|Overall Rating||Pretty Good|
|Fits Boot size (US)||8-10|
|Manufactured in||Dubai by SWS|
|Camber Profile||Traditional Camber|
|Stance||Setback over 20mm|
|Approx. Weight||Feels Normal|
|On Snow Feel|
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Arbor Steepwater 2016 - 2014 Review by The Good Ride
The Arbor Steepwater is the next step up in gnarlyness from it’s freeriding brother the A-Frame. This is from the mind of Steve Klausson, the Owner of Wave Rave Snowboards and it offers up a very different ride from the A-Frame. Wave Rave use to sell the Stepwater directly at their shop but it wasn’t the pretty high-quality feel board it is now that Arbor got their hands on it. First off this is a beast and it’s stiffer than the A-Frame. It also has a very shallow side cut that likes to go straight. It’s a powder/groomer bomber and one of the fastest boards we have ridden in a little while. Not much has changed over the years and this model is like most cars. They only make minor tweaks for a few years.
Ethics Statement: We don’t get paid by the manufacturer to write these reviews. No one is perfect and we do make money from the “Where To Buy” links below, but this is our best attempt at an honest and objective review from an average riders’ perspective.
How This Review Happened: We had the Arbor version for a couple of laps at a frantic manic demo day but also rode the older model Wave Rave used to sell for a day.
Conditions: Practically perfect Sierra snow
Riders: James Peter and Jimbo
Boots: Burton Ion, Burton SLX, Nike Kaiju,
Bindings: Burton Diode
Set Up: Set back, about 23″ wide 18 front and 0 back
On Snow Feel: So even though the A-Frame and Steepwater look a lot alike these days from a short distance you can see some differences when you look up close. This looks like there is almost no sidecut depth going on here and it has a go straight go very fast kind of personality. It’s not gentle either. It’s mean and fast and I wouldn’t even recommend it to advanced riders. This is an expert only freeride board.
Powder: We had no powder but this will do very well. It’s about 1.7 inches back which makes it a little less surfy off the tail than the A-Frame’s massive 2″ set back. 1.7″ is still a lot and it has massive float for a true camber board.
Turn Initiation and Carving: So the Arbor Steepwater is a solid bit of work edge to edge and it feels like what the Jones Flagship would be if it was full camber. It’s not quick edge to edge like the A-Frame and it prefers to go straight instead of making turns. It’s still really fun on a carve but it does so with a bigger radius when you lean into it as far as you can.
Speed: Peter summed it up by calling it a Ferrari Tank and I can’t think of a better way to describe it. This is a chunder buster. When we went down Coronus (Very steep groomer run at Mammoth) the damp stability of the Steepwater was almost scary because you don’t feel that scared straight lining the whole run. It reminds me of the older stiffer Nidecker Platinum from the mid 2000s. You don’t feel like you are going as fast as you are.
Uneven Terrain: While you can bomb at high speed through thick uneven Mammoth Powder it’s one of the last boards I want to be on when riding on a choppy, tracked bumpy end of a Saturday groomer. You pay a price for that much perfection at high speed. I’d actually be surprised if it did well in slower bumpy areas. This is a perfect condition kind of board.
Edge Hold: Borderline excellent and it grips well in most conditions you will want to ride in.
Flex: Very stiff when you compare it to most boards out there in 2014. Maybe in 2004 I would have called this Med/Stiff but nowadays it’s very stiff.
Jibbing: no fucking way
Jumps: Fine for a method off a cliff but that’s about it.
All in all the Steepwater is a really unique board that is only for a select group of riders. If you are one of those riders you will have shit’s and giggles but for most I would say go A-Frame.
Arbor Steepwater Specs
Arbor Steepwater Images
Arbor Company Information
Arbor Steepwater User Reviews
TGR review is spot on. If you are looking for a gnarly, old school, camber, beast ride this is it. I didn't find it so intimidating though. Fun for sure but I didn't feel it was hard to turn. It's not a board I'd like to take into tight trees but for steeps and/or bowl it rocks!
Fast and stable. It has more taper than the A-Frame and this allows it to disengage the edge earlier. Means you really need to pay attention to carve properly but it does reward you with speed and control.
The base is extruded (say whaaa?) for a reason. This board is designed to ride steep gnarly stuff. Doesn't matter how slippery your base is when it's steep. It's a feature I like because I don't have to mess with tuning. I wax it at the end of the year and take the wax off at the beginning of the next. I do, however, stay away from flat traverses.
Bottom line, awesome board. Do not be intimidated. If you like carving and steeps you will love it.
Not for the Weak
After a season of riding this bad boy, TheGoodRide nails the review. I'm advanced (short of expert because I don't keep my legs in shape) and was able to ride freshy, groomed, and chunky all in the same week at Mammoth. My old board was a Burton Air (5 on the stiff meter) so this was an adjustment and a happy one for what I like to do.
The reporters are right that this board just wants to go straight. Takes a little more concentration to initiate turns, especially at 165 cm) but once you get adjusted you feel like you have the best stick on the mountain. You can take on hard pack with full confidence while bombing down an empty run at 60 mph...with the shit-eating grin, of course. Chunky is no fun and requires more focus, which means I'm buying another board for crappy conditions.
If you love to surf pow, then this is your board.
Bindings: Burton Diode
Boots: K2 Maysis
An excellent freeride stick. Very good on a carve if you know how...like TGR review states. It is an extremely stable board. I have never felt so comfortable straight lining stuff as I am on this board. It could also be the Burton Diodes/Burton Ion boots as well, but I also ride a Yes PYL with Cartels and The Steepwater is a big difference in stability. You do sacrifice some speed in turn initiation, but when you go beyond a 30 degree slope, this board will be at home and really shine, as that is what its made for. I prefer this over the Jones wood Flagship. The Carbon Flag is another matter though.... ;-)
All in all.....what an awesome ride! This is the most challenging and most exciting board I have ever ridden! A big thank you to TGR for introducing me to this exceptional stick!
Just ridden the Arbor Steepwater 2015. What a beast! Going up on the drag lift the thing just went straight like a tank going up the hill!! Got to the top and as it was first run of the day with new board bindings and boots thought I would take it steady. After the first 100 meters still had reservations. Then did what I should of done at the start. Pointed it down the hill and it came to life, it carves like a knife through butter, never have I felt so connected and secure on the snow at speed, managed a few switches on her as well. On ice she felt strong and steady, I love it. If you are after a "balls out" ballistic board for groomed pistes and are prepared to work for it the have a blast on the beautiful striking Steepwater from Arbor. Haven't tried it in powder yet but got a feeling that it will be bloody superb!