|Fits Boot size (US)||8-10|
|Camber Profile||Directional Camber|
|Stance||Setback over 20mm|
|Approx. Weight||Feels Normal|
|On Snow Feel|
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Burton Leader Board 2020 Review by The Good Ride
The Burton Leader Board is the stiffest board we have ever tried from Burton in easily the last decade or more. If you know of the Wave Rave Steepwater from years back or the somewhat recent Arbor Steepwater, then you know what this beast is all about. If you don’t, it’s for Steve Klassen, the owner of Wave Rave’s ride, and it’s made specifically for how he rips the mountain. Steve is not like us so this is very far from being the average riders/everyman’s board. This is the exceptional man’s board and it takes a really technical/strong rider to handle it.
Ethics Statement: We don’t get paid by the manufacturer to write these reviews. We do make money from the “Where To Buy” links, but this is our best attempt at an honest and objective review from an average riders’ perspective.
How This Review Happened: We had a couple of laps at a frantic manic demo day.
Conditions: 1-2 feet of somewhat thicker Utah Powder but good for us.
Riders: James (Size 9, 5’10” 185-195lbs), Peter (Size 8, 5’11” 185lbs)
Boots: Adidas Tactical ADV
Insoles: Sandsole Custom Insoles, Footprint Insole Technology Gameghangers Low Profile
Bindings: Burton Cartels
Similar Boards (but not the same) That We Referenced/Compared This To:
Arbor Steepwater, Wave Rave Steepwater (rode this before I started this site), Arbor A-Frame, Burton Flight Attendant, Jones Carbon Flagship
Set-Up: 22” Wide. 21 front -6 back. Set all the way back.
Approximate Weight: Feels normal.
Sizing: The 158 felt like it was sized just right for our specs listed above but the whole line is best for 8-10ish boots and it can handle a heavier rider easily thanks to the somewhat newer construction with Burton that works for those bigger boned or second helping kind of guys.
Flex/Buttering: It almost doesn’t flex. I felt like Peter and I almost had a blow an O ring moment just trying to make it bend in front of the camera. The Burton Leader Board needs a really really strong rider to butter this as well as make it pop. There aren’t many main market production models this stiff and you would have to go to more custom manufacturers like Donek to get something stiffer. I will say that it does seem a little softer than the older Klassen Models that I’ve ridden over the years.
On Snow Feel/Ability Level/Skidded Turns: There is a directional camber thing going for the Burton Leader Board but it feels almost like it is just camber. There only seemed to be a touch of an early rise in the nose and it seems to have a lot of camber going on. Maybe the same or more than some boards that are called full camber. It’s going to challenge even Advanced riders and it’s more for experts only. It’s a pretty unforgiving, hard to skid turn kind of ride that likes experts, pros’ and/or serious rippers. It isn’t quite as locked in though as the older Klassen models and it has definitely evolved over past Steve Klassen models, with all of this newer Burton Tech.
Edge Hold: The Burton Leader Boards stiffer flex does help a little more with edge hold than many Family Tree boards but it’s on the lower side of hard snow. It really shows how well all these disrupted sidecuts with massively softer boards are doing these days. If this was the early 2000’s where edge hold was related to the flex, this would be a real gripper but not quite as much today.
Turn Initiation: Just didn’t feel that fast edge to edge even though we were sized up about as good as it can get. It seems like it wants to go straight more than turn.
Turning Experience/Carving: If you like to carve with a stiff board, this feels like it’s just plain old camber and not directional camber like with many of the other Family Tree Line. The Burton Leader Board is just super stiff so it takes some pretty good form combined with a lot of strength to get it to spring out of a turn like softer similar shaped boards can. We could get some across the groomer carves going that were pretty fun after we left the powder to head back to the chair.
Powder: We had more rear leg burn with the Burton Leader Board compared to many Family Tree boards we have tried. It felt pretty centered on board even though we had set it all the way back and we had to put a lot of weight on the back foot to keep the nose up. It’s more for the rider that likes a camber board in powder over a hybrid shape and likes to ride more centered in a lot of steep terrain when it’s a powder day. It’s an old school rip powder in camber kind of ride and not for those that like easy directional float. 3 of us kept switching between the Jones Flagship, Burton Leader Board and Burton Deep Thinker on this powder day. We all felt that when we got on the Jones Flagship in the same size the rear leg burn went away and it was really easy to keep the nose up. When we rode the Burton Deep Thinker, it took more back leg work in powder than the Jones Flagship it had less than the Leaderboard. Demo days like this are less than ideal but one advantage is being able to do a sampler like this and be able to compare.
Speed: It’s a bomber…no doubt about it. It will allow you to go super fast without feeling the freak-out chatter most boards give you at higher speeds. It points it better than most. The base is fast too and it has good glide to it as well. It’s the kind of board that could put you in the hospital if you get one of those apps that tells you how fast you went.
Uneven Terrain: Powering over stuff doesn’t feel like anything but it isn’t that great for weaving around stuff. We’d like to see how it does in hard uneven snow because all we had was soft forgiving snow.
All in all, the Burton Leader Board rips for a serious ripper but usually isn’t going to be the best choice for the rest of us. I would get this if you want to straightline steep runs when the conditions are good. Then when the conditions turn it is best for most of us average riders to put it away and grab something else. I would say that if you like the idea of the Arbor A-Frame and Carbon Flagship but want fewer hybrid alterations to a traditional camber profile then the Steepwater is a good call.
Burton Leader Board Specs
Burton Leader Board Images
Burton Company Information
Burton Leader Board User Reviews
Ill echo the reviewer comments about powder performance. Took this to Chile this summer and the binding setback was not enough to get the float i wanted in the powder (previously used a flight attendant no problem). Board is stiff but that was much appreciated during my 5 days of riding. Board is fast as mentioned and holds a good rail I just wish they added more setback on bindings.