The Arbor Draft was the first snowboard in their line up to go rocker back in 2010. Over the years the Arbor Draft has pretty much remained the same board with the exception of a few minor refinements. This is one of the better jib park boards we came across and it also isn’t bad out of the jib park.
2014 and 2015 Arbor Draft Review
The SWS Draft is almost the same Draft from the past except for one little but major thing. The Draft no longer has brass edges but instead has recycled steel edges. This changes up a few things and these are my guesses on how it will play out.
On Snow Feel: Should have the same semi-stable ride that their continuous (they call it parabolic) rocker had before. The steel edges will give the Draft a little more of a freestyle feel instead of just being a jib only board. Now if you want it to be more of a jib board you can get a little more out of it.
Powder: The Draft won’t be any different here. It should have the same easy float for a smaller twin. It’s no Arbor Coda but it does not try to sink like camber profiles do.
Turn Initiation and Carving: Very quick edge to edge just like the old board. The steel edges give the board a little more grip and make medium to wider radius turns more fun and less washy. Still their parabolic rocker does not have what it takes to make a good carve. It’s pretty good for rocker but not good compared to boards with some camber in there.
Speed: This should have the same base and same flex so the speed should be the same. It’s going to have a good glide and be more than what you would expect in the jib park.
Uneven Terrain: Same great ability to handle bumpy terrain.
Edge Hold: So before the draft had average to good edge hold but now it’s great out of the wrapper. Of course once you start de-tuning the edges for the jib park the edge hold will drop but it’s got good
Flex: Should be the same flex but we’ll find out shortly. If it is the butter-ability will be very easy.
Switch: Same great ride switch.
Jibbing: So the brass edged did make it a little less grabby on the mainly steel features in the jib park. However if you de-tune the edges well you should have a pretty similar ride. This is still an excellent jib board but now you have a little more all park prowess if you choose not to de-tune the steel edges.
Pipe: We had a lot of fun in soft pipes with the brass edges but with harder pipes the grip tech didn’t hold as well. Now if you keep the edges sharp this won’t be a bad pipe board and will have some similarities to the Arbor Westmark.
Jumps: Should have the same great pop that makes it fun to ollie. You should still be able to have that great forgiving ride that has a semi-stable approach to kickers and good spring. The only real issue is if you land on your back seat you don’t have any camber to help you power out of it.
2014 Arbor Draft
The 2014 Arbor Draft production model is different from the demo model most of the industry tried last year at the demos. Elan, a manufacturer for many snowboarding companies, went under and some of the main people from Elan started SWS. So this is a different company but the same people who made Arbor boards at Elan are now making Arbor boards at SWS. So there is a very strong chance that the production model from SWS is going to not have those issues that many companies do when they switch manufacturers.
2013 And below Review
Size: 149 & 155
Conditions: Everything from ice to moderately deep powder.
Riders: Kyle (owned this), James, Jimbo, Peter, Eli and a few others I can’t remember.
Bindings Used- Burton Mission, Burton Cartel Re:Flex, Flux TT30, Flux RK30, Burton Cobra Sharks, Union Contact Pro and Burton Malavitas
Boots: Burton SLX, Burton Ion, Burton Ambush, Nike Kaiju, Celsius Opus,
Stance Width: Centered 23″ wide, 22.5″ wide, 21.5″
Stance Angles: 15 front -15 back, 12 front -12 back, 15 front -9 back
The Arbor Draft is one of their jib park/street specialists and it has become quite a successful board in their line. We found the Arbor Draft to be a great jib park/street board but it also surprised us in other places in the park.
On Snow Feel: The Arbor Draft is a continuous rocker that almost feels like flat-rocker and has a semi-stable feel to it. It’s still not ideal for one-footing and flat basing but it’s much better than most boards in it’s class. All of us were impressed on the way a short continuous rocker board with brass rails handled the mountain. It did better than we expected. Obviously it’s a great park board but it can also hang out on the groomers rather well. It board doesn’t have that weird feeling of instability between the feet in the flats like many continuous rocker boards do and it’s not bad one footing off the chair.
Powder: Don’t expect much here compared to other boards but for a jib board this isn’t bad at all. There were a few day’s we had this board in somewhat deep Pow (1-2ft of medium thickness sierra snow) and it was super fun for a small twin. It really floats well even with a centered stance and takes the park to the mountain. When it gets deep and thick it won’t be like a real powder board but it does very well for a short park board.
Turn Initiation and Carving: It turns on a dime and has a fun edge to edge feeling that is very predictable. You can make that quick micro adjustment right before hitting a jib. When it came to carving it was lacking but it did better than we thought and it wasn’t as washy as a continuous rocker could be.
Speed: This board does very well for a rocker twin. The base is fast, it has a medium flex and a decent amount of contact with the snow for a rocker board as well. It will handle anything in the park and does well at moderate speeds on the mountain. It almost feels as good as the Westmark here but seems to pick up chatter a little earlier.
Uneven Terrain: Now the Arbor Draft can handle uneven snow pretty well but it didn’t have that soft shock kind of ride like the Coda does. It is better than many boards at the end of a tracked up rutted out day but you can still feel what you are going over more than you do with other boards in the Arbor Line.
Weight- Not too bad. It’s not a feather weight but that is good. We like a board with a little extra strength and durability when it’s going to be used on rails and boxes a lot.
Edge Hold: They have a typical continuous rocker board camber with a few cool twists. 1 is their brass edges so you won’t get caught on rails and 2 is their Grip Tech. They have a decent extension of the edges between the feet to give you what we feel is just the right amount of grip for those who ride in all conditions except ice. Its just the right amount of edge hold and doesn’t feel overtly grippy. Even though it’s continuous rocker and has brass edges the Grip Tech has enough hold to get around on hard pack park. We rode this board when it was new and the brass edges were still very sharp but over time the brass gets dulled and it becomes an average board in terms of edge hold. With brass rails and continuous rocker it should be on the bottom end of poor but instead it feels like it’s hanging on the middle to good side of average. So to us it felt great at first and then average after many days sliding on shit.
Flex: We felt the Arbor Draft was closer to the medium side of soft It’s not street soft but sure is perfect for any jib park USA. It’s very easy to butter and press thanks to the continuous rocker.
Switch: It’s a true twin so any way you want to go will be the same.
Rails/Jibs- Completely catch free! You will experience a new level of comfort on long technical gnarly thin rails while riding the Arbor Draft. It will change the way you ride. If you are a beginner looking to learn how to ride boxes/rails better this will be forgiving on small hits. If you are an expert you will be able to pull off tricks you weren’t confident trying before. Don’t blame us though if you loose your teeth trying something new. Peter, Jimbo and Kyle love the jib park
Pipe: We all had a ton of fun in the pipe with the Arbor Draft but the reason it got a rating of average was because over time and hitting rails/jibs the Brass edges will get soft and the pipe performance will falter. So when the edges are new and sharp this is border line excellent but when the rails get rounded it will be not so good.
Jumps: The pop that is generated from the Arbor Draft is good. It has a pretty springy feel but still feels stable and playful when creating your own air. It felt like the Westmark which is really poppy but it wasn’t a spring machine like the Coda. Still this is a very fun ride to hit a jump on the way to a jib. It’s was also fun to ollie and play around on natural features on the way to the park.
All in all we are very impressed with the Arbor Draft and it should be considered for dedicated Jib park riders that also like to mix it up and venture elsewhere on the mountain.