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Control is the name of the game for this board (skate banana 156). I'm a purely intermediate rider....not great by any means, but decent and learning. This board has a lot more potential than I do. The board flexes easily but it's stiff enough that you can ride it all around the mountain. I'm on the east coast so I've ridden through plenty of ice and hard-packed and this board handles it with ease. The banana shape makes riding a whole new experience compared to my previous cambered board. I think this is a great board for anyone who is just learning how to pop a 180 or someone who spends all day killing the park.
Plus, it looks sick too! I went with the black/grey top sheet and white union force bindings and love this combo.
Just picked up the Watts hardhat in matte black. I haven't ridden with it on yet, but I tried it on and it seems to fit very well. Word of warning: I wear a size 7-1/4 hat and the Bern sizing guide says I should be in a size Large helmet, but when I tried on the large it seemed a bit too loose with the liner in. With the liner removed, way too loose. So I ended up getting the Medium even thought it's a bit snug....I'm counting on the foam pushing out a bit as I wear it more.
It looks great. One of the most low-profile protective lids I've found. My Anon hawkeye goggles seem to fit well with the helmet (see attached pic).
A drawback for some could be that it's not technically a "helmet", i.e. it doesn't meet the testing standards necessary to certify it as a high-impact protective helmet. For me, I currently ride with no head protection, so even this "hardhat" is 1000% better than my current situation. I'm also not chucking myself off of huge jumps though, so the worst I expect is a little tumble down the hill or off a flat-down box.
I would have liked to see some adjustability built in but there is none. You just have to pick the closest size for your head and live with it possibly being a little too loose or a little too snug. Competitors' helmets go for less cash and have more adjustment capability.
I'll update my review after actually riding with the helmet.
Maybe take my review with a grain of salt, because I'm coming from my beginner setup purchased in 2003 which was Burton Synchro bindings on a Burton Clash 157. Didn't snowboard from 2006 until now, but now I'm back into it full-force with a new setup, Union Force (size L/XL, white) on Lib Tech skate banana 156 (normal width). I rode this setup one day so far and here are my impressions:
- These bindings seem to have very solid construction and high quality materials. I like the super solid aluminum chassis versus plastic that others like Burton offer at the same price point.
- The ankle strap clasp comes off easy due to the buckle design with the little 'pull tab' sticking out, but the toe strap buckle does not have the 'pull tab' so unbuckling is a little more difficult. Not a big deal, just a minor criticism when compared to competitively priced bindings.
- The "male" portion of the toe strap (with the ratchet teeth on it) sticks through the buckle a bit too much when the strap is tightened - kind of like a belt that is way too long for your waist. Except you can't tuck the extra strap under your belt loops haha, so it just sticks up and waves in the breeze. I think it's due to my size 11 boot which is kind of the bottom limit for the size Large / X-Large bindings.
- Combined with the skate banana deck, I felt that I got very confidence-inspiring response from these bindings (even with the slight heel lift I have going on in my boots). I could feel the contours of the mountain a lot more than I ever did with my old setup.
- They look great! White bindings + grey/black top sheet + black pants + blue burton poacher jacket...looks pretty ill IMO.
I definitely recommend these bindings. I like that Union is a young company and seems to be selling a quality product at a price point below the competitors' for an equivalent product.