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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
What’s next? Well, I’m considering becoming a backcountry snowboarding guide. What do you reckon? A bit mad?