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These pads offer very little protection--the foam is super soft and there are no hard plates. I broke my tailbone wearing these on not even that bad of a fall; they are warm and comfy but that's about it.
I don't know why the description calls the Hatchet a freeride board, because it is quite the opposite. I ride the Hatchet as my main park board and I couldn't be happier with it--the flex is mellow enough to do butters and ride rails, but has enough stability to hit bigger kickers and throw around on the groomers. There is no other board that gives you this much technology and quality for the price; the Hatchet is a park slaying machine that is surprisingly stable at speed, but keep in mind it is still freestyle-oriented and not meant for high-speed carving...
Very well made boots, the heel hold is the best of any boot I have tried on (great if you have problems with heel lift, like I do). The Fusion outsole really is smaller than other boots, I wear a size 10 and can fit them into a s/m binding no problem. The lacing system is a breeze and lets you customize the fit with the, uh, locking lace guide things. That said, this boot is definitely soft, considerably more-so after breaking it in when compared to trying it on in the store (to me it felt decently stiff in the store, but after 10 min of wearing it it softened up a lot). The shock absorption is less than other boots in this price range due to the minimized outsole design, but is still cushiony enough to stomp big landings. These boots do not stretch out as much a most other boots, after 3 days of hard riding they had maybe stretched out 1/4 of a size, so don't buy them too small thinking they will pack out b/c they won't...That said, if you want a soft boot with incredible heel hold and small profile to reduce heel/toe drag, then this boot is the best out there.