kg)
UK Shoe Size: 8

Favourite rider: Too tough to call, but Arthur Longo is up there smashing it at the moment. Ridiculously tough riding and super-chill guy too.

First ever board: Burton Dominant – an eBay classic that I had a love/hate relationship with, but it took a battering! It was never perfect for me, but handled a lot more than its skate-style design would suggest.

Board preference: I tend to ride fairly flat-based boards, but it’s not a decision I’ve consciously made – they just seem to hit that sweet spot that means you can take them everywhere, and they aren’t too overpowering or unresponsive either.

Andrew Duthie

Deputy Editor, UK & Gear – Whitelines
Snowboarding since: 1999
Height: 6’3” (190cm)
Weight: 13st 2lb (90kg)
UK Shoe Size: 12

Favourite rider: Devun Walsh, for his style. Not a very original answer I know.

First ever board: Generics Special, bought ex-hire from an Aviemore shop in May 1999. Currently propping up a wobbly bookcase beside my desk.

Board preference: Freestyle twin boards, sometimes with directional  sidecut/flex but usually true twin – and always wide. It’s good to have something to take to dry slope once its snow life is over.

Tammy Esten 

Founder & Owner, Mint Snowboarding
Snowboarding since: 1995
Height: 5’9″ (175cm)
Weight: 8st 13lb (57kg)
UK Shoe Size: 6.5

Favourite rider: Jenny Jones, because she has made huge steps to push the UK snowboard scene on an international level.

First ever board: Airwalk 150. It was the first year they made boards, and was the stiffest board known to man!

Board preference: Something fun and playful, but that will also allow me to charge off piste at full pelt.

Sarah Fish 

Sales Assistant, Subvert Board Store
Snowboarding since: 2008
Height: 5’6″ (170cm)
Weight: 8st 13lb (57kg)
UK Shoe Size: 5.5

Favourite rider: Marie-France Roy was the first chick that I saw when I started riding. Her part in Any Means was what inspired me the most – I loved that she wasn’t just riding park, she killed it everywhere.

First ever board: A Rome Vinyl directional twin/camber – it was my most prized possession. I bought it in Subvert in Manchester and they gave me a copy of Any Means.

Board preference: All mountain freestyle, mid flex, true twin or directional twin. Definitely camber, but I don’t mind some rise on the nose and tail.

Matt Higson

Sales Assistant, The Snowboard Asylum
Snowboarding since: 2003
Height: 6’ (183cm)
Weight: 11st 7lb (73kg)
UK Shoe Size: 9

Favourite rider: Louif Paradis, because he’s a really legit urban rider… great style and amazing board control.

First ever board: Forum Youngblood – I bought it from a friend for £60, it was an absolute nail. But great for beating up the dry slope.

Board preference: A mid-flex true twin, reverse camber with some sort of flat section for a bit more stability.

Adam Hoskins

Showroom Manager, Bliss Snowboards
Snowboarding since: 2004
Height: 5’11” (180cm)
Weight: 11st 7lb (73kg)
UK Shoe Size: 6.5 (Don’t forget the half!)

Favourite rider: Don’t really have a favourite but I like how Scott Stevens and the Yawgoons show you don’t need great conditions to have a good time.

First ever board: A 2006 Salomon Prospect. It had a vacuuming robot graphic, which I thought was pretty rad at the time. I bought it second hand and I left it in Canada. I’m not very sentimental when it comes to gear.

Board preference: It depends, a different way for a different day. Soft, rocker, true twin for dry slope, indoors and mellow days. I like twin camber boards to carve on and freeride boards with some rocker in. I generally don’t like anything too stiff.

Ed Leigh

BBC Snowboard Correspondent
Snowboarding since: 1988
Height: 6’ (183cm)
Weight: 12st 4lb (78kg)
UK Shoe Size: 9

Favourite rider: Terje Hakkonsen. Iguchi and Lynn are close behind but for board control, style and longevity he is unbeatable. I am really inspired by riders over the age of 40 still laying down relevant video parts.

First ever board: Aggression Tarquin Robbins 161cm – It was a beast of a board and came with me on my first ever powder trip in Wengen. I’m sure the board would be hard work compared to modern ones, but the experience fostered a deep and profound love for an inanimate object that could give me so much pleasure.

Board preference: I always lean towards powder shapes and sacrifice park capability. My stock shape would be a 160-163 with a slight taper, but over the last two years I have been enjoying the shorter, wider shapes.

Lauren MacCallum

Product Development Manager, Natural Retreats Cairngorm
Snowboarding since: 2009
Height: 5’11” (181cm)
Weight: 10st 12lb (69kg)
UK Shoe Size: 8

Favourite rider: I’m only allowed one?! Urgh that’s hard… Desiree Melancon, because she makes snowboarding look good and doesn’t take herself too seriously.

First ever board: An old Burton Custom acquired by my flatmate at the time. She’s a heavy stiff beast with some need of TLC, but served me well and took no prisoners. It’s currently in my wardrobe.

Board preference: I’ve become a fan of rocker camber mix over the last few seasons or just plain camber. Pretty much anything that’s not flat at the tip at tail.

Sam McMahon

Deputy Editor – UK & Video, Whitelines
Snowboarding since: 2009
Height: 5’11” (181cm)
Weight: 12st 9lb (80kg)
UK Shoe Size: 10.5

Favourite rider: Tim Eddy – powder, backflips and fun. For me, he epitomises what snowboarding should be all about.

First ever board: Burton Farm 157 with graphics by one of the dudes from Weezer. Sadly ripped the stupid three-hole binding inserts out in a tumble!

Board preference: Set-back but short powder board, more often with a camber/hybrid profile.

Barry Parker 

Snowboard Instructor/Freestyle Coach, REAL Snowboarding
Snowboarding since: 2001
Height: (192cm)
Weight:  (86kg)
UK Shoe Size: 12

Favourite rider: Stale Sandbech. He encompasses what snowboarding is to me – overflowing with style, and always having loads of fun riding with friends.

First ever board: A Rossignol with blue flames on it. I thought it was badass!

Board preference: True camber for power and stability, but with mellow-ed out contact points for fun!

Jason Rickwood 

Sales Assistant, Subvert Board Store
Snowboarding since: 2008
Height: 6’(183cm)
Weight: 12st (76kg)
UK Shoe Size: 10

Favourite rider: Danny Davis, as everyone who knows me could tell you. His fun-loving emphasis on the style of snowboarding makes him an ever-guiding guru of the sport!

First ever board: Burton Clash 158 bought in Pontypool, South Wales before I’d even been on a snowboard. I went in halves on it with my Mum & Dad as a Christmas present, as I knew it was the way forward.

Board preference: A twin camber board that’s stiff at the tip and tail but soft in the middle. I prefer larger boards to the short jibstick type; they’re better for landing and all-round riding, but also on rails as there’s more board to save your ass!

James Stentiford

Owner/Instructor, Stentiford Snowboarding
Snowboarding since: 1987
Height: 5’11”(180cm)
Weight: 12st 13lb (82kg)
UK Shoe Size: 8

Favourite rider: Nicolas Müller – he makes snowboarding look fun and effortless.

First ever board: One of the very first Gnu boards, a 161 with soft bindings but no high backs, so I had to use ski boots. I rented it in Tignes back in 1988 and I ended up smashing the edge up. The shop owner told my dad he had to buy it, I think he ended up giving the guy £100. It sat at my parents’ house until they moved and took it to the tip.

Board preference: I like the feel of a freestyle orientated board but with a bit of rocker to help in the powder. I go for a medium flex, not too soft or stiff; it’s all about the right pop. I’ve been riding rocker boards for a while now but have got an old faithful 165 camber board that comes out on big powder days.

Chris Sturgess

Owner, Snowfit & Revolutionz
Snowboarding since: 1996
Height: 6’ (182cm)
Weight: 13st 6lb (85kg)
UK Shoe Size: 9

Favorite rider: Travis Parker – He has such sick style and more importantly he always seems to have fun on his board.

First ever board: An old Morrow board with baseless bindings that I inherited somehow. Can’t remember its name, or what I did with it.

Board preference: As I get older and a bit lazy I really enjoy riding boards that help me out! I like boards that are fairly flat between the feet and lifted in the tip and tail for extra float and forgiveness. No noodles though, as I still need to be able to tank it if I want.

Darren Williams

Boss, The Snowboard Shop
Snowboarding since: 1997
Height: 5’8” (173cm)
Weight: 10st 8lb (67kg)
UK Shoe Size: 10

Favourite rider: Too tricky to narrow down to just one rider, but I guess Nicolas Müller has got to be up there as he has so much style when he rides.

First ever board: K2 Zeppelin bought from an old shop at Wycombe Summit.  I used it for about 18 months on dry slopes until the base melted away.  I still have it in the shop and at some point it will end up on the wall.

Board preference: I normally ride freestyle snowboards.  I don’t like them too soft though as I usually take just one board on my trips, so I need something that doesn’t wash out at speed but remains playful enough for jibbing about.


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