Burton Custom Smalls Snowboard Review (and Some More)

The Custom has been marketed as “the snowboard that does everything and some more”. The Custom gets so many good reviews, it sounds like a legend and Burton keep bringing out new versions with improvements every year. After reading about the Custom I was expecting good things!

Gavin and I did quite a bit of research into boards before we picked the Custom Smalls. In fact there were three of us on the case: myself, Gav and Arran (Gavin’s brother). I am 5ft 1 and 47kg so I am on the petite side and need a board suitable for my size and build. After a bit of investigation we realised that there is not a great deal of choice for petite women; well, it’s not easy to get hold of all the boards available. See the post on snowboards for petite women.

Arran then suggested that I consider a kids board, great idea. A kids board means that you can get a nice short length and as long as the weight range is ok I don’t think it matters that it is labelled kids.

Background
I have purchased two boards since learning to snowboard and hired one. My favourite board by far has been the Youngblood, which strangely, was the hire board. I got the YB when my luggage went missing and I had to get a hire board for a few days. They say everything happens for a reason. Well, I was pretty disappointed to hear that all my snowboard gear was in the UK and I was in Laax, but ridding the youngblood made me realise what I was missing. I found the Forum board really fun to ride, it was a new lease of life. When my luggage finally arrived I reluctantly took it back…

When I took my Destiny out (my first board) it felt like I had bricks attached to my feet. I hadn’t realised until then that I don’t like heavy boards, they sap your energy. It’s not always easy to know when you start out what you want and what you need. I think it was at this point that I started to get a feel for what I liked.

My destiny is very stiff, great for blasting around, but way too stiff and tiring for me to jib on. My Second purchase the Santa Cruz, is the complete opposite. The SC is good for jibbing around and in the park but horribly unstable at high speed; it really chatters. It’s also the slowest board that I have ever been on, it makes shallow trails a nightmare. So after riding the youngblood I decided to look for a new board, one that was stable at high speed and fun to jib on. And so I bought my Custom Smalls, well actually Gavin bought me a Custom ;-).

What was it like?
The custom feels really light and poppy. It’s got a nice flex and is easy to ride. I found it really fast and stable at speed, it didn’t chatter like some boards that I have ridden. My destiny was a fast board but I think I’ve probably progressed more with the Custom. I could tear around and not get tired. I found the destiny hard to ride all day as you have to be quite aggressive; the custom is easier to ride and feels more responsive. I was always nervous going fast on my SC and felt like I was going to bale spontaniously. With the custom I just went for it! I don’t know, maybe I was just in a good mood 😉 or maybe its natural progression. It felt good and gave me the confidence to relax aand have lots of fun.

The custom smalls is twin tip and has the option for a wide stance. Actually it has a super wide stance. I normally use the widest stance possible but when I measured that setting compared to my two other boards it was about two inches wider! I decided on the second widest setting. I haven’t ridden the adult’s custom so I can’t really compare them, but from what I have read they sound pretty similar. There are a few top pros who ride it, Mads Jonsson, Heikki Sorsa, Mason Aguirre, so it can’t be bad!

Powder
Despite that fact that it’s short and light I managed fine in powder, in fact I got some of the best lines I think I have ever had. I felt like I was floating! I used my SC last year in Fernie and combined with my inexperience with the pow I spent most of the time sinking or rag dolling… I was a fully trained gymnast after two weeks. I think the fact that the nose on the smalls has a decent scoop helps slightly. The snow in Avoriaz was slightly different to Canada and probably no deeper than 30cm.

Base
If I had to find fault I would say that the base is not great, it’s not the same as the adult’s board, which perhaps contributes to the low cost, who knows? The glide of the board has always been an issue for me. I have never had a board that’s had a good base, indusive to speeding across the flats. I did hope that my next board would have better tech… But now that I have thought about it, it’s not that important. The time I spend on flats/shallows is few and far between. Even If I had a better base I still don’t have the weight to glide well. So really it’s not that high on my list of priorities.

Graphics
I must admit I am not especially bothered by board graphics, I see them more as a bonus rather than a necessity. I do like the graphics on the custom, they are bright and… I love bright colours… But, had the graphics been horrible I would have still bought the board!

Summary
All in all I am totally pleased with this board, I have ridden it in Powder, on the piste (groomed and choppy), in the park, and it ticks all of those boxes. I didn’t think it was possible to get a board that was good to ride around and in the park, but I am pleased to say Burton have proved me wrong. Who said you can’t have everything!

It’s ideal for me, and at a fraction of the cost of an adult’s board it meant that I had some change left over to buy a new jacket, perfect 😉

12 Comments

  • Reply April 10, 2010

    Gavin Hope

    Ciara had no problems with overhang – and I wouldn’t say it’s a particularly narrow board…

    According to a couple of conversion charts I’ve just checked, a women’s UK size 4 is size 6.5 for the US…

    So I’d say you’ll probably be ok?

  • Reply April 13, 2010

    Gavin Hope

    Hey Neyer, what do you think of the T2? I’ve never ridden a custom before… is the Custom X twin?

  • Reply April 13, 2010

    Neyer

    The graphics are sweet 🙂 , my next board (being bought somewhere next year) will be a custom x i think. Currently riding the Nitro T2. I don’t care about the powder, lean back and high speed is the only option :>

  • Reply April 13, 2010

    VancityAllie

    Great review!The graphics on this board are some of the best that Burton has this year (I haven’t been overly impressed with their graphics recently)… and it’s great to see they are making so many different sizes of boards.

  • Reply April 13, 2010

    Neyer

    yes the Custom X is Twin shaped. You can check out the tech on the burton website. It’s an allround freestyle/freeride oriented board.I think the T2 opened a new world after trying some other boards. A solid flex and good grip on high speed. The only downside is indeed the powder runs. Getting stuck quite frequently there.. And offcourse that’s what people wonna see, some decent action in the powder.

  • Reply April 13, 2010

    Anonymous

    great article.

  • Reply April 13, 2010

    Larapanget

    hi

    can i ask you what kind of bindings you used for this board?

    i was thinking of getting the 2010 custom smalls and i wear size 7 shoes so not sure if this board is too narrow..

    thanks!

  • Reply April 13, 2010

    Ciara

    Hey,

    Sorry I didn’t reply sooner!
    I have the Burton Lexa bindings in medium, I wear a UK size 4 shoe.

    Hope that helps – happy shopping 😉
    x

  • Reply April 13, 2010

    Gavin Hope

    Hi larapanget,

    I’m not really up on Burton tech, but I assume the v-rocker is just their reverse camber design?

    I haven’t ridden any of their boards, but my own board, the lib tech t rice does have a slight reverse camber. It’s not a strong banana shape mind, it’s only slight, so I’m not sure how much my experience will apply to other reverse camber boards.

    That said, I didn’t notice any change to my speed. To be honest, unless it’s a flat section of the hill, I don’t ever find going faster to be a problem. Normally you’re trying to control your speed at some level 🙂

    Any hows, as a punt, I’d say the v-rocker will be nice for jibbing and nice for the pow. It might effect the edge control, but I’m not sure about that.

    You might be better off trying to find someone who’s got one of the boards you’re looking at. As far as the Custom Smalls goes, I think Ciara rates it highly.

    I’m gonna be writing a post sometime soon asking questions about different designs – check back and read that, maybe some people will comment about the reverse camber designs 🙂

    Cheers.

  • Reply April 13, 2010

    Larapanget

    cool! thanks so much!

    now i have one more problem.. what to choose between a v rocker and a non-v rocker board. i’m not sure how much the v rocker will affect my speed.. and yes i’m new to the whole park thing, i’ve been able to go on the easier boxes but thats about it..

    basically im debating between 4 boards: feelgood smalls, feelgood smalls v rocker, custom smalls, and custom smalls v rocker.

    any ideas? i really appreciate it!

  • Reply September 9, 2010

    april

    hi I have the burton Vrocker small…its faster, easier to turn…fun in jib and park…lots of pop…and I used to ride a regular camber feelgood before…so I can definitely tell you that vrocker is better! Now, the feelgood and the custom is esentially the same shape and flex and design…so I think you can just pick the graphic between the feelgood vrocker and the custom vrocker! You will love it!

  • Reply September 9, 2010

    Gavin

    Hey April,

    sounds like the VRockers are good boards! After the recent comments, think I’m gonna make a second pass at snowboards for petite women. Try to build up a collection of boards that people recommend. Thanks again, Gavin

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