This year’s range of boards is once again pushing the boundaries of snowboard gear designs. With rocker well and truly incorporated into many of the best freestyle snowboards of 2012, it’s the interesting combinations and varieties on this theme that grab the attention if you plan to pick a park stick.
DC’s skateboard styled PLY and K2’s continuation with its ‘Flatline’ base technology and a new, unique ‘pointy’ shape are two examples worth mentioning.
Ride continues to get it right with their long established Kink, and newbie’s Lobster and Niche each offer something different.
So if you plan to pick a park stick, here are the best freestyle snowboards of 2012.
DC – PLY
A snowboard for skateboarders, DC has designed this ride with some new, fancy sounding technology.‘Lock & Load’ camber profiling – that is regular camber underfoot, that blends into flat just outside the bindings – apparently mimics the feel of riding your favourite seven-ply maple deck.
The ‘Skate Twin’ shape incorporates a longer nose to aid float in powder, and a blunt tail for acute direction changes at your whim. Whether this is the board that snow-addicted skaters have been looking for, with a generously low price tag compared to other freestyle boards, we shall see. Expect to see plenty over the hills and in the parks this winter.
K2 – Happy Hour
Bound to have been the most recognised new board on snowboarding holidays this winter, with its ‘stabby twin’ shape, the replacement for the much loved, but aging Believer, could just as easily be wielded as a weapon in the fight against snowbladers.
All fantasies aside, the pointy nose and tail do look like they would have no trouble in slicing through the crud. Though how much time the self-respecting freestyler wants to be smashing through heavy, slushy snow is surely a point not considered? Thankfully, K2’s renowned and award-winning ‘Flatline’ technology gives a stable base that apparently adds to the fun when charging the whole mountain, cruddy or not.
Ride – Kink
Not exactly “newly designed”, compared with the never before seen models that make up the rest of this list, a decade worth of tweaks and refinements have made it one of the best freestyle snowboards around and the solid choice of many in 2012.
A bombproof board that seems to love being taken advantage of, its impact absorbing, patented ‘Slimewalls’ and ‘Cleave Edges’ take the brunt of any hard landings. A park and rail board through and through, this stick will be around long after you’ve pulled up your pants and left the park to the kids.
Lobster – Park
Probably the most hyped partnership in snowboarding right now, Eiki and Halldor Helgason have exploded onto the scene with their brand new company Lobster, and a brand new, albeit un-landed trick. Becoming one of the “greatest tricks never to be landed”, the lobster flip – a double backside rodeo 1080 Japan – is Halldor Helgason’s nemesis right now, with him failing to stomp this monster in the recent X-Games.
Lobster Snowboards offer a range of four different freestyle snowboards all catering to specific freestyle disciplines, and also one for the ladies. The boards come out of the Bataleon design factory, with their park board based on the ever-popular ‘Evil Twin’ model. What’s more, with graphics as sick as the hype surrounding the lobster flip, these boards are sure to go down well with the jibsters.
Niche – Story
Niche is not your average snowboard company – its words not ours, yet there’s some truth in this. Niche has brought out truly unique boards. Based in Salt Lake City – with the boards crafted in Austria – they pride themselves on producing quality and environmentally friendly boards.
And this has just been backed up as the company just picked up an award for sustainable innovation and eco-responsibility – for this model. So if you want to pick a park stick that us green, then this may be the best freestyle snowboards of 2012 for you.
From sustainable wooden cores to hemp stringers, every aspect of the production process has been analysed in an attempt to reduce waste. In a range of five sticks, the ‘Story’ is their flagship all-mountain freestyle machine.
Regular camber, a popular core and ‘HempHop’ powered stringers make this a “snappy” ride with a stiff flex. But best of all, you can brag that you’re helping to save the world while conquering its pistes. We’re impressed.
We hope the best freestyle snowboards of 2012 help you pick a park stick. Check out our snowboarding gear reviews for in depth testing of the latest boards etc.